E very year, staff members from the North Wind, Northern Michigan University's student newspaper, go to a conference in Minnesota along with other student newspaper staffers from throughout the Midwest.
I'm not able to go this year, but I was fortunate enough to go last year.
The conference is called The Best of the Midwest and it takes place in Minneapolis. A lot of things happen there and it gives the North Wind a chance to show off our publication and to see what other publications are doing.
Most newspapers that send delegations to the conference send them with copies of their publication for other newspaper teams to read and look through. These copies are usually the same issue the paper submits for judging and critique. Last year the North Wind got very lucky. The two issues that were put out before the conference - which we decided to take with us - covered the day the NMU campus received an Internet threat and President Obama's visit to Marquette and the campus.
The adviser of another student paper attending the event did our newspaper critique and I found what he said very helpful. He gave us tips about layout and complimented us on our crime map. I took a lot away from what he said and put his suggestions into use this school year as news editor at the North Wind.
Along with getting awards for articles and our publication, students got to participate in many breakout sessions with topics ranging from layout design to ethics. My favorite was seeing Tim Harrower talk about newspaper layout.
Harrower is the author of the newspaper layout book used at the North Wind and in the editing and design class offered at NMU. Harrower's book is entertaining and his lecture was too. He demonstrated how to spruce up a page by showing a before and after picture of the page, then explaining how doing some simple things could make a page much better.
Being able to go to a conference like this is very helpful for students. It teaches them new developments in their field that they might not know about.
My advice to students: if there's a chance to go to a conference that focuses on your field, go and learn as much as you can.
Editor's note: Northern Michigan University student and Mining Journal Staff Writer Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.