News Media Production class takes trip to SISPA convention


Sophie Winkleman

Junior Staff Member Kelee Mills works on her infographic for the contest.

Francesca Messerschmidt, Staff Reporter

The News Media Production class took a field trip to attend the Southern Illinois School Press Association (SISPA) convention. 

The conference was held February 23rd at SIU in Carbondale.

SISPA is an association that assists high school and middle school journalism and yearbook students with support from SIU’s journalism department.

The Purple Clarion print edition won a Blue Banner Newspaper award, an award recognizing a paper’s overall excellence. At the convention, students could participate in contests for different areas of journalism. Students could also attend workshops to enhance their journalism skills.

Advisers could also send in students’ best works in advance for individual awards that were announced that day..

“Going into SISPA, I really didn’t have any expectations,” said Purple Clarion staff member Braxtyn Baugher. “I was extremely anxious for the competition part, but once we were there all the nerves went away and I enjoyed the experience.”

Baugher competed in News Writing and won 1st.

Most of the members attended different on-site competitions in their best field. Through the competitions, they learned things about how to get better at their skill.

“I learned a lot about my photography and editing,” said staff member Paxton Garbel. “The instructor was super helpful. He taught me how to add undertones and highlights to make a photo pop.”

While many people participated in the contests, there were also speakers from different journalism careers.

“I thought they were very informative,” said freshman Sarah Girtman. “I enjoyed that it was more of a discussion than a teaching.”

Attending the convention was a new environment and learning experience for a lot of students.

“I learned a lot of things from it,” said staff member Kelee Mills. “I learned how much time you really don’t have to do the things you need to do.”
Some members learned new skills, while other members of the staff found themselves learning more about the people in journalism.

“There are a lot of stereotypes surrounding journalism,” said  editorial cartoonist Bailee Clifton. “We build ideas around it in our head, but they aren’t correct most of the time.”
The staff won the following awards: 

Digital Homepage Design: Purple Clarion, 3rd

Front Page Layout: Paxton Garbel, 1st

News or Feature Photo: Drew Hawkins, 3rd 

Website News: Francesca Messerschmidt, 2nd

Sports: Paxton Garbel, 1st

News: Francesca Messerschmidt, 1st

Editorial Cartoon: Bailee Clifton, 1st

Feature: Kelee Mills, 1st

Editorial Column: Ryan Wilson, 3rd

Sports Column: Paxton Garbel, 2nd, Drew Hawkins, 3rd

Listed below are the staff’s onsite competition placements

Editorial Cartooning: Bailee Clifton, 3rd

News Writing: Braxtyn Baugher, 1st

Infographics: Kelee Mills, 1st

Photography: Paxton Garbel, 3rd