FHN’s Manfull Hosts Ninth Annual Media Now Conference

Posted on 07/24/2019
FHN’s Manfull Hosts Ninth Annual Media Now Conference

Media Now is a three-day journalism conference geared towards high school students and their advisers. The conference was hosted in two locations this year, Webster University in St. Louis in June and Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, in July. The camp provides training for high school students that want to take their digital media skills to the next level. According to the Media Now website, students can “choose from a variety of critique sessions, leadership training, and best practices for storytelling.” There are over 100 different sessions held during the conference, and topics include writing, photography, video, design, social media, and storytelling. Students are hands-on during the learning process, taking photos and writing stories that are critiqued by instructors.

FHN junior Emily Zhang attended the sessions at Drake University and was excited about the photography classes and how they might assist her in her role as Promotions Manager for the video staff at FHN. “I hope to learn more about photography and enhance my abilities in both technical and compositional ways,” said Zhang. “These types of events are important in that they let us explore things and delve deeper into what interests us - things that might not be able to be explored in school.”

Aaron Manfull, the journalism adviser at Francis Howell North, has been the workshop director for the conference for the past nine years. Manfull hosted 12 of the courses offered in St. Louis, facilitating everything from an adviser Q&A to a session on rethinking video broadcasting programs. 

Along with his wife Kate (CEO and Creative Director of Fierce Creative Agency), Manfull created Media Now after the pair had children and wanted to avoid traveling to conferences during the summer months. Using their connections in St. Louis, the couple decided to create a journalism workshop right in their own city. “We wanted to make an affordable workshop for students with great instructors,” said Aaron. “And, for nine years now, we have been able to do just that. We think journalism is important and the communication skills, media literacy skills, and digital literacy skills students learn at the camp are things they will be able to use forever, no matter what profession they end up in.”

“Our biggest hope always is that we can help light a fire and get students excited about something they are interested in,” said Aaron. “If we can do that, they are more likely to have success. If they have success, they are more likely to be more confident down the road in whatever they pursue.”


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