Archive for March, 2014

This morning when I walked out of our hotel in Times Square I felt like I belonged in New York. I was dodging tourists gawking at the street vendors and taxis driving haphazardly down the street but I remembered I’m actually a true North Westerner when I walked into Starbucks and held the door open for someone who looked thoroughly confused at my kindness. 

It’s not my first time in New York but every time I come I am amazed at the beauty. Nothing beats Central Park or the Empire State Building, not to mention the ability being in the city gives me to reference Gossip Girl as much as possible. Walking around Little Italy and China Town can cause some people huge anxiety with all the crowds and foreign languages but I love people watching and the over-stimulation. As an Italian I also live for great pasta, something Little Italy is famous for. This brought me to two amazing dinners in a row and tested my extremely limited Italian, but was well worth it.


The Empire State Building lit up the skyline with the bright red it donned Wednesday night.

Day 2 of the CMA Conference started with a very spirited Jeff Pearlman who was leading a session about Profiling Athletes but ended up being the best session I attended. Jeff spoke about how to find the best way into the industry, how to get deep into a story and into athlete’s minds. His best advice? Shut up and listen to people. There’s no better way to hear what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.


Jeff Pearlman tells his stories of prostitute stakeouts and interviewing back up catchers in place of Derek Jeter.

The second best session fed the business student in me. Katie Schlientz, my new inspiration since she is a self-starting one-woman marketing team. She talked all about how to get your publication out to your readers online. It’s all about getting readers to participate in a conversation with what’s being written. Her ideas on how to boost ad revenue would probably put the majority of English majors that make the Beacon as great as it is, to sleep. I was enthralled as she explained how to use Google Analytics and improve our SEO (search engine optimization) along with our social media campaign. I wanted to take over her life, but take the food and fashion blogs and turn them into sports ones.


Katie Schlientz explains her marketing strategies and gives tips on how to improve our online presence.

-Katie Dunn, Sports Editor

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I love music. Whether I’m swaying along with the crowd at a Mumford and Sons concert or jumping up and down in the mosh pit at a G-Eazy show, seeing live music is an experience like no other. In Thursday’s session on music journalism, Toni Albertson explained how I could combine my love of music with my passion for writing and reporting in the session “Rock On…line! How to Become a Music Journalist”.


Rapper G-Eazy at his March 9th show at the Roseland Theater in Portland, Oregon.

Albertson has had a long and successful media career covering and marketing music. Whether she was editing and publishing her own music magazines, reporting on musicians and shows, or acting as a publicist for various artists, she has met anyone and everyone in the industry.

Albertson walked us through her experiences in the various positions she has held and explained how the music industry and culture has evolved from the hairspray using and leather loving rock bands of the eighties, to the rough and tough grunge bands of the nineties, and into the frosted tipped boy bands and pop stars of the early 2000s. The launch of MTV and the Internet have completely changed the way both artists and fans approach and listen to music, moving the industry’s focus from the quality of the sound and the popularity of concerts to the image of the stars and the rise of music videos.

To be a successful music journalist in today’s world, Albertson offered up many helpful tips. She believes it is essential to start a blog and brand yourself and emphasized the importance of finding a topic you like and covering “the shit out of it”. Additionally, aspiring music journalists need to become musical historians and know everything there is to know about all types of music. It’s important to be careful about never blowing somebody off, keeping up a professional façade even if you’re secretly fangirling, and absolutely never affecting a person’s ability to make money in the industry

Is it really that easy to become a music journalist? All I have to do is create a blog and talk about my favorite musicians? From her experience in the field, Albertson knows it’s not quite that simple. To make your blog stand out from the rest, you need to stick out from the crowd and break your own news stories. She suggests utilizing your reporting skills and interviewing people for your articles, staying before, during, and after events to capture every detail, and becoming multimedia savvy. Writing positions at music publications like Rolling Stones are few and far between, but any budding journalist can work towards creating a noteworthy blog.

Albertson’s session was full of wisdom that I will be able to use to jumpstart my music journalism career. Look out Portland musicians, I’m coming for you!

Views of NYC from Central Park

Views of NYC from Central Park.

Radio City in Times Square

Radio City in Times Square.

The Beacon Staff takes New York City #Wherehasyourbeaconbeen?

The Beacon Staff takes New York City #Wheresyourbeaconbeen?

-Emily Neelon, Staff Reporter

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Lecture Given By Jack Zibluk of Southeast Missouri State University.

The most important and probably the most helpful part of Mr. Zibluks lecture during a frigid New York Afternoon was his simple ABCE steps (a video equivalent to the inverted pyramid as he referred to it) to help you create an effective video narrative.

  • A for action or your establishing shot, so setting a scene, who is going to be the main character of the story, what will she/he do.
  • B for background, who are they, do you have any shots of them setting up? Before an event? Where they came from? What they did before? A look into the history of the story you are covering in order to paint a more holistic picture of what is to come.
  • C for climax, your reaction to the action, the high point of the video, the turning point. He gave an example of a basketball game and how it’s the game winning basket but the person you take the picture of may not be the one shooting. “All baskets look alike and all armpits look alike, trust me, so none of those shots”. Instead he called attention to the winning teams reaction from the bench, their facial expressions, the fans reaction and expressions to their team winning or losing the game. So the climax of the story could include a picture of the actual event taking place but it should be about the reactions to the event.
  • E for end, wrap it up. Don’t linger to long on the climax. In the videos shown the climax was around ¾ the way through the video. Also a point that was stressed was the length of the video, there should be no need to create one longer than 3 minutes and the sweet spot for a video is 2-3 minutes. Now this isn’t true for all and granted you can play with the time depending on what you need but 9 out of 10 times it will fall into that 2-3 minute category.


Now don’t get flustered if you’re running the past projects you’ve worked on through your head and they don’t necessarily match up with this format. He said at one point In his presentation the if they didn’t follow this you didn’t have a good narrative, but all I took that to mean is you didn’t approach the story with the right angle or perhaps you’re not meant to tell a narrative about that particular topic. But I know at that point in the presentation everyone held there breath as they recalled previous projects they worked on and wondered if they held up to this new criteria, I know I was certainly wondering.


By: Parker Shoaff

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This is the first time I’ve been to New York City, so I’m still a bit dazed by it all. Every time I step outside into the car horns and walls of light, the smells of street food and exhaust, executives in tailored suits and construction crews in knit caps, I just kind of dissolve into it all. It’s all imposing and all strange. You know a place is strange when you can walk a couple of blocks and see twelve-storey LCD women walking toward you to advertise clothes.


A view of 5th Avenue skyscrapers from Central Park

Last night, Nancy (our adviser) took a few of us who had never been to New York to see some of the landmarks in Midtown – Times Square, Rockefeller Center, those places you see in movies. This evening, a few of the others staffers and I walked to Central Park and down 5th Avenue for some of the tradition and glitz of the city.


Radio City Music Hall in Rockefeller Center

Since I experience culture (and life in general) through food, I’ve been trying to eat lots of quintessential New York dishes. For dinner, I couldn’t decide between a big greasy slice of New York pizza and a heaping plate of chicken and rice the famous Halal Guys food cart. So I ate both of them.

Of course, the college media conference has also been wonderful. In one session on headline writing, Dan Sweeney from Florida Atlantic University emphasized taking the medium into account while writing headlines. A clickbait-ish, Upworthy-type headline isn’t appropriate for a newspaper, but it might be appropriate as an alternate headline in a tweet or Facebook post. David Simpson, the student media adviser at Georgia Southern University, gave a talk on how to take on tough interviews. He emphasized the importance of coming into interviews with confidence but also with humility.

Probably my favorite session today was from Ron Johnson at Indiana University on quick, easy design improvements. While he had plenty of ideas, I think one that I’ll try to keep in mind for the rest of the year is the importance of white space. I tend not to have much white space in my Opinions pages, opting instead to fill the space with words and big graphics. But Johnson said that even with very content-focused pages like the Opinions section, white space can focus the design by adding breathing room.

Today’s keynote speaker was Scott Pelley of CBS News and 60 Minutes. He emphasized that not only does democracy depend on free press, but also on high-quality journalism.

“When the quality of journalism goes to hell,” he said, “the county will follow.”


Scott Pelley of NBC News and 60 Minutes gives a speech on journalists’ duty to stay true to traditional media ethics in order to preserve freedom in the U.S.

Pelley also made the claim that the journalism world isn’t really changing as much as everyone says it is. He said that as much as the distribution and style of journalism might have changed over the past decade, the principles of good journalism remain the same – and will remain the same forever.

“Distribution: revolutionary. Content: same old stuff, folks,” Pelley said.


–Philip Ellefson, opinions editor

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