By Katlin Stinespring
The college student I am and professional I am preparing to become maintains a foundation in my experiences with FlipSide.
While I have always possessed a thirst for knowledge and communicating that knowledge through the written word, I first put those interests into action as a FlipSide correspondent. The opportunity to seek information about my favorite topics, including sports, politics, music and literature, and to share my findings (and often, opinions) with others allowed me to live out a professional aspiration.
Interacting with students from area high schools was always one of my favorite aspects of the job. The staff meetings allowed us to learn about what was taking place in other schools and collaborate on issues that were important to us all.
I was able to experience this interaction at the national level when I was one of seven students chosen to attend the Newspaper Association of America Foundation's annual Young Readers journalism conference in 2008. Working in Phoenix, Ariz., alongside fellow aspiring media professionals from Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Washington was an eye-opening experience. It showed me how diverse individuals can be even as young adults, but how we are all still experiencing many of the same changes in our lives.
My experiences with FlipSide encouraged me to pursue other journalism opportunities, including the positions of editor-in-chief and sports editor for Hurricane High School's student newspaper, The Redskin Rundown, as well as reporting positions for The Putnam Standard and West Virginia University's student newspaper, The Daily Athenaeum. I now use those skills first developed at my time with FlipSide in my daily academic and professional work.
Today, I am a step ahead in all of my courses and professional endeavors because of the foundation of skills and knowledge that I developed while reporting for FlipSide. As a public relations major at WVU, I have firsthand knowledge of the perspectives of both sides of the public affairs relationship -- the news media and the PR practitioners.
Happy 20th birthday, Flipside! Thank you for allowing the expressions of West Virginia teens to be shared throughout the world.
Katlin Stinespring graduated from Hurricane High School in 2008. She is a junior at WVU.