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Groton Learns from Peers Schools at Blueprint Conference

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Groton Learns from Peers Schools at Blueprint Conference

Blueprint Conference attendees at Andover

Blueprint Conference attendees at Andover

Gail Friedman

Blueprint Conference attendees at Andover

Gail Friedman

Gail Friedman

Blueprint Conference attendees at Andover

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Voice staff members attended Blueprint, an interscholastic journalism conference. The conference, which was presented by Phillips Academy Andover’s weekly newspaper, The Phillipian, allowed students to collaborate in student-led workshops as well as hear from many accomplished journalists. The conference connected writers from different boarding schools and delved into a variety of topics ranging from the implications of the recent false news phenomenon to the business aspects of a student newspaper.

One of The Circle Voice editors-in-chief Marianne Lu ’19 said that “the goal of the conference was to come together with different schools and share ideas about running a newspaper. By discussing different aspects of management, writing, and business, we wanted to see how we could learn from our peer schools.” With this goal in mind, perhaps one of the most important aspects of the conference was the workshops, which were led by Phillipian staff members. Students choose between three workshops for each of the two 25-minute sessions. Options included “From Sources to Paper,” which focused on online news sources’ layouts and implicit biases, and “Stacking Paper in a Paperless World” in which The Phillipian business managers explained how they utilize ads and subscriptions to maintain financial independence from Andover.

Beyond collaborating with other boarding school students, Blueprint attendees received the benefits of insights from established National Broadcasting Company (NBC), Boston Globe, and Wall Street Journal Online journalists. They first heard from Richard Lui, a news anchor for NBC and the keynote speaker. He spoke about the current notion of false news in America. One panelist, Nicole Dungca, described her experience working on The Boston Globe Spotlight team for a seven-part series on racism in Boston, a project prompted by the incident of a Red Sox fan using a racially charged epithet towards Baltimore Orioles player Adam Jones. In particular, Dungca emphasized the importance of using data rather than exclusively anecdotal evidence in investigative journalism. Another panelist Nora Princiotti, a Boston Globe sportswriter and member of Andover’s class of 2012, recounted how she dug into the Phillipian sports archives in order to secure an interview with the elusive Patriots coach and fellow Andover alum Bill Belichick.

Assistant News editor for The Circle Voice Cara Chang ’20 remarked, “The conference raised a lot of questions, both for me personally and for others on the editorial staff, about new journalism projects that we could bring to the circle.” One such project could include following Andover’s footsteps in exploring ways of raising revenue in order to similarly gain independence. In addition, Lui’s points about maintaining objectivity to avoid misinformation and disinformation may cause conference attendees to be more cognizant of the ways in which they present information. The experience of hearing directly from professional journalists will also hopefully influence these writers to continue to seize similar opportunities in the future.

Cara confirms this sentiment saying, “All in all, it was an informative trip that has made me even more excited about working on The Circle Voice.”

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