SPJ Florida members traveled to Dallas for the ACP/CMA National College Media Convention

Nov. 9, 2017  

SPJ Florida Board Travels to Dallas for College Media Convention

Members of the SPJ Florida board traveled to Dallas for the ACP/CMA National College Media Convention

Last week, SPJ Florida board members traveled to Texas — armed with both fake blood and fake news.

Vice President of Programming Emily Bloch, Board of Directors member Michele Boyet, and Student Representative Kerri-Marie Covington attended the 2017 ACP/CMA Fall National College Media Convention in Dallas, Texas from Oct. 26 to 29 to educate students from across the United States.

The convention — which is regarded as the largest student media convention in the country — had 1,400 students in attendance. While there, Bloch, Boyet and Covington represented SPJ Florida with their own sessions as well as some signature chapter events, including the Fake News Game Show

Here’s a rundown of what they presented:

Zombie Stories

If you can interview a zombie, you can interview anyone alive. We’ll give you a clean white Zombie Stories T-shirt, and if you pose quality questions to our professionally made-up zombies, you can win a zombie conversion for yourself in the state where The Walking Dead is filmed. But if you ask crappy questions, your white shirt will get doused with fake blood. Are you willing to bleed for your media?

This hands-on session, based around teaching students interviewing skills, had about 30 participants. Zombie Stories was started by SPJ Florida in 2013. This was Bloch’s third time running the event. The zombies were played by professionals in the field and student media advisers.

Fake News Game Show

Think you can recognize fake news when you see it? We’re betting you can’t. Pluck the fake news from the real news and win cash and prizes. But you only have 30 seconds to do it. After each round, we’ll show you how to spot the subtle (and not-so-subtle) clues that you can use for the rest of your life – because it doesn’t seem like fake news is going away anytime soon.

A game we originally tried out in Florida before packaging it up for other SPJ chapters, this was the first time one of our members was able to present the Fake News Game Show out of state. About 90 students participated in the trivia-style game, with lots of requests to bring it on tour to college campuses nationwide (if you want to bring the Fake News Game Show to your town, let us know here).

First Amendment Free Food Fest

Sign away your First Amendment rights and receive a tasty free breakfast. It’s that simple. Eat cereal, bagels, and pastries – even hearty eggs and bacon if you’re particularly obedient – in exchange for your signature. What could possibly go wrong? Seriously, trust us. It’ll be fine.

This event, which was originally the brainchild of Boyet and Region 3 Director Michael Koretzky in 2006, was presented by the SPJ Florida crew to over 150 students. Participants had to sign away their First Amendment rights for about an hour in exchange for a free breakfast. Students then experienced what life is like without freedom of religion, speech, press; or the right to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Midnight Snack

Refine your feature writing over Frosted Flakes, finesse your front page over Fruit Loops, and analyze your A&E section over Apple Jacks. Free critiques will show you the Trix of the trade and some Bran-new ways of doing things. Bring your publications, and we’ll bring the cereal.

Where else can you find a bunch of media professionals marking up papers at 2 a.m. over sugary cereal? This late night collaborative critique brought out hundreds of student paper staffers. While there,  they got free professional input from media professionals and advisers that Bloch corralled.

Bloch, Boyet and Covington also presented individual sessions regarding topics that hit home for each. Bloch did a session on music journalism and moderated a panel on women becoming bosses in the industry (featuring Boyet as one of the panelists). Boyet did sessions on personal branding, social media and SEO. She also ran a session with Covington — the current managing editor at FAU’s University Press — on dealing with different personalities (ie: your dysfunctional staff) in the newsroom.

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