Vincent Davis, San Antonio Express-News feature reporter, gives high school students advice on feature writing.
By Courtney Kaiser
Marvin Gaye’s hit “What’s Going On” helped kick off the journalism program’s annual “Charting Your Course” workshop last week.
The song gets the blood flowing, said Vincent Davis, former student and San Antonio Express-News feature reporter.
Davis, the keynote speaker at the Sept. 18 workshop in Loftin Student Center, said, “Coming back to The Ranger and this department is always invigorating. When I come here, I start thinking about all of the things I learned.”
He and other professionals and journalism faculty shared some of the things they’ve learned with students from area high schools Clemens, Central Catholic, Memorial, Stevens and East Central and Jefferson. Journalism students from this college also attended.
“One thing I learned at SAC is you need to show the details,” Davis said. “You want Stevie Wonder to see the
Davis gave students advice on different types of features, whether it’s a profile, an investigative piece, a travel story, how-to or a sidebar.
Good reporters get out and pound the pavement, he said. “The stories are not at your desk; they are out in the community.”
The workshop gives high school students and teachers a chance to prepare for the school year in their newspaper and yearbook courses, said conference Coordinator Irene Abrego, who teaches journalism and advises The Ranger.
Speakers presented sessions on topics such as the inverted pyramid, interviewing skills, sports photography and Photoshop tips for aspiring photographers.
Christine Keyser-Fanick, publications adviser for Stevens High School, said they have brought their students every year the workshop has been offered since 2005, when the high school first opened.
“I like that there are a variety of sessions,” Keyser-Fanick said. “We have photographers, writers, beginners and editors with us. We have 17 here today, but had hoped to bring 40.”
The idea for the workshop originated in 2004 in this college’s journalism program, and professors put out feelers to area high school journalism teachers. Teachers liked the idea, except they did not want to wait a year for the inaugural conference, Abrego said.
“They said no, we need it now,” Abrego said, so the department got busy and offered the first conference in 2004.
The workshop is a great way for the program to do community service, Abrego said. “It lets us give back to the community.”
It also is a great recruitment tool for the program, Abrego said.
Davis, who started out as a Ranger illustrator, has been with the San Antonio Express-News 16 years. He worked his way up from an editorial assistant to a feature writer at the daily newspaper.
“I wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t for what I learned here,” he said.