Inside the Classroom #3 – Taking on MIPA


If you haven’t realized by now, TCT is a family. And just like any other, our staff holds its own family traditions: newly-established Spooktober, Trendsgiving, editors’ columns, our Countless Thanks series, and the annual Christmas party, to name a few. One of our greatest traditions, and arguably the one that we hold closest to heart, however, is the annual MIPA field trip.

The Michigan Interscholastic Press Association, or MIPA, is an organization that we are lucky and proud to be a part of. MIPA is a collection of dozens of high school publications, including paper newspapers, online websites, video broadcasts, and yearbooks, and becoming a member of it has brought TCT into a wider circle of committed Michigan journalists.

The annual MIPA conference, held a block from the capitol building in Lansing, brings our staff of writers to a large convention brimming with passion and vigor for all things publication.

This year, however, was a little different. We welcomed a dozen or so writers from the introductory journalism class, Writing for Publication, to Lansing with us as well. Widely dubbed WFP, almost every writer on TCT staff went through this class to grasp concepts of journalism and master the unique type of writing we undertake. Since our WFP writers are nearing their “graduation” and will be joining us on staff in just over a week, we thought it would be fitting to give them the opportunity to join in on one of our most coveted traditions.

So, there we were, almost two dozen enthusiastic, albeit slightly tired, student writers marching towards the bus at 7:30 a.m. in our TCT shirts, a sea of green advancing towards our exciting conference.

Once there, we had the hard task of choosing just two seminars to attend out of the 80 being offered that morning. Some of us attended hilarious yet inspirational talks from frazzled advisors, while others tackled editing seminars or PR advice. Each event provided a new outlook on an aspect of journalism, whether it be writing, interviewing, editing, social media, or public relations. All of our staff members hold a unique quality or specialty, and we were each able to expand on this at the conference.

After a few hours of hard-core journalism, the whole busload of kids found ourselves at East Lansing’s Buffalo Wild Wings and learned that the best medicine for fatigue comes in the form of honey barbecue sauce and ranch. Adding in just over an hour of free time in Lansing, over which staff members deeply bonded over shared love for cookies and shared hate for winding staircases, we found ourselves done with a very successful day that was the perfect combination of both education and enjoyment.

It may just be a day long, but MIPA really is a highlight for TCT staff. Each member — both veteran and WFP — arrived back to FHC with a profound understanding of publication concepts and a genuine bond with fellow staff members. Each year, MIPA, and the exciting activities that follow, become a stronger and deeper custom and a loved, anticipated tradition for our ever-growing staff.