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News Release

For Immediate Release
Sep. 20, 2016

Get Up Close and Political at the KSPA Conference

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Illustration courtesy KSPAonline.org

High school journalists and advisers can learn new journalism skills and engage with other local students and advisers at the Kansas Scholastic Press Association (KSPA) annual fall conference at the University of Kansas on Sept. 19.

This year’s conference, “Too Close to Call,” will focus on how to adequately cover politics and controversial topics in student publications. The keynote speaker is David Von Drehle, a distinguished TIME magazine political reporter. Following Von Drehle, the Pulitzer Prize-Kansas Humanities Council project winners, Barb Tholen and Zia Kelly of Lawrence High School, will lead a session regarding their experience investigating and publishing a controversial story.

KSPA Executive Director Eric Thomas said he wanted the theme, “Too Close to Call,” “to be political, but I also wanted it to signal the idea of closeness.”

“Part of any event like this should just be putting a spark in people,” Thomas said. “It should just be energizing to hear someone like David Von Drehle.”  

Professionals and KU professors will lead skill-building and networking sessions for students and advisers. Some sessions include publication critiques, editors’ round table, and skill development in photography, yearbook, newspaper, online publications, broadcast and design. New this year is a training session on Google technology led by a professional Google-certified journalist.

“The most important thing, I hope, is that [students and teachers] will become connected to one and other,” Thomas said. “A lot of it is that they feel isolated; this a chance for them to be like, ‘Here is my network, here are my people, here’s a chance to talk to them.’ That’s the best part of it.”

KSPA is a non-profit affiliate organization of the University of Kansas and cultivates excellence in journalism through contests and conferences. KSPA provides instruction in journalism and leadership for Kansas scholastic students and advisers.

For more information contact:
Eric Thomas
Executive Director
785-760-6635
ericthomas@ku.edu

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