Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category


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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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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Several Beaconites who graduated last May and some of this year’s seniors spent the summer interning in media jobs. Here’s rundown of what they did in their internships and what they’re doing now.

Malika NY Times Intern

2016-17 Editor-in-Chief Malika Andrews interned as a sports reporter (a James Reston Fellow) at the New York Times. It went so well , she’s still there.


Clare at Portland Business journal

Last year’s Managing Editor Clare Duffy interned as a reporter at the Portland Business Journal and was asked to stay an additional nine months to fill in for award-winning reporter Matt Kish, now on a fellowship at Columbia University.  Clare is now covering Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, banking, finance and more.

She also has been interviewed on KGW News about stories she’s written on Nike’s recent layoffs and the arrest of an Adidas executive accused in an NCAA scandal involving alleged payoffs to collegiate athletic recruits.

Clare Duffy on TV 2017

Ben Arthur Denver Intern 1

Former Beacon Sports Editor Ben Arthur was a summer intern at the Denver Post, and is now part of the Seattle Times’ team covering Husky football (University of Washington).

Ben black and white NABJ

Ben was also selected to be part of the student newsroom at the National Association of Black Journalists’ (NABJ) convention in New Orleans in August, where he won an award for his Beacon story about UP soccer player Benji Michel. 

Ben recently spoke on a panel in an NABJ webinar about advice on internships. You can listen here.

Ben award tweet

Ben NABJ student newsroom

Former Beacon Sports Editor Ben Arthur (near the middle, wearing black slacks and gray shirt) with other members of the NABJ Student Multimedia Project, which covered stories from the group’s national convention in New Orleans in August.

Rachel RIppetoe Intern 2

2017-18 Beacon Editor-in-Chief Rachel Rippetoe was a reporter intern at the Eugene Register-Guard as part of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism.


Rachel covered a wide variety of news and feature stories. She was also one of two of the 18 interns in the Snowden program to win the Ethics Award.

Working through case studies on journalism ethics with a mentoring editor is a hallmark of the Snowden program. The word on Rachel is that she went beyond the theoretical cases and initiated conversations on ethics as actual situations came up in the newsroom and in her reporting.


This year’s News and Managing Editor Olivia Sanchez spent the summer reporting for the Portland Tribune.  Olivia covered everything from DACA to water quality along the Willamette to mermaids. (Yes, mermaids!)

OliviaPortlandTribune 2017

All that Olivia learned at the Tribune is coming in handy as she leads The Beacon’s news coverage.

Rachel Ramirez AAJA group shot

2017-18 Senior Beacon Reporter and Multimedia Producer Rachel Ramirez  (front row, third from left) was one of just 15 collegiate journalists selected nationwide to be part of the VOICES program, a team of student journalists chosen to attend  and receive mentoring at the national convention of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA)  in Philadelphia. Here’s Rachel’s video project on refugees, which she produced for the program.

Rachel was also a writing intern for Multnomah County government over the summer, and is now interning at Oregon Business magazine, in addition to her Beacon duties.


Hannah Sievert, editor of Living Photo by Annika Gordon

Hannah Sievert, now a junior and The Beacon’s Living editor,  interned at Artslandia magazine. 

artslandia magazine


This year’s (and last year’s) Community Engagement Editor Erin Bothwell did a marketing internship with Chamber Music Northwest. Erin runs social media for The Beacon and also writes the weekly email newsletter.

chamber music northwest

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This Annika Gordon photo of the UP Men’s soccer team after winning the WCC title won First Place for Breaking News Photo (university with fewer than 10,000 students). In all, The Beacon took First Place awards in six categories in the regional Mark of Excellence Awards sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists.

UPDATE (May 26, 2017)

Malika Andrews won First Place in the national Mark of Excellence competition for General News Reporting (schools fewer than 10,000 undergraduates) for “Disconnected: Black students on The Bluff feel they don’t belong.”

SPJ plaque

The Beacon also had two pieces of content place as national finalists:

Annika Gordon’s photo (above) was a finalist for Breaking News Photography.

“Students dig up America’s racist past” by Jenna Rossiter and Clare Duffy was a finalist for Feature Writing.

You’ll find the complete list of national winners here.


The Beacon has won six First Place awards in the regional Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence contest, and now advances to the national SPJ competition in the following categories:


Small university (9,999 or fewer undergraduates):

National winners will be notified in the late spring and will be recognized at the Excellence in Journalism conference in Anaheim, Calif, in September.

Beacon content was also a regional finalist (Second or Third Place) in the following categories:

  • Breaking News Reporting (Clare Duffy, Hannah Baade)
  • In-depth Reporting(Clare Duffy, Malika Andrews, Rachel Rippetoe, Annika Gordon)
  • Sports Writing (Malika Andrews)
  • Best Use of Multimedia (Cheyenne Schoen, Jeff Braccia)
  • Online News Reporting (Clare Duffy,Hannah Baade)
  • Online In-depth Reporting (Clare Duffy, Malika Andrews, Rachel Rippetoe, Hannah Baade, Jenna Rossiter)

The Mark of Excellence Awards for Region 10 involved student media entries from colleges and universities in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. See complete regional contest results here.

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Competing against student media at colleges and universities in five states, The Beacon has placed either First, Second or Third in the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards for Region 10 (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska) in the following categories, for a total of 13 winning entries:

Results will be announced May 6 at the Washington Collegiate Journalism Conference at the University of Washington. First Place winners will advance to the national Mark of Excellence competition.

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ONPA Awards

In the better-late-than-never department, here are the  winners of the annual statewide collegiate journalist competition sponsored by the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association.

The Beacon fared well, including snagging the award for General Excellence and First, Second and Third Place for Best Writing AND Best Sports Story, among others. Go team!


General Excellence- The Beacon

Best Writing – Malika Andrews

Best News Story- Students Witness Refugee Crisis (Alina Rosenkranz and Clare Duffy)

Best Feature Story- Class on the Cusp (Philip Ellefson and Cassie Sheridan)

Best Sports Story – His Way Out (Malika Andrews)


Writing- Cheyenne Schoen

Feature Story – Knowledge as Power (Clare Duffy)

Special Section – Get Outside (Rebekah Markillie and Karen Garcia)

Series- Transition: Transgender student finds home in Mehling HallTransphobic Incident spurs pain, action (Cheyenne Schoen, Lydia Laythe)

Sports Story – Socially Constricted (Malika Andrews)

Columnist – Heartbeat (Cassie Sheridan)

Photography – Hannah Baade

Design – Rebekah Markillie and Hannah Baade

Graphic: The Freshman Equation – Hannah Baade

Website – Christian Rodriguez and Beacon staff

Freshman Equation graphic


Writing – Clare Duffy

Editorial- We Stand With Planned Parenthood (Lydia Laythe and Beacon Editorial Board)

Sports story- Behind the Game Face (Malika Andrews)

Section- Clare Duffy and Beacon reporters

Cartooning: Tell Us What You’re Doing For Mental Health (Nathan DeVaughn)


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The Beacon NY delegation: Cheyenne Schoen, Ben Arthur, Nancy Copic, Clare Duffy, Malika Andrews and Rachel Rippetoe

The Beacon NY delegation: Cheyenne Schoen, Ben Arthur, Nancy Copic, Clare Duffy, Malika Andrews and Rachel Rippetoe

By Nancy Copic, Beacon adviser

A few conference highlights compiled from 19 (!) pages of handwritten notes:

Keynote: Byron Pitts, reporter for ABC’s “Nightline”

This keynote was more inspirational than many sermons I’ve heard, and I’ve heard a lot of them. Byron Pitts may tell stories for a living, but his personal story is as compelling as any he’s reported as a network correspondent.

Raised by a young, low-income single mother in Baltimore, Pitts said he didn’t learn how to read until he was 12 or 13. Around that time, a “specialist” diagnosed him as mentally retarded and advised his mother to institutionalize him.  “Because you’re a person of limited means,” Pitts quoted the man as saying, “we recommend you put him an an institution.”

His mother wouldn’t have it, didn’t do that. What she did is take her boy to church.  A lot. She also wore a pendant in the shape of a mustard seed, a symbol of the faith that guides Pitts today.

“Raised Baptist, educated Catholic,” he says.


Pitts ended up at Ohio Wesleyan University, where, as Pitts puts it, a professor saved his life. But first, another one told him he didn’t have what it took to succeed there. That news hit him hard, left him crying in a hallway on campus. Another professor, who was new to campus, noticed him crying and asked what was wrong. When he told her what the other professor said, she set him straight and told him not to give up. He stayed and he graduated.

Flash forward decades. Pitt is a famous Emmy-winning television journalist and he’s on the Board of Trustees at Ohio Wesleyan, who invites him to speak at graduation. Pitts tells his story at the ceremony, including the part about the professor who made him cry. After his speech, that professor, humbled and contrite walks up to him and tells him he’s sorry.

Did I mentioned he also was a stutterer when he was younger? “Being a stutterer has made me a better listener, ” he says

What bothers him? Indifference. He sees journalism an antidote.

“My profession needs you,” he said to the room full of student journalists from all over the country. “You are needed not just to speak the truth. You’re needed to help this world be better.”

Pitts thinks one of the most remarkable stories is about the resilience of the African American people as a race.

“I am the hope and dream of a slave,” he said. “My worst day is the best day for my great grandparents.”

Also, he writes thank you notes to everyone he interviews.

I think that’s remarkable. So is the fact that he stayed at least two hours to talk one-on-one with students who lined up to chat with him.


Of course, Malika was one of them.

FBI Strategies of Interviewing

This was engaging. Clare, Cheyenne and Malika also gave it good reviews. Here are the strategies:

  1. Withhold judgment- Keep your feelings to yourself. Monitor your posture and tone. Give your source room to be who they are. (Verbal abuse does not work.)
  2. “Joining” Use language that shows you understand things from the other person’s perspective.
  3. “Mirroring”- Mimic body posture of the person you’re interviewing. If he leans back, you lean back (but not right away.)
  4.  Show curiosity- Use your body to show your curiosity. Nod at what they’re saying.
  5. Active Listening-Resist the urge to formulate your next question.
  6. Pay attention to personality types. Are they “thinking” types or “feeling” types?

Bonus tip for students: If your nervous for the interview, tell your source. It may create empathy.


Rachel, Cheyenne and Ben show their Beacon pride outside the theatre where Stephen Cobert does The Late Show

Rachel, Cheyenne and Ben show their Beacon pride outside the theatre where Stephen Colbert does The Late Show

Glossy Standards-The Ethics of Magazine Reporting and Editing

This panel featured:

  • Deborah Blum, Pulitzer-Prize winning science journalist and director of the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT
  • Hank Hersch, assistant managing editor at Sports Illustrated
  • Andrew Seaman, chair of the ethics committee for the Society of Professional Journalists and senior medical journalist for Reuters in NYC
  • Derek Kravitz, contributing writer and news editor at The Wall Street Journal; researcher/instructor at Columbia University School of Journalism

The focus of this panel was fact checking and ethical debacles such as the Rolling Stone Rape story that was later discredited and actor Sean Penn’s (called “the ultimate freelancer.” by Andrew Seaman) much-maligned profile of drug lord El Chappo Guzman.

One interesting tidbit; If you’re a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and your published story needs to be corrected, the process is “incredibly embarrassing,” according to Derek Kravitz. You have to fill out a long form, which is circulated among several editors.

Andrews Seaman,Deboarh Blum ,Derek Kravitz and Hank Hersch

Andrews Seaman,Deboarh Blum ,Derek Kravitz and Hank Hersch

Big takeaway:”Keep that skeptical part of your brain always active.”

Beacon staffers getting their fact check on

Beacon staffers getting their fact check on

I lucked out with my chaperoning assignment. I escorted a group of students (from various universities from across the country) on a tour of the New York Times.


Due to security concerns, we were not allowed to take photographs in the newsroom. But the lobby is interesting and was fair game. There’s a unique electronic art display that siphons words and phrases from the NYT’s 150+ years of archives and runs them like electronic teletypes across dozens of mounted screens that look like elongated smart phones.

In the lobby of the New York Times

Another interesting symbolic architectural element of the building: There are two banks of elevators. One for the editorial staffers, the other for people who work in sales and marketing. Get it? The business side should never mesh with the editorial side. Or so that was the thinking way back in 2007.

The courtyard (or “lobby garden”) of the building features sedges, ferns and birch trees, an earthy contrast to the surrounding steel and glass.


Birch trees and grass grow within the TImes complex.

One of the most relevant sessions at the conference was called “Manage Your Digital Workflow.” It was presented by Roman Heindorff, founder of Camayak.

Tips I found most relevant here:

  • Brand every piece of content.
  • Improve the access outside contributors have to pitch ideas to your newsroom
  • Only invest in writers you see a future with. You can’t keep shoving resources at people who just kind of stick around the newsroom and don’t grow.
  • Show reporters their metrics; show them their stories relative to their peers
  • Reward people. Incentivize (pizza?)
  • While working on a story is a good time to start promoting the story vis social media to get a buzz going.

And in our down time, we went to The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. The topic of the night: Donald Trump’s racist supporters


Cheyenne, Ben, Malika, Nancy and Clare in TImes Square. Rachel was touring CBS.

Cheyenne, Ben, Malika, Nancy and Clare in Times Square. Rachel was touring CBS.

One more thing: The Beacon came in Second Place in the Apple Awards. Not bad!

-Nancy Copic, Ass’t Director for Student Media


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