Archive for March, 2015

Beacon staffers in Times Square: Katie Dunn, Parker Shoaff, David DiLoreto, Malika Andrews, Jacob Fuhrer, Rebekah Markillie

Beacon staffers in Times Square: Katie Dunn, Parker Shoaff, David DiLoreto, Malika Andrews, Jacob Fuhrer, Rebekah Markillie

The 2015 College Media Association convention was a whirlwind.  So much to learn, so much technology to keep up with, and so many issues that hardly existed before the digital revolution.

Take copyright law, for example. Not that it didn’t exist before. But Google Images, among other things has resulted in all kinds of traps that student media need to avoid. The Student Press Law Center’s Frank LoMonte, a walking-talking media law library, as always, spelled out what we need to know to stay out of trouble.

Rules of Fair Use:

1) Assume everything online is someone else’s property. Most of the time, you shouldn’t publish a photo from Google Images, Facebook, Instagram, etc. unless you have permission. Including “courtesy of” in your caption does not grant you permission. In fact, it’s worse than doing nothing. An item is copyrighted as soon as it is created. There doesn’t have to be a filing.

2)Sometimes it is OK to “borrow” copyrighted work. These exceptions include when you are using it for

  • review, critique or commentary (ie: a movie image for a review of that movie)
  • parody
  • writing about the work itself as a newsworthy item

3) Four-prong test for what is Fair Use:

Who are you? (educational organization or non-profit has a better shot at fair use than a for-profit company)

How much did you re-use it? (Less is better than more.)

For what purpose? (Not-for-profit is bette.r)

What effect did your use have on the original? (Did you undermine the market for the original?)

The key word is substitute; Is your work a substitute for the original?

4) Some items don’t require permission. These include U.S. government property (ie: photos on the official White House website) and material from Creative Commons, Wikimedia Commons, sources like that.

One footnote: If you are writing about a company, it is considered fair use to use the company’s logo.

The Apple Awards

I attended my first CMA convention in New York five years ago. At the Apple Awards ceremony, I remember thinking they were the coolest trophies I’d ever seen. I hoped The Beacon would win one someday.


The last day of this convention, in the Metropolitan Ballroom,  it happened. They called out “The Beacon, University of Portland” as Best Newspaper from a four-year university with fewer than 5000 students. What a thrill for all of us.

-Nancy Copic


2015-03-15 17.40.49

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It’s a double edged sword. As news moves online, there’s a growing expectation to have access to stories as soon as they happen. Journalists must crank out content hours or even minutes after the fact. On the flip side, mobile tech has also advanced, making it easier than ever for journalists to create and upload content on the fly. This was one of my key takeaways from my time at the College Media Association’s annual convention in New York City.

Some other key takeaways for multimedia journalism are as follows:


Reporters are rapidly becoming one-man bands, the industry term for reporters who interview, record and edit on their own.

The idea is simple. If you’ve got a mobile device, you can make a news package. Software such as Voddio fFile Mar 21, 10 42 14 AMor iPhone creates a one stop shop to make voice-overs, add photos and edit video.


Recording from mobile is a cleaner experience. Without the need to send camera crews and $10,000 cameras, reporters can shoot on the fly the moment things happen. Mobile also allows for more interesting camera angles that can’t be reached with traditional cameras.


Despite it’s advantages, mobile reporting is not the end game. The quality is less polished because the angles are fixed and the video can be shaky. More vitally, advertisers aren’t throwing their weight behind online news, yet. Like any company, media outlets need to make money, and until it’s unprofitable, broadcast news will continue to survive.

-Jacob Fuhrer

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Sports Editor Malika Andrews poses at Sports Illustrated headquarters

Sports Editor Malika Andrews poses at Sports Illustrated headquarters

Walking into Sports Illustrated headquarters, I was not overwhelmed by flashing lights, decorated athletes, and big screens with the current tournament games playing. Instead, I was completely underwhelmed by a standard concrete office building with few windows. In contrast to my job shadows with The Oregonian where I was able to interview Portland trailblazer players and was personally introduced to Terry Stotts, I was disappointed. But then I realized, this is a reality check. Not everything in sports journalism is flashing lights and high profile interviews. That being said, the space did not promote creativity, the lack of windows shut out the world and my inspiration with it. In contrast to Sports Illustrated, CNN was an extension of the busy streets of Manhattan. Yes, there were flashy lights but what was most inspiring was you could see the recording of shows while you were sitting at your computer doing research or cranking out a story. The building was bright and I could feel creativity bouncing off the walls and out the windows as oppose to being suffocated by concrete walls. I think this was more of a personal revelation: I may be okay with working in an office space, but I work best in an open space surrounded by people who want to be there. It was also a reminder that not everything about the industry is courtside seats and interviews with famous athletes. I can’t lose sight of the grunt work that needs to be put in.-2

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Katie Dunn |

There’s moments when you sit in class and think, ‘what in the world is going on? I swear we never learned any of this.’ In those moments, I catch myself questioning if I’m on the right track in school or working hard enough to understand what’s being taught. That lost feeling never happened when we were at the College Media Association conference in New York over spring break. IMG_4429

Unlike previous years, I found myself in sessions where I completely knew what they were saying and could related to the issues they were addressing. I knew what I would do in the face of ethical issues because we had faced them already, I knew the forms that held valuable information because we had already combed through them and I knew how hard it is to face some of the challenges related to student media because we had tackled through them. At these moments, I was so proud of the work we’ve been doing and continue to do at The Beacon.

Of course I learned new things, like how to better understand analytics on the website, understanding the importance of posting at the right time and on the right medium, the rights that students and student media holds via the Constitution and a solid list of questions to consider when facing ethical issues. While I was learning practical things to implement on the paper, I never caught myself hearing the speaker say, ‘this is what you should be doing’ and thinking, ‘oh crap we didn’t do that or don’t.’

IMG_4418In my new role as editor-in-chief there are more things I have to take in to account when I’m working on The Beacon. I no longer can get personally offended because someone dislikes something we’re doing. I have to be a strong leader for my staff so they know they can’t let it bother them either. One thing I learned in a session about not being the news was that we as a paper have to recognize how other people see the paper because that can impact how they react to something we do, positively or negatively.

All of the hard work that we put in every week to make the paper great can be overshadowed by one thing a group of people doesn’t like or agree with. On the other hand, a mistake that I can’t help but see every time I look at a printed page can be ignored by everyone else reading because all they see is a powerful story that gives voice to the voiceless. I was reassured at the conference that as long as we have sound reporting, our problems can’t be that egregious. At the end of the day I know our staff works so hard to turn out content the student body wants to read.

All of the strife and late nights and last minute changes seemed so inconsequential when we were sitting in the big ballroom hearing the announcement of the Apple Award for best paper (four-year college, under 5,000 students) and they said The Beacon, University of Portland. My heart skipped a beat as I walked up to collect the award because I knew we deserved it and worked so hard for this shiny red award. We just have to keep grinding out great things and knowing what we’re doing is necessary and important.

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