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More than 420 students attend Journalism Scholars Day at WKU

Journalism Scholars Day, a 39-year tradition at WKU, attracted more than 420 Kentucky high school journalism students from 17 schools to campus Friday (Nov. 11). The four-hour conference included breakout sessions, a keynote address, writing contest and yearbook contest awards ceremony.

More than 30 student media advisers from across Kentucky brought their staffs to attend sessions taught by WKU faculty and students as well as other journalism professionals.

The conference goal was to encourage excellence in high school media classes. It also provided high school students with the opportunity to increase their knowledge and skills. Staffers and their advisers attended 20 breakout sessions with topics ranging from yearbook design and photography to editorial cartooning.

Six students entered the on-site writing contest.

Facilitated by Bob Adams, the contest required students to type their stories about the keynote address, self-edit and turn them in all in under an hour, just like in a real newsroom.

Bob Shrader, chief photographer at the Nashville Fox affiliate, gave the keynote address. From his start at the Washington, D.C., bureau of CNN to serving as an embedded journalist with the 101st Airborne as they invaded Afghanistan is 2002, he reflected on events and memorable stories that have shaped his career. Speaking from more than 30 years experience, he motivated the young journalists in attendance with suggestions for how to excel in the industry.

For two Kentucky high school newspaper staffers, however, it was more than just another speech.

Tim Nwachukwu, a senior from duPont Manual High School, won the on-site writing competitio; Hoss Westbay a senior from Meade County High School, was runner-up. Each student earned $500 scholarships to attend WKU in fall 2012.

Journalism Scholars Day attendees came from The Academy at Shawnee, Adair County, Allen County-Scottsville, Barren County, Bowling Green, duPont Manual, Elizabethtown, Fern Creek, Fleming County, Franklin-Simpson, Glasgow, LaRue County, Meade County, North Hardin, Pleasure Ridge Park, Shelby County and Warren East.

Several came specifically for the awards ceremony. Sixteen schools entered their yearbooks in the Mark of Excellence Yearbook contest. Best overall winners were Franklin-Simpson in Class AAA and duPont Manual in Class AAAA. More: Check out the complete list of 2011 Mark of Excellence yearbook award winners.

Journalism Scholars Day, coordinated by Katie Clark, was co-sponsored by the School of Journalism & Broadcasting, the Kentucky High School Media Institute, WKU, WKU’s chapter of Society of Professional Journalists, the College Heights Herald and Talisman.

Originally called High School Press Day, the conference was renamed Journalism Scholars Day in the late 1980s. Having a day devoted to high school journalism is a WKU tradition that dates back to the 1970s. Loup Langton is the director of WKU’s School of Journalism & Broadcasting.

A component of the 21st Century Media Program of Distinction at WKU, the Kentucky High School Media Institute is funded by Kentucky’s Council on Post-Secondary Education Regional Excellence Trust Fund. The Institute’s primary goal is to support and supplement scholastic journalism endeavors in Kentucky.

Contact: Katie Clark, (270) 745-3055.

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