Part of the conference was sitting in on speakers and workshops. One of the speakers, Tom French, won a Pulitzer Prize for his work as an investigative journalist. He came to the hospitality suite, which was more of a hangout suite for the teens, and talked to us about his work and answered a few questions.
Actually meeting a reporter who had gone so far in his career was really inspirational. He gave us really good advice about taking journalism seriously and having a real passion for it.
I had to quit FlipSide once I began college, but the experiences I had as a high school reporter are still helping me realize my dream of becoming a journalist.
Since I began college fouryears ago, I have served on the editorial board of The Parthenon, Marshall University's student newspaper, in three different positions, as well as reporting for a semester. I also completed a summer internship with The Charleston Gazette, and I began another internship with the Huntington Herald-Dispatch in September.
FlipSide is definitely more than just a teen section. It is a way for students to gain the experiences they need to realize their dreams of becoming journalists. I think I speak for many semi-professional journalists when I say that more programs like FlipSide are needed.
I'm glad Marina Hendricks had the idea for FlipSide 20 years ago, and I hope it continues for 20 more. Happy birthday, FlipSide!
Whitney Burdette graduated from Riverside High School in 2007. She is currently a reporter at The State Journal.