MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - At Troy University 372 high school students from around Alabama and Georgia attended what's known as J-Day on campus, more than double over last year's attendance and somewhat of a surprise to Dr. Jeff Spurlock.
"In the past schools have told us because of the economy they didn't have any travel money but this year they were able to send kids despite the economy," said Dr. Spurlock, Associate Director of Hall School of Journalism at Troy University.
J-Day is a one-day journalism workshop for students to get a feel of what journalism is all about. Sit in an anchor chair and knowing the difference between broadcast writing and newspaper print.
The bigger story here, however, is the fact that teenagers like Cole Lawson and Ryan Argo are still interested in checking out the craft of journalism despite the fact the industry itself is in a crisis. By one estimate more than 31,000 newspaper employees have been laid off in 3 years and it's pretty much the same kind of blood-letting in television news.
"I want to be a producer," said Lawson, a high school senior.
Lawson is looking at pursuing a career in television news behind the scenes as a newscast producer. Yes, the economic health of the industry concerns him but not enough to vanquish his curiosity.
"It's something to consider but if I give it my best.. hopefully I'll have a shot at it," Lawson said.
"If I do my best and I love to do it.. I don't think it should stop me," said Argo.
20 years ago there was no such thing as the Internet and certainly nothing like the I-phone, facebook and twitter. No doubt the speed of news gathering has changed but Dr. Spurlock will tell you speed will never take over journalism's battle-cry; get it first but first get it right. The fundamentals as old as the First Amendment.
Those 372 students came from 18 high schools throughout Alabama and one school in neighboring Georgia.
Troy University has been sponsoring Journalism Day for more than 30 years.