WDHN news anchor Ben Stanfield speaks to high school students during the 2017 J-Day at Troy University.
“This is one of the largest J-Days ever,” Director of the Hall School of Journalism Jeff Spurlock said as he welcomed the students. “If you don’t know anything about journalism now, you will before you leave.”
The day kicked off with the presentation of awards to high school organizations for content and design of high school publications, ranging from best newspaper design to best yearbook content.
The event focuses on teaching high school students a range of things about journalism, from broadcast journalism to photography and multimedia journalism.
Students interested in broadcast journalism were given the opportunity to go behind the scenes in the TrojanVision studio and learn how to use the equipment and how being in front of the camera feels.
Jacob Cox, a twelfth grade Mary G. Montgomery High School in Mobile student, said he enjoyed seeing what TROY has to offer in the field of broadcast journalism.
“I am planning on coming to TROY, so seeing the (TrojanVision) studio and seeing how they do things was interesting,” Cox said. “It is different from what we do—actually having a full set up with all of the equipment is exciting. I am usually a behind-the-camera kind of guy, but I decided to challenge myself today, and it was great.”
Other sessions included information on media law, interviewing and photography, among others. Advisers also had the opportunity to attend sessions to gather information to take back to the classroom.
Christina Skelton, a journalism teacher at Mary G. Montgomery High School, said she feels her students gained an “introduction to the world of journalism and a taste of college life.”
Skelton said this was the first time she had brought a group to the event, but she plans to continue bringing more in the years to come.
“We won first place for Best Broadcast Reporting, so we were extremely happy about that,” Skelton said.
Robbyn Taylor and Morgan Drinkard, lecturers in the Hall School of Journalism, organized the event this year.
“This year has been great,” Drinkard said. “We had new schools come, and returning schools brought more students. We have students attending from schools in Dothan, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, Mobile and others. It has created a great reach across the state.”
According to Drinkard, the panels were comprised of alumni from the Hall School of Journalism.
“We have great presenters this year as well,” Drinkard said. “Our focus this year was bringing in industry professionals who graduated from Troy.”