Over the past weekend, The Index traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota for The Best of the Midwest College Journalism Convention. This convention is held every year and aims to help college newspapers become professional, informational, and enjoyable to read. Student writers from all over the Midwest including Michigan, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota attended the convention and brought their newspapers to showcase and network with other college and university writers and editors.
The Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) prepares about 30 practical learning sessions, including general topic keynote speakers, problem-solving breakout sessions and discussion groups at The Best of the Midwest Convention. Some other events include ACP’s Best of Show contest, which consists of school-submitted newspaper issues for judgment of overall excellence as well as a reception where writers from different schools and colleges can meet each other and discuss their newspaper and board.
Each year there is an average of around 250 representatives. The ACP Best of the Midwest convention has become an annual place to seek solutions, share success stories, discover trends and network with students from around the Midwest.
The learning sessions provided a vast variety of topics applicable to every position on a school newspaper such as the session “Thinking Like an Editor” for newspaper editors, “Giving Your Newspaper a Voice” for opinions writers, and “Writing Powerful Features” for features writers.
“This convention was a great experience because I got to learn from other college news writers and interact with professional journalists. It inspired me to be more creative and visual with my own feature writing moving forward!” said Meredith Ashton ‘19, The Index Features Editor.
In the session for voices reflected through opinions, Scott Gillespie from the Star Tribune, the largest newspaper in Minnesota, described the importance of voice in writing, how to create powerful opinions pieces and gave writers advice for how to make their papers as strong as possible.
“Voice can provide personality, a forum for debate and interaction, an opportunity to influence and a chance to share informed opinion,” said Gillespie.
Gillespie highlighted some of the Star Tribune’s most impactful editorial pieces such as their 2016 issue titled “Countering Extremism in Minnesota” about the local initiatives that have been made to help the Somali community and sheltering kids from terrorist recruitment but funding is lacking. This session was an excellent opportunity for college newspapers to see how professional newspapers write opinions piece accurately, respectfully and in an informed manner.
“I learned a lot about how to improve my writing and editing process, and it has made me really excited and inspired for the future of The Index and what it could be,” said Adelaine Dancer ‘20, The Index Opinions Editor.
The convention helped to open the eyes of writers on The Index to provide the K community with a newspaper that is appealing and reflective of K as an academic institution that sees the value in learning through experience and engagement.