OCCurrence takes part in junior college journalism conference


Josselyn Cruz

OCCurrence students attended the Illinois Community College Journalism Association (ICCJA) Conference at Grand Lodge Bear in Starved Rock on April 11-12.

The students were able to attend a variety of workshops such as podcasting, photography, and sports, just to name a few. Students were also able to network with different community colleges in Illinois to know what they do in their community college newspaper.

OCCurrence writer, Jessica So, said, “My favorite part of the conference was traveling together and spending time together as a team because it was really cool and fun.”

When it came down to what students took away from the experience at the conference, Production Manager, Robin Sluzas, said, “I didn’t know as much as I thought I would. It was nice to be able to talk to other reporters and editors from different community colleges. Also, I didn’t understand how important college news is to community colleges in their areas.”  

Also, students enjoy going to different workshops that could help in the future for the OCCurrence. “My favorite workshop was the podcasting because I do listen to podcasts, but I don’t really know what goes into the development of podcasts. It would be cool if we get something started like that in the OCCurrence,” So said.

“My favorite workshop was the sports writing workshop. I thought that was awesome. It’s a whole different way of writing because it’s tied to coaches and players, and there’s specific language. There’s specific timing when you should talk to a coach. You have to learn about statistics of the games,” Sluzas said.  

At the awards ceremony at the end of the conference, Damaris Gonzalez received third place in sports photography. Robin Sluzas received third place in a news story, while Miguel Nunez received an honorable mention in the same news story category. The OCCurrence staff received a third place award for their website.

Editor-in-Chief, Jack Timperley said, “I was so proud of the team because I was half expecting us to get awards. We started this a year ago and look how far we’ve come. Since then, we have a website created, and now we’re in third place in the state for our website! It’s amazing, and this was all based on our first three issues.”