The Crimson and Bernardian staff attend GSSPA


Ava Highland

The Bernardian and the Crimson won a total of 11 awards between individual and overall.

Ava Highland, Entertainment Editor

On October 24, 2022 The Garden State Scholastic Press Association (GSSPA) hosted their Fall Conference at Rutgers University. 

Several editors from both the Crimson and Bernardian staff attended the conference along with advisors, Mrs. Hunkele and Mrs. O’Brien. 

Upon arrival, students and advisors were given a schedule for the day and were able to choose which sessions they wanted to attend. Sessions discussed topics including marketing for a website, news broadcasting, editing, layout & design, social media, advising, career development, yearbook design, news writing, in-depth reporting, photography, generating ideas, and law & ethics.

Sessions were held by professionals in each area: Representatives of the Rutgers University department of Journalism and Media Studies, USA Today Network, Celock Media Group, Jostens Publishing, News 12, PIX11 News and several others. 

In one of the first sessions, school newspapers were awarded for their submissions from the spring of 2022. The Crimson brought back ten awards, two overall and eight individual. Overall, The Crimson came in third place for Overall Print Excellence and received an honorable mention for Online Overall Excellence. The Crimson was awarded for breaking news, opinion writing, layout & design, and podcasting; Receiving awards for first place, third place and honorable mentions. 

The Bernardian also received second place in the Annual Yearbook Contest/Critique. 

Several schools also brought copies of their own newspaper as a way for different schools to learn from one another. Sharing copies of newspapers allowed for schools to notice their weaker points for potential adjustment as well as their strong points and abilities. 

Matt Lesnik ‘23 noted, “It was a really great experience. I’m glad I was able to get insight into what other schools are doing because it will allow me to tweak or improve my contributions to the newspaper, like the podcast and layout for front page. ”

Students could also take part in student-led roundtable discussions, where they were able to discuss various topics and learn from other schools; An additional way to get insight into what other school publications are doing. 

Students and advisors had the opportunity to be spoken to by a panel of speakers, discussing the New Voices Law; A law in which student journalists are protected from having their content censored and advisors are protected from retaliation for standing up for their students. 

On the panel was Hillary Davis is the Advocacy and Organizing Director of the Student Press Law Center. Davis was accompanied by New Jersey New Voice Team Leaders, Tom Mchale and John Tagliareni, Student Leader Sara Fajardo and GSSPA Board Member Bonnie Blackman.  

Subsequently to hearing from the panel several students were sent off to participate in a write off contest; They were given forty minutes to report on everything they had just learned about the New Voices Law. Each school was allowed one student to participate in the contest, representing The Crimson was Meghan Shelley ‘23. At the time of writing, feedback has not yet been received and the winner has not been announced. 

“The write off gave students a hands-on opportunity to put into practice what we had been learning about all day. It also offered us the unique chance to be put in an environment with other journalists, from all across the state, and encouraged friendly competition amongst us” Shelley said. 

She continued to explain what an amazing opportunity this was, “Overall it was a really great experience, and great prerequisite to covering journalistic stories outside of a school environment.”

The GSSPA conference gave student journalists, yearbook staffs, and advisors the chance to hear from people from all different areas of journalistic fields; They were able return to their schools with knowledge in improving their newspapers and yearbooks.  

On a final note Shelby Rich ‘23 noted “I enjoyed going to the Journalism/Yearbook field trip to Rutgers because I gathered lots of new information on how to properly carry themes throughout the book as well as how to advertise successfully. I’m excited to use my knowledge on the yearbook so it is the best possible!”