Archive for March, 2012

It’s been a week since the conference, and the energy and excitement of NYC and the conference are still on my mind! Time to post my best photos from the trip:


On the first night we wandered down to Times Square. Visual overload for those who have never been there before! The “Don’t Believe the Liberal Media” sign also provided for a fun photo-op.


The next day, after an intro session, Liz and I found ourselves at the headquarters of the New York Times! Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed inside. Fortunately, David Carr, a columnist for the New York Times, was a speaker at the conference a couple days later, so at least we got a glimpse of what journalism with the NY Times is like.


Liz in a meeting at the Associated Press


Our tour group in a meeting at AP


AP newsroom


The tour to the Associated Press was easily the highlight of this trip for me! Although there was a miscommunication about the start time of the tour, about a group of 8 of us were left behind because the tour had started early. When we were able to catch up with the tour, they were in a meeting with the Senior Managing Editor, Michael Oreskes. We apologized for being late (we had walked from the hotel to the tour, rather than taking the bus), but good ol’ Mike deemed us “Honorary New Yorkers” for the day for our decision to walk, rather than take a taxi.

Liz is shown in the top picture in the meeting. Below that is a picture of the conference room (with the newsroom in the background). The third picture is in the newsroom itself. The fourth picture was a result of Liz and I being bored with the tour of the newsroom (how interesting can a newsroom be?). We noticed that Michael Oreskes’s office door was open, and left the tour to ask him pose for a picture with a Beacon. He welcomed us in, and had me set up the photo of himself and Liz looking over the Beacon. Such a great photo-op! Even after the photo, he had us stay to chat in his office, long enough for Liz and I to lose track of our tour. But all things considered, meeting the Senior Managing Editor of the Associated Press beats a tour of the newsroom any day.


On the last day of the conference, David Carr from the NY Times came to speak.


Some more photos for your viewing pleasure:


Rockefeller Plaza ice rink


View from the top of the Empire State Building


Central Park

Even a week after the conference, I’m still electrified by the energy of the conference! Such great speakers, and rewarding journalistic experiences, in and out of the conference. Hoping to make it back to New York someday, and can’t wait to apply everything I learned into my own photojournalism!

– Jackie

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This year’s CMA spring college media convention keynotes covered an entertaining spectrum spanning  “old media,” “new media” and media/journalism satire:

Carr and Stelter “star” in “Page One, the definitely worth-your-time documentary about The New York Times’ ongoing and sometimes painful transition to the digital age.

Now for some  highlights/quotes from their presentations, which riveted the student journalists, at least the ones from the University of Portland.

David Carr

“The fact I used to be a coke dealer is probably the most interesting thing about me.”

“I’m absolutely stunned that I work at The New York Times.”

“Being a reporter is a lot more complicated than it used to be.” (because of having to tweet, blog, shoot and edit video, etc.)

“Nothing stays written. It’s a rolling, organic process.”

“People who are brought up blogging. they write clean…and you know what? I’m not that clean of a writer.”

“The cool time to be doing what you’re going to be doing is right now.”

“It’s about “how much shit can you put out and on how many platforms.”

“You have to have a relentless curiosity.”

“Be incredibly frickin’ stubborn.”

About what sometimes passes as journalism but isn’t: ” People say you are entitled to your own opinion, but you shouldn’t be entitled to your own facts. I worry about that.”

“You should run with winners. These guys you’re in school with, that’s probably who you’re going to be in business with…Don’t hang with the cynical, bitchy people who never accomplish anything.”

David Carr of The New York Times with University of Portland students from The Beacon staff

With his constant blogging, tweeting, video-shooting, Carr wonders: “Am I losing my ability to think long thoughts?”

On hard times: “I was 34 years old on welfare, unemployed, single father of two, had cancer, washed up in my business.”

On his transformation from unemployed drug addict to iconic journalist: “I am genetically ambitious. I did not come from super bright people. But I came from super hard workers.”

Carr talked about loving to read as a child: “My head filled with words and the words have sort of been spilling out ever since.”

Carr’s literary influences:

  • “Moby Dick”
  • “Another Bullshit Night in Suck City” (Nick Flynn)
  • Hunter S. Thompson
  • Kurt Vonnegut
  • Gay Talese

Brian Stelter – Media Reporter for The New York Times

Growing up, he wanted to be a TV news anchor and pretended he was one, sitting in front of a sheet draped behind a desk in his basement. “I guess, in a silly way,  I was practicing, “Stelter said.

At age 10-11, he started a website called “The Bumps,” on which he reviewed books from the Goosebumps series. Later, he started a website about Nintendo games.

In college, he ran the student newspaper at Towson University, and told students at NYC 12 it  was “the best journalism experience I ever had.” Apparently, it wasn’t enough. He started a blog about TV news his freshman year, blogging anonymously the first six months.  He says the best thing he did was putting an anonymous tip box on the website. People started feeding content to the blog, TVnewser. He kept at it all four years of college and built a following by sending links to people in the industry.  Network news anchors took notice. Stelter was interviewed by MSNBC  -“The 20-year-old who rules the news” – but his anchor dreams were fading. He was balding when he graduated from college.

But things worked out just fine for Stelter, who sold the blog to Mediabistro and was hired by the Times at age 21. In the documentary Page One, his older, less-digital colleague David Carr referred to Stelter as “a robot assembled to destroy me.”

Stelter, 26, offered his audience of student journalists a shot of optimism with some advice on the side:

“I learned so much more from my college paper than I did from my classes.”

“There are jobs in journalism these days… They have to be earned.”

“There’s been a forest fire that has swept through the industry with fury…There’s something about a forest fire that I find somewhat helpful…We are the young sapplings that are starting to come out of the soil.”

“Think about what you can do better than anyone else does… what you can do to be indispensable.”

Rather than climbing career ladders, “people will be coming in side doors.”

“I zig when other people zag. I try to cover unique things.”

Post frequently, he says.  Think of Twitter and Facebook “as if you’re anchoring your own personal newscast. You don’t want to have dead air.”

“Think before you tweet.”

“On Facebook and Twitter, you’re creating your own media company.”

“Everybody in here should be writing everyday.”

“Post unique original content…Go where the darkness is. There’s a lot of great stories in those space that aren’t being covered…Finding those stories that are right in front of you that are almost too big to write about because they’re so obvious.”

“I’ll let you in on a little secret: Credibility often comes from doing a lot, writing a lot.”

Beacon staffers Kate Peifer and Laura Frazier with New York Times media reporter Brian Stelter at NYC12.

“We’re all going to be video reporters in the future, which means we have to comb our hair.”

He predicts the New York Times will be doing hours of video a day, and encouraged the students to start now.

“To start practicing on video is crucial..The earlier you start, the better you’re going to be.”

Stelter’s parting advice:

  • See “Page One.” (“a shameless plug”)
  • Write every day and take photos every day.

Now for the “fake news” writers…

Hallie Haglund and Zhubin Parang from The Daily Show

Their advice for aspiring comedy writers:

“Write as much as possible… It’s a lot of practice. Writing and getting involved in a comedy community- New York or L.A.” -Parang

(Parang writes nine pages of jokes in an hour.)

“Write well… fast…getting in the habit of writing fast about something that just happened…(Do) whatever it takes to find your voice, which is writing a lot…creating a curriculum for yourself. Find out if you love it enough.”  -Haglund

Also, a comedy writer needs a thick skin; “If you have any sense of preciousness about your jokes, you will be crying everyday.”-Parang

Haglund on the subject of sexism in the male-dominated field of comedy: “I don’t think that, in terms of my career, asking myself that question has ever been useful to me in moving forward… In the arc of my career, I have never found walls that prevented me from getting where I am.”

As described by Parang and Haglund,  “The Daily Show” staff consists of 10 staff writers, correspondent Jon Oliver, a head writer, two executive producers and Jon Stewart.  “He always guides the narrative of whatever we do,” Haglund said.

For the record, their office is “dog friendly.”

Parang, who was working as a lawyer before he went into comedy professionally wrote for The Onion (50 bucks for a headline) before joining “The Daily Show.” To apply for the job, he had to submit a script with three headlines summarizing the news stories of the day. At that time, the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan were the top stories. What’s funny about that?

“In tragic situations, the comedy is the media’s reaction to it,” Parang said.

-Nancy Copic,  ass’t director of Student Media & Beacon adviser

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Was it really just two days ago I was booking it to The New York Times and NBC headquarters like a New Yorker in 70 degree weather? It’s hard to fathom the dream-like memory of my time there especially since I return to begrudging school work and snow. However, the smiles and kind demeanor of my friends and peers helps the difficult transition. On our last day at the conference, I went to three wonderful sessions that not only provided yet more fresh story ideas but also simplified legal issues that often arise. I left the conference pumped and ready to implement all I learned into one thing I care a lot about: The Beacon! Besides gaining a wealth of information to better my skills as a reporter and hopeful future editor, I was also provided the opportunity to tour NBC and rub elbows with famous journalists, editors and more. Because I aspire to be like these amazing, successful and talented people, and one day take their place ;), I intently listened to all they had to say, all of their advice. I feel more prepared than ever before and more excited about the future of journalism. So hello again Beacon, goodbye for now New York…but don’t worry, I’ll be back.

Kate Peifer

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9:30 a.m. and I found myself filing into Hearst Tower. Thanks to luck and a five -dollar bill, I was able to tour the magazine giants’ head quarters. With this, I learned more about the magazine industry. Hearst owns roughly 20 different magazines, with everything from Cosmopolitan to Popular Mechanics repping the iconic William Randolph Hearst brand. We first visited the Good Housekeeping section. Though it seems a little obvious, I was still surprised to discover that a large portion included high tech testing laboratories. With everything from washing machines to complete kitchen sets and rows of laptops, a huge part of Good Housekeeping is the product testing their reporter/engineers do.

Next stop was the Food Network Magazine branch. The Editor in Chief was kind enough to meet with us. For me, our round table discussion was another huge relief. Among other things, she said that when she looks at interns she doesn’t care about where they went to school or if they are journalism students. She cares about the experience they have had at newspapers, where she ensured us all was the best possible way to start out in the field, as opposed to pursuing graduate studies in journalism. As an aspiring reporter from a small university without a journalism program, this was monumental for me.

Whew. My world will not come crashing down on me upon graduation.

Back at the conference, I slipped into a seminar about finding and utilizing documents. The presenter helped me make sense of them what to look for, and what to do if I find anything of note. He also pointed out several important and helpful websites to use. I left with more reporter tools in my toolbox and some already budding ideas, though I won’t disclose those here… 🙂

After that, the conference participants filled the hotel’s largest ballroom for the closing keynote of NYC12. I was so excited for the presentation, as the speaker was David Carr, the former cocaine dealer infamously resurrected as a New York Times reporter. Plus, the guy is a movie star (Watch Page One, the documentary on the New York Times, everyone). His intro was brief. This didn’t surprise me, as I feel many reporters are accustomed to hiding behind those narrow little notebooks and our own inquisitive questions.

Most of his talk was about the metamorphosis journalism and reporting are currently immersed in. New media is becoming more prominent everyday, and more reporters are blowing up twitter and facebook and networking like mad. With print newspapers losing subscriptions and Ipad’s taking over the universe, Carr joked that the reporters of the future will be oddly robotic.

“Those days are over,” he said, bravely honest and unflinching. “Nothing stays written. It’s a rolling, organic process. Being a reporter is a lot more complicated than it used to be.”

Ok. Now I can anticipate my articles rotating from print, to web, to smart phone, tablet, and whatever comes next.

But I was scared. Technology is intimidating. What if I can’t keep up? What if I’m a good print reporter, but don’t have the chops to reach out to a web audience? I feel like I should hoard every shred of newsprint I can, like canned goods stocked in World War II air-raid shelters.

But Carr was fearless, and the fact of his professionalism was oddly soothing.

“The cool time to be doing what you are going to do is right now,” he said. “It’s right now. You have the tools of the insurgency in your hands.”

Everyone in the ballroom agreed. The thousands of budding journalists from across the country, from massive schools or community colleges or Ivy leagues, we were all nodding.

Empowerment. That’s what David Carr left us with.

So what did I do with this inspiration once he stepped down from the microphone? Decided to stalk him.

Just kidding, though I did close my time in New York City by taking a photo in front of the New York Times building.

Perhaps someday I’ll be on the other side of those glossy glass doors and flashing my badge to the security guards, instead of getting the incriminating stare down.

In closing, this conference was amazing, and more phenomenal than anything I could have hoped for. I am so thankful for the opportunity!

I’m headed back to UP with tactics to make the Beacon even more creative and great. But I’m also returning with the business cards of professionals, new college reporter friends, and perhaps most importantly, a new attitude.

Yes, journalism is changing. So, I will change as well.

As David Carr said, “be respectful, but never fearful.”

I’m sad to leave New York, but excited to share all I have learned back at UP. I’m looking forward to the last issues of the Beacon for the year.


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Today’s Lesson: Successful journalists make it happen. They create their own opportunities, they “know somebody,” and they always work ridiculously hard.

Though at times this message seemed impossible for me to grasp and enact on my own, it did get me thinking about journalism differently.

The first session today was led by a foreign correspondent who basically graduated from Law School, and bought a one-way ticket to India. Once there, though she had no plan and no journalism experience, she wrote a story about Indian Circus Girls and sold it to a magazine. That led to another story, and she eventually landed at 60 minutes and other TV shows. She built her own career, because she was able to find stories and turn them into opportunities. Though I may not have the gusto or connections that she had, listening to her story did encourage me to think more creatively, and to be more proactive about carving out a path for myself.

Then I went to a presentation by Brian Stetler, a prominent New York Times reporter. Yet his career path was also hardly conventional. Brian basically promoted himself through his TV news blog. Instead of blogging just about his life, he spent his free time in college writing about TV news. But not only did he create a blog, he worked hard to sell it and make it popular. He reached out to other blogs and passed his links around. He molded his own reporter niche, and now covers topics that not every other reporter can simply take on. His initiative was stellar. I was jealous of his ingenuity. But, above all, he left all of us young, budding, and terrified journalists with a hopeful message: Yes, there are jobs. Yes, you learn more from experience then you do in class. And yes, journalism is immortal.

Thank you, Brian Stetler. I needed to hear that, especially from someone like you.

Beacon reporter Kate Peifer (left) and Living Editor Laura Frazier with New York Times boy wonder and  media reporter Brian Stetler, who is featured prominently in the documentary “Page One.”

Aside from journalism mania, it was another beautiful day! Cheap earrings for my souvenir, a hot dog from a vendor for lunch, an NBC tour and new conference friends. All New York memories!

Sigh. Last day tomorrow. It seems almost unjust to have to leave! But, one more day to learn as much as I can! I’m happy for that!


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In through the …

In through the nose and out through the mouth…

Today was yet another whirlwind! My first two sessions were helpful in specific types of reporting and in covering controversial subjects fully, professionally and sympathetically. After a quick grab-n-go lunch, Nancy, our adviser, escorted us to NBC studios faster than any native New Yorker. I was completely starstruck, speechless, dumbfounded going into the sets of SNL, 30 Rock and The Ed Show and all thanks to Nancy!

Beacon Editor-in-Chief-to-be Liz Tertadian,  reporter Kate Peifer, Beacon adviser Nancy Copic, photojournalist Jackie Jeffers and Living Section editor Laura Frazier at NBC, New York.

Our tour guide, Maggie, was a “page” and explained how we may be able to apply and one day be in her place. Add that to my long list of dreams to fulfill. After our amazing tour, we returned to our room for a quick snooze and even quicker chat as we were still so speechless about the splendiferous day in the Big Apple.

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Today was another great day in New York!

I went to a session on how to work under crises, particularly dealing with legal issues between the newspaper and the administration. I thought it was really helpful, and the speaker addressed how private schools could handle issues even without first amendment rights.

But the best part of the day came when Jackie and I went on our tour of the Associated Press! It started out awful, with the NYC12 tour leader leaving without half the group… and then once we got to AP, taking a tour during which students kept asking questions geared toward how they specifically could get a job. So, not getting much out of the tour, Jackie and I decided to do something about it. We saw that our speaker – the managing editor – was in his office, and we went in there! Best of all, he was thrilled that we had ditched our tour and come to talk to him, and sat down with us, talked about what it was like to be an editor, what it was like to work for a college paper, and gave us advice. Then we got a picture with him and The Beacon!  He asked for our email addresses and said he would visit us when he went to Seattle. He even asked if he could keep The Beacon. So awesome! 🙂

I then went to a session about how to rule with an iron fist that was really good. It was lead by Mike, and he tossed cigars at people. But really, his main point was that as editors, we should be more inclined to be mean, than nice. “Because your generation likes mean”.  I liked this, and it opened my eyes up to the fact that a lot of the time people need a strong reminder and an example. One of Mike’s points was “Set an example – fire a slacker”.

As a whole group, Nancy got her friend Steve to give us a tour of NBC! We saw the stage of SNL, and the sets of other news shows. It was really cool!

After two days of sessions, I feel like I have learned so much! I cannot wait for tomorrow.


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Today was day 1 of seminars! I went to 6 seminars in the course of the day. Most had to do with photo ethics, including what to publish, what to manipulate (and not manipulate), and how to capture good news photos (“Shoot first, ask questions later”). Todd Maisel, a photographer from the New York Daily News, was one of the speakers I had today, and it was amazing to hear his stories and see his work. He takes photojournalism to the next level. Another seminar I really enjoyed was the rights of the media, and how to exercise those rights.

Since meetings got out this evening, Liz, Laura, Kate and I visited the Empire State Building! Looking forward to a tour at the Associated Press tomorrow morning!

– Jackie

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My brain is exploding.

No, it’s not because I had a little too much of the St. Patrick’s Day festivities last night, or because I’m still jet lagged. I just learned so much today at the conference, I’m not sure I can cram any more in!

It is so wonderful to be able to learn from professional journalists! As of yesterday, I have been gifted with 200 new story ideas, and the tools to make them happen. Granted we can’t take on their suggestions of covering the local nudist colony, but there were several ideas that can work at UP. Stay tuned in the last few Beacons! But more than a list, we talked about how a story doesn’t simply come from an abstract idea. It comes from thinking and planning ahead, and restructuring so the fiesty and groundbreaking stories can draw in the crowd. NYC12 got me thinking not just about reporting or editing, but about stepping back and looking at the big picture.

Not only am I freshly inspired to think creatively about how to cover UP’s campus, but the design sessions taught me how to better connect visually. People are drawn to faces and emotion in photos, totally cool right? For an InDesign newbie, this little hints are pure gold.

I also got a crash course in down-and-dirty-take-no-prisoners journalism. Seriously. In 2 back to back sessions led by completely powerful kick butt ( and ridiculously intimidating) speakers, my approach to reporting got revamped. Apparently, thanks to the beauty of freedom of information laws, I can find absolutely any public document I like. Or so I was told. Though it will take time and patience, there are so many resources for journalists to utilize when looking for public records. The joy of options and copious information! But in the end, the speakers stressed that it’s up to the reporter. No is not acceptable. Rage when public officers deny you information you are allowed to see. And find the mysterious backdoor that can get you what you need. Now I’m pumped.

Sessions are done for the day, but another night in the lights of NYC ahead. How did I get so lucky?


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