KEMPA Conference Teaching Tomorrow’s Publishers

The KEMPA (Kettle Moraine Press Association) conference was held last Friday, October 19th, at the University of Whitewater, Wisconsin.

This is a time when high school writers and get together and listen to seminars given by pros. These seminars help come up with ideas and better themselves and their work. Throughout the day each students went to three seminars, all 45 minutes each. In this time, professionals shared their knowledge and answered questions that students may have. During my day, I went to the seminars Multimedia and the Newspaper, Capturing the Perfect Shot and Creating a Literary Magazine.

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The first and last seminars were great and really interesting, however I found the second one to be boring and mostly uninformative. Multimedia and the Newspaper, given by photojournalist Kristyna Wentz- Graff was extremely informative and eye opening to the reality of changing news. Newspapers no longer hire photojournalists. Instead, they hire people who can do all aspects of media. From photos to videos, to slide shows and more, newspapers have advanced with all the technology. And to have a career at a newspaper you have to change with it.

She had a great slideshow put together in which she showed her works. Kristyna would show a video or a picture and then afterwards, talk about it and what she went through to get the video or perfect shot. She also talked about important pieces of equipment. This ended up being a extremely fun and informative seminar that created high expectations for the day. The second seminar, run by Rennie Cook, was Capturing the Perfect Shot.

This seminar was one I, as a photographer, was really looking forward to. You could expect to go in and learn a few things about composition and what really draws the eye to make a good photo. She started off, though, all wrong. Starting out with “I’m not really prepared,” her presentation was doomed from the start. However, the few pointers she gave were good. Some tidbits about focal points and the area of focus, a minute or two about lighting and then maybe 30 seconds of having good flow in a picture.

After that, all she did was answer questions. I understand that she wanted it to be a discussion, but even her answers never seemed to really end or have the “ah-ha” moment where something she said helped. Overall the second seminar did not live up to expectations. The third and final session was Creating a Literary Magazine, presented by James Barnabee. This seminar was not as informative as the first but not as bad as the second. These 45 minutes were used to discuss good ideas on how to create hype for our schools lit mag.

We talked about ways to get enough money and what makes a good literary magazine. We read over some great pieces and looked at magazines that the school he teaches at had published the past few years. They were amazing displays of work and really gave an idea as to what it should look like, how it should flow, and the standard for art and writings that should go into this representation of the school. He ended the great discussion by giving the people that were there his email and “homework” assignments to help us better our own writing and art. Overall the conference was fun and I learned great information that have definitely helped improve my own skills already. Though the middle session dragged the day down a little bit, the other two seminars were good enough to make me want to go back and recommend that others go year after year as well.