Mega Workshop attendee highlights the summer experience

College media isn’t an easy thing to tackle. Unless you are someone who is directly involved in some sort of media on a college campus, chances are, you don’t realize how difficult it really is to be a part of one. One thing that has significantly and consistently helped me navigate these difficulties is attending the College Media Mega Workshop. These conferences are a fun and practical way to learn how to deal with the everyday challenges of being a student journalist.

MINNEAPOLIS – The College Media Mega Workshop happens every summer in Minnesota, and provides students with the unique opportunity of picking a “track” which suits them best. I attended this mega workshop three – yes, three – times throughout my college career. Each time I went, I had a ton of fun and walked away with valuable information that I carried with me throughout my leadership roles at my college newspaper, The Hawks’ Herald, at Roger Williams University.

In July of 2016, I pursued the visual storytelling track, where our group paraded around Dinkytown and the University of Minnesota looking for a powerful story to tell. I was photo editor for The Herald at the time, and doing this track helped me think outside of the box when it came to taking photographs. Bradley Wilson was a super fun instructor and taught us everything from setting up the shot to post-production editing. To make things even cooler, a Drum Corps competition was going on at the time, and we were given VIP media passes to go into the stadium where the drummers were performing and take photographs. We were assigned a specific person to take pictures of, and for those who have never seen a drum corps perform, they do not stand still as they drum. They were constantly moving around as they performed, and I loved the challenge of trying to keep up with my assigned target (which was even more challenging with the fluffy hats they wore, hiding their faces).

In July of 2017, I biked around Minneapolis with a GoPro on my “Nice Ride” bike to create a package for the Digital Journalism track. Myself and a few friends I made came up with a cool video that depicted exactly what these bikes were for, and how they helped the environment.

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Going into my senior year in 2018, I was set to start my role as editor-in-chief. One of my biggest goals for our paper was to make it more contemporary and attractive to the students on our campus. Unfortunately, one thing that was (and still isn’t) a strong suit of mine is design. In July of 2018, I decided to try the Design/Redesign track to enhance my design skills and learn more about how to structure things. After the first day, I realized it was not the right track for me and decided to switch to the Organizational Leadership track. This ended up being the perfect fit for me. I learned what to do and what not to do as a leader in the newsroom, and also how to handle conflicts as they arise.

Overall, this workshop is a great one to attend because every single year you are given the opportunity to try something completely different than you did before. For me, as I moved up the ladder from photo editor to managing editor to editor-in-chief, I was able to gain knowledge on each of those roles before I had even officially stepped into them.

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More importantly, the connections I made during these workshops are some that I still have today. I was able to connect with some friends from the Iowa State Daily who helped me create a more modern look for our newspaper. I met some photography friends from California and Washington who gave me a new perspective on taking photographs. And on top of that, the University of Minnesota is one of the greatest campuses to be located on. Going to the Mall of America and Dinkytown are some of my favorite places, and I will be visiting again in the future.

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