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By: Collin Brault

Lets face it, as much as we love listening to incredible speakers talk about their passion for journalism and the incredible stories that come with it, every speaker has the potential to be a little bit boring. No offense to the fantastic speakers that volunteer their time speaking and connecting with the eager students at NEWSPA, but it’s just the way we’re wired.

According to an article on the human attention span, (in case this article is already boring you) multiple studies show that an active audience member in a crowd will optimally stay engaged with a speaker for 20 minutes.

Now to all of the die hard, future journalists, sitting on the very edge of their seats, frantically taking notes at 100 mph, grasping at every. last. word. that the presenter has to say… kudos. But the rest of us could maybe use another incentive other than professional development to keep us involved and engaged all the way through each NEWSPA session.

While one aspect of NEWSPA is centered around attending sessions and workshops with great keynote speakers, another equally important and a bit more engaging aspect of the conference are the competitions. Though these competitions bring a bit more pride and excitement to NEWSPA, most of the submissions for these contests have to be entered months in advance of the conference.

In a way it’s kind of like online shopping, where you eagerly submit the order, only to wait for what seems like a lifetime and a half in order to get the (feedback) package.

WELL NOT ANYMORE! NEWSPA is excited to announce that the 2020 conference will feature a new set of mini competitions, available for all attendees! After weeks and weeks of bargaining with our keynote speakers, we finally got them to agree to give up the last ten minutes of each session to make time for a few new competitions.

These free, fun, and fast competitions will be centered around a skill that was just presented in the session, and will require students to think quick on their feet while also channeling their creativity to stand out from the rest. Immediate feedback will be given by the presenter while the winner of each contest will receive a prize, the ultimate light at the end of the tunnel (besides professional development, of course).

Confirmed mini competitions for students to look forward to competing in include: best headline, best feature lead, best story idea, and best social media post. Learn more at the NEWSPA Website.