Washington Post sports columnist Jerry Brewer encourages student journalists to seek the truth in his speech at the ACP conference. “The truth is still out there waiting to be found, wanting to be told,” he said. (Photo by Juri Dagio)

By Juri Dagio | Staff Writer

As a student journalist and as a non-native English speaker, attending the Associated Collegiate Press conference in La Jolla, California on March 7-9, was an enriching experience filled with invaluable lessons and insights. Among my list of knowledge gained is the importance of effective communication.

Throughout the conference, seasoned journalists emphasized the pivotal role that effective communication plays in journalism. From crafting compelling stories to engaging with diverse audiences, communicating clearly and concisely emerged as a foundational skill for success in the field.

With English being my third language, after Tagalog (Filipino) and Japanese, this lesson held particular significance. While language proficiency is crucial, I discovered that effective communication transcends mere fluency. It encompasses accurate and clear reporting, which helps the audience understand complex issues, hold power to account, and make informed decisions. Additionally, it allows journalists to engage readers and encourage them to stay informed, regardless of where they are from.

The Kapi’o News staff writers (from left to right) Juri Dagio, Shawna Takaki, and Cameron Enomoto attended the ACP conference on March 8. (Photo by Juri Dagio)

One of the most compelling aspects of the conference was learning practical strategies for enhancing communication and engagement with the community. Whether it was mastering concise writing and interviewing, building trust with the readers, or using AI tools for effective social media engagement, each session provided important insights that I am eager to apply in the future.

In my journey as a student journalist of the Kapiʻo News since Fall 2022, I recognize the immense value of prioritizing effective communication. Executing the Kapiʻo News’ weekly Wednesday feature, “Word on the Street (WOTS)” has taught me the significance of accuracy with even the smallest details such as a person’s name, age, or hometown. A session with Bella Ross, a social media journalist for the San Diego Union-Tribune, reminded me of the importance of accurate and precise reporting of personal information to make the community feel heard and valued. Every single detail is essential in painting a comprehensive picture and completing the entire story.

Moreover, as a speaker of English as a foreign language, my experience at the ACP conference made me embrace my unique perspective and cultural background in my journalistic endeavors. Rather than viewing language as a barrier, I finally see it as an opportunity to offer diversity and inclusivity – through the power of effective communication. I intend to leverage the lessons learned at the conference to refine my writing, clarity coherence, and creativity.

The Associated Collegiate Press Conference was a transformative experience that taught me, and other student journalists from across the U.S., not only the importance of news but also the significance of communication and engagement that is truly part of the process of factual journalism. Whether English is your second or fourth language, have the confidence to make a meaningful impact in the ever-evolving world of media and communication.