The 62nd Annual Florida College System Publications Association Conference.


The 62nd annual Florida College System Publications Association conference and awards banquet was held from March 30 to April 2, 2022.

This event brings students from community colleges all across Florida that have a either a journalism or a literary magazine program.

The Co- editors in chief for the Patriot Press , Sarah Toms and Lexia Thomas, their advisor Prof. Rob Marino, as well as the staffs from CFs literary magazines, Imprints and In the Write Mind, attended the event.

Some other colleges that also attended were from Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Miami-Dade, and Daytona State.

There were many keynote speakers included during the conference that gave information as well as tips on how to broaden your learning opportunity with speaking as well as writing

There were four meetings a day from 10am- 3pm with breaks in between. They gave students the opportunity to either go to a journalism or a literary magazine meeting.

Wendy Whitt , an undergraduate director and a senior instructor at the Zimmerman School of Advertising & Mass Communications.

Wendy Whitt giving her presentation on Florida Public Records.

She also teaches reporting and mass media writing courses, and coordinates the internship program.

Whitt talked in her session about the importance of Public Records in Florida and knowing what information you have out there and what information is protected.

She let the students widen their mindset by even searching up information on her which involved the following: salary, marriage certificate, and tickets warranted.

Knowing what you have out there and what others can see about you can help you know what to be aware of when you do certain things.

Kathleen McGrory continued in the conference with her demonstration of investigative journalism and how you can go about being an investigation reporter.

McGrory presented how she went about the story Heartbroken ,which is a story about John Hopkins Hospital on performing heart surgeries on infants and the death rate increasing due to lack of knowledge by the doctors.

She then gives the students tips and tricks on how to be open and upfront with the subject you are writing about.

Get as much information and tips as you can from the public, and get information of the people involved in your story prior to writing.

“I am always open and honest with the people involved in a story I write. I want to give them the opportunity to tell their side as well as why, prior to getting others information,” said McGrory.

Kathleen McGrory on her presentation about being a Investigation Reporter.

The conference held other amazing speakers like literature and creative writer Emily Andrea Sendin, writer Silk Jazmyne Hindus and many others.

Writer, Silk Jazmyne Hindus’ presentation.

On the first night of the convention, we got to hear from keynote speaker Monique Jones, who is the managing editor of ESPN’s Andscape, formally known as The Undefeated.

Jones spoke on her story of how even though she had goals and a plan in place as a 17-year-old, things don’t always work out like you plan, but there’s never a wrong path.

The wrong path in Jones young mind landed her the opportunities, internships and chances of a lifetime.

Monique Jones on how she became the Editor for the ESPN.

The convention ended on Friday, April 1, with a dinner followed by an awards banquet to honor the students of all their literary achievements with the newspapers as well as the magazines.

In the Write Mind, literary magazine for the CF Citrus campus won a few awards that night which included a 2nd place poetry award and a third place artwork individual award.

Then, Sarah Toms, Public Relations major, as well as the Co-editor in-chief for the Patriot Press, won 3rd place in the On-Site Photo contest.

Advisor for Tallahassee Community College, Reggie Grant, spoke about Toms’ photo and how the timing and color contrasts made it award winning.

Sarah Toms’ On-site photo.


Sarah Toms’ third place, On- Site Photo award.

This contest was done during the convention with an opportunity for students to show their creative photography skills and capture on moment in Ybor City that caught their eye.

Next, Lauren Gillyard, former Editor-in-chief for the Patriot Press, won first place in the best Arts Award, with her presentation on The Appleton Museum in Ocala.

Lauren Gillyard’s first place, Best Arts Review award.

Lastly, Lexia Thomas, Mass Communications major, as well as the Co-editor-in-chief for the Patriot Press, won 2nd place in her editorial on the Bright Future Scholarship and the funding of further degrees.

Lexia Thomas’ second place award for Editorial.
From left to right: Lexia Thomas, Prof. Rob Marino, and Sarah Toms at the awards ceremony.

After the dinner and awards, Professor Zackery Cote sat down and spoke about his thoughts on being inducted as President of the FSPA.

“A feeling of uncertainty, and knowing what shoes need to be filled is what I feel right now,” said Cote.

Cote is used to being thrown into certain roles throughout his time as a professor and he rolls with the punches and makes the most out of it.

“Being flexible and able to deal with things like this, during a time like we are in, is the most important thing,” said Cote.

Some students and former students of Cote spoke out on his induction.

“Hearing him give his opinions in some of the lectures during the convention, makes me intrigued about his new role as president and what he will bring to the FCSPA, said Lexia Thomas, Mass Communications major at CF.

”I remember Professor Cote as having a very refreshing teaching style. His outlook on students interpretation was very open minded, which I believe translates into the rest of what he does such as taking on this new role,” said Sarah Toms, former student of Cote’s as well as PR major at CF.

The FCSPA presidential spot was previously run by Prof. Rob Marino, advisor of the Patriot Press, for the last 3 terms.

The last night ended with a talent show hosted by Tallahassee Community College, which allowed the students and professor to have fun and bond with one another .

This convention brought a lot of cards to the table with notes and tips for the colleges to take in to better their programs.

Students got to meet one another and form bonds and share their interests in writing and even photography.

If you would like more information on the convention and where it will be held next year visit the link below!