NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

NECC takes on NENPA

Journalism students attend newspaper convention in Boston

Friday, Feb. 15 NENPA the New England Newspaper and Press Association (NENPA) hosted their annual convention in the Seaport district of Boston. NENPA is a professional trade organization for newspapers in the six New England states: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Rhode Island.  NENPA produces a two day convention each year featuringworkshops, panels, seminars and training sessions.  Communication / journalism majors got to experience it firsthand, with  the help of Professor Amy Callahan.

two women standing next to each other. one is older(left). both are of asian Courtesy photo

WCVB political and investigative reporter Janet Wu and NECC student Deidre Grant.

Professor Amy Callahan, also head of the journalism / communication department attends NENPA every year. She has an in for letting students participate in this event to help them gain knowledge and skills towards their future career. Communications Major Bryce Grant said “ I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to go since college students get in for free, and considering the price for entry I knew it was going to be very informative and prestigious.”

Although Grant was not looking for any connections this year she was able to sit in on a couple of panels to see the kind of networking and exchange of information that these conventions bring. Day one of NENPA focused on the print side of journalism with ongoing events every hour from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  One panel that students took part of was called “Social Selling” which discussed the advantages of using social media to gain back lost revenue and how to find new advertisers in the use of social media.

Through this experience Lexi Fontaine, communication / journalism student felt like she achieved her goals of networking through attending NENPA by talking during the panels, asking many questions, and handing out her business cards to booths around the convention.  “I felt that it would be a great opportunity to see what was out there” added Fontaine.

Another panel that students sat in on was the College Roundtable, where just college students got their questions answered in regards to their schools’ newspaper and how to better it or find a solution to a problem they are having within their newspaper. This was a great opportunity for our NECC students to sit in on because everyone who participated or sat in on the panel had similar ties and other college students problems that were relatable to ours, as well as our questions being answered by some of the best in the local industry.

three journalism students standing in front of nefac sign. The signs design is a white rectangle with a blue circle at the top, inside the blue circle it says nefac. in the white part thare is more informationCourtesy photo

NECC students, from left, Bryce Grant, Deidre Grant and Lexi Fontaine at the NENPA convention in Boston.

Grant took it upon herself to ask a question she felt our newspaper was struggling with. “I wanted to ask a question regarding our school newspaper because I felt it was a good opportunity. The speakers gave some good advice that I brought back,” said Grant

This year students also were able to attend the New England First Amendment Award Luncheon. Stephen Engelberg was honored for his work with ProPublica.  The New England First Amendment Coalition’s mission is to defend, promote and expand public access to the government and the work it does. This years emcee for the luncheon was Janet Wu, a member of the the NEFAC’s board of Directors and WCVB’s NewsCenter 5 Massachusetts political reporter.  Wu has held many awards and distinctions, one of her most prestigious would be her 2013 Emmy. This award recognized Wu’s work on the station’s political coverage during the 2014 campaign season. 

I had the opportunity to meet Wu in person and let her know what an inspiration she has been to journalism. Before Wu’s years as a news anchor she had originally planned to go into printjournalism but during the 1970’s print journalism wasn’t doing so well and broadcast journalism had opportunity to make more money

“For young women who are interested in this industry they need to be aggressive with what they are going after and to not give up,” said Wu.  Although Wu is not optimistic towards to the future of journalism she believes there is a way to help journalism stay alive with visual and audio classes. The NENPA convention  is held yearly and and students like Fontaine and Grant are eager to come again.

“I would definitely go to this event again for as many years as I could get so much experience. You never know who you will meet at these types of events either!” Fontaine explained.  Grant enjoyed the event and she said she feels that it would be more enjoyable the second time around when she gets hands on experience and furthers her education.

According to its website:

“NENPA recognizes the extraordinary achievements of newspapers and newspaper personnel in the six-state New England region by presenting a wide variety of prestigious awards each year. NENPA also supports students by awarding scholarships to college students and high school seniors interested in pursuing a career in the newspaper field.”