50th Anniversary of Journalism Day: CAF&DM at FIU



CavsConnect staff members at J-Day, waiting for the FSPA competition awards to be announced.

Every year, Coral Gables Senior High’s five publications, CavsConnect, CavsTV, Highlights, Cavaleon and Carthasis, participate in Journalism Day. Hosted by Florida International University, all schools in the Florida Scholastic Press Association District 6 spend a day attending workshops and learning about various aspects of the journalism world.

FIU welcomed writers to its 50th anniversary on Oct. 3 at the Modesto Campus. Opening remarks were led by Mr. Schriner, the Dean of the FIU College of Communication, Architecture and the Arts and Dr. Kopenhaver, the founder of J-Day. She then introduced the keynote speaker, Mr. Jackson, a sports reporter for the Miami Heat, who talked about his personal experience in the broadcasting branch of journalism.

With his dream set since high school, Jackson first worked for the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network before receiving the opportunity to be one of the National Basketball Association’s television hosts and court-side reporters. Debuting a 19th season with the Heatles, his days are surrounded by basketball, from watching practices and meeting with his team to reporting games.

Offering a wide range of workshops, students and advisers were invited to attend two consecutive informational sessions of their choosing. Cavaliers all split into different workshops such as printing, ethics of journalism and storytelling lessons, bringing back new tips that can be incorporated into their respective publications.

CAF&DM lead teacher and advisers at J-Day, encouraging their staff. (CavsTV)

“I thought Journalism Day was a good way for CAF&DM to come together and learn more about journalism. I think this was very helpful for our new writers in Highlights, who were able to get a refresher on how to write a lead, and it was beneficial to publications that use layouts,” junior Lenox Balzebre said.

“The Power of Storytelling: Finding Your Story” was led by Gables Alumna and founder of CavsTV Nathalie Abrahantes. In her presentation, Abrahantes discussed coming up with story ideas, adequate angles to elevate a story and tips on interviewing. Striving for a future in the realm of education, she too desired involvement with FSPA. Accomplishing both goals, this opportunity gave her hands-on experience in teaching journalistic topics.

“This is so cool, it was so nice to have everyone hyping me up […] I do want to teach in the future, do journalism marketing, maybe even create my own publication. Ideally, I would love to come back and teach at Gables,” alumna Nathalie Abrahantes said.

CavsConnect and CavsTV enjoys lunch after attending two sessions on different aspects of journalism. (CavsTV)

Print publication staff members from Highlights and Cavaleon attended workshops such as “Elevating Your Print Media” and “Getting Back to (Design) Basics” to learn about layouts and the design aspect that would appeal most to readers. This allowed each member to incorporate what they learned through these presentations into their team to improve their print media.

“As a four-year member of yearbook, I saw a lot of designs that I thought were interesting, and I got a lot of inspiration from photography. I want to make sure we have better pictures and the first step to that is learning how to get better angles myself to then be able to teach it to others,” senior Sarah Whalen said.

After the workshops, students got a lunch break where they were allowed to roam FIU’s campus. Regrouping for the closing, the fall FSPA district contest’s highest awards were distributed. Gables received multiple All-Florida recognitions, including Editor-in-Chief Arianna Hoyos for Deadline Prose and staff writer Samantha Gonzalez for Deadline Written Review.

As the first in-person J-Day since the start of the pandemic, Cavaliers left the day with new ideas to further improve their publication, preparing for the next FSPA competitions in the spring.