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Student press conference expands young journalists’ minds

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Student press conference expands young journalists’ minds

San Antonio John Paul Stevens sophomore Adriana Leija celebrates a fellow student getting a Top of Texas award at the ILPC convention on May 5.

San Antonio John Paul Stevens sophomore Adriana Leija celebrates a fellow student getting a Top of Texas award at the ILPC convention on May 5.

Photo by Tyler Bills

San Antonio John Paul Stevens sophomore Adriana Leija celebrates a fellow student getting a Top of Texas award at the ILPC convention on May 5.

Photo by Tyler Bills

Photo by Tyler Bills

San Antonio John Paul Stevens sophomore Adriana Leija celebrates a fellow student getting a Top of Texas award at the ILPC convention on May 5.

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The Burdine Hall at the University of Texas at Austin was packed early Saturday morning as schools from around the state began to check in for the 90th Interscholastic Press League Conference (ILPC).

Vendors filled the hallways showing off their yearbook and newspaper services and journalism students snatched pens and candy out of bowls.

Since the first conference in 1925 with 30 students present, ILPC has grown into one of the nation’s largest student press associations, concluding this year’s event with nearly 1050 students and advisers in attendance.

Students stopped talking and made their way to rooms as the first sessions started. Student journalists taking out notebooks and laptops to take notes, ready to learn from some of the best professionals in journalism.

Jeanne Acton, the ILPC director, remembers coming to ILPC for the first time in the spring of 1985 as a sophomore.

“(It) expanded our world when I realized that there were all these other kids that did this,” Acton said.

Acton said hearing the speakers at ILPC made her feel like she would have a place in the field of journalism. She thinks these conferences are important for student journalists, and said in her concluding speech at the conference awards on May 6 that she hopes the sessions helped reinforce the importance of journalism.

Acton sees the conference as an early springboard to a career in journalism and all its possibilities.

“It’s important for them to meet their peers and to hear from the professors and the professionals and the teachers to know what different career pathways they can take later in life,” Acton said. “I think seeing these people helps motivate them.”

Flour Bluff High School senior Tyler Bills plans to go to college to study sports journalism and was very excited to attend the conference this year. Being at ILPC motivated him to learn more and to look forward to what he could do in the future.

“Talking to the professionals boosted my confidence about being a great journalist because their critiques can make you better,” Bills said. “… I have a lot to improve on with photography, multimedia and writing. If I do all these steps to be a journalist, I have high confidence that my future is bright.”

Acton thinks that journalism is important, especially right now. Even though the media gets a lot of heat, it’s what keeps us in a democratic society, she said. She believes that this generation has the motivation and passion that the previous generation didn’t.

“It’s really cool to watch that ignite, and I see it in the journalists here. You’re the future, you’re going to keep us protected. I can’t think of a more noble profession.”

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Student press conference expands young journalists’ minds