I can’t believe that today was our last day in New York! It feels like this conference has flown by! Believe it or not, I think the conference did get better every day with this day being my favorite day at least for sessions.
The first session I went to was 50 sites for journalists. Literally Tara Puckey, who ran the session, took us through 50+ websites that are good for journalists to have under their belt. A few of the important ones were storyful.com which is a breaking news website that also has a blog for aspiring journalists, overviewproject.org which reads and sorts difficult to digest documents and puts them into topics while finding important hooks, and tableausoftware.com/public which is a website that makes a free graphic for your data. There was also websites specifically directed towards journalists like contently.com which is a website where journalists can create free professional portfolios of their work, journaliststoolbox.org which is a running list of resources for journalists, and of course spj.org which is the society of professional journalists website.
The second session I went to was Color: the good, the bad, and the really really bad. This gave me great insight into how delicate of a process picking colors for your pages should be. I learned that if you are going to use one color on a page, use the color at least 3 times so that way balance is established on the page. I also learned that color increases brand recognition by 80%, it improves readership by 40% and color can be 85% of the reason why people buy or pick up your paper. The session also went through each color and discussed what emotions/meanings go along with each color like red for anger, excitement and blue for elegance, coolness and even sadness. By learning the implications of these colors, I discovered that when I use color, I need to choose them more carefully and try to relate them to the overall emotion of the article.
The third session I went to today was called Student Journalists Gone Wild. Toni Albertson started the session by saying, “think of your online content as a tattoo. You could get it removed but not without lots of intense pain and great difficulty.” She then proceeded to tell us how to avoid ruining our online reputation. I learned that first, every person should Google themselves and see what pops up. If you don’t like what you see, then you have already done something wrong. I learned that you will be known by your perceived attitude and that perception is shaped online. I learned that if you have put something bad online, try to remove but know that once something is online, it never fully goes away. She also expressed some ways that we should be cautious in how much trust we put in social media. I learned not to trust Facebook because all it takes is a little security lapse and what you want to be private could beat the fingertips of anyone. I also learned that you shouldn’t like pages on Facebook because if that page is run by a private group that you are unsure of, they can post other things on that page and it will show in other peoples news feeds that you like everything they post because you liked the page. Her rule of thumb was simple: don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your mom to see and this applies to photos too!
The one thing that I can say I took away personally is the idea that if you want to be a journalist the only thing stopping you is your willingness to put yourself out there. I went into this trip solely thinking about how it would apply to my job as Design Editor, but I left thinking that maybe journalism is a potential career path for me if I choose to follow it. As Mark Luckie, who is the manager of journalism and news at Twitter says, “Always say yes, if there is an opportunity to change your career, say yes.” I had an amazing trip to New York filled with lots of great information and moments of self-discovery for me. I can’t wait to get back to the world of The Beacon and put all my new thoughts and ideas into action.
– Shellie Adams