The Beacon finished strong in 2014-15. Just as the staff scattered to their home states, internships, jobs, etc., the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association recognized the excellent work they did in many areas. Details below. Congrats, everyone!


General ExcellenceBeacon Staff


Best DesignRebekah Markillie, Nina Chamlou


Best Editorial- Lydia Laythe, Kelsey Thomas, “Behind Closed Doors: Sexual Assault”


Best News StoryLydia Laythe, Are we pushing forward or rolling backward?”


Best Feature PhotoParker Shoaff, “Dorm Baby”


Best Graphic- Rebekah Markillie, “It’s Your $85”


Best Website Beacon Staff

Website screenshot may 15 2015



Best Writing– Cassie Sheridan, Heartbeat columns (“Conversations About Relationships”)

Best Sports Story- Molly McSweyn, Extraordinary Athlete, Ordinary Pilot”


Best Feature PhotoDavid Diloreto, “Path to the Presidency”


Best GraphicShellie Adams – 2014 Senior edition cover


Best Feature StoryEmily Neelon, “Dorm Baby”



Best News Story- Kelsey Thomas, Legal (Sort of)


Best WritingMelissa Aguilar, “Halloween Costumes,” Finding Love Online,” “Giving Up Shoes”

Best Series- Kelsey Thomas, Maggie Hannon, Marijuana Election Coverage

marijuana eletion

Best Columnist- Cassie Sheridan, “When You Forget How to Live, “Heartbeat

First issue of The Beacon, April 12, 1935

First issue of The Beacon, April 12, 1935

The Beacon observed its 80th birthday by publishing an historic overview by Maggie Hannon and a collection of brief essays by former staffers.


Oh, yes, there was also a cake. While much has changed at The Beacon over the years, one of the things you can still count on is the popularity of free food.


Hannah Baade|The Beacon

Hannah Baade|The Beacon

A Beacon photograph taken at the Inauguration of UP President Fr. Mark Poorman last September has won First Place for Breaking News Photography in the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ)  Mark of Excellence Awards regional competition.

Freshman photojournalist Hannah Baade took the photo titled “A Hug Between Presidents.” It shows Poorman hugging ASUP President John Julius Muwulya after Muwulya presented him with a watch as an inauguration gift.

As a First Place regional winner, the photo now advances to the national SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards competition. National winners will be announced at the SPJ Excellence in Journalism conference in Orlando September 18-20.

The competition featured entries from collegiate newspapers in five western states: Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.

The following Beacon entries were regional finalists:

For In-Depth Reporting, “Are we pushing forward or rolling backward?” by Lydia Laythe  (Kelsey Thomas, editor-in-chief)


For Photo Illustration – “It’s Your $85” by Rebekah Markillie and Maggie Hannon (Kelsey Thomas, editor-in-chief)


When you spend a long weekend in New York City you are bound to learn something. This time it was all about photography and the media. Here’s some of the good tips and tricks that I learned.


Faces are number one.

The very first thing people look at in photos are faces. If there’s a face in a photo you can practically guarantee that’s going to be the first thing that gets looked at. So keep your faces in focus! Eyes are the best thing to look at when making sure it’s good to go.

Emotions make the photo.

Photos that show emotion are guaranteed to hold people’s attention longer. Emotions make the photo more interesting to look at and can leave people with questions and hunger for more. Compare the two photos below that I shot while in Central Park! Practically the only difference is his face, but the one with his tongue out is a lot more fun to look at, huh?

DSC_1293 DSC_1297


Subtitles define the photo.

Subtitles can make a photo, but they can’t break them. So have some fun with your subtitles- make a pun! As long as it’s appropriate, it can keep people looking for just a little bit longer.

It’s not that it’s rare, somebody just decided to see it.

Just because you see something every day doesn’t mean that it will make a bad photo. Try new angles, zoom in more, zoom out more, change your depth of field. Some of the best photos come from things you see every day, its just from a different point of view. Find a way to look at that situation that will make someone say “Oh, I never thought about that before!” This is a photo another photo I took while wandering through Central Park.


Now look what happens when I take the same photo, but I zoom it in a bit.


Little touches like this can make a photo just that much better. Try messing around with it, you’ll be surprised.

A couple last tips:

  • Shoot in RAW, it stores more data and makes editing easier.
  • Underexposed is better than overexposed. You lose more data when things are too bright in the photo, but when it’s darker it still keeps some of the information. You can always brighten the photo in photoshop later.

-David DiLoreto

Spending time in the Big Apple was a lot of fun but it wasn’t all just sight-seeing and relaxing. The CMA conference had many cool opportunities to learn about the best methods and uses for photography both in print journalism and multimedia journalism.

Here are some of the highlights and take-aways from the sessions that I sat in on;

-RAW, if your camera has a RAW setting and you’re working for a professional news organization, then you should prob be shooting in this format. Mainly because you can’t edit RAW images, so they’re great for legal issues about changing. Although if you’re not shooting something that might require legally accurate pics, then its not a big deal. RAW files take up a crap ton of memory on your CF or SD card.


-Quick Upload, the time of the news schedule is done, as soon as something becomes news, its online, so as soon as you have your pics ready, you should caption them and upload them. Thats why cameras with wifi capabilities can be extremely helpful

Those were the main two takaways, quality and speed, thats what the news is shifting towards.

The other interesting things i learned about to compliment Multimedia include Parallax, which involve manipulating a picture in 3 dimensions. The second was time lapses, speeding up a series of photos to show the passing of time. And finally it was 2-3 minute videos you can create using an iPad mini just for like a preview of a story so you can upload it online in order to get ahead and be quicker with the news flow.

Those are some of the best takeaways I got from the CMA2015 conference.

-Parker Shoaff

Beacon staffers in Times Square: Katie Dunn, Parker Shoaff, David DiLoreto, Malika Andrews, Jacob Fuhrer, Rebekah Markillie

Beacon staffers in Times Square: Katie Dunn, Parker Shoaff, David DiLoreto, Malika Andrews, Jacob Fuhrer, Rebekah Markillie

The 2015 College Media Association convention was a whirlwind.  So much to learn, so much technology to keep up with, and so many issues that hardly existed before the digital revolution.

Take copyright law, for example. Not that it didn’t exist before. But Google Images, among other things has resulted in all kinds of traps that student media need to avoid. The Student Press Law Center’s Frank LoMonte, a walking-talking media law library, as always, spelled out what we need to know to stay out of trouble.

Rules of Fair Use:

1) Assume everything online is someone else’s property. Most of the time, you shouldn’t publish a photo from Google Images, Facebook, Instagram, etc. unless you have permission. Including “courtesy of” in your caption does not grant you permission. In fact, it’s worse than doing nothing. An item is copyrighted as soon as it is created. There doesn’t have to be a filing.

2)Sometimes it is OK to “borrow” copyrighted work. These exceptions include when you are using it for

  • review, critique or commentary (ie: a movie image for a review of that movie)
  • parody
  • writing about the work itself as a newsworthy item

3) Four-prong test for what is Fair Use:

Who are you? (educational organization or non-profit has a better shot at fair use than a for-profit company)

How much did you re-use it? (Less is better than more.)

For what purpose? (Not-for-profit is bette.r)

What effect did your use have on the original? (Did you undermine the market for the original?)

The key word is substitute; Is your work a substitute for the original?

4) Some items don’t require permission. These include U.S. government property (ie: photos on the official White House website) and material from Creative Commons, Wikimedia Commons, sources like that.

One footnote: If you are writing about a company, it is considered fair use to use the company’s logo.

The Apple Awards

I attended my first CMA convention in New York five years ago. At the Apple Awards ceremony, I remember thinking they were the coolest trophies I’d ever seen. I hoped The Beacon would win one someday.


The last day of this convention, in the Metropolitan Ballroom,  it happened. They called out “The Beacon, University of Portland” as Best Newspaper from a four-year university with fewer than 5000 students. What a thrill for all of us.

-Nancy Copic


2015-03-15 17.40.49

It’s a double edged sword. As news moves online, there’s a growing expectation to have access to stories as soon as they happen. Journalists must crank out content hours or even minutes after the fact. On the flip side, mobile tech has also advanced, making it easier than ever for journalists to create and upload content on the fly. This was one of my key takeaways from my time at the College Media Association’s annual convention in New York City.

Some other key takeaways for multimedia journalism are as follows:


Reporters are rapidly becoming one-man bands, the industry term for reporters who interview, record and edit on their own.

The idea is simple. If you’ve got a mobile device, you can make a news package. Software such as Voddio fFile Mar 21, 10 42 14 AMor iPhone creates a one stop shop to make voice-overs, add photos and edit video.


Recording from mobile is a cleaner experience. Without the need to send camera crews and $10,000 cameras, reporters can shoot on the fly the moment things happen. Mobile also allows for more interesting camera angles that can’t be reached with traditional cameras.


Despite it’s advantages, mobile reporting is not the end game. The quality is less polished because the angles are fixed and the video can be shaky. More vitally, advertisers aren’t throwing their weight behind online news, yet. Like any company, media outlets need to make money, and until it’s unprofitable, broadcast news will continue to survive.

-Jacob Fuhrer


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.