Students travel to Dallas for publications workshop

Press Releae_LPS_Students from Eisenhower and MacArthur high schools represented Lawton at the Gloria Shields All-American publications workshop, held July 6-10 in Dallas, Texas.  The workshop was an educational experience for an estimated 700 teenage journalists who studied photojournalism, editorial leadership, advertising, reporting and writing. Some of the country's top journalism instructors led the workshops.

Throughout the week, the 44 EHS and MHS students spent their days in seminars geared to improve their skills and immerse them in useful knowledge they could take back to their schools to create exceptional yearbooks and newspapers.  Students not only learned skills to improve their craft, but also had the opportunity to put the lessons into action.

"It was beneficial to me because the instructors didn't just lecture, they gave us one-on-one attention and were very frank with all of us," said EHS senior Jayme Gardner.

"Now I am really looking forward to this upcoming year and putting out the best yearbook we can. I have also realized that this whole writing thing may be something I want to do as a career," said Richard Brooks, a senior at MHS.

MHS senior Tracy Short attended the session for intermediate photographers.

"Before I got to the workshop, I thought I knew enough about my camera to get me through my one and only year of yearbook," Short said, "but as the days went by, I realized I barely understood my camera.

"Ever since I got my camera a year ago, I have been shooting in automatic mode. Little did I know that automatic mode is basically for amateurs. The real way to shoot would most definitely be in manual mode. In manual, the camera doesn't rule you - you rule the camera. You are capable of adjusting the camera to its environment. In other words, you control the way that your picture will turn out."

The editorial leadership students from the two Lawton high schools also had an opportunity to develop themes and concepts for their 2008-2009 publications. While editors worked diligently to produce outstanding concepts that appealed to student bodies and critics of student publications, business staff learned how to appeal to communities to financially support their publications.

In an exercise devised to teach students how to interview, report and write like journalists, the workshop invited film producers Manny Mendoza and Mark Birnbaum to hold a press conference about their recent documentary, "Stop the Presses." During the event, students viewed clips from the documentary that depicted the challenges facing the press and what those implications mean to democracy. The exercise ended with students asking questions in a mock press conference.

During an awards ceremony, Eisenhower High staff received five awards, including "Best Concept Development." The MacArthur High staff received several in-class awards for layout designs, photography skills and sports writing. Overall, Lawton students gained valuable skills and motivation to begin the school year enthused about their publications.

In addition to advisors from their own schools, the students were accompanied by publications advisors from Central and MacArthur middle schools.