Journalism workshop brings hundreds to Canyon

Trinity High School photography teacher Michael Peña talks with an area journalism teacher before he presents the morning session.

Journalism students traveled to West Texas A&M University to participate in the Texas Association of Journalism Educators Region 1 Workshop Sept. 28. WTAMU co-sponsored the workshop, which drew nearly 300 students from 18 area high schools.

Canyon High School journalism teacher Laura Smith is the TAJE region 1 representative and organized the workshop, which featured Trinity High School photography instructor Michael Peña, who was sponosored by the Association of Texas Photography Instructors.

“I gave my seminar on how to tell a visual story with photographs,” Peña said. “We learned from the photographs of Pulitzer Prize winner Craig Walker, who taught us how to use the camera with detail and pay attention to both the big and small pictures as well as how to relate to the viewer.”

Sophomore staff reporter Erin Sheffield said that the seminar helped her better understand the art of photography.

“I’ve always thought that mindset is everything, so I think this seminar will improve my skills as a photographer.

— Erin Sheffield, 10

“I’ve noticed I’ve had some trouble with photography, and this gave me a new way of thinking about it,” Sheffield said. “I’ve always thought that mindset is everything, so I think this seminar will improve my skills as a photographer.”

The afternoon sessions offered students either a tour of the college’s journalism department or a broadcast media session taught by student journalists of Groom High School and their adviser Lisa Roskens.

“We loved how the audience participated with us when we presented,” Roskens said. “We are so grateful we received the opportunity to connect with other scholastic journalists to learn from them as well as to show what we know.”

Senior yearbook editor-in-chief Sarah Nease said the seminar was a positive experience which effectively encouraged students to pursue a college degree in photography or journalism.

“As an aspiring photographer, this seminar was more helpful than previous years because it involved more of my interests,” Nease said. “The last two years I’ve attended the seminar focused more on interviewing and writing.”

In addition to teaching photography techniques, Peña gave advice for aspiring photographers in his audience.

“Learn as much as you can about your camera and light,” Peña said. “Learn about how light moves and works with the world around us.”