Archive for April, 2018


The Columbia Scholastic Press Association, which is based at Columbia University in New York City, has awarded The Beacon eight Gold Circle Awards for Digital Media.

This national competition covered content published by student-run college media organizations during the 2016- 2017 academic year.

(Fun fact: Columbia University also administers the renowned Pulitzer Prize awards.)

The Beacon placed in the following categories: spot news photograph, sports photograph, editorial writing, breaking news, news writing (planned), general or humor commentary, informational graphics and interactive graphics.

The Beacon also won Certificates of Merit for news feature, sports feature and personality profile.

Scroll down to see the award-winning content and individual recipients:


Single spot news photograph
Annika Gordon, “We Are the Human Race”

“We are the Human Race” by Annika Gordon
(at Portland Women’s March 2017)

Single sports photograph
Annika Gordon, “Men’s Soccer: Champions at Last” The Beacon

“Champions at Last” by Annika Gordon

Editorial writing
Malika Andrews and Olivia Sanchez, “Questions About Student Conduct Process Need Answers”


Breaking news
Malika Andrews and Clare Duffy, “Student Decries Conduct Process in Sexual Assault Case”

News writing (planned news)
Rachel Rippetoe, “Portland Shark Attack Survivor Begins to Pick Up the Pieces” 

General or humor commentary

Erin Bothwell, “Do’s and Don’ts of Dating a Killer”

Informational graphics
Rachel Ramirez, “Meet the 2021 Pilots”

UP: Then and Now A series of interactive photos


Interactive graphic
Rachel Rippetoe, “UP: Then and Now” 


News feature
Rachel Ramirez, “Goodbye Howard Hall”

Sports feature

Ben Arthur, “Benji Michel Leads Charge”
Rachel Ramirez, “UP Kenyan Runner Finding His Way”

Personality profile

Olivia Sanchez, “Gap Year: 2016 Alumna Defers Grad School to Fight Cancer”

Full list of Gold Circle awards




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Hannah Sievert, a junior from Gig Harbor, Wash will be editor-in-chief of The Beacon during the 2018-19 academic year.
Photo by Annika Gordon

University President Fr. Mark Poorman has appointed Hannah Sievert editor-in-chief of The Beacon for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Sievert, a junior, currently serves as living editor for The Beacon and has worked for the publication since her freshman year. She applied in her first few weeks at UP and found it a great way to integrate herself into the UP community and learn more about it. Though the Beacon newsroom is a demanding environment, Sievert considers it an excellent fit.

“It’s just such a fun job where you get to meet people, and I love writing, so it’s doing what I love,” Sievert said. “I can’t imagine having another job.”

She also said she has especially enjoyed the community aspect of working at The Beacon and is indebted to mentors throughout the years who have invested time and effort into teaching her and other people. She plans to prioritize maintaining the strong sense of camaraderie next year as well as continue to improve The Beacon’s online presence. Keeping the high standards of excellence to which many of its readers hold it is a goal for next year, Sievert said, which she plans to accomplish by recruiting competitive applicants and focusing on training staff.

Sievert enjoys the opportunity to write stories that might otherwise get overlooked and thinks it’s crucial for The Beacon to accomplish that at a UP level.

“Storytelling is connecting people, showing parts of the human experience, (through) stories that just make you cry because there’s just something about them,” Sievert said.

Last summer, she interned at Artslandia Publishing, where she was involved in the magazine production process and said she learned a lot about Portland through writing about it. This summer, she will further develop her journalism skills as an intern with the Charles Snowden internship program at The Daily Astorian in Astoria, Oregon.

Nancy Copic, Beacon advisor and assistant director of student media at UP, said that the internship will be an invaluable professional journalism experience for Sievert where her skills will serve her well and where she can further grow them.

“(Sievert) has intentionally challenged herself through stories that were just beyond her skill level. And I think that’s an inspiration to other students who will learn from her…I think it’s powerful in motivating the other students,” Copic said. “Hannah is a very positive person. I’m excited to see how she builds community in the newsroom and beyond.”

Sievert’s first act as editor-in-chief was appointing reporter Claire Desmarais as news and managing editor for next year.

The Presidential Advisory Committee on Student Media recommended Sievert to Poorman, who affirmed the decision.

“We recommended Hannah because of the outstanding job she has done this year as living editor,” Leykam said in an email to The Beacon. “We’re also excited to see her ideas in the areas of staff meeting improvement, promoting awareness of The Beacon to incoming freshmen, and inspiring/incentivizing staff come to fruition in 2018-19.”

Sievert will succeed Rachel Rippetoe, who will graduate in May.

“She (Sievert) has a natural leadership ability that’s both authoritative and approachable,” Rippetoe said. “She’s also a great writer, and she comes up with some really unique and creative stories to tell. I think she will be a great motivator for staff next year, and that’s really a big part of the job, just inspiring students who have a million other things to do to be a contributing part of The Beacon community.”

-Dora Totoian

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Beacon Homepage ROTC 2017



Update 5/22/2018:

SPJ announced the national Mark of Excellence winners today, and The Beacon received three First Place awards:

Rachel Ramirez won in the category of Online Feature Reporting for “Life and Terror: Jean Paul Mugisha finds new life on The Bluff.”

Ben Arthur won for Sports Writing, small school (university with fewer than 10,000 students) for “Tall Standards.”

Hannah Sievert won for Feature Writing, small school division for “The Call to the Church.”

The Beacon also was a national finalist (placing Second or Third) in the following categories:

General News Reporting, small school division (Claire Desmarais, Brennan Robinson for “ROTC Adjusts Training in Era of Mass Shootings”)

Column writing, small school division  (Rachel Rippetoe for columns on Harvey Weinstein, the Obamas, the media)

Feature Photography (Annika Gordon for “What Does the Hijab Mean to You?”)

Full list of SPJ Mark of Excellence national winners here.

——–(original post)——–

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) just announced winners and finalists in its Mark of Excellence Awards for college media in Region 10, which is made up of colleges and universities in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.

The Beacon won nine First Place awards, and those winners advance to the national SPJ Mark of Excellence competition in these categories:

*Category is for universities with fewer than 10,000 students. 

National winners will be announced later this spring and recognized at the SPJ Excellence in Journalism conference in Baltimore this September.


The Beacon also placed as a regional finalist (Second or Third Place) in four categories:

-Nancy Copic


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CMA 2018 facebook award group

Holding our Best Facebook Page (2nd Place) Award Front L to R: Annika Gordon, Hannah Sievert, Nat Rubio-Licht, Clare Desmarais, adviser Nancy Copic Back row L to R: Kyle Garcia, Connor Lorber, Sam Cushing

There’s nothing like taking seven student journalists to a media convention in New York. This year’s College Media Association conference left these Beacon staffers energized, inspired and more knowledgeable. Here are just a few of the takeaways they shared with me and the rest of The Beacon staff. (more in their own blog posts here)

Natalie Rubio-Licht, reporter:

  1. There are a lot of different ways to get the information you need to write a story. Make a list of all possible resources and reach out to as many as necessary. For example; social media posts, cell phone videos, audio, texts between students, documents, first-hand accounts, police/medical/campus reports, second-hand accounts. Do not use anonymous unless there is a real need to!
  2. Historically, there are different phases of coverage of POC (people of color): exclusionary phase, threatening issue phase, confrontation phase: creates social tension, stereotypical news selection phase. Colleges are often stuck in the stereotypical news selection phase: example, rarely report about POC outside of their holidays or heritage months
  3. There are a lot of simple mistakes that people make during interviews without actually noticing. One panel highlighted some deadly sins of interviewing, including: questions with no query, compound questions/too many at once, trigger words, too much sharing–the interview is about them, judgement in question, and closed questions that should be open.


Kyle Garcia, sports editor

  1. Focus on building a narrative–if there’s a story to be told in your story, then tell it in a compelling and meaningful way. Don’t just write facts, but instead use the facts to help supplement the bigger story.
  2. Always be observant–there are stories out there, but it’s up to you to look for them and stay vigilant.
  3. Know who you’re interviewing–There’s no formula for interviewing people that applies to everyone. Understand what kind of person you’re interviewing and let that guide your interview.

Connor Lorber, videographer:

  1. From the photo contest- Don’t be afraid to go and talk to people. Being shy can lead to great stories/photos being lost because you were too afraid to talk to someone.
  2. From the gaming guy and the Rolling Stones guy- Do what interests you. Whatever your passion is, work in that area. You will create better content when you are excited to be creating that content.
  3. From Lauren Duca- Don’t be afraid of the ‘backlash’ from doing something out of the ordinary. Traditionally, journalists don’t share their voices/brand as much as Lauren does, and while she does get a lot of death threats/criticism from voicing her opinion, she is passionate about the movement she is sharing her voice on.

Lauren Duca tweet

Annika Gordon, multimedia editor:

  1. We have to stay professional because the world out there knows and recognizes us.
  2. In interviews, ask for names and all other relevant information at beginning AND end of recording just to make sure you have it for real.
  3. Shoot everything that your sources talk about.


Claire Desmarais, reporter:


  • Research stories dealing with diversity or underrepresented groups
  • Never assume
  • Always ask: “Is this offensive? Is this the correct viewpoint?”
  • Don’t make mistakes. You lose trust with your readers from underrepresented groups


  • Body language matters— Mimic what your interviewee is doing with their body because it makes them feel more comfortable. When they lean back, you lean back because they are becoming defensive

Creative/Story Ideas:

  • Think about what makes you angry, and often times there is a story that can be puled from it
  • Talk to people during the day you wouldn’t normally talk to so you can broaden your scope and get a variety of ideas
  • Ask your friends and professors what stories they want to see written

The student photojournalist on the right got maced during a clash over the appearance of Milo Yiannopoulos at her school, University of California, Fullerton.

Hannah Sievert, editor of the Living section:

  • When writing an opinion or column, write what you would rant to your friends about when you see them at dinner, what makes you mad, what you notice, what you would naturally discuss with others.
  • Having a beat is largely about building a relationship with the person in that beat, checking in with them, having them check in with you
  • Write some stories about how we do our reporting, have viewers go behind the scenes, with explanation of who reporting was conducted through link. It encourages reader trust to see what kind of ethics we follow.

The session on using FBI strategies for interviewing was so popular, some Beacon staffers had to sit on the floor.

Sam Cushing, reporter:

  1. When taking photos with your phone for a story (ex. breaking news) make sure to clean your lens, zoom with your feet (get closer), keep an eye on exposure (make sure subject is well lit), center and focus your shot the most important element, and vary your shots. Especially for reporters without much photography experience, and usually use their phone for pictures. Also try different photo apps to optimize settings: Hipstamatic, Filmic Pro.
  2. Develop your stories before you pitch them at meetings.

Before you pitch a story, you should know:

  • Who are you interviewing, and have they agreed to talk to you?
  • Why should I (the reader) care?
  • Why does this matter?
  • Have we (The Beacon) covered this before?

For the pitch itself, highlight what you know and what you don’t know to give your editors as much information as possible to help direct you.

      3. When searching for stories, make sure to engage the community. Meet with people. Attend community events (Use Facebook and other social media to find them).Learn who/what matters to students, faculty, staff and find the story in there Ask for feedback from people you talk to or interviewGet connected – join Facebook groups, follow Instagram and Twitter pages, and ask your followers/friends for story ideas and events to attend.Work non-traditional hours, cool stuff happens on weekends and breaks.

Most of all: Be a person, connect with people and make them want to help you.

A highlight for everyone in our group was meeting up with last year’s editor-in-chief, Malika Andrews, who graduated last May and covers sports for the New York Times. Among her many exciting assignments recently: covering the Super Bowl.

Malika with NYC group 2018

2016-17 Beacon Editor-in-Chief Malika Andrews met up with our group to talk about her job at the New York Times.

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 12.16.49 PM


-Nancy Copic

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