Thoughts from NASH

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The first five words/names that come to mind when I think about CUP NASH 77 are:

 

  1. Workshops

  2. Peter Mansbridge

  3. Alcohol

  4. Stephen Harper

  5. Students

 

For those who don’t know what CUP NASH 77 is, you must be very confused.

 

You’d probably assume that it was about an educational pub-crawl run by Harper and this Mansbridge fellow (get it, cuz CUP, pub crawls, you need cups for alcohol, ha, ha, ha). Or you’d probably assume that the two ran some Alcoholics Anonymous Workshop for students. Clearly the possibilities are endless.

 

In reality CUP, which stands for Canadian University Press, is an organization that conducts an annual conference (that’s referred to as NASH) held for students who are involved in their university newspapers in Canada. So that means that I, along with a few other Imprinters, was able to attend. The five-day conference consisted of workshops and speakers that helped and prepared us students to improve our journalistic skills. At the end of the conference an awards ceremony took place to acknowledge university students’ great journalistic work. This year NASH 77 (the number stands for the number of conferences) took place in Ottawa, which in my opinion was very exciting, being a bilingual city and Canada’s capital and all.

 

To further elaborate, I feel that it’s best to explain and describe the five words/names I’ve used to describe the conference.

 

Workshops:

 

I guess by now, it’s pretty obvious why I used this word. NASH 77 basically consisted of workshops running from morning to the late afternoon every day for four days. The types of workshops were endless, ranging from interviewing tips, to visual story telling, to learning how to write without getting sued. Personally, my favourite workshop was J-School In 60 Minutes, as it taught me what I needed to do to become a journalist in a “tell it like it is” kind of way.

 

Also, people often have this misconception that workshops=boredom so I feel the need to point out that the workshops conducted were actually very entertaining and interesting and informative all at once. Yeah, there were some workshops that were a bit less exciting than others, but for the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed them and learned a lot.

 

Peter Mansbridge:

 

Oh Peter, Peter, Peter. For those who don’t know who this national treasure is (and shame on you if you don’t), he’s a news broadcaster and news anchor for CBC News The National. He’s covered major stories like the September 11 attacks, the Parliament Hill shootings of 2014, the Gulf War, etc. He’s kind of like our Anderson Cooper except he’s older and he’s been doing this longer, and girls don’t really swoon over him (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

 

So you would think that having such an established person as our opening keynote speaker would be the most exciting thing ever, right?

 

…No. (There, I said it)

 

I mean, yes, it was amazing to listen to him talk…. for the first hour or so. Yes, we were all appreciative that he even took the time to talk to us. Yes, it was amazing to even be ten feet away from him in the same room. But my goodness, does the guy loooooooove to talk like there’s no tomorrow. This was very evident during the Q&A session that he had with us student delegates. There was a distinct moment when there was a collective groan made by all 500 delegates when he was in the midst of answering a question. I mean, what we did was very douche-y of us but still understandable, to some degree.

 

But despite his constant rambling, it was still such an honour to meet such an amazing and accomplished journalist like him. He truly is a gem and I really am grateful for him to go out of his way to talk us, even when it was past his curfew.

 

You the man, Mansbridge.

 

Alcohol:

 

I can’t remember who exactly tweeted this, but I remember seeing a tweet saying that the way to spot a student journalist in Ottawa is by seeing if they’re carrying the following: A notebook, a pen, and an LCBO bag. This is HIGHLY accurate.

 

While every day of the conference consisted of workshops and keynote speakers, the nights consisted of alcohol. Whether it was at a bar, a club, a hotel party, or the gala after party; no matter where you went, alcohol was present.

 

This also means that crazy drunk people were present, which was pretty funny to me, especially when I realized that one of these people might be the next Peter Mansbridge or Lisa LaFlamme. Obviously you shouldn’t judge people’s capabilities of being a journalist off of their drunken states, but it was just really funny to notice. Also I’ve been one of those crazy drunk people during the conference so I’m definitely not one to judge (sorry mom and dad).

 

Stephen Harper:

 

Given the fact that the conference was held in Ottawa, it’s no wonder that Harper was mentioned like a hundred times every single day. But it honestly felt like anyone would use an excuse to mention his name. I mean even people that had nothing to do with government politics and investigative journalism would somehow find a way to talk about him. His name was just mentioned all the time!

 

I wasn’t the only one who noticed this, however. During the Political Panel of the conference, students from a newspaper (which I will not identify) started a drinking game where every time someone mentioned the name “Harper” or the word “government” they would take a swig of their alcohol. I understand that it is a political panel so the panellists were bound to mention Harper once or twice, but let’s just say that some people managed to consume a glass of wine or two within five to ten minutes thanks to that drinking game.

 

Geez Harper, look what you’ve done to us, making us consume alcohol like that (Jk, we’d probably drink that much within that time anyway).

 

Also I feel like I’ve said Harper’s name at least ten times within this post…maybe this is his way of brainwashing us…

 

Students:

 

As kumbaya as this sounds, I think one my most favourite aspects of NASH 77 was the fact that we got to meet so many great students from various university papers. From the workshops, to the dinners, to the parties, it was simply wonderful and refreshing being able to bond with people who are equally as passionate about journalism as us Imprinters are. It was also a great opportunity to exchange some tips on how to be a better newspaper for the students of our universities. All in all, I had a great time being able to meet and learn from so many people from the country.

 

I know this last party was definitely corny, but alas, I cannot help myself.

 

Final Thoughts:

 

Overall, NASH 77 was an amazing conference and I truly learned so much from many important journalists and students. There is definitely so much more I can say about the experience, like listening to Lisa LaFlamme and Chris Jones, the co-ordinator Mackenzie Gray’s facial bone structure, the bomb-diggity cheesecake that was given at the last dinner, but I know if I keep going this will blog post will turn into a novel. NASH 77 was marvellous and I think I can speak for all Imprinters who attended when I say that we learned a lot about improving our newspaper. So if you see any good changes within our paper, you now know why.

 

 

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