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My summer vacation -- The future of journalism

August 05, 2008|By LAURA BELL / Pulse Correspondent

Summer is a time for fun, relaxation, peace and quiet. Maybe a trip to a day camp or sleepaway camp. But a camp that's like college? Who would want more school, or anything like it, right?

The National Student Leadership Conferences are an opportunity for high school students to gain leadership skills, meet new people, experience college life and learn about a chosen field of work.

A few months before summer began I received a packet in the mail explaining that I had been nominated to participate in the NSLC program. I chose journalism and mass communication, hoping to learn about and experience the necessary skills of a journalist.

The journalism program I was interested in was July 6-10 at American University in Washington D.C. It was fun to live in a city I've always appreciated. Having the opportunity to live there for two weeks was a great experience. It wasn't exactly the college life but it was a good way to become familiar with it.

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Upon arrival, I was extremely nervous. I didn't know if I'd make friends or if I'd be accepted or not. But, luckily I met some great people who were all interesting and diverse. We each had a roommate and all lived in one of American University dorm. We were put in groups in which we did activities together to break the ice and become friends. I was surprised how easy it was to talk and get to know people so well in so little time. It was simple to be open and outgoing with people I'd never met.

NSLC wasn't just learning about journalism. It was also about becoming a better communicator and leader. It was about leaving your comfort zone to achieve things that you weren't able to do before. When we weren't doing workshops on mass communication and going to our classes, we were going to seminars where we learned about how to communicate with different people. We even had to learn about public speaking, which I learned is feared more than death by a lot of people. Our schedules were busy, but the college life was fun.

In the workshops we learned about topics that journalists would use in their work. One topic was media convergence. The first time I heard that title I had no idea what it meant. In this workshop we talked about how the media and its audiences are rapidly changing.

We talked about different news, the Internet, and about companies owning large quantities of news medias. We discussed how all these factors influence the news we hear every day. While most agreed the Internet is the future of the news, there were those of us who stuck by the traditional newspapers as a big part of new sources. Topics such as this often turned into heated debates.

NSLC was a great experience to meet new and diverse people, to get a taste of college and to learn more about journalism. It deepened my interest in journalism and writing as a career.

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