Hundreds of middle and high school students across Massachusetts got the chance to learn writing and photography tips from the top professionals in the field at the 6th Annual Media Matters Writing Conference for Teachers and Students, sponsored by the Boston Globe and the University of Massachusetts Boston.
The conference, which ran from November 4-5 at UMass Boston, was separated into two parts, with high school students visiting the Columbia Point campus on one day, and middle-schoolers the next. Students chose from workshops such as "Having Impact: How Journalists Change the World" with Boston Globe investigative reporter Sean P. Murphy, and "News for your Neighbors: Writing and Presenting Local TV News" with award-winning news anchor Randy Price.
The workshops not only showed students how to improve their writing, take better photographs, wow their audiences, and communicate better with their peers, but also touched on heavier topics such as media ethics and the future of journalism.
"These two days are instrumental for kids to understand the importance of media and communication in their lives," UMass Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley said. "So many brilliant and accomplished media professionals were here to help impart that lesson."
UMass Boston Associate Professor of Political Science Paul Watanabe, a regular commentator on New England Cable News and other news networks, spoke about political analysis and the news, and the university's Director of Communications DeWayne Lehman held a mock press conference for students.
Workshops for teachers focused on topics such as "The Language of Revision: Helping Students Find Value in the Revision Process," and "The Engaged Learner: Using Interactive Methods in the Classroom."
Presenters included Dan Wasserman, an editorial cartoonist for the Boston Globe; Frank Herron, director of the Center on Media and Society at UMass Boston; Derrick Jackson, associate editor at the Boston Globe; Mark Ockerbloom, a news anchor on FOX25; Essdras Suarez, a photographer for the Boston Globe; and Beverly Ford, a freelance journalist who has written for the New York Daily News and the London Mirror.