The Society of Professional Journalists at WCU is attending the MediaFest22 in Washington, D.C., from Oct. 27-30. MediaFest22 is a conference organized by The Society of Professional Journalists with the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) and College Media Association (CMA). 

To go on the trip, SPJ gathered funds from the WCU Intentional Learning Grant and through WCU’s Student Government Association.

Six student members of SPJ are going, accompanied by Dr. Katerina Spasovska, Assistant Professor Debra Connelly, and recent graduate Sara Stanley. Stanley will join them to receive the Julie Galvan Outstanding Graduate in Journalism Award.

Liam Bridgeman, SPJ vice president and co-editor-in-chief of the Western Carolinian that will be going on the trip, said he hopes to learn a lot during the conference, along with fellow students. 

Afterward, “I hope to be a more efficient writer,” said Bridgeman.

At the conference, attendees will also network with professional and student journalists and engage in discussions about politics, safety, and mental health for reporters. 

“Everyone but me is either graduating or has graduated, and within the next year, we are all going to be looking for jobs and internships,” said Bridgeman. “This conference is a great place to network and find people who know someone else that would love a young journalist to work with.”

Not only will the conference benefit those attending, but it will also benefit all of WCU’s SPJ chapter. Those in attendance will be able to connect and build long-term relationships between the chapter and ACP, and CMA. Being more engaged with those organizations will provide students with more development opportunities presently and in the future. 

As far as other conferences go, the chapter regularly participates in regional conferences since North Carolina is in SPJ’s Region 2.

“In the spring of 2022, that participation was virtual, but we plan to participate in person in the 2023 regional conference,” said Spasovoska. 

Looking forward, SPJ has other goals for the rest of the semester as they plan on organizing their third fundraiser for Homebase on WCU’s campus.

 “Last year, Christmas cookies bake-sale was very successful, raising over $600 for Homebase that were delivered as gift cards to be given to WCU students in need,” said Spasovska. 

 Lastly, SPJ will continue to be a resourceful organization for aspiring journalists where students can improve their skills through beneficial workshops. 

Follow WCU’s SPJ chapter on Instagram for more updates!