Digital Mass Media Students Attend the 50th Anniversary of FSPA “Journalism Day”

Paulino Mercenari, Editor-in-Chief

Digital Mass Media student and Copy Editor for The Raider Voice, Sara Gelrud, asks Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Rick Hirsch questions after his “Journalism in 2022: More Essential Than Ever” workshop (Natalia Aguilar)

Digital Mass Media students from RaiderVision, The Raider Voice, and the Raider Yearbook Staff traveled to FIU’s MMC Campus on Monday, Oct. 3 to participate in “Journalism Day,” the Florida Scholastic Press Association’s (FSPA) district workshop. Over 800 students from Miami-Dade County attended the event. Digital Mass Media students  attended a variety of journalism-related sessions, networked with students from other schools, and brought home awards from the FSPA Fall Digital Contests.

Miami Heat announcer and broadcast journalist Jason Jackson opened the event as the Keynote speaker. Jackson spoke about his work and the importance of responsible journalism.

“I’m the conduit through which the majority of people will be connected to the game. There’s only 20,000 people in the stadium, but there’s hundreds of thousands of people who are tuning in from over the air,” Jackson said.

He  also spoke about the variety of skills and positions behind the scenes working on getting a broadcast on air.

“However, the majority of the stars are the ones whose faces you will never see. They are the ones who get the job done. There are always at least 37 other people working on set,” Jackson said.

Jackson also spoke about the work that goes into making one’s name known in an industry. He recommended hands-on work in the field through internships beyond formal education. He also suggested finding a mentor. Jackson said that one had to be both set on their goals and outwardly confident, and to let people know that they want succeed.

“Reach for the stars. Go try to snatch my job from me the second you get out of college,” Jackson said.

While Jackson set the stage for the day, the primary focus was on the workshops. Students had the opportunity to pick two 50-minute discussion and/or training sessions related to various topics in journalism.

Herff Jones representative Ashley Cuervo led the “Building Your Brand Through Social Media” workshop. She hoped her session would help students learn how to showcase their publications and thus increase readers through social media.

“If you love what you’re doing it just makes you want to work that much harder to make it better,” Cuervo said.

She emphasized the importance of going the extra mile to connect with people outside of the publication, at workshops such as FSPA’s JDay.

Herff Jones representative Ashley Cuervo goes over the essentials of branding in her “Building Your Brand Through Social Media” workshop at FSPA’s JDay event at FIU. (Paulino Mercenari)

“It’s a cool space to find people who care and like all the same things,” Cuervo said.

The Raider Voice copy editor, junior Sara Gelrud attended the “Journalism in 2022: More Essential Than Ever” workshop hosted by former Miami Herald editor and Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Hirsch. Hirsch discussed the importance of journalism for Democracy along with examples from his own past articles to show the power that multimedia storytelling can have.

The value an event like Journalism Day was without question to Gelrud. Outside of the workshops and a guest speaker, students had the opportunity to connect and network with likeminded journalists from all over South Florida.

“Everyone here has the same values. Everyone is going around interviewing one another, or walking around with a broadcasting camera and a microphone; everywhere you look everyone is doing something connected to journalism,” Gelrud said.