I’m already ashamed about that headline, but now I’ve committed.
Nancy, Philip and I rolled into New Orleans Wednesday evening. We were playing hooky from a couple days of class and work, so we were all pretty exhausted from trying to get on top of homework and get the Beacon prepped before heading out of town. Naturally, a walk down the infamous Bourbon street woke us up quickly.
Thursday morning we checked in and got these awkward ribbons to stick on our name tags because The Beacon was a Pacemaker finalist. The name tags were also a perfect example of why everyone needs a copy editor.
Here’s a recap of a couple of my favorite sessions from the first day:
Newspapers to Magazines
I chose this session because editorial is definitely a direction I could go in, but the speaker also gave great feature writing advice. Some highlights:
- The speaker said the best writers he has ever had were from a newspaper background. Newspapers force you into deadlines and efficiency and teach you to fact check and copy edit your own articles.
- Whatever you’re interested in, become an expert and start writing about it…
- …but you don’t have to be an expert about something to write about it well.
- It’s easy to get caught up in a lot of noise in the media world, but always remember it’s all about the people.
- And the quote of the session: “Not to drop names, but when I interviewed McJagger I asked him “tell me something about you that even your friends don’t know.” Weird thing is, people also like to answer that question.”
- OK another quote i couldn’t pass up: “Don’t let anyone tell you you have to pay your dues. No you don’t. They’re just afraid you’ll take their job.”
Our critique meetings at The Beacon have been a little dull and predictable lately, so hearing different ways to mix them up was really helpful. Some ideas mentioned were small group workshops, top 10 lists, reaching out to sources for feedback, focusing on a particular area like headlines, captions, or design and bringing in outside editors and designers to critique. Last week, I put a few ideas from this session to use and focused part of a critique meeting on finding story ideas.
I attended a few other practical sessions on web-first planning and writing and also got to listen to the staff of the Crimson White talk about their experiences covering the first African-American girls to go through rush. Hearing how their story went viral and made a difference was a reminder of the power of student media.
Kelsey Thomas (Editor in Chief)