And the convention begins!

Written by Jared Burgess

After lunch, we all made our way to the convention center, where we would all register and get our nametags. We weren’t the only ones; journalism students from all over the country could be seen heading in the same direction. When we saw a cluster of other students, my friends and I would shout “journalism!” and give a thumbs-up. Most students shared our enthusiasm, but others did not. Oh well.

We quickly registered after entering the ballroom, but we weren’t ready to leave right away. I still had to enter one of our newspapers in the convention’s “Best of Show” contest. We got 6th place last year, and I’m hoping to improve. But I know that I’ll be content, regardless of the outcome. However, it never hurts to win…

Speaking of winning, we traveled to the center of the crowded exhibit hall, ready for a round of “Whamboozal” at the Walsworth booth. If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume that you already know what Whamboozal is, so I’m not going to explain it. Things were going well for us, and for the majority of our first game, we were neck-and-neck with a team that consisted of four students. However, we ended up losing in the end because we didn’t know that Oregon did not have any self-service gas stations. I still fail to understand how that is journalism related. Anyhow, we weren’t about to quit. Soon, we were matched up with another school, and in spite of their almost overbearing enthusiasm, we emerged victorious after about half an hour of painstaking suspense.

For the remainder of our time in the ballroom, we played Beatles Rockband, took free candy from the numerous booths that offered them, and made some small talk with other students that we found to be a lot like us. So all in all, it was a great experience, like always. Remember, this is the fourth JEA/NSPA convention I’ve had the chance to attend.

OMG! At about 7:15, we were kicked out of the ballroom, so guess where we went? The mall, of course. I wasn’t too thrilled, because a mall is a mall, right? Even so, I had a good time, and bought a great movie for $11.99, exactly. The best part about no sales tax is that you get a lot less change when you make purchases. After some people-watching, I made my way to the food court, where I ate a Philly Cheesesteak that looked absolutely nothing like the mouth-watering sandwich on the sign the restaurant was flashing. But it was enough to satisfy me. Oops, I’m talking about food again.

When we got back to the hotel, we all decided to spend some time mapping out our schedules for tomorrow. I’ve got to say, I’m pleased with the sessions I’ve selected. I’m going to learn about creating an efficient website for my school’s newspaper, getting the most out of my interviews, and creating interesting stories from scratch. I’m also very much looking forward to watching Tim Harrower, one of this year’s keynote speakers. We’ve had a lot of fun on this trip so far, but tomorrow, it’s business time! I’m sure it will also be fun as well.

Jared Burgess