GSSPA Press Day

Garden State Scholastic Press Association’s Press Day

A roundtable discussion session at Press Day at Rutgers Busch Campus

Photo Courtesy of Garden State Scholastic Press Association

A roundtable discussion session at Press Day at Rutger’s Busch Campus

Luke Bernstein, Co-Editor

On October 29th, nine students from Oratory’s two publications, the Omega Newspaper and the Aires Yearbook, visited Rutgers University for an all-encompassing workshop day. Yearbook editors Nick Mascolo and Fernando Aviles and team members Paul Topazio and Jack Anderson had the opportunity to attend workshops regarding the structure of their product, photography, and editing. There were also various Omega members there including editors Daniel Carvalheiro-Santos and Luke Bernstein and star writers, Paul Topazio, Kyle Roethlin, Justin Oei, and James Kim. Of course, the trip would not have been complete without moderators Mrs. Gribbin and Mr. McCrystal.

After some traffic issues on I-287 causing the group to miss the first session, everybody was writing to embrace the fun day they had ahead. The Omega team members started the day in a WordPress group for the best 50 minutes of the day. WordPress is the software that controls the back end of most school newspapers including the Omega. This workshop was presented by the moderator of the Moorestown Friends School Newspaper, Diana Day, who provided valuable information regarding the implementation of multimedia in school newspapers. She introduced team communication software Slack, project management tool, Trello, and various other tools to make online papers more entertaining. These included Adobe Spark, which is a new way to share photos, Knight Lab Projects, which creates interactive stories such as timelines, and the power of 360 videos and photos. The Omega plans to implement many of these new tools to make the product even better. For their first session, the Yearbook members attended a yearbook design class that was not considered the highlight of their day but did provide valuable and applicable information.

Next up were sessions on how to make news more accessible to Generation Z and a workshop for the editors of both publications. Those who attended the Gen Z session did not think it was very valuable and considered it there least favorite from the whole day. They believed that there was no new information to be found as the individual did not dive deeply into the topics she was discussing. All four of the editors thought that presenter Bonnie Blackman was an entertaining speaker who kept the room engaged in her topic, but that she did not install new information. Her workshop focused on skills that make students interesting for colleges which boiled down to leadership characteristics that were consistently repetitive. Her 50 minutes was valuable, but not the best portion of the day.

After a break portion for lunch, the Omega members attended a workshop on how to market a school newspaper while the Yearbook writers went to their favorite seminar of the day titled, “A New Way to Edit the Yearbook.” According to Co-Yearbook editor, Nick Mascolo, this was his favorite because they, “learned many new methods of designing each page of the yearbook in a unique way. We practiced with the software provided, and it was very simple to make and we learned how to efficiently space certain parts of the page.” For the Omega members, an individual from the second biggest paper in New Jersey, The Record, discussed how they use social media, their app integration, and partnerships with local business for mutual exposure.

Regarding their experiences at the event, Co-Omega editor Daniel Carvalheiro-Santos said that, “we hope to use what we learned to improve the quality of our articles and better market the Oratory Prep Omega as the voice of the OP students.”  All of the students who attended this workshop day were pleased with the information they acquired from the day and thought it was a valuable experience and definitely a day to be marked on the calendar for future years.