The Hall School of Journalism and Communication at Troy University hosted over 450 high school students on Thursday, teaching them more about the field and what the program has to offer. The University’s “J-Day” event has been held for over 20 years.
“I think it’s important for students to see what’s attainable,” said Dr. Robbyn Taylor, Director of the Hall School. “They can come to TROY and sit in on workshops with our recent graduates or our faculty members who are teaching and understand that if this is what they want to do, they can get hands-on experience here.”
After the students – primarily from high schools within a three hour radius of Troy – arrived, they had breakfast before having an awards program that spotlighted their work.
From there, the students split up into groups led by TROY student ambassadors and had the opportunity to attend a series of 50-minute sessions. These sessions were led by TROY faculty, graduates and even the presidents of the Alabama Press Association and the Alabama Broadcasters Association.
Sessions featured a range of topics, including: the purpose of journalism in society, podcasting, design, interviewing and sports reporting. It was a chance for the students to see part of what goes into journalism and to determine their interest levels.
“It’s a great way for kids to get an idea of what they can do and what journalism is like,” said Nate Braisted, a junior multimedia journalism major from Troy and an ambassador for J-Day. “I think days like this, whether it’s for journalism or any other department, are good to get experience for what working in a certain field is like.”
Student ambassadors from the journalism and communications program were chosen to lead groups of high school students and had the opportunity to interact with them. Taylor said her favorite part about J-Day is watching students at TROY share their passion for journalism with the high school students.
“I got to talk to a lot of good speakers, and the students there were willing to learn and grow their craft,” said Braisted, who volunteered at J-Day for a second straight year. “I just try to represent TROY the best way I can.”
Both the Alabama Press Association and the Alabama Broadcasters Association sponsor the event, and the presidents of both associations gave a presentation on the importance of journalism in today’s world.
“I appreciate that these professional organizations see a value in supporting journalists and the creation of interest in the industry,” Taylor said. “I’m grateful that they recognize TROY as a school that thinks about the industry as a public service and teaches ethics.”