by Sarah Combes, Contributing Writer
OBU journalism students roamed the streets of New York City during the first part of spring break last week. The NSIM majors traveled there for the College Media Association (CMA) Conference on March 10-13.
The conference offered students a chance to attend sessions about digital storytelling, design, investigative journalism, and so much more.
“It is THE conference for media-minded students and faculty,” Holly Easttom, Assistant Professor of Journalism, said. “Each time I go, I take back valuable information to include in our own media and courses.”
Easttom has been to the conference many times, and has seen students connect with big name companies, like The New York Times, before later going on to work in the company. Easttom is adamant that it is a great opportunity for students to learn, network, and improve their skills in the field.
Two of the students who attended, Payton Clark and Mikaleh Offerman, had never been to this conference before, but held high hopes for what they will be able to bring back to campus. Their expectations were exceeded, according to Clark.
“While the sessions weren’t what I expected, I did learn a lot from them, most significantly how to step up into leadership roles despite being introverted,” Clark said. “The session considered notable leaders l have always been interested in, like Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt and even Moses, who I have always looked to as an example of this. It was a valuable lesson on how I can lead in even the smallest of situations despite my insecurities about being introverted.”
Offerman, a News and Information major, also expressed excitement about the conference because of the impact of some of the attending companies.
“New York City is the hub for a lot of professionals but especially for journalism. Many papers and associations like the Associated Press and New York Times originated from there,” Offerman said.
Clark–a Communication Studies major with an NSIM minor–said she was glad to be attending the conference, even though NSIM is not her main area of study.
“I’ve always loved the news, so when I came to OBU and was struggling with choosing a major, it just seemed like a good fit.”
However, she changed NSIM to her minor when she felt called to communicate in ways in addition to journalism.
Offerman added that it was an honor to attend with Easttom.
“Holly may not admit this,” said Offerman, “but she’s pretty big stuff as far as journalism goes. Her career is inspiring, and so it’s even more special that Payton and I have the opportunity to attend this with her.”
The sessions were led by experienced professors and journalists. Each day, multiple sessions were offered, and students and faculty chose which ones they though would benefit them in their endeavors.
Students had the opportunity to mingle with and tour popular news outlets such as the New York Times, Buzzfeed, and Rolling Stone.
While the conference itself was a blast, Clark said some of her favorite memories were just from traveling with the OBU crew.
“I think my favorite part was actually traveling to [New York],” Clark said. “I tend to have bad luck so it’s so funny when crazy things happen, like running late for a flight, experiencing the craziest cab ride ever and being stuck for 12 hours in an airport without wifi. Holly would probably say that was the worst part, but she is so fun and the best person to hang out with.”