Partners in the Wichita Journalism Collaborative hosted a talk at the 2022 Kansas Scholastic Press Association (KSPA) fall conference this October. The event is meant for high school students to expand their horizons and learn about the world of journalism and beyond. They also work to make the students feel connected and to work through some of the common challenges they might face.
The KSPA is a non-profit organization devoted to helping students find support and achieve excellence in journalism.
The Wichita Journalism Collaborative’s session was titled, “Breaking the Stigma with Mental Health Coverage.” It provided details about the collaborative’s current focus, which is mental health, and how it is important to be open and share about mental health with the community in order to better aid them and reduce the stigma and shame surrounding mental health struggles.
Matthew Kelly, a graduate from WSU who now works for the Wichita Eagle, and Amy DeVault, a journalism instructor at WSU and long time advocate for the Collaborative, spoke to the students and answered any questions they had. Some students asked if they were allowed to speak on such subjects to which DeVault said that it is necessary to talk about mental health so that the stigma lessens in the first place.
The conference also had several other partners of the collaborative. Claudia Amaro of Planeta Venus talked about the importance of diversity and accurately reaching out by having information in Spanish to engage the community. Kylie Cameron and Daniel Caudill of KMUW talked about audio storytelling and how our ears need way more than just music and how the transition from print to radio went for them. Travis Heying of the Wichita Eagle, had an interactive session to help the student journalists with his photography experience.
The keynote speaker of the day was Jeff Herndon from KSN who is the assistant news director as well as main anchor. Herndon has received awards for his reporting and taught the students about his journey to where he is today as well as answered questions.