A Meeting of the Kansas High School Journalism Minds

Adam Cole is headed to college; Julia Howell has one more year to go at Topeka High School

Another Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference is in the books. Launched in 1999 and named in honor of USA Today founder Neuharth, this year’s edition was held June 17-22 in Washington, D.C.

The conference gathers together 50 high school journalism students, one per state. In 2016, the representative from Kansas was Adam Cole from Topeka High School, who this summer is interning for the Topeka Capital-Journal before college in the fall. In a cool twist, the 2017 Kansas representative, also from Topeka High School, was interviewed by Cole for the paper.

Think of this brief conversation as one very promising journalist, Cole, headed to the University of Missouri, chatting with yet another, Howell, editor in chief of their school’s newspaper:

Who was your favorite speaker at the conference and why?

A few of my favorites were people who faced a lot of criticism or hate and still managed to continue telling the truth and perusing their careers. Mary Pilon from The New York Times, when she was young and just starting her career, her mother died and it took a major toll on her, which was apparent in her writing. She kept going on in her work and she has written for many top publications, has written a book, and is an award winning journalist. She talked about the hate she got for being a woman writing about sports, the hardships of losing a parent then trying to start her career, and the battles she’s faced being a journalist traveling around the world.

Keep it up, you two! Pilon’s book, about the history of the board game Monopoly, was published in 2015.