Wisconsin and Virginia are two states far from Southern California, however, the distance didn’t stop two first-time conference attendees from coming to this year’s Excellence in Journalism Conference.
Paislee Winkler, a student at the Virginia Commonwealth University knew she wanted to attend the conference by any means necessary. “I was able to go to this year’s conference because my school offered me a scholarship to come,” Winkler said. “Once I received the scholarship to go, my region decided to pay for my ticket to come here.”
“I went to local journalism organizations to see if they would help me raise funds to come here,” Chi ab Vang said. Vang is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and was determined to come to the Excellence in Journalism conference because she believes in its value.” “Here, you’re given all of the tools you need to be a successful journalist, so why wouldn’t you use them?” Vang said.
Both Winkler and Vang are actively involved in their region and have benefited financially from their participation, but being a student attendee can can get expensive. “It is difficult when you are not in the student projects or win awards to come to the conference,” Vang said. “I wish that journalism organizations would offer stipends or more scholarships for students to come to conferences.”
Regardless of how expensive it may be to go, both Vang and Winkler are excited to be here. “I am looking forward to networking and going to the Ted Scripps reception,” Winkler said. “I attended the Ted Scripps Leadership Institute earlier this year, so I am ready to reunite with old friends,” Winkler said. Vang, on the other hand, has other things in mind. ” I am really excited to learn and just meet new people,” Vang said. “I hope to also go to the minority luncheon. I am definitely interested in being a part of the discussion.”
Both young ladies are attending their first Excellence in Journalism Conference, and from the sounds of it, probably won’t be their last.