IHSPA board develops new plan for convention

By Ryan Gunterman
IHSPA Executive Director

Dear journalism family,

The IHSPA board has been working throughout the summer to develop a convention plan during a time when detailed, advanced scheduling has become nearly impossible. The recent COVID surge has exponentially increased the difficulty of that process. However, after thorough discussions about the current status of the pandemic and convention survey responses, our group of volunteer advisers and students have developed an outline of 2021-2022 events to best suit the needs of our scholastic journalism world.

The traditional fall convention scheduled for Friday, Oct. 22 is canceled due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID Delta variant surge. We obviously want to keep everyone safe, but 78% of the survey respondents indicated they didn’t even know if their districts would allow a field trip.

Instead, we are planning the following in place of the canceled event:


Mitch Eden, MJE, advises The Kirkwood Call newsmagazine/website and the Pioneer yearbook at Kirkwood (MO) High School. Eden will provide the keynote, “Join the Culture Club,” and lead the student leadership workshop during the 2021 IHSPA membership brunch Saturday, Oct. 23. More information:

1. We will hold a membership brunch Saturday, Oct. 23 at Franklin College in the student center Branigin Room. Ideally, advisers will bring their student leaders, with each school limited to 10 attendees. Along with a catered brunch, the event will feature a keynote, student leadership workshop, annual adviser meeting, and awards celebration.

The day begins with a meal and keynote presentation focusing on the issues currently relevant to scholastic journalism. It is immediately followed by a ceremony to name the Hoosier StarDr. Louis Ingelhart Friend of the High School Press, and IHSPA Lifetime Membership award winners. Attendees then participate in a membership meeting that features IHSPA Executive Board elections, professional development, leadership training, and personal celebrations. Here is the tentative schedule (all times EST):

9:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Featured Speaker
10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Adviser & Student Board Elections
10:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

Student Workshop, Adviser Meeting
10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Mitch Eden, MJE, of Kirkwood (MO) High School will provide the keynote, “Join the Culture Club,” and lead the student leadership workshop. Mitch advises The Kirkwood Call newsmagazine/website and the Pioneer yearbook. In his 26th year teaching, he follows the advice of his greatest mentor, Jack Kennedy, by simply trying to do his best each day. Most days are just OK, but every once in awhile he hits a home run. Or at least a ground-rule double.

Eden is a former Dow Jones News Fund National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year. He received the National Scholastic Press Association’s Pioneer Award, Journalism Education Association Medal of Merit and Society of Professional Journalists Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award. He has also served as Journalism Education Association Secretary and Missouri Journalism Education Association president.

Ready to register? Do so here: Membership Brunch Registration


The traditional Indiana scholastic journalism convention will take place Friday, Jan. 28 ( on the Franklin College campus. Schools may also register for free, at-a-glance critiques ( between Sept. 1-Oct. 31 and Jan. 1-Feb. 28. Email for more information.

2. A more-traditional version of the state convention will take place Friday, Jan. 28 at Franklin College. The day’s schedule will be similar to previous years with a few exceptions:

• There are two tracks of sessions from which students can pick — four 30-minute, intensive breakouts and three rounds of 70-minute, in-depth courses.

• Lunch in the student center dining hall is optional and available from noon to 2 p.m. Those wishing to eat on campus may purchase meal tickets when registering or pay with their own funds when there.

• There’s increased flexibility for those needing to leave early for transportation purposes. For example, students can experience four rounds of expert instruction and leave campus by 12:10 p.m.

• All activities will take place in four buildings at one end of campus in case of inclement weather.

Ready to register? Do so here: Journalism Convention Registration


3. Finally, a large number of those who completed the convention survey said “at-a-glance” student media critiques arranged by IHSPA would be useful, so I will begin scheduling those after Labor Day.

In the 30-minute critique, a judge provides constructive criticism using the Indiana journalism standards and IHSPA Hoosier Star Student Media Evaluation guidebooks, with specific strengths and challenges for improvement.

Judges are instructed to provide feedback in a constructive manner and not in a way that is deemed overly critical or unrealistic. Students and their advisers are encouraged to utilize the feedback during planning sessions and workshops to set high standards for their journalism program and better serve their audience.

Student media programs must provide electronic versions of the publication, website, or broadcast they wish to be the subject of the evaluation via a file sharing site (Google Drive, Dropbox), online distribution service (, or direct hyperlink to content.

Critique availability windows: Sept.1-Oct. 31 & Jan. 1-Feb.28

Ready to register? Do so here: At-A-Glance Critique Registration


I apologize for taking up so much time with this message, and I appreciate everyone’s patience. I realize such change will not be met with 100% approval and create new challenges for those wishing to participate. But yet again, the executive board has been developing this with Indiana advisers and student journalists in mind, hoping to provide services beneficial to as many people as possible.

As always, never hesitate to let us know what IHSPA can do for you:

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