Journalism students attend summer MIPA conference


Danielle Kullmann

Sixteen RHS students and one teacher attended the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association (MIPA) Summer Journalism Workshop at Michigan State University (MSU) from Sunday, July 29 through Thursday, Aug.1, alongside 400 other high school journalists and the best journalism educators in the country.

“I’ve attended MIPA for the past two years and I love the learning experience and the atmosphere,” senior editor-in-chief Camille Douglas said. “MIPA is a great way for me to get to know my fellow staff members before the year begins. We eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together, and stay up late in our rooms talking. We have a great time bonding with one another.”

Students take one class all week that focuses on either writing, design, photography, leadership or new media, hoping to further prepare themselves for the tasks they will undertake come the fall.  Junior news editor Sydney Bammel describes her learning experience at the camp.

“MIPA taught me how to turn my ideas for page designs into reality by showing me how to use tools in InDesign,”  Bammel said.  “Also, MIPA helped me to think outside the box by showing me a multitude of ways to present information to a reader.”

On the last day of the camp, each instructor gives one Spartan (top honor) and three Excellence Awards to the most outstanding students.   RHS came home with seven of these honors, including: Lauren Boyd, Spartan Award for her work in Ultimate Yearbook Section Editors; Camille Douglas, Spartan Award for her work in Advanced InDesign; Danielle Kullmann, Spartan Award for her work in Illustrator and Information Graphics; and Ashley Powell, Spartan Award for her work in Creative Illustrator Techniques. Natalie Bradley (Ultimate Yearbook Section Editors), Elizabeth Jordan (The Complete Yearbook) and A.J. Prisciandaro (Entertainment Coverage) also won Excellence Awards.

“Winning a Spartan for my class felt very surreal. I remember being at MIPA for the first time two years ago, hoping that I would one day win a Spartan, never knowing if it would happen or not. I am very proud of this accomplishment,” Douglas said.“My advice for those who want to win a Spartan award in coming years is to think out of the box. Don’t be a afraid to try something new and different. MIPA is not only a time to learn new things, but also to experiment with previous knowledge and skills.”

In addition, The Talon newspaper staff won the MIPA Staff Challenge, which involves meeting as a staff, planning goals for the following school year and mapping out a plan for how the goals will get accomplished. They won a Bluetooth Wireless Speaker for their efforts at the closing ceremony.

“It was exhilarating. I knew that we had been close in the years before, and I was very anxious and excited to see the results this year,” senior photo editor Melody Zhang said. “I kept my expectations low because I didn’t want to be too devastated if we didn’t win the Staff Challenge, but in the end that made it even better. I think our comprehensive, detailed and focused goals, coupled with hand-drawn design ideas for next year made all the difference!”

The Talon newspaper adviser Julia Satterthwaite was honored to teach Feature Coverage at the workshop; this was Satterthwaite’s 10th year of working at the workshop in some capacity, fifth as an instructor. Satterthwaite is entering her second year as president of MIPA, which involves monthly board meetings in East Lansing, and lots of logistical planning about meetings, membership, curriculum alignment, conferences and workshops and answering adviser questions over email and G-chat throughout the school year.

“I love being so highly involved in scholastic journalism at the state level,” Satterthwaite said. “It’s so cool to see what all of the different newspaper, yearbook, broadcast and web publications are doing; I’m constantly in awe of how creative the kids of the 21st century can be. I’m happy to be involved in the workshop, especially, because I work with the cream of the crop as far as both students and instructional staff goes.”

Students had a chance to watch a design presentation from journalistic design gurus Betsy Pollard-Rau and Cheryl Pell, interview professional journalists (videographer for the Lansing State Journal Paul Henderson, editor for MLive Meegan Holland, broadcast journalist for WLNS Jam Sardar, and web producer for WBEZ Chicago Tricia Bobeda), listen to an inspirational talk from 2012 MSU basketball graduate Anthony Ianni about his personal struggles with autism and bullying growing up, and attend a concert by Joe Hertler of The Rainbow Seekers.

“I learned that its better to have really big pictures on the front page because it gives a really big effect to the reader. I learned how to be a better page designer and incorporate what’s in our story into the page,” senior entertainment editor A.J. Prisciandaro said. “ I’m really glad our class went because I think everyone learned what they could contribute to the staff.”

Congratulations to all RHS participants for making the Falcon family proud: adviser Julia Satterthwaite; newspaper students: Sydney Bammel, Olivia Bennett, Camille Douglas, Erin Eyler, Danielle Kullmann, Hannah Loveland, Grant McPherson, A.J. Prisciandaro, Sam Sheppard, Sarah Walwema, Melody Zhang; yearbook students: Lauren Boyd, Natalie Bradley, Elizabeth Jordan, Shama Parekh and Ashley Powell.