Wave Media goes to St. Louis


In November, Tupelo High School’s Wave Media crew went on its most ambitious trip to date–to the National High School Journalism Convention in St. Louis, Missouri.

The National High School Journalism Convention is a semi-annual event hosted by the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association. It is made to host a multitude of breakout learning sessions for student journalists and instructors from across the country and even around the world.

Like any trip halfway across the country, this trip required a lot of planning.

“Taking students out of state requires a lot of paperwork. We’ve had travel issues, finding a bus driver, and trying to figure out the financial costs,” Journalism Teacher Shari Chumley said.

The most apparent wrinkle for the students was the significant cost of the trip.

Raising money was difficult, but outside of direct contributions a few methods were used. The students sold Wave Media T-shirts, sweatshirts, and advertisements through       

the adopt a jouralist campaign.

“We used an adopt a journalist program where students spoke to family, friends, and businesses. We raised about $1,500 of the trip money with just adopt a journalist. Our community came in and said yes, we want to sponsor this trip. We also sold T-shirts and raised almost $5,000 in T-shirt sales,” Chumley said.

These struggles would prove to be worthwhile, as the convention would provide a truly unique experience to the Wave Media team.

“I definitely had some minutes where I thought, “is it worth it?”and “is it going to happen?” But, it was so worth it. I’m so happy that it happened,” Chumley said.

The courses participants got to attend covered a variety of topics, everything from journalism ethics to how to write a good profile.

“The main one I can remember is the one about photography: about ISO aperture, depth of field, and F-stop. I haven’t heard those terms in a long time, and going to that class was a real refresher.” Editor-in-Chief Rico Morris said.

The convention would not be the Wave Media teams only stopping place. As a portion of the trip was dedicated to exploring the city of St. Louis, including visits to the famous Gateway Arch and St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station.

“Going to the events, JEA and NSPA, and going to classes was fun and good. But, I actually going exploring the city, that I have never been to personally, was my favorite experience,” Morris said.

At the end of every day, the team would meet up in the hotel lobby to discuss what they learned. They dicussed their ideas to improve the program and plans to implement them.

“My favorite, favorite, favorite time that we had was after our first day of the conference. We all sat down in the dining area and talked about what the students what they learned what they want to bring back to our room,” Chumley said.

Students shared about the things they learned from the sessions as well as from other students.

Ms. Chumley encouraged the students to use their skills and interview people they met.  Jevon Edwards wrote several feature stories about the people he met. (Read one below in the sidebar).

St. Louis wouldn’t go without surprises though, namely the cold weather. On Saturday, it snowed about 2 inches.  And unlike snow in Mississippi, this snow stayed on the ground for days.

“It definitely caught me off guard. I was not expecting to see snow out there, even though we have had snow down here. I just was not expecting to see snow,” Morris said.

“I felt betrayed by Ms. Chumley. She said it was gonna be cold. But she didn’t say snow cold. She just said cold. I was prepared for the cold part, but not the snow cold part,” Review Editor Joshua Delacoudray said.

This trip would offer some students a new appreciation for the school’s journalism program. The team was made up entirely of returning students who had already seen a lot of what the program had to offer, which is extremely notable.

“I felt different about the whole program and I wanted to help out more. It was a really cool experience,” Delacoudray said.

Ms. Chumley said that she thought the trip was a “program changing” trip. As students came back energized and with more knowledge about what makes a great journalism program.

Luckily, there are future plans revolving around the Journalism Education Association and its conventions.

“We definitely are going to try to go to one national convention every year,” Ms. Chumley said.

She is hoping to take the group to Kansas City in April of 2024.