About our convention keynotes

JEA, NSPA and the local team of volunteers spend many hours brainstorming, researching, contacting and negotiating with keynote speakers to provide the most intriguing general sessions possible to our audience at the National High School Journalism Convention. Our keynote speakers have included both news gatherers and newsmakers, and sometimes the individuals straddle the line between both worlds.

Please take a moment to read through this primer on how to make the most out of your general session experience.

  1. The opening session keynote on Thursday lasts from 7:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. The Friday keynote lasts from 2 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. If you plan to attend either general session, please plan to stay for the entire event. There is not a break during the event, nor is there a way to leave in the middle of the event without disrupting the speaker or other attendees.
  2. Our keynote speakers are part of our program not only to educate and inspire, but also to challenge our attendees. We strongly encourage all attendees to read the biographies of our keynote speakers and research their speeches, writings or projects so that you have the fullest possible context going into the general session.
  3. After the keynote, time permitting, we open the session up for questions, and we’re always impressed with the questions from our student attendees. The best questions are those that directly address a point the keynote made during the speech, and although there are both students and teachers in the audience, we prioritize questions that come from students. To avoid a long queue, a moderator will walk throughout the audience responding to raised hands.
  4. As with all other sessions, we value your feedback. You can provide your input on the general session by clicking the “Evaluate this session” link in Guidebook, or by using the evaluation code from the program at jea.org/eval.