Know your audience, because it’s you the message at JEA/NSPA keynote

Written by Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Hey convention attendees: you have nothing but opportunity in the the field of journalism.

That’s according to Jennifer Sizemore, who oversees the global editorial staffs of MSNBC.com and TODAY.com. In her keynote address to the Spring JEA/NSPA National Scholastic Journalism Convention in Seattle Thursday night, she told the Milleniums they are more diverse, wired, mobile and online than previous generations. She reminded them that they constantly consume information from all types of electronic devices — smartphones for starters — from many sources, and she said anyone who claims to know what technology holds for the future of journalism is wrong.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen… and that’s exhilariating,” Sizemore said.

She said as members of this generation, teen journalists will be successful as long as they understand what type of content their peers want and how to deliver it to them.

In keeping with the JEA/NSPA convention theme, Journalism on the Edge, Sizemore started and ended her speech with a quote from Justin Francese of Rough Mountain Studios: “If you are not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much room.”

Questions for the Q&A session after the speech were taken from the audience and from Twitter.

Thursday morning was sunny in Seattle, and many advisers and staffs arriving for the convention spent the morning sightseeing before heading to registration, the exhibit hall and sessions. At the Walsworth booth, the Whamboozal game was in full swing, and the light sticks given as prizes were held up as rap artist Gabriel Santos performed prior to the Sizemore’s address.

Elizabeth Braden, CJE
Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Elizabeth Braden, CJE, is the editor of Idea File magazine. She has been a copywriter for Walsworth Yearbooks for more than 10 years, writing articles for walsworthyearbooks.com and marketing materials, and proofreading copy for the Yearbook and Commercial divisions. She has taught at Adviser Academy. Her career has included reporting and editing for United Press International and editing for Knight-Ridder Financial News. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Media News from the University of Tulsa.