PHOENIX, Ariz. — Nine Hopi High media students learned about college media programs while attending the Arizona Latino Media Association (ALMA) Conference at Arizona State University’s Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication March 3.
They also visited the media programs at Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona during the three days.
At NAU, Professor Toni Deaztlan led the students through the communications department before a tour of the campus. The Hopi High students viewed a live NAZ TV news broadcast, visited KJAK radio and spoke with editors at NAU’s Lumberjack newspaper.
At ASU, the Hopi High students participated in the ALMA Conference, which included two news conferences, a write-off competition about the news conferences and breakout sessions, including one about social media.
At UA, Journalism Director David Cuillier led the Hopi High students through the journalism programs that UA offers, including print, TV and radio. Hopi High media students had a chance to hold a drone that takes photos and use virtual reality glasses.
All three universities offer summer media camps that high school students can attend.
Janissa Lahaleon, a senior print journalism student at Hopi High, said the three university visits were awesome.
“I learned a lot, but also had fun,” she said. “The highlight was hearing other people’s stories and how they felt that we could support them by using our journalistic skills.”
Lahaleon said the NAU visit was cool because they were able to see the NAZ TV news broadcast in action.
“I learned a lot about media there. They were friendly and professional,” she said. “My favorite part at NAU was when we got to see the NAZ Today TV show live. I also enjoyed looking at their equipment and how it operates to make the show happen.”
Lahaleon, who plans to major in social work at ASU, said she enjoyed the two news conferences at ASU. One news conference was with Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone and the second was with three dreamers or students who have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.
“The DACA stories were my favorite part,” she said.
She also liked a writing contest that ASU held. Her fellow Hopi High student, Elisa Casarez took second place in the English language division. There was also a Spanish language division. Ninety students from 12 schools competed in the contest.
Lahaleon enjoyed the UA stop because they had the students look through virtual reality glasses.
Lahaleon, who is considering minoring in journalism, said her advice for students who go on this trip next year is to take in the advice from people they meet on the trip.
Serena Leslie, a junior print journalism student, said the trip was a great experience, giving the students an idea what college life would be like, especially the media programs. She said the highlight was meeting new students and professors at each university.
Leslie, sports editor for the Bruin Times, said the trip would have been improved if they spent more time at each university so they could learn more about journalism. She said NAU would be a good school for students majoring in journalism. She said the ASU conference taught her that immigration is a big issue.
Leslie, who plans to minor in journalism, said her advice to students who go on the trip next year is to take notes so when they write about a subject they won’t regret not taking notes.
“The most interesting people I met during the trip were the students who worked the television news show and the anchor at NAU,” she said.
Hailey Kardell, a junior radio broadcast student at Hopi High, said the university trip was exciting because it gave her a chance to see the options she has at the universities.
“The highlight of the trip was seeing the news room at NAU,” she said. “The NAU media department was very nice to me. I really liked the radio booth that they had. Also, the news set was very interesting.”
Kardell said the ASU conference was informative and interesting.
Kardell plans to take radio classes in college.
She said one of the DACA students, Ezequiel Santos, was the most interesting person she met.
“His story really inspired me, especially (him) being homosexual and being an immigrant also, and how joining DACA helped him build the confidence to come out. It really inspired me and he gave me a hug,” she said.
Breanna Saufkie, a print journalism student at Hopi High, said the university trip was great because it was a good way to learn more information about journalism and meet some of the best professors at the universities.
Saufkie said the ASU conference was inspirational because listening to guest speakers was helpful in learning how to improve writing skills. She said listening to the dreamers (DACA students) was interesting because she learned that everyone has a different life and everyone has struggles.
Saufkie is going to major in physiology at UA, but will minor in journalism.
“The UA media department was helpful, but I thought it would be better to visit on a weekday when students were there so they could shadow them like they do at the other universities,” she said.
Saufkie said her advice to students who go on the trip next year is that writing questions before hand is helpful.
“Make sure you get your interviews done because it does help your grade. Take everything to a full advantage and gain as much knowledge as you can,” she said.
Shi Daisy Nelson, a junior print journalism student at Hopi High, said the highlight of the trip was seeing the communication buildings at the three universities.
“I loved the NAU media department. It was different and fun,” she said. “The ASU conference was realistic. I liked it, but it was too fast for me.”
Nelson said she wasn’t surprised that Casarez won because she’s a good person and a good writer.
Nelson, who is considering minoring in journalism, said her advice for students going on the trip next year is to take notes on everything they do on trip and have questions ready beforehand. She said the two anchors on the NAZ news were the most interesting people she met on the trip.
“I saw what they did on the camera and off the camera,” she said.
Casarez, editor of the Hopi High Bruin Times, said the trip was fun and it showed her the choices that are available. She said the highlight was when she won the write-off award at ASU.
Casarez said she was shocked when she won the award. Her advice to students who go on the trip next year is to have a pen and notepad that can fit in their pocket.
Amber Polacca, a sophomore print journalism student at Hopi High, said the trip was a great experience because she learned a lot of journalism tips.
“The highlight of the trip was when we saw the Vietnamese girls and I took a picture of them with Kyle (Secakuku),” she said.
During the UA trip, the Hopi High media students were touring the campus when they saw some young women doing a photo shoot. They called for the Hopi High students to join them. It turned out they were from the Southern Arizona Vietnamese Pageant.
Polacca said the NAU media department was cool.
“I am thinking of attending NAU. They gave me a big eye opener,” she said. “The ASU conference was a big eye opener.”
Polacca said it was good that Casarez won an award.
“It was cool for our school to win an award,” she said. “This trip motivates me to go into journalism although it will not be my main career. I am thinking of becoming a part-time journalist.”
Polacca’s advice for students who go on the trip next year is to take a lot of notes and ask a lot of questions.