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MSPA State Convention Welcomes 600 Young Journalists To Campus

The Mississippi Scholastic Press Association (MSPA) State Convention hosted a crowd of almost 600 young journalists from over 30 different schools and 54 different publication staffs across the state of Mississippi at the Oxford campus on Friday, March 31.

Dean Will Norton, Miss University Leah Gibson, and MSPA Director RJ Morgan throw prizes to the crowd

“MSPA has been around since 1947,” said RJ Morgan, director of MSPA. “The goal is to raise the quality of high school journalism in four areas: newspapers, yearbooks, broadcasts and literary publications.” 
The high school and middle school students arrived on campus for registration in the Grove between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Morgan gave the welcome address along with Dr. Will Norton, dean of the Meek School of Journalism, and Leah Gibson, Miss University. 
Between the welcome session and lunch, the students could choose any three of the 39 breakout sessions that were offered. These sessions included information on using Google Maps as a journalist, beginner and advanced Photoshop tools, video storytelling and even how to use Snapchat for a publication. 
The students were then able to enjoy lunch outside in the Grove before heading to the Gertrude Ford Center for the keynote speaker, Southern writer Kiese Laymon. At the Ford Center, the students could also take ideas and examples from the Publication Swap Table.
Miss University Leah Gibson, broadcast journalism major, speaks to the MSPA State Convention attendees

“The Publication Swap table is a critical part of the day,” Morgan said. “Schools are encouraged to bring samples of their publications to leave at the swap table. Other schools can come take them and exchange ideas, see what other people are doing and come up with new ideas to take back to their school.” 
The convention ended with a final Best of Mississippi award ceremony. In February, the schools and students sent in submissions for the chance to win the title of Best in Mississippi for yearbook, publication, broadcast, literary magazine or all-publication. 

“The amount of excitement is a big advantage of this convention,” Morgan said. “The students come and get energized, they learn new ideas, and the bus ride back with all of the other students who have learned so much throughout the day keeps the ideas flowing about how to make their own publications better.”

Amy Goodin is a writer for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at argoodin12@gmail.com.
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