The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School


The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School


The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School


Journalism Students Explore Columbia Univ. Campus at Annual Fall Conference

Horizon staff members and students in the College Journalism class attended Columbia University in Manhattan for the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s (CSPA) 83rd Annual Fall Conference on Monday, November 6. Trip chaperones were club advisor and English teacher Jessica Sanders, English teacher and Chairperson Mary Kirby, and ENL teacher Karen Smith.

This trip took place the day before Election Day, so attending students were especially excited for the day-off that followed. 

The annual conference typically includes a diverse range of workshops hosted by expert journalists who have worked in the field for years and have advice for inspired student journalists. The workshops take place in different buildings throughout the Columbia campus, giving students the opportunity to navigate the area and get a glimpse of a historic college campus. 

Horizon participants have attended this conference many times over the years. Sanders explained, “There is always a great deal of journalism knowledge shared on this day each year. I, along with students, come away from this conference inspired and feeling more knowledgeable.” 

There is always a great deal of journalism knowledge shared on this day each year. I, along with students, come away from this conference inspired and feeling more knowledgeable.”

— Jessica Sanders, Horizon advisor and teacher

Upon arriving at LHS at 7 am sharp, students boarded the bus and buckled up for a ride into Manhattan. During the ride, Sanders provided a variety of bagels and snacks to all as students scrolled through the event app on which the conference was organized to see and discuss the workshops they would attend. Much traffic was enroute before the bus pulled up to a sidewalk across the street from the Columbia bookstore where everyone got off at 9:20 AM. Upon stepping through the campus gates, numerous attendees from schools far and near were seen traveling in groups to head to the first workshop, which started at 9:30. 

This year’s conference was arranged slightly differently. In the past, attendees were able–in small groups of students–to explore the campus not necessarily with a chaperone. Amid the recent protests on college campus resulting from the Israel-Hamas War, the CSPA wanted to ensure the safety of attendees. They informed all schools that Columbia would be increasing its campus security for the duration of the day. This precaution also prompted LHS to ensure that students this year would travel the campus with a teacher at all times. An additional LHS chaperone was added for the day. The 16 students who attended were then divided into groups amongst the three teachers. This year’s adjustment did not overshadow the day’s events for attendees. Students explored workshops and absorbed important concepts that they could incorporate into their work on Horizon.

Senior and Editor-in-Chief of Horizon’s print publication Olivia Lanteri attended a workshop on magazine layout design. She explained, “It helped me brainstorm a lot of new ideas for upcoming editions. I plan to now focus more on layout design and the importance of catching readers’ eyes.” 

I feel this trip was extremely beneficial to improve my writing and the way I manage the paper.”

— Alexis Raynor, Editor-in-Chief (Print)

Also in agreement with Lanteri’s goals was senior and also print Editor-in-Chief Alexis Raynor. She expressed, “I have so many ideas for the next print edition and am very excited to use the knowledge I acquired to improve Horizon.” She continued, “I feel this trip was extremely beneficial to improve my writing and the way I manage the paper.” 

Learning from layout design workshops was a shared objective of all Horizon members. The staff’s supreme goal is to get more LHS students to pick up the print edition, and the best way to execute this aim is by designing an attractive and drawing paper. Many tips were provided by Lifetouch International education specialist Laura Schaub at her workshop entitled “You Found That Idea Where?” She recommended that journalists “Embolden words to pull people in. Your reader is pulled in through the design of the headline.” Over the duration of her workshop, she went through an endless array of vividly crafted layouts based on simple ideas that students might not have thought of for newspaper layouts. Schaub emphasized that ideas are all over the place, and with just the right editing and formatting, any school’s newspaper can be the center of attention.

Each session lasted 45 minutes, so by the time two were completed, it was lunchtime. Students gathered together at the steps of the Columbia’s Low Memorial Library and ate their bagged lunches brought from home. It was also during this time that students had the opportunity to visit the Columbia bookstore and purchase some souvenirs. 

After the allotted one-hour break, students attended two more workshops before heading back to the library for a group photo and eventually preparing to depart the conference. 

Other sessions offered were also interesting and insightful. Ranging from detecting fake news to tips on photojournalism, from creative writing to workshops specifically aimed towards helping advisors manage their clubs, the variety of offerings was notable. 

The workshop entitled “Photojournalism: An Eyewitness to History” explored another particular area of interest at the conference. Host and photojournalist David Berkwitz spoke about his travels across the world, capturing the essence of many widely known events, such as 9/11 and the Tiananmen Square protests. “As a visual journalist, one of the key things you have to do is anticipate what’s happening. [I like to use the phrase] ‘work it’—pull something out [of the scene],” he explained. Berkwitz went on to explain the obstacles a photojournalist encounters and how he sees the field evolving as times change. He concluded his session with helpful advice directed towards inspired student journalists: “Always be prepared” and “Keep following stories.” 

Sports Editor and junior Justin Haberman spoke about his experience attending the conference for the first time: “My favorite workshop was ‘Sports Writing.’ It helped me learn how to shape questions for my interviews. I [also] learned how to research for the specific game that I am covering and how to dig for more information. It taught me to use more descriptive language when telling a story.” Haberman went on to express how the conference has made him more passionate about sports writing and heightened his confidence in potentially becoming a managing editor for Horizon next year. 

I learned about how a seemingly simple object can help develop character and be turned into a memorable part of a story.”

— Karen Smith, ELA teacher and chaperone

This CSPA conference was also Smith’s first. She expanded on her favorite workshops: “I attended two workshops that I thoroughly enjoyed. At ‘The Power of Light’ workshop on photography, I learned about the importance of lighting while taking pictures. […] I also enjoyed the workshop ‘From Breath to Book-Page: Writing Autobiographically.’ I learned about how a seemingly simple object can help develop character and be turned into a memorable part of a story.” She specifically recalled how proud she was when Horizon students participated in the latter workshop and bravely shared their on-the-spot writing. 

In essence, Smith expressed that her takeaway as an educator from the aforementioned workshops was the “power of simplicity” and discovering how the most basic objects and concepts can be of great importance to artistic and creative works. 

Columbia’s CSPA Fall Conferences continues to be an enlightening and engaging event for attendees, who leave feeling that they have acquired an abundance of knowledge. Horizon students began brainstorming new ideas for the publication as soon as they got back on the bus, fueled with new ambitions and high hopes for the upcoming school year. Events like this can inspire school newspaper staffs to think better, louder, and newer, and to stay committed to the obligation of reporting the news accurately and honestly.

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About the Contributor
Miranda Mangru
Miranda Mangru, Online Editor-in-Chief
Hi! My name is Miranda N. Mangru. I am a member of the Class of 2025 and fulfill the role of Online Editor-in-Chief '23-'24 and '24-'25. I am delighted to write for our school's newspaper. Other extracurriculars I partake in include Student Diversity Council, ASL Club, DEI Committee, National History Day Club, and Speech & Debate. I am also president of the National Honor Society '24-'25 chapter. Outside of school I take pleasure in listening to music, watching films, and spending quality time with my family. I hope you are enjoying all of Horizon’s great content!