Matt Kish, longtime reporter with the Portland Business Journal recently joined Business Insider. He has generously mentored many Beacon staffers, former and current, including this year’s editor-in-chief Austin De Dios.

Matt came to our staff meeting last week, telling us the stories behind many of his stories. He also shared his reporting and interviewing strategies.

Editor-in-Chief Austin De Dios, whom Matt mentored through an internship at the Portland Business Journal, with Matt after the meeting. Notice Matt’s stylish new beanie!

One of the Beacon staffers Matt mentored was Clare Duffy (’17), now a reporter at CNN Business. On the day Matt visited our staff meeting, Clare had appeared on television, where the CNN anchors interviewed her about her “devastating” reporting as part of the Facebook Papers.

The Beacon staff, along with Matt, watched a replay of the interview.


Beacon staff watch former Beacon News and Managing Editor Clare Duffy (’17) being interviewed on CNN

-Nancy Copic

Recently, two Beacon alums – Clare Duffy (’17) and Rachel Ramirez (’18) – teamed up for a story at CNN. It’s about the environmental impact of replacing your old cell phone with a new one rather than getting the old one repaired.

Clare reports for CNN Business, and Rachel recently joined CNN’s new team focused on climate change.

That’s our 2016-17 editor-in-chief!

She was fantastic, as usual.

The Beacon has won First Place in several categories, including Best Website, in the annual Pacific Northwest Association of Journalism Educators (PNAJE) Awards. The winning content is especially noteworthy because the students produced all of it from a “virtual newsroom.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the campus to shut down and moved classes online in Spring 2020, Beacon staff doubled down on reporting, relying heavily on Zoom, Slack, Google Docs and phone calls to collaborate. Although campus partially reopened for Spring Semester 2021, classes remained virtual and so did Beacon operations.

Unsurprisingly, the pandemic was (and continues to be) such a looming presence that there was a COVID-19 angle in many of the stories The Beacon did in the 2020-21 academic year.

Scroll to see The Beacon winners in the PNAJE awards.

First Place:

General News Reporting“What did I just eat? “ – Kate Cuadrado

Feature Reporting- “Zoom fatigue and all-nighters- Online learning takes a toll on students’ mental health” – Carlos Fuentes

Personality Profile “Battling cancer in a global pandemic”– Haviland Stewart

Sports Feature Reporting“I’m not going to sit around and just do nothing” – William Seekamp

Review- Megan Rapinoe’s ‘One Life’ tells a story of wins, losses and finding the balance” – Carlos Fuentes

News Photo “Toxic air fills The Bluff” – Ryan Reynolds

Headline writing “If COVID doesn’t take you out, can I?” – Haviland Stewart

Best use of multimedia storytelling“Interactive Graphics: Pandemic brings salary cut and furloughs to UP” – Austin De Dios

Best websiteThe Beacon

Second Place:

Comprehensive CoverageVP blows the whistle on ‘racism, sexism and tokenism’ in upper administration -Austin De Dios and Gabi DiPaulo

Individual Commentary What the pandemic has taught me about loneliness” – Mia Werner

Photo Illustration“Computers get Zoom fatigue too” – Brennan Crowder

Best Use of Multimedia Storytelling-

Timeline: In honor of the Class of 2021, watch the last four years unfold” – Gabi DiPaulo

Third Place

Personality Profile“From UP student to Pilot landlord” – Brie Haro

Sports Photo “Miles Robinson fight for the ball” – Molly Lowney

Honorable Mention

Personality ProfileArlene Goetze: Past and present” – Sadie Wuertz

UPDATE 10/19/2021– The College Media Association has announced the Pinnacle Award winners, and The Beacon placed in several categories:

First Place – Best Feature Story (Carlos Fuentes)

Second Place- Best Arts and Entertainment Story (Havi Stewart)

Second Place- Best Photo Package (Molly Lowney)

Third Place- Online Breaking News Coverage (William Seekamp, Andrew Gotshall, Havi Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Molly Lowney)


Several Beacon pieces from the last academic year are finalists in the Pinnacle Awards, a national collegiate competition sponsored by the College Media Association.

Best Breaking News Coverage

Last February’s multimedia coverage of the massive power outage that hit the UP campus is a finalist in the category of Best Breaking News Coverage.

Many Beacon staffers, including the editor-in-chief (Gabi DiPaulo) and the news and managing editor (Austin De Dios) had no electricity, heat, wifi or phone service at the time.

Then-sports editor William Seekamp took on the leadership challenge and moved to another location so he could coordinate news coverage, with help from Havi Stewart, Andrew Gotshall, Ryan Reynolds and Molly Lowney.

The breaking news coverage included a video by Andrew Gotshall about the Bon Appetit staff’s efforts to feed cold, hungry students in The Commons, even those who lived off campus.

The power outage coverage included many elements besides lack of electricity. One student was temporarily trapped in a dorm elevator. Pipes burst and caused flooding in another residence hall.

Best Photo Package

Molly Lowney is a finalist for Best Photo Package. Her photos accompanied Havi Stewart’s profile of a student who had undergone cancer treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Best Feature Story

Carlos Fuentes is a finalist for Best Feature Story for his piece about the challenges professors with children faced while teaching from home

Best Arts and Entertainment Story

Havi Stewart’s profile of a UP graduate student who also happens to be the “reigning world air guitar champion” is a finalist for Best Arts and Entertainment story.

The College Media Association will announce the winners at its (virtual) convention in mid-October.

To see all finalists for Online Pinnacle Awards, go here.

To see all finalists for Writing Pinnacle Awards, go here.

For the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic shut down UP’s campus in March 2020, The Bluff came alive with a full crop of students and in-person learning for fall 2021 semester.

Beacon Boot Camp training was on campus for the first time since fall 2019, but with added precautions. Whenever possible, we held our training sessions in a tent on The Bluff. It was so pleasant that many wondered why we hadn’t thought of that before.

For sessions that needed technology, we had a large classroom in Shiley Hall, which allowed for social distancing. Still we wore masks there to minimize risk.

Scenes from Beacon Boot Camp 2021

Editor-in-Chief Austin De Dios
News & Managing Editor William Seekamp
Living Editor Havi Stewart
Opinion Editor (fall) Mia Werner
Sports Editor (fall) | Opinion Editor (spring) Sadie Wuertz
Copy Editor/Sr.Reporter Carlos Fuentes
Multimedia Editor Brennan Crowder
Community Engagement Editor Brie Haro