Students in graduation


March 22, 2019

Student editors and leading contributors from St. Benedict’s Prep’s award-winning student publication, The Benedict News, were given a taste of the Ivy League this past week, attending the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s 95th Annual Convention at Columbia University in New York.

In doing so, St. Benedict’s students met fellow student-journalists from across the country and dove into dozens of expert-led seminars about writing, reporting, editing, photography, leadership and media law. The seminars ranged in subject matter with titles that included “Zero to Hero: Three Ingredients to a Super Staff,” “The Authentic Art of Writing,” “It’s All About Light,” and “Tweets, Grams, Snaps, Chats, Streams, and the Law.” The trip was made possible by the generous grant of an anonymous donor.

For Jules Gouton, editor-in-chief of The Benedict News, the conference offers a “remarkable” environment for student journalists who find they are truly among peers facing similar challenges of creating stories, inspiring staff and serving their communities.

“It’s a rare opportunity for me to be surrounded by thousands of high school journalists,” said Gouton, who was inspired to take a leadership position in his senior year after his experience at the meeting last year.  “It is pleasing to see that there are students who truly cherish their First Amendment rights and go through situations similar to mine.”

Carlos Presina, a staff writer and photographer for The Benedict News, said the seminars he attended underscored the importance of multitasking.

“Being able to do two or more things at once is important because you will have a lot of work to do during the making of the paper and you need to be able to ride with the pressure,” said Presina, who also is captain of the varsity water polo team.  “The moment that you slack off and can’t follow directions, you will not only hurt yourself but your fellow staff as well.”

The national gathering of student leaders and faculty advisers of newspapers, magazines, websites, video productions and yearbooks was held on the Morningside Heights main campus of Columbia University from March 20-22.

“I learned a lot from the conference,” said senior Luis Narvaez, a writer and head administrator of The Benedict News.  “Most of those things I learned will be really helpful for classes, college and future careers.”

Attendees chose from more than 350 sessions organized in seven sequences: newspaper; magazine, online media, video/broadcasting, yearbook, law and ethics and faculty advising. More than 500 newspapers, magazines and yearbooks that were entered in CSPA’s 2018 competitions, including The Benedict News’ Silver Medal-winning entries, were displayed.