High School Students Meet the Youngstown Press

By Amanda Joerndt

Press Day at Youngstown State University has been an ongoing tradition for aspiring journalists to meet professional media agencies, writers in the field and student journalists since the 1930’s and has been growing ever since.

The 80th annual Press Day took place on Oct. 15 offering multiple media sessions for high school students to gain a better understanding of how journalism plays a role in society.

Press Day first started as the Tri-County Journalism Association, where students and professionals met in banquet halls to learn more about journalism and media through informal meetings.

In 1977, Press Day moved to YSU and has been transforming into more hands-on sessions from TV studio tours to breakout sessions with different journalism writers and associations.

Press Day allowed high school students and advisors to learn more about the options available for their student organizations, and allowed the students to see how they can one day be a part of media organizations on campus.

Shelley Blundell, Press Day director and assistant professor of journalism, welcomed almost 300 students and 15 school districts participating in the media sessions.

Blundell said journalism helps students academically, as well as the ability to be aware of the community we live in.

“Any student who is involved in school media and journalism in some way, academically is more engaged and they get better results,” she said. “The best way to get to know the place you live in is by working in student media, and there’s always a home for them in student media.”

Blundell said even if students don’t pursue a journalism major, there are options for them to be involved in media organizations in the future.

“A lot of students who come to Press Day may never be involved as journalism majors,” she said. “If they are still interested in being a part of student media, there are numerous media organizations on campus that would be happy to have them.”

There were several speakers who attended the event to work with students, including former YSU journalism advisors, Mark Goodman, Candace Bowen and David Lee Morgan Jr.

David Lee Morgan Jr., a professional writer, author, teacher and Jambar alumnus, was the keynote speaker at Press Day, speaking to students and advisors.

Morgan is a Youngstown native and worked for numerous media agencies, such as the Warren Tribune-Chronicle, the Raleigh News and Observer, the Youngstown Vindicator, the Binghamton Press, the Sun Bulletin and the Akron Beacon Journal, as a professional writer and author for sports biographies, being the first to write a biography on Lebron James.

He currently teaches journalism at Massillon Washington High School in Massillon, Ohio, as a journalism advisor and teacher for writing workshops.

Morgan has attended Press Day in the past as a breakout speaker.

He said journalism plays a major role in society and gives people an outlet to share their experiences.

“Journalism is so important because we have to record history and make people accountable as well as being the voice of balanced and unbiased information,” Morgan said. “If you love to tell stories, then journalism will always have a place for people who want to tell great stories.”

He said journalism needs to stay active and present to keep the peace within society.

“We need journalism to stay strong or politicians will become even more corrupt and people will try and take more liberties where journalist were able to stop that by writing the truth,” Morgan said.

YSU President Jim Tressel attended Press Day and interacted with the students and advisors from different schools districts.

Tressel said Press Day allowed students to gain a better understanding of YSU and the options they have with different media programs.

“Anytime we can inform the students as to what the opportunities are, it’s good because they get to meet our students and they get to meet our faculty,” he said. “It’s just exciting to see people engaged and learning about good things.”

Leslie Tejada, a junior at Austintown Fitch High School, participated in Press Day and was intrigued with the different media opportunities YSU offers.

She said Press Day gave her ideas with what she wants to do in the future.

“For me, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I came here and now I’m thinking how awesome journalism is,” she said. “I want to start doing it and participating in my school organizations more.”

Press Day gave students an inside look of the opportunities and experiences they could potentially take advantage of in the future, while networking with professionals.

Photos by Tanner Mondok/The Jambar