The Mountcast team had the privilege of attending the 2018 National College Media Convention in Louisville, Ky., in late October. A variety of seminars were available for students to learn about various types of media. This was an excellent next step for Mountcast, after winning the Mount’s Student Organization of the Year award in 2017.
Along with my podcast partner, Ryne Poli, I attended some of the seminar sessions related to sporting events. After the first seminar I attended, I knew this experience was going to be extremely beneficial. The main focus was sports journalism, and how to make sure you never run out of ideas.
I learned that sports journalism isn’t all about covering games and spewing out statistics. Those are nice, but the reader wants to hear about more. That’s where human interest comes into play. Human interest stories allow the writer to stand out, and the reader to stay engaged. They have a level of personal interaction that is unlike any other type of story. Getting to know someone outside of their sport intrigues not only people who follow the game, but even people who don’t.
In media, one of the main goals is to bring in as many readers and listeners/viewers as possible. Some of the other main things I took away from the sports seminars are how to make your website more accessible and easy to maneuver, how to communicate with different personalities in the sports industries, and the importance of building and maintaining relationships.
When I asked Poli what he thought about the experience as a whole, he told me, “The experience was eye opening to say the least. Being able to take part in several seminars that positively impact the way we present our own content was invaluable. This was the best part of my semester.” Our time at the conference was incredible, and we plan to integrate the lessons we learned into our own work in the future.
I also talked to Dr. Lisa Crews, chair of the Department of Communication and New Media Studies, the glue that holds Mountcast together. “It was a fantastic opportunity for students to attend an academic conference,” she says. “The convention was filled with scholars and pioneers of the media. Mountcast is excited to carry on what we learned and improve the best we can.”
Firsthand experiences like this are why it is so important to attend conventions. They allow students to meet people who share the same aspirations and goals as you, while also opening up and communicating with people who are going in different directions. These conventions allow you to gain more knowledge, sharpen your strengths, work on your weaknesses, and broaden your horizons in inviting, and academic environments.