VHSL and Jostens take Journalism Education Best Practices to Students

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Nationally recognized journalism educators reinforce important role of student publications.

The Virginia High School League (VHSL) and Jostens collaborated to offer statewide workshops to high school journalism students who produce their school Yearbooks, Newspapers, and Literary Magazines. Over 1,000 students participated in full day workshops in Fredericksburg, Richmond and Roanoke during National Yearbook Week, October 1-5. The purpose of the workshops was to explore best practices for high school journalism taught by nationally recognized educators. The experts reinforced the importance of journalism education and how long-standing school traditions like yearbook, school newspapers and magazines play a critical role in creating a positive school culture and climate. Attendees were also able to network and share experiences with other aspiring journalists.

Nationally recognized school journalism educators who presented to conference attendees included Mark Murray, John Dalke, Bobby Hawthorne, Cindy Todd, Melissa Wantz and Bruce Watterson. The workshops offered advice and best practices for school journalism that included current and emerging trends in content development, leveraging social media, transparency and authenticity, ethics, copy writing, photography, layout and design. Conference attendees also had the opportunity to explore the convergence of information and the important role that print plays in today’s media mix.

Mark Murray, from Arlington, TX, one of the many journalism educators who flew in from across the country, has taught at the VHSL/Jostens workshop periodically for eight years. He praised the regional workshop model as an effective and valuable approach to support student journalists and their advisers. Murray said, “It’s really helpful for schools to have an opportunity for a daylong adventure without the overnight stay. More schools tend to participate and the numbers are up. I do workshops all over the country and I’m not aware of any other state that handles it the way Jostens, VHSL and Martha Akers handle it. ”

The Virginia High School League and Jostens have worked together for eight years to conduct the popular statewide workshops. Student journalists were also recognized for their respective publication's rating and ranking, as results from the annual VHSL publications evaluations and individual Writing, Photo and Design Contest were announced.

Meghan Percival, 14-year adviser of “The Clan” yearbook at McLean High School, woke up before the break of dawn to travel to the conference and taught five classes throughout the day. Between classes, Percival picked up McLean’s Trophy Class award for their 2012 yearbook during the annual recognition luncheon. When asked why she made the commitment to instruct at the annual VHSL/Jostens conference, she replied: “I think it’s important to give back at the state level even though we participate in all of the national competitions.”

The VHSL Publications Evaluation Services results for award winning yearbooks, newspapers and literary/art magazines are posted online at http://www.vhsl.org/activities.yearbook. Results are also available at http://www.vhsl.org.

Jostens is “The Official Commemorative Brand” of the Virginia High School League sponsoring these Regional Publications Workshops, Student Leadership Conferences, and Championship Ring Recognition in the state of Virginia.

About VHSL
The Virginia High School League (VHSL) is an alliance of Virginia's 312 public high schools providing quality student activities. VHSL programs are an extension of the classroom and provide students with an opportunity to develop teamwork and leadership skills, to learn the importance of sportsmanship ethics and integrity, and to become better citizens. More than 200,000 students participate in VHSL programs.

About Jostens
Minneapolis-based Jostens is a provider of products, programs and services that help people tell their stories, celebrate important traditions and recognize achievements. The company’s products include school yearbooks and other memory book products, scholastic products such as class rings and graduation products, and products for athletic champions and their fans. Jostens is a subsidiary of Visant Corporation, a marketing and publishing services enterprise servicing the school affinity, direct marketing, fragrance and cosmetics sampling and educational and trade publishing segments.

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Drew Krejci
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