Press workshop introduces students to journalism

By Bryant Million: Freedom Newspapers

Twenty-two high school students from around the state scrambled around a computer lab Monday afternoon desperate to meet their Tuesday evening deadline for The Future Press, a small newspaper students produce in the New Mexico Press Association’s yearly journalism workshop.

In its 26th year, the workshop at Eastern New Mexico University provides juniors and seniors in New Mexico high schools who are interested in journalism the chance to gain experience in a real newsroom environment.

The four-day workshop ends today. Shelley Ratner, executive director of the New Mexico Press Association, said the workshop costs the NMPA about $150 for each student, but is well worth the cost.

“It gives the students exposure to what it’s like working at a real newspaper with a real deadline,” Ratner said. “The students are focused into three areas: reporting, editing and photojournalism.”

The guest speakers at the workshop this year included syndicated columnist Ned Cantwell of Ruidoso, the former owner and publisher of the Carlsbad Current-Argus; Mark Evans of Albuquerque from the Associated Press; and New Media Director Daren Estrada and photographer Andy DeLisle from the Clovis News Journal.

Clovis High seniors Lara Kennedy and Bryan Schuler are reporters for the school’s monthly newspaper, The Purple Press.

“It’s definitely a fun experience and a good way to improve our skills,” Kennedy said. “It’s a lot tougher than what we are used to.”

Geralyn Million, coordinator of ENMU’s Extended Learning program, said the workshop also benefits ENMU as a recruiting tool.

“These are kids who might have never been to Portales before, and they are introduced to the community and ENMU.”

ENMU graduate and photographer Connie Blue of Albuquerque said the students learn leadership and responsibility.

“It’s priceless,” Blue said. “It’s wonderful to see what they learn and take back from their experience here.”