The Right Way to Write

“If you can tell a story, you can make a difference.” Photograph taken by Micaela Davidson

Ashleigh Hollowell, Editor

The nerds, the geeks, the students that always arrive at school before the crack of dawn and leave when the sun is setting, the ones constantly striving to obtain more information, Southern Colorado Media Day was their Mecca.

On Thursday, October 24th, these students from schools across Southern Colorado made the pilgrimage to Colorado State University-Pueblo to attend a journalism/yearbook workshop hosted by the Colorado High School Press Association (CHSPA).

Everything from ethics to, ironically, stealing was covered. The two rules of the day were to steal ideas and do not ever line people up against a wall for a picture.  Executive Director of CHSPA and Journalism Education Association (JEA) President, Jack Kennedy, even sang the first amendment to the crowd.

The day was filled with multiple speakers who were all experts in various areas of media and offered advice and tips to the blossoming young journalists of Southern Colorado.  One speaker delivered captivating information that will undoubtedly stick with these students for the duration of their lives.

Bryan Kelsen, photojournalist for The Pueblo Chieftain, offered timeless advice on writing and photographing.  He presented tips on photographic logistics such as giving direction for taking sports photos and which sports should be photographed horizontally or vertically. Kelsen also enlightened the young photographers about environmental portraits. Interesting photos that use the background to tell what the person in the picture is doing, where they are, and who they are. All eyes were glued to the screen, watching the pictures transition from one to the next as Kelsen presented slideshows with hundreds of his own photos. Each had a story to tell and captivated the audience causing them to ponder the details behind the photographs. As the curious students asked about how to improve their skills and take great pictures themselves, Kelsen grinned and said, “Always be ready for what’s going to be right in front of you. Being ready for those moments is what makes photojournalists.”

In the world of journalism, it is common that at one point a reporter will have to cover a story that is not exactly thrilling such as city council meetings, school board meetings, anything of the sort. Kelsen urged the journalists in those situations to think of it in a more positive light. “Just remember you are there for them. You are there so your readers don’t have to be.” he smiled.

He encouraged everyone to build strong relationships with the people around them. In addition to forming strong relationships, Kelsen urged to spend as much time and take as many opportunities as possible looking at and studying other journalist’s work because “It’s worth it to have those relationships down the road. They help you along the way.”
Perspective was also on Kelsen’s inspiration agenda. Perspective is everything in journalism. Taking a different angle on a traditional story will make people enthralled to read it, or never want to pick up a paper again. Even with a picture, lining people up against the wall get the job done, but not done with passion.  “In order to move forward, you must have passion for what your next step is.” insisted Kelsen.

As the slideshows came to an end and the final questions were answered, Kelsen left the aspiring journalists with an inspirational sentence, “If you can tell a story, you can make a difference.”

Once the informative day came to a close, all of the young journalists gathered together for a final moment to absorb the enormity of information gathered at this year’s Southern Colorado Media Day, packed up their reporter notebooks, complimentary of CHSPA, and headed off  back to their respective schools to apply all that was learned from this educational experience. The next news anchors, reporters and editors are certainly in the making thanks to this enlightening event.