Departing from the frigid northeast, bound for Los Angeles, Patrick Kenney, Greg Fitzpatrick and I headed for warmth and experience.
For the second consecutive year, Los Angeles and the Sheraton Universal Hotel would be the home for the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) National Journalism Convention.
Hosting 86 schools, the ACP conference housed daily workshops from Thursday through Saturday afternoon, with an award show on Sunday morning. Schools gathered from throughout the United States, with large representation from California, Washington, and Oregon, as well as a plethora of schools from the Northeast.
Workshops and seminars ranged based on the day. Thursday kicked off at 2:30 p.m. with sessions ranging from covering the National Football League to professional news design. These sessions ran until 6:20 p.m. with an opening reception lasting until 7 p.m.
Friday began at 9 a.m. with an all day App-a-thon, where students were tasked with creating and designing their own personal app. Sessions started at 9:30, lasting until 6:20 yet again with workshops on writing for television, creating white space in newspaper, and even the creation of promos with Disney XD designers.
While the sessions were brief, the information was plentiful although some of it may have seemed self-explanatory (ex. “Know what you want to do when you graduate college” was the talking point of one session. Wouldn’t have thought of that one), others were extremely informative.
Simon Heuer, a Comedy Development executive at NBC, spoke about the process of getting a TV show on air from the pitch process, the acceptance, and the recording.
One engaging session we attended was a discussion on the San Bernardino shootings. Two reporters, one from ABC 7, the Los Angeles ABC affiliate, and the other a writer from the San Bernardino Sun talked about the experience and emotion of covering the event. They talked about the raw emotion from those that were affected. To get interviews, the reporters had to walk a very delicate emotional line, often turning towards individuals who were not directly affected as a result of the shootings. It was both eye-opening and inspiring to see and hear about the ways they navigated the challenge.
While the weekend was full of work, there was some time for play. In our free time, we all picked out the locations of our future Hollywood Stars on the Walk of Fame (I got a luscious spot right next to the Victoria’s Secret Angels star right in front of the Dolby Theatre).
We enjoyed the unique cuisine of Los Angeles well, filling our intestines with the ever-so healthy In-n-Out Burger, sampling off of the secret menu on (potentially) too many occasions.
And what would a trip to Los Angeles be without a trip to Staples Center, where I was able to seat myself in the rafters to watch the best team in NBA history, the Golden State Warriors, dismantle the Los Angles Clippers. DISCLAIMER: The score says they won by three, but outside of three desperate Pablio Prigioni threes with under a minute to play, the Warriors dominated throughout.
By the time Sunday morning came around, a full day of flying beckoned us home, including a gloriously short three and a half hour layover in Minnesota. But by the time we returned to Springfield just past midnight, the information and experience we had, both inside and outside of the Sheraton, was truly one of a kind.