Young journalists hope to inspire

For his four years of high school, Collyn Taylor attended journalism conferences at USC. As an editor for the Dutch Fork High School newspaper, he found the instruction and encouragement he gained at these conferences essential to his development as a student and as a budding journalist. 

“The South Carolina Scholastic Press Association had such a big impact on my life,” Taylor said. “It’s networked me to a whole slew of professional journalists.” 

Now a freshman journalism major in USC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Taylor is working as an intern with the S.C. Scholastic Press Association and hopes to share his passion with other high school students attending a conference this week. 

“It’s such a vital tool to any high school journalist,” Taylor said. “I wanted to help them see that and reach their full potential in high school.” 

Programs like the South Carolina Scholastic Press Association, Southern Interscholastic Press Association and the Carolina Journalism Institute bring hundreds of young journalists to USC’s College of Mass Communications and Information Studies each year. For a day, a weekend and a week each year, young reporters, editors and their advisers come to campus to learn the ins and outs of producing award-winning newspapers, yearbooks, magazine and broadcast programs. 

Public relations senior B.P. Turner wrote for her high school newspaper and has worked with USC’s scholastic journalism programs. Now, she thinks she wants a career as a high school journalism adviser. 

“This matters to me,” Turner said. 

Rebecca Piner, a junior public relations major, says she chose Carolina after coming to the Southern Interscholastic Press Association conference as a member of her high school newspaper and yearbook staffs. 

“SIPA opened my eyes to USC,” Piner says. “The instructors made me that much more passionate about journalism. I wanted to make others as passionate as I am for it.” 

The USC students will work with hundreds of high school students and teachers who are coming to campus this week for the annual South Carolina Scholastic Press Association conference. 

The special guest for this year’s event will be Mary Beth Tinker, a party to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) that said students have the right to make peaceful political statements at school. Tinker is touring schools across the U.S. along with the Student Press Law Center. They hope to raise awareness that free speech doesn’t end at the schoolhouse gate.

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