by Linda Barrington
JEA Mentoring Committee co-chair

State and regional journalism conferences are ideal places to learn more, make new j-friends and renew j-friendships.

The first weekend in March, the Kettle Moraine Press Association (KEMPA) hosts a Winter Advisers Seminar featuring a nationally known presenter for the major part of the program.

This year John Cutsinger returned for a better-than-ever two days full of ideas and resources. Among the 40 advisers in attendance were two JEA mentors (Nancy Becker and Sandy Jacoby) and six mentees (Tracy Brogelman, Brian Callahan, Janet McCullum, Patty Sibbernsen, Kerry Thomas, and Ben Tripp).

Three of the mentees told me about the value of the seminar for them:

Patty Sibbernsen

Patty Sibbernsen, Germantown (Wis.) High School newspaper and yearbook adviser:
“The KEMPA Winter Advisers Seminar was extremely valuable. The conference was affordable and relatively close to my home/school.  It also provided excellent opportunities to process the work I do every day with students.  So often journalism teachers and advisers are solo teachers/advisers.  We may be the only person in our district working with student publications.  It was great to meet with content area colleagues to bounce off ideas and share resources.  The expert presenters offered insights to push advisers to the next level in terms of establishing the culture required to run an excellent

yearbook or newspaper program, and the discussion of First Amendment rights offered both traditional background (Tinker, Hazelwood, etc.) and an update of current situations in our area.  I greatly appreciated the expertise of master journalism teachers/advisers during these legal discussions. They pushed me to think of creative ways to education all students (and staff) about First Amendment rights.”

Janet McCullum

Janet McCullum, Harold S. Vincent (Wis.) High School yearbook adviser:
“The experience of KEMPA workshop was super-fabulous! As a new adviser, I was overwhelmed with a wealth of ideas, suggestions, examples, etc. to bring back to my program.  Mr. Cutsinger’s presentation wowed not only new advisers but all in attendance.  I now feel refreshed and motivated even more to bring pizazz and newness to our yearbook staff.  Although some material will not be incorporated until next year, I am so confident that others will be an enhancement right now as we continue the completion of our 2010 spring publication.”

Kerry Thomas

Kerry Thomas, Rufus King IB (Wis.) High School newspaper adviser:

“I was only able to attend Saturday morning, but despite only having one final session with John Cutsinger, I walked away with his CD and two clear ideas that I will work on implementing this week with my journalists and several others we will implement over the course of time. It was easily worth the 50-minute drive!”