Journalism Students Attend Columbia Scholastic Press Association Conference

As the features editor for Tower, and a student reporter for The Highlands Current, a Hudson Valley newspaper, Lily Zuckerman ’24 is readying herself for a career in journalism.
Zuckerman and her fellow journalism classmates were looking for the next big story on Monday, November 7 as they headed to Columbia University for a day of “professional development” at the 83rd Annual Fall Conference hosted by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA).

Open to high school students, the event is a one-day regional conference offering sessions on writing, editing, management, design, photography and digital media. Zuckerman, whose dream job is with Architectural Digest magazine, found the seminars with professionals in the field “eye-opening'' and enjoyed networking with other students.

“It was interesting to meet kids who are also engaged in journalism,” she reported.

Tower co-advisors Ellen Cowhey and Matt Ives along with media arts teacher and yearbook advisor David Becker accompanied the 63 students from Broadcast Journalism, Introduction to Journalism, Tower and Yearbook classes. It was the first time since 2019 that Cowhey was able to bring her students to Columbia, which made the trip even more special.

She described how the conference focused on areas the students found relevant to what they’re doing at school. “There was a session about sports writing, one on the art of the interview and one about raising ads for a high school newspaper so the students benefited from that kind of specialized attention.”

For Matthias Jaylen ’24, the opinion editor for Tower, the conference was fun and useful. “I was able to meet people my age who were interested and care about the same things I care about,” he said. “The sessions were fascinating, and I'm excited to use what I learned in any future work I do.”

“If students keep looking at old issues of Tower and say ‘here's what we did last time, how can we replicate that’ we’re not moving beyond the bubble. But when you go to a conference like this you're inspired to move beyond the bubble,” Cowhey explained.

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