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Nearly 3,000 High School Journalists Meet in Anaheim

Times Staff Writer

Nearly 3,000 high school students attending a national journalism convention were exposed to the business of gathering, writing and publishing the news Saturday in Anaheim during the 1989 Journalism Education Assn. convention.

The convention drew fledgling journalists from 28 states across the country and packed the halls and seminar rooms of the Anaheim Marriott hotel. The convention, which opened Friday with a keynote address by former Kansas City TV anchor Cristine Craft and which closes today, offered the young writers glimpses into such subjects as news writing, developing sources, using public records and conducting investigations.

“We want to impart to these kids the importance of service-to-reader,” said Alison Rittger, a convention spokeswoman. “And, that the service they give should be done in as ethical and professional manner as is possible. If we do this, then we will have done our jobs.”

Rittger said that the delegates, all 14 to 18 years old, also attended a mini-journalism trade show that featured booths by various media companies, universities and publishing firms. Another event was the student write-offs, where about 1,500 of the delegates competed in 17 news, feature and sports writing competitions.

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Opportunities for the exchange of ideas among the delegates is an important function of the convention, Rittger said.

“There is a tremendous opportunity for both the kids and their advisers to network and exchange ideas. They will take these ideas back home and put them to good use on their own newspapers,” Rittger said.

Lisa Wackowski, 17, of Fresno, said, “I love the idea of a career in journalism because I am very curious, and I like the idea that I won’t be in the same place at the same time” every day.

Wackowski said that she was undaunted by the low starting salaries that often accompany a career in journalism.

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“For me, I’d rather be happier being a reporter than be rich and hate my job,” Wackowski said.

For Oregon delegate Randi Cartmill, 18, the prospect of a career in journalism was a little daunting for the teen-ager who works on her high school newspaper.

“The newspaper I work on back home is stressful enough. I’m not sure that I would want to do this the rest of my life. But for now, the satisfaction comes from seeing it all come together into a package that people can understand and enjoy,” Cartmill said.


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