Thursday, November 3, 2011

Teacher revives FSPA in Manatee

I saved Jillian Bieber for this separate blog post about high school journalism efforts in Manatee County. This woman is one of the most tenacious high school journalism teachers I've met in recent years.

Jillian, social studies/journalism teacher at Braden River High School, is championing a great cause: reviving this area's participation in the Florida Scholastic Press Association. The FSPA is a non-profit organization that, since it was founded in 1946, has aimed to educate, train and support scholastic journalists and their advisers throughout the state. But our multi-county District 5 has been dormant for years.

Enter Ms. Jillian. She took over this school year as District 5 director for FSPA, and while the district encompasses several counties, she has placed the primary focus this year on Manatee. Last Saturday, she and her students held a fantastic workshop for FSPA and drew more than 100 students and teachers from all counties. East Manatee Editor Jim Jones and I had the privilege of joining the occasion.(Actually, Jillian got us on a short leash and had me as keynote and Jim as a workshop leader!)

She brought in FSPA Executive Director Wayne Garcia and President Joe Humphries, and built workshops for print, photojournalism, education, weeklies, yearbooks, TV production, sports broadcasting, multimedia, design and editing. It was quite an impressive agenda.

It was held in Braden River High School's Media Center, where she had copies of their outstanding newspaper, the Spyglass.

As Editorial Page Editor Chris Wille writes in Friday's editorial:
Any professional would admire this work, performed by a staff of more than 50 — an incredible number for a high school newspaper. At 16 pages, the October edition offers something for every student, from news columns to humor pieces, sports and features coverage, even advertising.
Look for their work in an upcoming “Journalism Next.”

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