High school students attend CSUN journalism workshop

November 14, 2013

Keynote speaker Jonathan Gonzalez at Gen J workshop
Keynote speaker and CSUN journalism alumnus Jonathan Gonzalez speaks to high school students at the Generation J High School Journalism Workshop. (Photo by Elizabeth E. Martinez)

Nearly 100 students from high schools across the Los Angeles region attended the CSUN Journalism Department’s annual Generation J High School Journalism Workshop on Nov. 2 in Manzanita Hall.

In collaboration with the Greater Los Angeles chapter of Society of Professional Journalists and the Southern California Journalism Education Association, the Generation J Workshop aims to connect with high school journalists and raise awareness of the industry.

“A key objective of the Generation J High School Journalism workshop is to maintain the pipeline and keep it flowing,” said Elizabeth Martinez, a CSUN journalism assistant professor and organizer of the event. “The future journalists of tomorrow are in high school today. ”

Keynote speaker Jonathan Gonzalez, a CSUN alumnus now working at KBFX Eyewitness News in Bakersfield, engaged students with an overview of his early lessons in the broadcast industry. 

“The honor of being able to speak to a room full of young and curious aspiring journalists was incredible,” Gonzalez said who also graduated from Burbank High School, which had students attend the workshop. “To have been in their shoes not that long made the experience surreal. One thing I stressed to them was the importance of ethics, because no one ever remembers if you were first, but they always remember when you're wrong.

 “I touched on other topics, such as working with the competition, getting your work in on time, as well as the importance of learning how to write — regardless of the format,” he added. “Good writing is good writing, and I told them the best way to learn it is by reading and watching the news.”

Activities at the workshop included writing and photography contests as well as breakout sessions on topics such as digital journalism, sports writing, photography, communication in the nonprofit sector and public relations.

“While this was the first time I organized the event, I believe it was a success,” said Martinez. “Especially with respect to the photojournalism contest, which was innovative this year.”

In previous years, students participated in an on-the-spot contest that had them take photos on campus. This year, students brought portfolios of their best photos to the event.

“We want students to gain experience by participating in our contests and for them to learn about the many career options available in journalism,” Martinez said.