Journalism students attend FSPA

Journalism went to Daytona beach for FSPA workshop


photo by Zahra Ateeq

An icebreaker took pace before the sessions began. This icebreaker determined which publication was able to create the longest chain, and Hagerty journalism won.

In a Daytona State College classroom on a Friday morning, students learned how to “Adapt Like a Pro” from Oviedo adviser Ben Langevin, who discussed podcasts and musicals in a 50-minute session. This and other sessions took place at the Florida Scholastic Press Association in a workshop taking place on  Friday, Oct. 29 where schools from Seminole, Volusia, Polk, and Brevard counties participated leading to a turnout of 91 students. 

This was the first in-person FSPA workshop since 2019, and many students were excited to be back in person.

“Being in person felt more real and personal,” yearbook editor Sarena Wilkerson said. “The lunch session was also super cool since we got to talk to other schools about their yearbooks and newspapers and how they were handling all the changes this year.”

Each student signed up for three sessions at the Friday workshop, and Wilkerson favored being a part of sessions that pertained to her publication. Wilkerson’s personal favorite session was “What’s the Extra Mile: From Good to Great” because the organizer of the session was able to give good advice on how to overcome the struggles of being on yearbook staff. 

Before sessions began, the day started off with award announcements, which Hagerty dominated with six of the eight awards. Last year, all the FSPA awards were only announced online, so being there to win was a big improvement.

“Being able to hear about the wins in person is just so different and so much more exciting than it is over a computer,” Blueprint online editor, Skyler Glenn said. “It’s just an awesome feeling to know that we’re doing a good job and I was really happy to hear that some of our first year staffers were winning awards.”

Glenn taught a session with editor-in-chief Jaye Herrera called “The Editing Process,” in which they gave an overview of the editing process a good publication should have.

“It’s been a learning process for us so it wasn’t easy to come up with,” Glenn said. “We did the session to help other schools figure out how to do an editing process, because that’s definitely one of the most difficult things to figure out.”

On top of that, newspaper and yearbook adviser Brit Taylor taught a session called “Get in my Face,” which focused on strategies for face-to-face interviews after a year of interviews by email and social media. 

Despite having a successful first FSPA in-person workshop after two years of being virtual, the turnout was limited by Daytona State College rules that allowed a maximum of 12 students per school, and the maximum number of people in a session room to 13. 

“I think the atmosphere wasn’t quite like it’s been in the past because we’ve had three to 400 people before where we have a big auditorium with a keynote speaker,” Taylor said. “We’re not there yet, but I think for what this year is and the limitations we have, it was pretty good.”