Keynote speaker Richard Johns, IHSPA Executive Director Vanessa Shelton and IHSPA President Gary Lindsay cut 85th Anniversary cake.
The Iowa High School Press Association encouraged high school students to creatively make a difference in their publications while staying within legal and ethical boundaries at its 85th Anniversary Conference.
Richard Johns, Quill and Scroll Executive Director, presented the keynote address: “You Can Make a Difference, but Do It Responsibly,” which focused on the importance of good storytelling and avoiding copyright violations in their publications. The theme of this fall’s conference was Under Construction: Building Legal and Ethical Boundaries Before Destruction.
More than 400 students were taught how to apply innovative ideas to various forms of media while respecting the law and using their First Amendment rights.
This year’s conference had 70 more attendees than last year and also had in new high schools and advisers attend.
“High school kids are stealing left and right from the Internet,” said Merle Dieleman, Vice President for IHSPA Operations.
IHSPA President Gary Lindsay presents Hall of Fame award to Ben Van Zante.
He adds that this is becoming a bigger problem as newspaper readers dwindle and more people want quicker news. Although students need to be responsible for their actions, they also need to exercise their freedom of speech Dieleman said.
The convention hosted a series of sessions for students and advisers that included broadcast, photojournalism, magazine and legal and ethical discussions. Students also had the opportunity to showcase their publications and have them critiqued.
“What is not as apparent to outsiders is the motivation and momentum when [kids] go to conferences focused on enhancing skills,” said Vanessa Shelton, IHSPA Executive Director.
IHSPA meets the needs of Iowa young people and teachers by informing them about what is available in Iowa and that they should “certainly not leave the state,” Shelton said.
Retired Iowa City West High School journalism teacher, Ben Van Zante (M.A. 1974), praised the caliber of students present at the conference.
“Some things don’t change. This is a higher grade of people then you’re going to find at any high school,” Van Zante said.
Educators agree that the conference is essential to the success of high school journalism.
“I think if you took away the convention, high school journalism would wither,” Van Zante said.