Competing at the Texas Community College Journalism Association (TCCJA) convention in Clear Lake on behalf of Richland, Oct. 13 to 15, was a remarkable experience. This year the live competition took place at NASA with the writing portion taking place at the University of Houston, Clear Lake (UHCL) on the Kemah campus.
Being my first competition in editorial writing I was naturally a bit nervous. Luckily I had a familiar team from the Chronicle that I knew I could count on. In total, 16 community colleges from Texas participated, including Eastfield, Brookhaven and North Lake from the Dallas Community College District (DCCCD).
We were invited to NASA for a news conference and a tour of the space program training facilities. It was fun and interesting but also really fast paced. I tried to take as many notes as I possible because I knew I would need them when went to the university to compete. The other team attended a news conference about space travel to Mars.
On campus at Kemah, the students were divided into groups for their specific contests which ranged from broadcast news (radio and television) writing to print news, feature, editorial and photography. All of the stories were based on the NASA experience.
I had to write an editorial about whether I thought the space program was a good idea or not, and if so which direction it should go. Being put on the spot with just my notes and an hour to sort through my thoughts was pretty challenging. Nevertheless, I made the most of what I had and composed a piece on the International Space Station and its benefits as a multi-national laboratory.
Afterwards, we were invited to lectures and workshops on campus related to utilizing our journalism skills. With dinner came the award ceremony where the Chronicle team received awards for photography, television news writing and general excellence as a newspaper. Overall I had a wonderful time traveling with my team and networking with other students who had similar interests and aspirations as myself.