By Emma Valderrama
More than 6,000 people came from all over the United States and as far as London and Taiwan to attend the Fall National High School Journalism Convention at the Walt Disney World Dolphin hotel in Orlando.
They included journalism advisers, school yearbook, newspaper, and broadcast staffs, and speakers from Sports Illustrated and National Public Radio.
“If you’re lucky, it’ll never feel like a job,” keynote speaker Andy Staples, a writer for Sports Illustrated magazine.
Journalists today must love their work and “do a bunch of things” to survive, he said. Staples said he made it through seven rounds of layoffs and added that he does podcasts, a cooking show, and a radio series.
“Employers never ask about grades,” he said. Instead, they ask, “What have you done?”
It was the fourth-largest national convention in the past 15 years, according to the National Student Press Association. There were 5,178 students attending, including six from Okeeheelee’s newspaper staff. One student – eighth-grader Ediel Garcia – took part in the news writing write-off competition. He had to compete against about 100 people, most of them from high school. The students had to listen to a presentation by a NASA official and then write a story on the spot about it.