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NMSU hosted high school journalism workshop

High school students from across the state came to participate in the New Mexico Press Association High School Journalism Workshop hosted by New Mexico State University June 1-4.

New Mexico high school students admire the newspaper they created, The Future Press, at the New Mexico Press Association High School Journalism Workshop June 1-4 at New Mexico State University. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

The workshop was started in 1984 by J. Sean McCleneghan, a journalism professor at NMSU, and the director of the NMPA as a way to get top high school writers interested in journalism. After NMSU hosted the workshop for two consecutive years, the NMPA decided to rotate the workshop between NMSU, the University of New Mexico and Eastern New Mexico University.

"The workshop is a time compressed journalism boot camp," McCleneghan said. "The students write, take photos and create a newspaper called the Future Press."

Along with recruiting future students, McCleneghan said the workshop helps the students further their careers, whether it is at their high school yearbook or newspaper or even their hometown paper.

McCleneghan said 30 to 40 students used to participate in the workshop, which was taught by NMSU faculty. Now, a smaller number of students attend for more personal instruction led by high school journalism teachers.

"It was hard for the faculty to teach the workshop because they didn't teach during the summer," McCleneghan said. "The move was made by the NMPA to bring in the best and brightest in high school journalism."

This year's participating teachers were Pat Graff, La Cueva High School, Albuquerque, Mary Massey, Capital High School, Santa Fe, and Connie Blue, Southwest Secondary Learning Center, Albuquerque. Doug Mossure from Mountainair High School also attended the workshop as a volunteer to learn about high school journalism to help him begin a program at Mountainair.

This was Graff's 20th year participating in the workshop and Massey's and Blue's 10th year.

McCleneghan, who has participated in the workshop every year it has been at NMSU, said students who attended the workshop were sponsored by either their hometown newspaper or their high school.

"The majority of the cost of the workshop is paid for by community newspapers and the NMPA," McCleneghan said. "The community newspapers should be thanked for bringing the young students to NMSU, Eastern and UNM."

Dana Bowely, executive director of the NMPA, attended the workshop and even spoke to the students about journalism.

Other guest speakers include Ned Cantwell, a long time New Mexico journalist, and Las Cruces Sun-News editors Richard Coltharp and Lucas Peerman.

Fourteen girls and two boys ages 15 to 16 attended the workshop this year. The students include:

Capital High School - Penuel Bickley, Rebecca Gonzales, Sarah Lopez, Samantha Nottke and Shannelle Sisneros

Espanola Valley High School - Tanae Galligan

Mayfield High School - Zuleyma Flores

Mountainair High School - April Thompson

Rio Grand High School - Yoana Miramontes

Rio Rancho High School - Jacobs Rivera, Vanessa Tapia and Nancy Webb

Ruidoso High School - Danielle Cadena and Tyann Jacobs

Southwest Learning Center - Jennifer James and Gabriel Martinez