The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

WJ journalists set to shine at annual J-Day conference

Attendees+listen+to+a+guest+speaker+talk+about+their+experience+in+journalism%2C+a+wide+and+diverse+field.+J+day+is+helpful+in+showing+that+journalism+is+not+one+specific+thing.+There+are+a+million+different+components+that+make+up+journalism%2C+and+what+it+means+to+be+a+journalist%2C+2023+graduate+Jona+Jancewicz+said.
Courtesy MDCSPA Website
Attendees listen to a guest speaker talk about their experience in journalism, a wide and diverse field. “J day is helpful in showing that journalism is not one specific thing. There are a million different components that make up journalism, and what it means to be a journalist,” 2023 graduate Jona Jancewicz said.

On April 12, Yearbook (Windup), Spectator, The Pitch and Journalism classes will attend the statewide “J-Day conference” hosted by Maryland-D.C. Scholastic Press Association (MDCSPA) at the University of Maryland in College Park. The event serves as a source of information, inspiration and networking for aspiring scholastic journalists.

In recent years, around 500 high school journalists and their advisers from across MD and DC have participated in this event. Last year, students had the opportunity to choose from various sessions covering topics on reporting, press law, videography, photography, layout and design, social media strategy and more.

“I remember enjoying a sports broadcast workshop…it was helpful in terms of understanding what journalism is all about and it was nice to get specialized teaching from people involved in a specific field. I carry on some of what I learned from the sports broadcast workshop now in the media I do,” former Pitch Online Sports Editor Andrew Plotnick said.

Attendees also enjoyed being able to take advantage of a student-led panel where they discussed what it’s like to study journalism in college and ended with a tour of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism (Merrill) and Capital News Service at Knight Hall.

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“The thing I have enjoyed most at Merrill is that they don’t put guardrails on you. From the very moment you step foot on campus, there are a million opportunities… I love that it is up to me to decide what I want to do and that I can pursue my passion without being held back and having to wait. The most important thing in journalism is real world practice, and Merrill encourages that,” former Pitch Online Editor-in-Chief and current UMD Merrill freshman Jona Jancewicz said.

This year, the MDCSPA is stepping up its game. Students can look forward to an opening address by Washington Post op-ed columnist Alexandra Petri, a keynote presentation by award-winning Washington Post feature writer DeNeen Brown and over two dozen 45 minute educational sessions led by professionals, including, but not limited to: “The Role of TikTok and Instagram in in Journalism” and “Your Legal Rights as a Student Journalist.” Finally, students can expect student-guided tours of the Merrill College of Journalism and the Capital News Service.

“I’m really excited to learn about how social media has changed the way we share information and how that affects journalism,” Windup member Naomi Eyassu said.

In addition to hosting scholastic conferences, the MDCSPA hosts a variety of awards and scholarships to highlight journalistic excellence. This year, one of the Pitch’s very own, Online Editor-in-Chief Allison Xu, won the Maryland High School Journalist of the Year Award. As part of the application, candidates created online portfolios where they showcased their journalistic work, highlighting skills from a variety of categories, including reporting, writing, editing, leadership, design, broadcast/photojournalism, marketing, commitment to ethics, law and diversity.

“Journalism has always been an integral part of my life, especially in high school, where I am involved with two different newspapers—The Pitch and The MoCo Student, which is the Montgomery County student newspaper. I love journalism because I meet so many new people and community members and attend community events,” Xu said.

Overall, the J-Day conference offers a unique and valuable experience for high school journalists. From insightful sessions led by industry professionals to the chance to explore UMD’s prestigious journalism program, the event is a stepping stone for those looking to pursue a career in journalism or learn more about the field.

“J Day [is] a fantastic opportunity for students involved with their high school’s publications to engage in a variety of discussions in the journalism field. Especially for those students who see journalism in their future, it is a great way to get more information on the specific fields. I found it incredibly motivating because it made me realize the greater role that student-run newspapers play in the community aspect of high school,” former Pitch Online Managing Editor Nicole Weaver said.

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About the Contributor
Geetanjali Raju, Online News Editor
Senior Geetanjali Raju is excited to participate in her first year with the pitch as a Online News Editor. In her free time, Geetanjali being active, and going out with friends.
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