By Leondra Head
NEW YORK – Three Hampton University students represented the campus at The Nation magazine Student Journalism Conference, where students discussed how to cover politics and social movements with professional, award-winning journalists.
Kathryn Grant, Leondra Head and Alazja Kirk represented Hampton's Scripps-Howard School of Journalism and Communications on March 24, the only Historically Black College or University at the conference. These students said they enjoy learning innovative ways to enhance their reporting skills.
"The conference opened my eyes to a lot of new ideas," said Grant, a freshman from Houston. "Each and every person came from different places with different experiences and ultimately allowed me to learn from them through their success and mistakes. I learned a lot about how to report and how reporting on things that the audience does not already know shines an even brighter light on prevalent issues."
The one-day conference brought together 60 student journalists from across the nation from schools such as Columbia University, University of Florida, and the University of California at Berkeley.
The day started with a panel about how movements are responding to President Donald Trump and how to report on those social movements. The panel consisted of The Nation journalists Ari Berman, Julianne Hing, Sarah Jaffe and Emmy-Award winning journalist Collier Meyerson.
"I've reported on social movements and protests in response to Trump's presidency," said Meyerson. "Journalists must get the juice of the story by interviewing protestors who were a part of the movement. Knowing how to report during intense protests will make you all better journalists." taught me well about what to expect, so I was able to keep up with the fast pace of the program and excel."
Students also engaged in a sports movements panel where Dave Zirin, a sports editor for The Nation, discussed how to accurately cover athletes when speaking against social injustices. Zirin reported on NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick when he decided to kneel during the singing of the National Anthem when players were requested to stand during the patriotic song. Kaepernick publicly expressed his opinion on the social injustices African-Americans face.
"The media had a field day when Kaepernick sat down during the national anthem," said Zurin. "No one expects for an athlete to voice their concerns about social injustices because they can be blackballed." Zurin also expressed his concerns on how the media publicizes black athletes' wrongdoings more in comparison to white athletes. He said, "It's important as a journalist to accurately report the truth and hold to the same standard regardless of an athlete's race."
The day ended with students networking with each other over dinner in The Nation's ballroom. Students talked about what they had learned during the conference and how they can apply those things in the classroom once they return to their respective colleges.
"I significantly learned a lot on how to be a better journalist overall," said Samantha Smith, a graduate student at Columbia University. "I can now cover protests better that happen here in New York and be more confident when I go out into the field to report."
The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.