On April 8, Missouri Western hosted the Missouri College Media Association banquet. The event kicked off with a film festival, then, on April 9, featured several sessions for students to attend.

The film festival featured submissions from several schools with over thirty different categories for students to win awards from.

Saturday’s event began early in the morning, where several speakers presented throughout the day about vital topics in the world of media and communication. Over 140 students from across the northwest region of Missouri were in attendance.

Some of the speakers included professors such as Joe Moore from the University of Central Missouri, Tamara Zellars Buck from Southeast Missouri State University, and Robert Bergland from Northwest Missouri State University.

Several Missouri Western graduates also spoke, such as Zoë Jones, Reed Bolonyl and Katelyn Canon.

Midday, there was a job fair in Spratt Atrium, where several local media companies such as KQ2 and the St. Joe News Press informed students about what it is like to work as a journalist or reporter.

Arianne Boma served as the 2021-2022 President of the Missouri College Media Association. She spoke about the tremendous success of the event.

"I think it benefitted the students way more than anything I could ever imagine," Boma said. "Journalists, photographers, videographers – everyone who is in student media deserves to have their work shown and be praised for it."

Boma also talked about how planning the event helped push her forward as a leader.

“I think my leadership skills have grown tremendously….It made me step up to a role that I thought I was prepared for, but I wasn't. In the end, it made me a better person and it made me appreciate these events that schools put on and conferences.”

A keynote speaker was Trey Williams. Williams is currently the Race and Equity editor at the Kansas City Star. During the event, he spoke about diversity in journalism and the significance of representation.

“Just as important as…diversity is being able to listen to diverse voices,” Williams said. “You don’t have to have all of the answers or to fully understand everything, but you do have to be able to listen and give diverse voices room to speak.”

When asked if he had advice for aspiring communication and media students, Williams stressed the value of involvement in student newspapers and internships.

“You not only have to do internships in order to, at the end of the day, get a job, but those internships…are going to test your skill and put you to work, and it’s really going to be where you start to cut your teeth as a real reporter and journalist.”

Park University student, Skyler Jensen, was one of the many attendees. Jensen is a junior double majoring in multimedia journalism and public relations and communication studies. She commented on her favorite presentations.

“I would probably say either ‘Making Yourself Known in a Digital World’ or ‘A Day in the Life of a News Anchor,’” Jensen said. “I feel like both of them gave a good, clean presentation that was really informative and was able to answer questions and clear up some ideas that I have about what the industry will be with the realities of it.”

Jensen also spoke about the benefits she earned from attending the event.

“I think the biggest thing that I’ll take away from today is that the industry has a lot of facets to it and there’s always room to grow. This is an opportunity to grow my skills and take those back to Park with me and use them there in the student media department and in my different classes.”

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