Archive for the ‘Associated Collegiate Press’ Category

As the sun rose over the Mississippi River, more than 2000 collegiate journalists and their advisers prepared for Day One of the Associated Collegiate Press convention in New Orleans.

Kelsey, Philip and I had to choose from dozens of sessions. So many looked so interesting, so relevant to media in general and student media in particular. Among the highlights for me this day: sessions on infographics, critiquing and sexual assault on campus.


At least some millennials have an affinity for newspapers. Most of them are at this convention, apparently.

At least some millennials have an affinity for newspapers. Most of them are at this convention, apparently.

Online infographics

Alex V Cook, adviser of The Daily Reveille at Louisiana State University led this session on using Tableau Public and Google Fusion Tables to make digital infographics. He spent a few minutes emphasizing what we already know: People don’t read newspapers so much anymore, especially younger people. He referenced a term coined by Google: Generation C , so called because they create, curate and collaborate on content.  And by doing so, they create community.

He spoke about the importance of telling stories in new ways, specifically infographics. What skill do journalists today need to know?  Excel.  They need to learn how to find a large amount of data, crunch the numbers and find the story.

As an example, he showed some infographics from a story about the salary of Les Miles, LSU’s football coach. They made the charts from the free software, Tableau. He also recommended Google Fusion Tables, which The Beacon already is using for its online Public Safety reports.


Critiquing for Real

This session offered some fresh ways to approach what is for The Beacon and me a weekly ritual. Dan Close from Wichita State University led this. Many of his suggestion were simply ways to “frame” or “brand” the critique.


His ideas included:

1)  A Top Ten List (the best and perhaps the worst?)

2) The good, the bad and the really ugly

3) Have sources critique your coverage. Or invite alums or students from an editing class.

4) Have critique be content-specific each week. For example, focus on ledes one week, photos the next, news judgment the following week.

Underlying all of these techniques is the notion that a critique is an important teaching tool. They should be supportive and explanatory

Speaking of editing, ACP had a copy editing/geography problem. Notice anything wrong with Kelsey’s name tag? It was a reoccurring theme throughout the conference.

Portland, Pennsylvania? Hello, copyeditor?

Portland, Pennsylvania? Hello, copyeditor?
Critique workshop

Campus Rape Coverage Success Stories

Editors of three college newspapers that have aggressively covered sexual assault on their campus spoke about the resistance and challenges they faced and the gratification of perseverance. In all cases, they said their administrations seemed more concerned about university image than sexual assault. The editors also criticized the practice of treating sexual assault as a disciplinary matter rather than the crime that it is.

“These people (university disciplinary boards) aren’t trained to handle these things,” Samantha Vicente , an editor from the student newspaper at Oklahoma State University, said.

But Nicole Comparato of The Daily Tarheel at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said it was important for student journalists to persevere in covering this issue, despite resistance from university administration.

“You really can make a huge difference in raising awareness, she said.

Nicole Comperato (UNC, Chapel Hill), Samantha Vicent (Oklahoma St. University), Katie Taggert (Otterbein)

Nicole Comperato (UNC, Chapel Hill), Samantha Vicent (Oklahoma St. University), Katie Taggert (Otterbein)


-Nancy Copic, Ass’t Director of Student Media and Adviser to The Beacon

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Kelsey Thomas, Philip Ellefson and I landed late tonight in New Orleans, where we will spend most of the next four days in conference rooms with 2300 other college journalists and their advisers. We’re here for the Associated Collegiate Press fall convention, a whirlwind of workshops on all things college media. But tonight, on the eve of the convention, we took a walk down Bourbon Street.

Lest you think things got too wild, I will tell you that in the midst of this hedonistic haven, Kelsey checked in with The Beacon crew at home putting together tomorrow’s edition. Here is a photo of her reviewing the PDF of page one. That’s dedication.photo-19


Now, as the moon glows above the Mississippi, The Beacon delegation will try to get a few hours of sleep before diving in to #CollegeMedia13.


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It started with a tweet from Ryan Frank, publisher at Emerald Media Group, which publishes the University of Oregon’s student newspaper and website, The Daily Emerald.photo 1 Editor-in-Chief of The Beacon Kelsey Thomas saw that, and set off her own flurry of tweets…photo ephoto dphoto cphotophoto bphoto 4photo a“Yay” is right. The Beacon is a finalist for the Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker Award, a national award that’s been given out for 86 years and widely considered to be the most prestigious award in college media. 

There are three categories: daily newspaper,  non-daily newspaper and two-year (community college) newspapers. The Beacon, in the non-daily category, is in impressive company.

Among the 22 colleges and universities whose student newspapers are finalists for the non-daily Pacemaker Award:  Massachusetts Institute of Technology,  Boston College, George Washington University, University of Oregon, Wake Forest University, Johns Hopkins University, and Washington University in St. Louis. Not too shabby.

Finalists in the daily category include Northwestern University, Harvard, Penn State, University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers, and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. You get the idea.

According to ACP, the staff of the esteemed Miami Herald judged this year’s entries on:

  • coverage and content
  • quality of writing and reporting
  • leadership on the opinion page
  • evidence of in-depth reporting
  • layout and design
  • photography, art and graphics

You can read more about the judges’ criteria here.

Pacemaker winners in the non-daily category in recent years include student newspapers from University of Chicago, Boston College, Washington University, Santa Clara University, Butler University, Loyola Marymount University, San Francisco State University and Villanova University.

The Associated Collegiate Press will announce this year’s Pacemaker winners at the ACP convention in New Orleans on Oct. 26.


-Nancy Copic, Adviser to The Beacon

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Today was another great day in New York!

I went to a session on how to work under crises, particularly dealing with legal issues between the newspaper and the administration. I thought it was really helpful, and the speaker addressed how private schools could handle issues even without first amendment rights.

But the best part of the day came when Jackie and I went on our tour of the Associated Press! It started out awful, with the NYC12 tour leader leaving without half the group… and then once we got to AP, taking a tour during which students kept asking questions geared toward how they specifically could get a job. So, not getting much out of the tour, Jackie and I decided to do something about it. We saw that our speaker – the managing editor – was in his office, and we went in there! Best of all, he was thrilled that we had ditched our tour and come to talk to him, and sat down with us, talked about what it was like to be an editor, what it was like to work for a college paper, and gave us advice. Then we got a picture with him and The Beacon!  He asked for our email addresses and said he would visit us when he went to Seattle. He even asked if he could keep The Beacon. So awesome! 🙂

I then went to a session about how to rule with an iron fist that was really good. It was lead by Mike, and he tossed cigars at people. But really, his main point was that as editors, we should be more inclined to be mean, than nice. “Because your generation likes mean”.  I liked this, and it opened my eyes up to the fact that a lot of the time people need a strong reminder and an example. One of Mike’s points was “Set an example – fire a slacker”.

As a whole group, Nancy got her friend Steve to give us a tour of NBC! We saw the stage of SNL, and the sets of other news shows. It was really cool!

After two days of sessions, I feel like I have learned so much! I cannot wait for tomorrow.


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