Archive for March, 2018

CMA NYC 2018 started this year for photojournalists with a two hour session regarding the rules of a photo competition. We had two full days to take and submit a photo that screamed New York City with “a moment in time” as the theme and people as the focus.

I cleared my schedule early Friday afternoon and took myself and my camera to Grand Central Terminal. I stood against a railing waiting for a moment and some people. I did not have to wait long.

Shreya and Sagar came literally spinning into view within the next 60 seconds. They were all smiles. They were oh so obviously star-crossed lovers in a magical city. When they finally noticed me, I had at least twenty shots of their dance on my SD card. They gave me their names and we parted ways.


Shreya and Sagar dancing in Grand Central Terminal.

I spotted the Austrian couple, Juergen and Sabrina Harich, by the information desk. They were of the traditional group of tourists with paper maps and questions for humans as their tools for maneuvering the city rather than Apple maps and questions for Siri. Juergen was concentrating so intently on figuring out the subway system that I am sure I could have fired off fifty shots before him noticing my presence, but Sabrina was more observant of her surroundings and stopped me at five. That fifth photo became the one I submitted for the contest.


Juergen and Sabrina Harich feeling lost in Grand Central Terminal.

I snapped a few more photos that day: an older couple and a guard pointing up at the ceiling, a man named Mohammed selling hot dogs, two construction workers taking a break, a pair of friends chatting and smoking on the street, tourists in Times Square, but I only submitted Juergen and Sabrina.

I did not win the competition, but I did not expect to. How could I have with the competition so stiff? The top three photos featured a protest turned riot, a pair of ignored homeless persons and a first kiss.

The speakers and organizers of the competition tore the photos submitted apart. Here’s what I learned was wrong with my photo of Juergen and Sabrina: the man in the bottom left-hand corner was distracting, I should have decreased my shutter speed to let the people in the background go blurry, Sabrina was looking too directly at me, and worst of all was all the dead space up above. It left me thinking that I should have submitted the photo of Shreya and Sagar.

But what I took away from the competition was not that I am a terrible photojournalist. I took away ideas for being a better Multimedia Editor for The Beacon like making the photography team take a group trip to downtown Portland to take pictures of strangers to get them comfortable with taking pictures of and talking to people. Or like basic helpful tips to improve the photography game we’ve got going on. Or like how to work with the equipment you’ve got rather than wishing for the equipment you don’t.

– Annika Gordon

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I have decided that I have exactly two top favorite memories from CMA NYC 2018. The first one is stumbling upon a very random ramen restaurant in SoHo that was too fancy and quiet for the college students that arrived there and had walls made out of stacked books. The second memory is going to a session on International Women’s Day led by three of the leaders of Michigan State University’s newspaper, The State News.

Larry Nassar was MSU’s osteopathic physician. He was the USA Gymnastics national team doctor. Most significantly, he was a child abuser and will be serving time in prison for the rest of his days for his crimes. The State News wrote over 300 articles covering the terror over the last 2 years. They went to the courtroom and stood 10 feet away from Nassar on more than one occasion. They skipped days of school working and writing to make sure their community stayed informed and they did not have much support from their school’s administration to do so. They listened to the powerful words of over 100 victims. And they admitted to the emotional toll the last 2 years had taken on them.

Rachel Fradette, Marie Weidmayer and Madison O’Connor. Those are the names of those three leaders. They are brave and strong young women.

The victims who spoke out were all brave and strong young women.

In New York City, I had the huge honor of meeting up with two former Beaconites. Malika Andrews who now works for The New York Times and Shelby Vaculin at NBC Studios. I am oh so lucky to call them incredible mentors and friends. They are both brave and strong young women.

Malika Andrews, Clare Duffy, Rachel Rippetoe, Olivia Sanchez, Hannah Siervert, and Claire Desmarais. They are the past, present, and future leaders of The Beacon. They are also brave and strong young women.

I walked up to the three editors of The State News at the end of their session. They were getting ready to leave when I told them “Thank you,” when I told them it was not lost on me that the leaders of all the work and hours put into covering the horror of Larry Nassar’s actions were women, when I told them that they were the reason we acknowledge and celebrate International Women’s Day.

What I learned on International Women’s Day at CMA NYC 2018 was this: I have been blessed to have brave and strong young women as role models and, more importantly, I will be one too.

– Annika Gordon


Shelby Vaculin recently moved to New York City to work as a page for NBC Studios.



Malika Andrews works as a reporter for The New York Times’ sports team.

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Another piece of advice from the conference that left me feeling motivated was the importance of social media branding in this day in age. When going into a career as a journalist, it is important to keep a professional twitter, instagram, and facebook that reflect where you work, are well kept and frequently updated, and have many followers. Though I knew the importance of a clean social media presence before I left for the conference, I did not know that follower count could have an impact on your chances of getting a job. Though that made me feel slightly nervous, I realized I am young, and I have time to build up that base and look of professionalism on my accounts through college and my working years. I learned this from two different sessions: “Building your College Media Brand” on Saturday and the Keynote speaker of that day, Lauren Duca, whose tweets have gotten massive attention and even gotten her freelance jobs!

-Natalie Rubio-Licht

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Though the entire conference has left me inspired and motivated, one panel I found very informative that stuck with me was “Getting the Source”, with Reuters reporter Andrew Seaman, on the excessive use of anonymity in professional journalism. In the panel, Seaman mentioned that publications like the Washington Post and the New York Times attribute quotes to sources who want to remain anonymous for reasons that do not call for it, which creates distrust between readers and the publication. Excessive anonymity also inhibits future reporting, jeopardizes relationships with sources, and is ethically and legally problematic. Unless the source has a good reason for their anonymity, such as threat of harm, then it should not be allowed. However, he gave us ways to get past dead ends when we are faced with them in our first hand sources. This includes considering our resources (asking ourselves “where else can we get the information we need?”), considering second hand sources, and utilizing documents (i.e., texts between people, police/medical reports, campus police, etc.). He also talked about ways of opening up a source during an interview. This included doing research on the subject and finding common ground, asking the hard questions upfront, and not being afraid of silence in an interview.

Outside the conference, The Beacon crew traveled around midtown and had a blast. Though I was too sick to go out on the first day of the conference, we had a lot of fun in central park, at the Museum of Modern Art and getting dinner the second night.

-Natalie Rubio-Licht

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Interviewing can be the most powerful tool in a journalist’s pocket if used correctly. This past Friday, March 9, at the annual CMA conference I got a new perspective on how to sharpen my interviewing skills.

At the conference, I attended a workshop titled “FBI Strategies for Interviewing”, where the speaker, Holly Johnson, described the tactics she’s come across both in her own experience and in interactions with law enforcement for interviewing.


Reporters often use these methods without knowing it, but consciously implementing them can really help create an understanding of the story our interviewee is trying to tell.

Thinking back, I noticed these elements at play in the tour of Democracy Now I had taken the day before. From the green room our tour group observed Amy Goodman interview guests in honor of International Women’s Day. In that broadcast, I can remember Goodman demonstrating each one of the interviewing tools Johnson talked about.

Withholding judgement allows the person you’re interviewing to feel safe in expressing what they believe without feeling the need to defend themselves. Johnson used the example of talking to a school official about a new policy, which I feel is very applicable to many stories I write. When covering rules and policies, it’s easy to resort to blind rejection. It takes effort to step back and approach a story objectively, but it’s well worth it.

Joining, as Johnson explained, is using language which shows that you see the other perspective on an issue. Joining goes hand in hand with withholding judgement, and like the later helps to create an environment where the person you’re interviewing feels comfortable expressing their views. This doesn’t necessarily mean one needs to give credence to sexist views when talking to someone about International Women’s Day, as we discussed with some of the Democracy Now staff after the broadcast. Not all views are deserving of equal coverage. Joining just means choosing your words carefully to show that you’re open to what the other person is saying.

Mirroring, as the name suggests, is reflecting another person’s body posture with your own. Leaning forward when listening, and backward when they get defensive not only shows you’re paying attention, but that you’re interested as well.

Showing curiosity and active listening make your interviewee feel heard, and encourages them to share more. If you seem disinterested in what someone is saying, they won’t be interested in telling you about it. In order to keep both you and them engaged, you, as the interviewer, need to ask questions based on their responses and not formulate the next question before they finish. Let them tell their story, and actively participate in it.

Interviewing is one of the most important skills a reporter can have. Knowing not only which questions to ask, but how to ask them gets you more information and a better story.

– Sam Cushing

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During this year’s College Media Association’s spring convention, I attended a workshop titled “How to Thrive in a TV Newsroom”, presented by Lynn Walsh. She discussed topics like:
– How to build your brand
– How to make yourself an expert
– How to engage with your audience and others in your profession
– How to perfect your pitch (picture below)
And other tips to get ahead.
Seeing this, as well as other workshops throughout the conference, made me realize that the Beacon was missing a structured broadcast.

I also attended a lecture called “The Camera in Your Pocket”, which covered the different ways to optimize your cell phone camera. These helped show me the different ways the Beacon could enhance our multimedia content.


Thanks! – Sam Cushing

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By Hannah Sievert

I was overwhelmed with the amount of good information I got from the CNA conference this year. I filled up almost ten pages in my notebook with ideas, tips, tricks, inspirations, and words of wisdom.  But one of the most interesting info sessions I went to was “Five Ways to Build an Audience That Trusts You.”

The session was led by Lynn Walsh, who works at Trusting News. Trusting News works to understand why people don’t trust the news and media as much as they used to. They have interviewed a surveyed tons of people and boiled it down to five things a media outlet must do for an audience to build trust in that media outlet. As the editor-in-chief of The Beacon next year, I want to start implementing these five ideas:

  1. Explain our process.  It’s important to show how our media outlet gathers information and writes its stories. We need to show evidence of fair and deep reporting, and explain how our editorial board and our writers make thoughtful decision making. It can be helpful to take people behind the scenes in our work — like doing a behind the scenes video of how a Beacon video was made. It can be helpful to put the code of ethics we follow on our website.
  2. Be accessible. Walsh pointed out that readers want to feel like they can contact the person behind the story, which is why it’s important to include an email for the writer at the bottom of the story and a contact page.  This also includes simple things like an automatic response email when story ideas are submitted, that help people feel heard.
  3. Engage authentically.  Walsh said it’s important for media outlets to engage with readers on Facebook and Twitter by responding to their questions and comments. If someone calls the media outlet out on being one-sided, it would be good to respond with “How were we one-sided specifically? What perspective do you think was not represented?” Walsh’s mantra was, “Reward productive comments and publically challenge harmful ones.”
  4. Demonstrate balance. People always want to see multiple sides of a story. Walsh showed a story that required multiple perspectives, with an editor’s note on top that read: “Not everyone’s perspective is represented in this story. Click here for more perspectives.”
  5. Label your stories. We need to be clear about what is opinion, what is an editorial, what is an explainer, a Q & A. The word needs to follow over to all social media so it is clear what’s posted was an opinion or editorial.

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Kyle Garcia here, reporting for duty! I’m back to talk a little bit more about my experience in New York.

Last time, I talked about my horrifying yet amazing trip to Madison Square Garden to cover the Big East Tournament. While this was easily the highlight of the trip for me, there was a lot of other stuff going on at this conference that stood out. There was one speaker who stood out to me in particular, someone who spoke on the very last day and that I’m very happy I caught before the conference was over.

On the last day of the conference, Paul Kix, a senior editor at ESPN Magazine, held two sessions that resonated with me. The reason it has more than some of the other sessions was because what he said wasn’t that much about sports. Of course he talked about it, considering he is an ESPN guy, but what he really talked about was bigger than that.

The first thing that stood out to me from the two sessions was his emphasis on diversifying your portfolio. This stood out to me because 1) he talked about The Wire, one of my favorite TV shows ever, and 2) it opened my eyes to the variety of paths I can take.

For example, David Simon, the guy who created The Wire, started off as a crime reporter before going on to make the best show of all time. (That’s right. You bet it’s the best). And he’s not the only one. The creator of Glee, Ryan Murphy, also started out as a journalist for the L.A. Times. Kix himself worked a variety of jobs in the realm of writing before ESPN. He wrote a book, worked for the New Yorker, and even the Wall Street Journal before he got his current job. The list of reporters who have done things other than journalism goes on and on, and there’s one common thread that connects them all.

They all knew how to build a narrative.

Everything they learned from their experience as reporters gave them the ability to create a story, to show how everything weaves together. Because of this, they were able to find jobs writing for just about anything. It didn’t matter if it was for sports, business or even movies and television. Because they knew how to build a narrative and tell a story in a compelling, interesting way, they were able to translate their ability into any writing job they wanted. That’s something that interests me more than anything, and something I want to replicate in the future.

So those were the two big lessons that I learned from Kix: that I need to diversify my portfolio by looking at more than sports and that building a narrative is one of the most important abilities of any good journalist. They’re lessons that I hope to apply to The Beacon and beyond.

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Hey guys! It’s Kyle Garcia, sports editor here to tell you a little bit about what’s been going on in New York.

This past week, I got the opportunity to go to Madison Square Garden and cover the Big East Tournament. And if we’re being honest, it was absolutely horrifying.

I had never felt so intimidated. For starters, I had never covered anything other than UP athletics, so covering a conference that I only had cursory knowledge about was scary. On top of that, I was covering it in the most famous arena in the world, which is significantly bigger than the Chiles Center. And for some reason, I had just as much access as all these other seasoned, amazing reporters. Me. A student reporter who hasn’t even done his job for a year. And all of the sudden I have to pretend I’m on the same level as guys like Andy Katz and Jeff Goodman, reporters that I have admired and respected my entire life. I get to go into the press conferences and the locker rooms just like they do? That just made no sense to me.

But once all the luster faded, once I plugged my computer in and opened my notes, it became just another gamer.

I loved it. I loved every moment of it. From having a security guard turn us away from the locker room we actually DID have access to to nervously asking St. John’s head coach Chris Mullin, 1/3 of the legendary RUN TMC, a question in a press conference with probably thirty other reporters about how hard it is to play two games in 14 hours, it was all awesome. Everything made sense, and I felt right in my element. All the anxiety was gone.

While I wasn’t too busy being embarrassingly more visibly excited about covering a game at MSG than the other reporters there, I learned a few things.

Never be afraid to ask questions in a press conference:  I was terrified to do this in the beginning, but I am so happy that I did because 1) I got a good quote from a grumpy Chris Mullin, getting him to say “that’s what we get for finishing ninth” and 2) the world didn’t end! He didn’t shut me down. No reporters looked down on me. It was totally fine. I had a question to ask and I asked it, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Take advantage of networking opportunities: My biggest regret is not doing anything more than nodding at Jeff Goodman as he walked by me. Networking is important, especially in the world of sports journalism. Making impressions on people that matter is important, even if it is something as simple as just introducing yourself. It’s something that I wish I did more of, and I will look to do more of it in the future.

ALWAYS take advantage of free food–especially when in New York: Hey, New York is expensive. You bet when I found out there were free sandwiches for the media I took advantage. You have to seize any opportunity for free stuff whenever possible. That’s just a fact.

I’ll never forget the first time I ever covered something at Madison Square Garden, and hopefully it won’t be the last.


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By Hannah Sievert

I was lucky to be chosen to tour Hearst Tower, home to Hearst Communications, while at the College Media Convention in New York. Only a few people were chosen to tour media outlets out of many who applied. Hearst owns quite a few of the magazines you see while you check out your groceries at the grocery store: Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, O Magazine, Seventeen, Good Housekeeping, Elle, and many more. They also own newspapers, television companies, and other media groups (about 360 businesses in all).

The building was beautiful. The tour guide explained it was built to be eco-friendly. The tower houses expensive and famous art on the bottom floor and other conference room floors. On the tour, we started at the Good Housekeeping floor, where Good Housekeeping tests their products in labs. Videographers film Good Housekeeping cooking videos on this floor. The floor was filled with scientists testing different products like pans, vacuums, and shoes.

Our next stop was the Harper’s Bazaar floor, where the magazine is put together. On this floor, we met with editors, writers, copy editors, graphic designers, and the staff that puts the outfits together for photo shoots. We toured the Harper’s fashion closet, where they keep the clothes for all of their upcoming photo shoots.

Next, we went to the O Magazine floor (Oprah’s floor!!). Similarly to Harper’s, an editor took us around to talk to designers, writers, and editors. We got to see the wall where designers put together upcoming magazine issues and decide on the magazine layout. In the middle of the floor was a huge closet where they keep Oprah’s favorite things, or the products that Oprah and staff decide to include in next month’s issue.

From speaking with editors and people working at Hearst, I gathered a few lessons that I want to remember:

  • Prioritize building your brand. Both of the high-up editors we spoke with said they like when job candidates include their Twitter, Instagram, and blog links with their application. They said it shows them who the job applicant is and if their voice and personality will fit in with the work environment. Amy, an editor at O Magazine, pointed out that we have so much time in college to find our voice and build our own brand.
  • There are jobs in this industry! Going to Hearst reminded me that there is a place in this world for writers, artists, and visual creators. Sometimes in Oregon, I forget that places like Hearst exist, where there are opportunities to write, edit, and create magazines that are seen by millions of people.
  • Internships are your way to get your foot in the door. Almost everyone working at these places mentioned that they got their foot in the New York magazine industry door from internships out of college. This reminded me to prioritize internships and the internship search! Though Hearst only has a set list of colleges they choose interns from (upsetting, but because of an internship lawsuit problem), many magazines in New York offer internship opportunities for those interested in the business.
  • Working in the magazine business is tough and busy, but so interesting, dynamic, and worthwhile. Everyone working at O and Harper’s Bazaar had one thing to say about their job: “I love it here.”

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