The Rebel Yell on Media Day

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On Wednesday, April 11th, the Rebel Yell, Freelancers, and VCE class went to the 37th Annual Media Day, run by the Western New York School Press Association. Media Day was held at SUNY Fredonia and featured people from Fredonia or people who work near the town. The day began with a complimentary breakfast along with a welcome speech from Catherine D’Agostino, the WNYSPA Director. Following her welcome was a presentation by Erica Brecher, a reporter at WGRZ Channel 2, and Andrew Baglini, a meteorologist at WIVB Channel 4, who discussed the “Price and Reality of Being on TV.” Then came workshop sessions, which were two forty minute classes, of which there were six choices in each session. After the two sessions was lunch and a keynote speaker, Roy Gutterman, who discussed our freedom of speech and our freedom of the press. Lunch was followed by an awards competition, in which two of the Rebel Yell Senior Editors, Sophie Wojciechowski and Sarah Clark, won awards for articles they have written. Their joint article “Come on Down to the Coffeehouse” won honorable mention for Best News Story. Sophie’s article “What is Awesome Day?” won an honorable mention for Best Editorial.

We started the day with a great breakfast and two speakers. They were Erica Brecher and Andrew Bagalini, a happily married couple both being in the business of news. She is a broadcast reporter from WGRZ Channel 2 while Andrew is a WIVB Channel 4 meteorologist. Erica began with speaking on the positives of their jobs. We started with what they gave back to the community. By providing weather and news, both tell people useful information and they help all of Western NY be ready for the day ahead. Through their jobs they receive a sense of fulfillment by bringing stories and weather to the audience they broadcast for. Now on the flip side of the positives we have the struggles with news. In the beginning the hours aren’t great, rookies pick up the shifts that no one else wants. Then on top of that the starting pay is terrible and difficult to live on. So in the end we got a glimpse of what a career of news could be given the right circumstances.

Braden Carmen, a sports reporter for The Dunkirk Observer and former reporter for The AZ Central, taught a class that deals with social media and sports. Braden also tweets when he is at sporting events and he tweets all the articles that the paper writes for part of his job. He began the class by telling us to keep our social medias clean because employers look into those sort of things. He also told the class that since our generation is advanced in technology journalism is starting to move to the internet more and more. He presented a video from a college football championship game to teach us how to tweet during sporting events. Throughout the video he would pause it and come up with a tweet, and he would tell us that would be a great time to tweet during the live event. He gave us tips to write a short and simple tweet during a stoppage in play so that when the game starts up again we could then tweet out what we have composed. He also told the class to tweet as much as possible so your account will keep showing up in other users’ feeds. He stated that if we follow those instructions we should be able to gain a following and we should start being noticed more and more.

During the Second Session of Media Day, we attended the “Being a Reporter: Who Do I Talk To?” class. This class was taught by Damian Sebouhian, who works for Observer News. In his class, he stressed the importance of always having multiple sources when writing an article. He gave everyone examples, most of them being situations he himself was in at one point, and said who he talked to and why. He even had a hands on activity for everyone to do. He gave us all scenarios and asked who we would talk to in the situations we were given. The lasting impression we received from his class was to always talk to as many people as we can when being a reporter.

One of the classes at Media Day was “Investigative Reporting” taught by Dan Telvock. He used to work for Investigative Post, but is now stationed at WIVB Investigative Producer. In his class, he showed us the things he had done as well as explaining who he talked to, the research he had done prior to investigating, and how he pushed to get interviews that were originally denied. He said that the key to investigative reporting was to “start with a tip and a source, and then dig.” He also mentioned how it was both a bad time to be a journalist because of political corruption but also a good time to be a journalist because there is a need for people in the industry and there are so many stories to write. The lasting impression from his class was that journalism is important to have, despite the hardships that come with getting a good, true story.

On April 11th, students had the opportunity to visit Noah J. Maciejewski’s session of “They said I had a face for radio” in Fredonia, New York. He is the general manager of the Fredonia radio station, and he worked for “your number one hit music station,” Kiss 98.5 out of Buffalo New York. He loved his job right away, as being he would end up meeting famous celebrities with his job, working incredible events the radio station would work for and sponsor, and even having fans of his own. He has met many musical superstars while he was working for Kiss 98.5 such as, Why Don’t We, Max, and JoJo. Noah taught the class to get oneself out there and do as much as one can to get noticed. He told the class how he would keep contacting Kiss 98.5 until they finally gave him an internship. He advised all the students in the class to make their social media accounts professional incase someone notices them and interview them for a job. Students learned that to be a disc jockey (also known as DJ) you have to learn how to “hit the post.” Hitting the post means when a DJ is talking between the songs he or she has to finish speaking exactly when the artist of the next song starts to sing. When someone is a disc jockey they cannot bring negativity onto the show. For example if they are having a bad day, they must try to be happy throughout the show so they do not displease the audience. Max Kincaid contacted Noah outside of class and he told him that he “used GarageBand and put songs in there,” and then records himself talking in between the songs like he would during a regular radio show. He also told Max that if he did not have the GarageBand app he could “practice doing breaks over a song off YouTube or any other music site.”

This year, the keynote speaker for Media Day at Fredonia was Roy Gutterman. He graduated from the Newhouse School and the Syracuse University College of Law. He has also lectured abroad in places such as Beijing and Shanghai. In his speech, he covered the importance of the freedom of the press and emerging young journalists at the high school level. He also strongly urged his support of a new bill (A9801) that is being proposed in New York State to stop the censorship of high school journalists. If passed, this bill would give student journalists protective rights so that they can write on topics they may not be able to before. During his speech, he showed two videos which further discussed topics in his speech. At the end, for anyone interested in a career involving journalism, he said “it’s going to be hard, there are going to be blowbacks, people yelling at you, people may not like you, but overall it’s a rewarding profession.” Regarding the entirety of the speech, we thought it was informative on the rights student journalists should have due to their first amendment rights, and that student journalists themselves are very important to the future of the industry.

As Media Day came to a close, it was evident that it had been a success because of several ideas that were meant to stick with the people who attended the event. One of these ideas was that someone should go into a job field that they are passionate about, no matter how hard the start of their career would be. Another key idea was that as times go on and technology keeps evolving, social media platforms are becoming increasingly more useful.

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