Fall Press Day

Editor’s Note: This story has been revised to reflect the rescheduled date for Portland Press Day, which will now be held on March 9.

Story by Andra Brichacek

Imagine you’re a middle or high school student interested in becoming a journalist. The media industry is far more complicated than it once was. You might be asking yourself: Is this still a viable career path? What skills do I need? Where do I start?

To help young journalists-in-the-making navigate their journey to becoming communications professionals, the UO School of Journalism and Northwest Scholastic Press Association are partnering to offer the inaugural Portland Press Day on March 9 at the George S. Turnbull Portland Center in the historic White Stag Building in downtown Portland. Registration, which is $10 for NWSP members, is open to all Oregon middle and high school students and their advisers until March 2.

Modeled after the NSWP’s successful Fall Press Day, which hosts more than 800 middle and high school students each year at the UO’s Eugene campus, Portland Press Day will offer aspiring journalists a full day of lectures, workshops, speakers, panel discussions and forums led by communications professionals and college professors on topics ranging from the abstract — like the First Amendment and communication law — to practical skill-building workshops in reporting, design, photography, new media and more.

“Like our Fall Press Day, Portland Press Day is an opportunity for high school students to interact and learn from media professionals and journalism and communication professors,” said Anthony Whitten, the executive director of NSWP and the SOJC’s scholastic journalism outreach coordinator.

“Portland Press Day also allows students to see a future in journalism,” he added. “As a former high school teacher, I found it easy to get students to commit to yearbook or newspaper for multiple years. But the challenge came when students thought about journalism and communication as a career. Participating in this event will help students see the possibilities of where a degree through the SOJC can take them.”

The SOJC and NWSP are currently recruiting Portland-area communications professionals as well as SOJC alumni, instructors and students to lead sessions at Portland Press Day. Anyone interested in helping middle and high school student journalists learn more about the industry and develop their skills is encouraged to sign up now to lead a session. Fifty-minute sessions are available between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Feb. 7.

“The best sessions are technical, ‘how-to’ industry skills, like how to record and publish a podcast, or how to navigate the industry with examples of best work,” said Whitten. “The general format is lecture with some Q&A.”

Speakers and session leaders get free admission and lunch, but the real reward, according to Whitten, is playing a part in building the next generation of journalists and communication professionals.

“Portland Press Day allows high school students to make positive connections with people from the university and in the industry,” he said. “When students are deciding what to do with their lives and where to attend college, those connections are huge.”

Andra Brichacek is the SOJC Communication team’s writer and editor. She has nearly 20 years’ experience creating content for print and online media and has specialized in education since 2008. Follow her on Twitter @andramere.