Touching down in Denver was a sort of homecoming. After all, I had spent 10 weeks there over the summer interning at the Denver Post. Still, there was not much time to reminisce: Conferences are go, go, go all the time. I attended sessions daily, was inspired by keynote speakers, danced until my feet hated me, networked like my life depended on it, and learned a lot. Here are my five takeaways from the ONA Conference:


  1. Facebook is still red hot

ONA was all about Facebook (including having Facebook’s Fidji Simo delivering the first keynote speech). It was drilled into us that if you aren’t doing Facebook Live, the newest live streaming video directly to your timeline, you need to start! At a panel with CNN, they explained that they use Facebook Live to take their viewers into the experience with them and cited one journalist doing Facebook Live from the inside of a volcano.

  1. Fact check, fact check, fact check (even if that means you aren’t first)

In the age of digital, where speed matters and people want thing “right now”, accuracy matters more than ever.

  1. Show sources you’re there and care even when you don’t need anything

During NBC’s panel on breaking through stereotypes while reporting, NBC’s Pulitzer Prize winning National Reporter Trymaine Lee told us that if we want to report on a community, it is imperative that we are there even when we don’t need something. I think we can implement this at the Beacon by being better at stopping by administrators’ offices even when we aren’t reporting on a story and building up that rapport.


  1. Networking comes in many forms…including dancing

Take advantage of every opportunity to network, even when that means networking on the dance floor at an ONA sponsored event. Some of the most fun times I had at ONA were dancing with my peers and people I had met during the Knight Foundation Party. It doesn’t have to be all serious all the time. Loosening up (in an appropriate way) is a must in an industry where sometimes you are the to break difficult or disturbing news.

  1. Circle back and cool opportunities may come up

By far, the best part of ONA is the networking. I reconnected with people I met at ONA last year and my NABJ mentors and friends. I sat down with several people from ESPN and The Undefeated to talk more specifically about my career goals in sports. From those meetings, I have gotten possible freelance opportunities and opportunities with ESPN. NEVER underestimate the power of networking and where it can take you.

-Malika Andrews





There is innovative, rich journalism happening on digital sites. Examples:  “The Counted Project” by Guardian U.S.;  the Online Journalism Awards winners including OPB’s coverage of the Oregon Standoff in Malheur County

Publishers are dependent on Facebook in a big way to get their content out there, for better or worse. Also, Facebook Live video might be useful in increasing Beacon engagement/coverage.

Fidji Simo Director of Product, Facebook

Fidji Simo
Director of Product, Facebook

Facebook traffic peaks at 10 p.m. Is there a mismatch between when we are posting and when users are on Facebook?

Emotion drives social shares.

Stories popular in Google search are information-driven. People search for specific topics of interest to them.


“We are in a post-broadcast world.” – Ashley Codianni, Director of Social Media for CNN. Customize to platforms. At CNN, social is considered part of the process, not an afterthought.

“Reimagining what content is for every platform.”

In this election season: “Make sure your social media feeds are fact-checking candidates.”



There are jobs out there for sharp college graduates with digital and journalism skills and experience via student media and/or internships.

ONA job board

ONA job board


Tools and strategies working with a staff that can’t be in the same room: This session was practically a love letter to Slack. One piece of advice that resonated with me, the same advice I give students: Don’t have difficult/emotional conversations via text messaging.


You cannot overestimate the value of giving ambitious students the opportunity to learn and network with professionals.


-Nancy Copic


By Ben Arthur |

-One of the most dominant themes at the entire conference is how both print newsrooms and TV stations are effectively (And ineffectively, for that matter) transitioning into the digital age. We have to get use to this fact. Digital is where the ship is going
– Think to yourself, “How can my written stories be told with graphics, video, audio and text all at once?”
– For you sports geeks out there, looking at how Bleacher Report operates. A sports reporter from the Denver Post told me to pay close attention to how they operate. They’ve developed a stellar online presence with Interactive social media, breaking news on their website, a magazine section, and video content. This is how we have to start thinking in this day and age!
– Figuring out ways to tell and tease your stories on every major social media (FB, Twitter, IG, snapchat etc.)
– Utilizing Facebook Live
– audio/radio has traditionally been an intimidate medium; Using audio podcasts to tell stories (debating and human interest stories translate well)
– Video podcasts: short, informative, shows off your personality (People eat that up)
– Interactive graphics
– Reporters: no longer acceptable to just be able to write. Learn how to shoot, edit video, get in front of the camera
-Journalism jobs are going to be vastly difference because of technology just 5 years from now
– Journalism in the next 5-10 years will feature augmented & virtual reality, 360 degree video
– Look at some of the most popular apps & other hot technology and ask yourself, “How can this same concept be applied to journalism?”


ONA16 Perks: Exclusive access to the Denver Press Club. Photo by: Nancy Copic.

By Clare Duffy |

Conferences are a whirlwind – there is learning, there is networking, and there is a marked lack of sleeping. This was my second ONA conference, and while I pretty much never stop thinking about The Beacon, there was an additional thing on my mind this year: My post-grad life in journalism.

This was a simultaneously thrilling and frightening subject to meditate on, but ONA16 was yet another reminder that there are many options for what my place in the journalism industry could look like, and that the journalism industry is the same exciting, inspiring, innovative field I’ve always loved.

Here are my biggest take-aways from the week:

  • “Doing Digital” can be a job in and of itself. I’ve always had this idea that if you work on the digital end of things, you’ll be “doing digital” for a print publication or a broadcast station, basically just pushing their content out online. However, I met so many people whose job is to create content and break news solely for online or on social – and it works so much better when it’s native to the platform. A good reminder for The Beacon and for life.
  • As we work to report more and more about issues of diversity on campus, one thing I was reminded of at the “Telling Diverse Stories” panel lead by MSNBC/NBC journalists (including Trymaine Lee, who was arrested in Ferguson while reporting), is that it is important to fact check and “sensitivity check” your stories about diverse communities with a member of that community, even if there is not a representative in your newsroom. However, it is important to avoid having a “token” representative from a community that you always rely on, silencing other voices.
  • An interesting note from this session, too, was this fact from a Gallup poll last week: “Trust in mainstream media is the lowest it has ever been.” I think this must motivate us to continue telling the stories that matter, getting into the communities we’re reporting on, and using data and authoritative facts to back up the human side of stories.
  • A reminder for breaking stories in the age of digital: When you update a breaking story on the same breaking page, re-tease it and change the headline to reflect the new news and make sure your readers are going back for the most current info.
  • Facebook Live! I have never heard the words “Facebook Live” so many times in a 72-hour period. Journalists are REALLY into Facebook Live right now, so it’s a tool I’ll be looking to learn how to use well ASAP. CNN’s Social Media manager suggests using Facebook Live to take people inside somewhere they wouldn’t normally get to go, to make them feel like they’re really there (for example: inside a volcano in Indonesia – that was a real thing).

The first keynote was a talk with the Head of Product with Facebook, who spoke about opportunities for journalists to monetize on Facebook.

ONA Keys to Success


ONA16 Beacon crew.


On reporting…

  • Use analytics to your advantage. Social media is a huge source of traction to news websites. Use data from Google Analytics to determine the most strategic way to bring in readers. Use analytics to see where most traffic is coming from. Tailor each social media post to that specific channel. Facebook posts are going to look different than Twitter posts, etc.
  • Appeal to your readers’ sense of empathy. Fidji Simo, the director of product at Facebook, talked about how consumers want to see the news that they can feel personally connected to. Facebook Live is one way to achieve this. The best part? Anyone with a smartphone can do it.
  • Report with a community, not on it. Know your readers and their interests and incorporate them into the coverage. User engagement is important and will make users more loyal to your source if they feel like their opinion matters.
  • Acknowledge your blind spots. Every reporter carries with them their own biases and identities. According to panelists from “Latinos and the 2016 Election: Reporting on Communities Regardless of Your Background,” diversifying coverage is essential to sharing the voices and opinions of those who might otherwise be overlooked. It is important to recognize that your coverage has blind spots and to listen to the needs of the minorities in the community to try and make up for those blind areas of coverage.

On networking…

  • Follow-up. After you meet someone it is important to follow-up with them. It’s polite to say thank you, and it also leaves an impression that is more lasting than a handshake. You can send a handwritten card (best) but an email works as well.
  • Play the “student card.” Professionals like talking to students. We’re young, willing to learn and are (sometimes) impressionable. But most of all, people love talking about their work. This means that people will love to talk to you all about their jobs and might even try to get you on-board with them.
  • Loosen up. A lot of professionals are just like grown-up versions of us. They party, dance and eat enchiladas. Yes, be professional; but don’t get so focused on a firm handshake that you forget to have fun.

 Other cool tips:


You can create Chat Bots to answer questions for your readers. For example,  a bot that answers basic questions about the election could supplement a story about the election to answer additional questions readers might have.


According to Amy Webb, founder of the Future Today Institute, journalists of the future will be heavily involved in using digital tools and data to design interactive interfaces. I disagree that reporters’ jobs will be obsolete, but I understand that a lot of the work reporters do now could be done by bots in the near-future.


Welcome video:


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During a hands-on (off-the-air) lesson on  Videolicious, reporters Emily Peterson and Hannah Sievert find drama on campus:

Ben Arthur, Cheyenne Schoen, Rachel Rippetoe, Malika Andrews and Clare Duffy share their experiences from their summer internships

Ben Arthur, Cheyenne Schoen, Rachel Rippetoe, Malika Andrews and Clare Duffy share their experiences from their summer internships






ONPA Awards

In the better-late-than-never department, here are the  winners of the annual statewide collegiate journalist competition sponsored by the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association.

The Beacon fared well, including snagging the award for General Excellence and First, Second and Third Place for Best Writing AND Best Sports Story, among others. Go team!


General Excellence- The Beacon

Best Writing – Malika Andrews

Best News Story- Students Witness Refugee Crisis (Alina Rosenkranz and Clare Duffy)

Best Feature Story- Class on the Cusp (Philip Ellefson and Cassie Sheridan)

Best Sports Story – His Way Out (Malika Andrews)


Writing- Cheyenne Schoen

Feature Story – Knowledge as Power (Clare Duffy)

Special Section – Get Outside (Rebekah Markillie and Karen Garcia)

Series- Transition: Transgender student finds home in Mehling HallTransphobic Incident spurs pain, action (Cheyenne Schoen, Lydia Laythe)

Sports Story – Socially Constricted (Malika Andrews)

Columnist – Heartbeat (Cassie Sheridan)

Photography – Hannah Baade

Design – Rebekah Markillie and Hannah Baade

Graphic: The Freshman Equation – Hannah Baade

Website – Christian Rodriguez and Beacon staff

Freshman Equation graphic


Writing – Clare Duffy

Editorial- We Stand With Planned Parenthood (Lydia Laythe and Beacon Editorial Board)

Sports story- Behind the Game Face (Malika Andrews)

Section- Clare Duffy and Beacon reporters

Cartooning: Tell Us What You’re Doing For Mental Health (Nathan DeVaughn)