Aspiring journalists all over New England applied to the 2022 Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) conference, however, only a select few actually got to attend. Ava Muharem and Gianna Costanzo, some of Woodland’s finest journalists, were among the select few chosen.
“I believe they initially were supposed to take around ten people, but they opened a few more spaces for more people,” said Costanzo.
SPJ was held at Roger Williams University located in Bristol, Rhode Island. Both Costanzo and Muharem got an inside look at what living in a college dorm looked like by rooming with strangers.
“I enjoyed it,” said Muharem. “Although the dorms were really small and hot, I still enjoyed the college experience.”
In order to apply to this convention, the applicants needed to have experience in journalism and a portfolio consisting of all of their work. Both Costanzo and Muharem wrote an essay demonstrating their passion for journalism, including the parts of journalism they wanted to expand their knowledge in.
“I made sure to include my love for making videos in my essay,” said Muharem.
Although this conference was just two and a half days, there was still a lot of work the journalists did. Small groups were made and each group had a task of creating a video, taking photos, and writing an article. The first day was spent doing research and going to different workshops, while the second day consisted of interviews, writing, and finishing up all the work.
“It was quite stressful to get so much work done in such a short amount of time, but I enjoyed my group members which allowed us to work well to get things done,” Costanzo said.
Muharem was also assigned the same tasks and had to work against the clock to get it done in time.
“I was also stressed doing it,” Muharem said. “However, I felt like a real journalist with the fast deadlines.”
Throughout these few days together, all of the journalists were able to bond and share their passion for journalism with one another.
“I loved everyone I met and I formed bonds that I know will last a lifetime,” Muharem said.
Not only were loving bonds with the peers created, but bonds with the mentors were also sparked.
“I met a few amazing leaders who really helped my journalistic abilities that will help me in my future with journalism,” said Costanzo.
Both Costazno and Muharem recommend anyone interested in journalism to attend this convention, or at least something similar, as long as they can handle the workload. From their time at Roger Williams University, they are able to bring their new skills and apply them to their work at Woodland, continuing to spread their love for journalism.