Journalism Day

Panel members of the inaugural Journalism Day gather for a group photo. The panel consisted of local media professionals. 

The second annual Journalism Day for high school students will take place on Feb. 7, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bakersfield College.

Kristen Hunter-Flores, Ridgeview High School journalism adviser, brought back the event last year after more than 10 years had passed without one after funding was cut. She remembers attending the event when she was in high school at East in the late ’90s. It’s what sparked her interest in studying journalism and why it was important to her to be able to offer the same opportunity to her students.

Erin Auerbach, associate professor of journalism at Bakersfield College, has also played a big role in getting this event off the ground.

“I have a lot of great people around me that are willing to help me because this is a big day and a lot of work,” said Auerbach, who holds a Master of Arts in theater and journalism and has 20 years of real-world experience as a writer and reporter.

The Bakersfield College Career Technical Education program is providing both breakfast and lunch for attendees, as well as badges and totes. Students will also be able to choose workshops based on their interests. Press photography, different styles of writing, and media law and ethics are a few they can choose from.

Featured speakers include Mark Nessia, editor of Bakersfield Life Magazine; John Harte, longtime photojournalist and journalism professor at Bakersfield College; Matt Lively, weekend sports anchor and reporter for 23ABC; and Erin Briscoe, public information specialist for Kern High School District and former news anchor at KBAK.

The event will also host an on-site competition. Mothers Against Drunk Driving will stage a mock crash and participants can choose to take a photograph, write a news story or create a broadcast script on the spot to enter.

There was also a mail-in contest, with categories for best front page design, best news story, best feature, best sports story, best photograph and best broadcast.

Winners from both contests will be awarded plaques, provided by Chain, Cohn and Stiles.

Although some may question the future of journalism, Auerbach is confident it isn’t going anywhere.

“Yes print (journalism) has shrunk quite a bit, but people still need their news and their local news from trusted professionals. It really does take some training and skill, whether you have a degree or not, to know how to interview people and how to present a story, whether it be digital or broadcast,” said Auerbach. “I think Bakersfield is great. It’s a fantastic news town — a great starter market for (people) fresh out of journalism school. I find it fun to watch the news here, to watch the young talent come in and watch them grow and improve. Bakersfield presents a lot of unique opportunities. The skills you’re going to learn at BC and CSUB, you can use these things for so many jobs.”

This is a unique opportunity for students to interact with local professionals and learn more about career possibilities within the communications industry.

“The point of the day is absolutely to get them excited about the profession. We have this great group of people who can share their passion,” said Auerbach. 

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