State students hit New York City

A week away from school provided a much-anticipated break from the classroom for nine members of The Collegian staff as we got the opportunity to work and play in The Big Apple.

The students visiting Central Park, (clockwise from left) Emily Bouta, Maddi Anderson, Justin Harned, Jordan Smith, Ryan Bowden, Brady Krumwiede, Heidi Kronaizl and Amanda Siefken.

The students visiting Central Park, (clockwise from left) Emily Bouta, Maddi Anderson, Justin Harned, Jordan Smith, Ryan Bowden, Brady Krumwiede, Heidi Kronaizl and Amanda Siefken.

The College Media Association held its Spring National College Media Convention in New York. The four-day event hosted more than 1,000 students and provided 250 sessions inside the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel.

The event gives young journalists an opportunity to network with other students and expand their knowledge in the field. Every aspect of journalism—photography, news, news editing, writing, social media, advertising, marketing, broadcast journalism and even a session for those who no longer wanted to be a journalist and could use their skills elsewhere—was covered in 50-minute sessions. Tours of CNN, CBS News, Gawker, Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal also were available.

I must thank Susan Smith, The Collegian’s adviser, because, without her, I wouldn’t have been able to attend this convention. It was an experience I will never forget.

It was the first time I got to see Manhattan, and it was love at first sight. We traveled from LaGuardia Airport into the city and crossed over the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge that displayed the beauty of lower Manhattan lighting up the night sky.

We lived the busy schedule of a New York tourist and conference attendee, mixing sessions and sightseeing. My first session was hosted by SB Nation contributor Matt Ufford, who sent a simple message: be kind and make many friends, because that person you were nice to just might play a big role in your career later.

The Freedom tower, which stands on the northwest corner of the World Trade Center site.

The Freedom tower, which stands on the northwest corner of the World Trade Center site.

Networking was the other major piece of advice Ufford gave. He used countless examples of how he and a colleague crossed paths that greatly benefited both.

In the third session, I learned how to better manage social media with Internet sites. Knowing how to represent oneself via the Web is as important as publishing an article.

The most valuable session was by CBS Evening News anchor, Scott Pelley. He was inspirational and professional.

CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley addressing college students from all over the country at the Sheraton Times Square Hotel.

CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley addressing college students from all over the country at the Sheraton Times Square Hotel.

Pelley shared his experiences and how hard it was to reach his current position. He light-heartedly joked with the crowd about getting turned away several times, but he never took no for an answer.

“Nobody ever wanted to hire me … CBS told me no five times over five years,” Pelley said. “I have never been invited to go to work anywhere. It has been a relentless pounding against the walls of the citadel for every single job I have ever gotten. And, in every case, the managers of that organization just collapsed in exhaustion and let me in because I would be less trouble inside than I was outside.”

Pelley, who rarely speaks in public, took time to stress the importance of accuracy and how it could have fatalconsequences. Pelley told us how the media’s inaccurate reporting on the Boston Bombing suspects forced the police to release the terrorists’ identity. As a result, the fugitives fled and MIT police officer Sean Collier was killed in their escape attempt.

Krumwiede and Harned in the Sheraton Times Square Hotel lobby.

Krumwiede and Harned in the Sheraton Times Square Hotel lobby.

Pelley’s main message was that the direction of the nation rested on our shoulders and we, as future journalists, carry the torch. He said that without discussion and controversy, there can’t be progress. It is the journalist’s job to share accurate news to the people.

News informs individuals, thus educating people on issues happening around them. Without news, people are unaware of what is happening, making it hard to advance civilization.

“There is no democracy without journalism,” Pelley said.

Since our hotel was on 7th Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Street, we were close to Times Square. I walked to “Good Morning America” and was lucky enough to meet GMA anchor Josh Elliot and take a photo with him. Lucky for us, the Muppets were guests along with Bryan Cranston, a popular actor from “Breaking Bad.” We toured Red Fuse, an ad agency for Colgate toothpaste, and were on the set of “Late Show with David Letterman.” We also visited the emotional Twin Tower Memorial, which really gave us some perspective on life.

On our way to the Twin Tower Memorial, I was trying to purchase a subway ticket and a middle-aged man stepped in to help. After I asked for guidance, he realized I wasn’t from there. He showed genuine concern and even paid for my ticket since my card failed several times. He also advised me on how to reach my destination. It was humbling, and I will never forget that man’s kindness.

It was a bit of a culture shock at first, but New York truly is the world’s melting pot and it felt like a place of endless opportunity and freedom. It gave me some perspective on my career goals. Our trip was a success, and we all walked away as better journalists and more importantly, better people.

Justin Harned

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