Story By Dejour Sellers. Photos by Brittany Hill.
JUNE 9, 2015: On April 16, 2015 I and three fellow students from Friendship News Network flew to Denver for the JEA Journalism Convention. The convention was for teens all over the country who wanted journalism to be their career. Throughout my time there, Denver was very cold and often snowing or raining. It differed a lot from DC. DC is more diverse than Denver, and because I'm a person of color, I stood out from everyone.
My experience was really cool. I was extremely nervous about getting on a plane for my first time and I had bubble guts the entire time in the airport. When it was time for take off it was a little scary, but it wasn't as bad as I thought. My mild panic attacks weren't worth it. The Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel was amazingly perfect. It was cozy and welcoming with very nice interior designs. I felt very comfortable with the good service!
When we first explored the convention, we went to the exhibit hall and were greeted with warm smiles and free items by a few of the convention’s workers. I got to pick up a nice bag that was labeled "writer", pieces of candy, and some cute little buttons referring to journalism. Venturing more into the convention, I talked to a couple of colleges such as Trinity although I forgot the name of the other college. They both had really great journalism and photography programs but I wouldn’t consider going to either school. I also got interviewed by a couple of students from various high schools! I was asked a few questions about why I was interested in coming to the convention and what kind of position did I possess within our journalism program.
The second day was pretty cool as well. We went to the “It’s a Woman’s World” seminar. This seminar was about how it
feels to be a woman in journalism and what struggles we might face. I decided to attend this seminar because I wanted to be aware of the things that I’d go through if I choose to go into this field and how I should handle certain situations. It was only halfway beneficial. They didn’t mention women of color and the oppression we face added on to the oppression of being women as well. We headed out to a second seminar that we thought we would really enjoy “But I’m With The Band”, but the administrator, Teresa Lockhart never arrived.
The seminar was supposed to be about how to use the right words to get backstage at a concert to interview your favorite artists. While Noel and I waited for the seminar to begin, I looked around and saw many faces and it was almost as if I could tell that their favorite type of music was based on how they dressed. I could point out the girls who liked pop bands because they were wearing their fan chain bracelets and their dresses and skirts resembled the types of girls I usually see at those concerts. There was another group of girls that I thought liked rock music like me because of their fan bracelets and because they were dressed much like me.
Overall, I don’t feel like I got the experience that I hoped for. There weren’t many workshops that seemed interesting. I wish they offered workshops that dealt within my race or more workshops on women in journalism, and not just women in sports. I did find a few interesting attractions at the convention such as how everyone was so open to find out new ideas and how people were able to broaden their ideals and perceptions of what journalism was and how it worked. I was one of those people.
Dejour Sellers is a senior at Friendship Collegiate Academy.