Eager young journalists flood into the seminar room as they wait for the invited guest. They take their seats and carefully look over their questions as the camera and microphone equipment are being set up. For many it will be the first time they participate in a press conference. That’s because these young journalists are students in Mr. Jamses Rich’s Journalism 1 class.
Students in Mr. Rich’s classes were treated with a special guest speaker, WFAA Chanel 8 sportscaster and week night’s sports anchor, Dale Hansen, who spoke to students in a press conference style manner.
“I always try as hard as possible to create as real a mock press conference as I can for the kids,” Rich said, “so they can get a feel for the real world.”
Hansen spoke to students about being persistent and never giving up on a dream, despite any obstacles.
“I strongly recommend you got to college,” Hansen said, “but if you can’t go to college do not allow anyone to tell you what you can and can not achieve.”
Students were surprised and grateful when they discovered Hansen’s animated attitude.
“Before the event, I thought I knew everything about him and I even assumed he was going to be boring,” sophomore Valerie Cardenas said. “What I thought I knew was completely wrong, he was funny, energetic, and not rude at all.”
Hansen gave many examples of upsets in his life and how he did not allow them to keep him from pursuing his goal. On the subject of the decline in the journalism industry, Hansen told students there will always be a need for someone to write a story.
“We cannot survive as a people, if we don’t have someone providing the information,” Hansen said. “There will always be that need, it might not be in the same form as it has been in the past 40 to 50 years, but we need good people to write good stories.”
Sophomore Amanda Uland joined her classmates as they were attentive to Dale’s advice because her desire is to pursue a career in journalism.
“Mr. Hansen was very interesting to hear and his story as well as his personal views about being a journalist and what it’s like in that field was really interesting to me,” Uland said.
Prior to attending the mock press conference, Mr. Rich’s class was asked to write questions for Hansen. Although only a few were able to ask their questions a few were eager to stand up and ask.
“I had read an article about Mr. Hansen and his “Thank God for Kids” seemed interesting to me, ” senior Anna Valdez said, “I asked him what encouraged him to start this segment and he seemed really passionate about having started something that was inspiring and deep in his heart.”
The overall experience was a valuable classroom opportunity for both Mr. Rich and his students.
“I was very excited when Mr. Hansen said he would come speak to my class,” Rich said. “He is one of the premier sportscasters in the business and to have him share his ups and downs with the class was something that they will hopefully remember forever.”