Archive for the ‘Newspaper Design’ Category

A recent issue of The Beacon featured a front page story about students using “Molly” (the drug).

Visually, it was challenging for the news/design editors because photo options were limited. Most of the students quoted in the story were granted anonymity, so photos of them were out of the question. What the students came up with and how they did it was impressive. Ingredients: Tums, Super Glue and string. And Photoshop magic. See how they did it below:

Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 5.48.06 PM

Step 1: Take a handful of Tums.IMG_4651

Step 2: Beacon News Editor Sarah Hansell uses superglue to attach individual Tums to end of a string to create cascading effect.IMG_4668




Step 3: Sarah and Ass’t Design Editor Emily Strocher arrange pile of Tums for main portion of photo cutout. Design Editor Shellie Adams photographs the process.IMG_4659IMG_4662

Step 4: Take multiple photos of Tums suspended on a string. Work some Photoshop magic and… Presto!

Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 5.48.06 PMNicely, done, Team Beacon!

-Nancy Copic , Beacon adviser & Ass’t Director of Student Media

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photo-16Congratulations to The Beacon’s  “designing women” + last spring’s assistant design editor, Zach Hartman for winning two Gold Circle Awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association at the Columbia School of Journalism in New York.

photo-14The Beacon won Third Place (in the nation) for Overall Design of a tabloid-size college newspaper. Student newspapers from Ithaca College and Loyola Marymount University won First and Second, respectively.


This was truly a team effort. Congrats to Liz Tertadian, Shellie Adams, Emily Strocher, Laura Frazier and (designing dude) Zach Hartman.

photo-17The Beacon also won Third Place for Page One Design for this issue, designed by Emily Strocher and Shellie Adams.

caffeineThe Beacon won two Certificates of Merit for “Single Subject News or Feature Package, single page design”:

“Drugged for Success”– Story by Laura Frazier, Design by Shellie Adams:

aderallThe second Certificate of Merit was for the feature “Professors tap up the dance floor.”

Story by Hannah Kintner, Photos by Becca Tabor, Design by Rachel McIntosh

tap dance story 2013-10-02 at 6.23.31 PM-1

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CentralParkAfter the College Media Convention in NYC, I asked the Beacon staffers who attended to list 5 things they learned there, without duplicating items on a fellow staffers list. They shared these with the entire Beacon staff at their weekly critique meeting:

Shellie Adams;

1. Google yourself and see where you stand on the Internet. Improve, and develop a strong and professional online presence.

2. Don’t draw conclusions and don’t tell people what to do in stories.

3. Websites and Apps: there are tons of them but here’s a few. Tout (16 second videos), Overviewproject.org (searches through dense pieces of writing to find hooks and important aspects), Storyful.com (website for journalists to post breaking news and a blog)

4. You’ve got to communicate with your photographer. When you cut a story ,you tell the reporter. If you cut a photo tell the photographer.

5. Photos of people looking bored are boring photos. Photos of white people shaking hands is a bad photo especially when they are men in suits. There has never been, since the invention of photography, a good cubicle photo. Don’t run photos of old people over students unless the old person is doing something embarrassing.


Kate Stringer:

1. Three rules for making a national news story relevant to campus news

2. Don’t be hesitant to use off-campus sources for a story

3. Push-back questions for the push-back questions from tough sources

4.List of unnecessary adjectives: absolutely, very, necessary, complete, amazed, startled,

5.If source has trouble articulating how they feel say “what do you find hardest to talk about?” “Why is it hard to talk about this?”


Kelsey Thomas:

1.Pick one visual focus for each page and put it towards the middle and top.

2.More white space will make the paper appear cleaner and easier to read. Negative space is positive.

3.While objectivity is important, it is okay to take charge of the story – sometimes it’s okay if the reader can tell someone is talking to them / that you feel sympathetic towards victims of a crime.

4.Don’t let your interviewing become a quote safari.

5.Working on long term issues: create data sheet / google docs


Joey Solano

1. When photographing something serious or traumatic it is good to learn how to detach yourself emotionally and focus on documenting everything in order to represent the people or places in the truest way.

2. If you’re in public you have the right to take anyone’s photo with out without asking.  Photographing a protest or riot can land you in jail but know the law is behind you.

3. Almost everyone will miss almost everything you do on social media. Work hard to get the material and get in out there.

4. For the future; Put a price on your work you deserve to be paid.

5. On networking; Reconnect with formality and purpose, do not be a stalker, and instead send them updates resumes and work you are proud of.


Katie Dunn

1. Put verbs in headlines so that people know what is going on.

2. To make game recap stories more interesting, add a feature story wrapped inside of it.

3. You have to think about different personalities and people reading your stories so they can appeal to as many people as possible.

4. When you are interviewing someone never ask a question that isn’t a question.

5. Talk about ESPNU Campus Connection.


Sarah Hansell

1. Headlines are just as important as stories because the majority of readers scan headlines and pictures and don’t read the whole story. So when writing headlines, read the whole story carefully, make the headline eye-catching, not broad, and fit the voice of your paper. You can usually pull it out from a small detail from the story, or sometimes a play on words when the story isn’t too serious.

2. Reporters, photographers and designers should communicate about their visions for the story as soon as it’s assigned. Photos and design are just as important to the story as content, especially since that’s what more readers will look at while bypassing the actual story.

3. Ask everyone you interview to record the interview! It saves you just in case a seemingly benign story gets controversial.

4. The places you want to work care about your presence on social media and the internet – not just that it’s not unprofessional, but that you have one. So start tweeting!

5. Be creative, even with hard news stories. Anecdotes and narrative arcs make stories much more engaging.
Kathryn Walters

1. Social media is the key to getting a job these days. Twitter is especially important for building your brand.

2. Details are extremely important in any story you write. Even insignificant details, like someone’s boots, you can get revealing information from.

3. Use both sides of your brain in writing stories, especially features or narratives. Look for the emotional cues.

4. Always be collecting. Constantly use your smartphone, but be careful about what you share.

5. Don’t use kitty cats or puppy dogs in writing. Make everything as concise as possible.


-Nancy Copic

Ass’t Director of Student Media, University of Portland

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Cmanyc13 has drawn to a close and our brains are buzzing with hashtags, headlines and new story ideas. We got to meet social media superstars, renowned professors from across the country and fellow student journalists who have had to deal with campus controversies that received national attention. Now that it’s all over there are couple of things that are still buzzing around in my head that The Beacon should take to heart:

Did this headline grab your attention?

According to one of the session leaders, you’re probably not reading this right now. In fact, if you’re on this blog, you probably just scrolled down the page, scanned the words in bold and the photos, and if nothing was shocking enough to read further, you scrolled right on past the rest of this post. So…it remains to be seen why I’m even writing this right now…OH RIGHT, it’s for the minority of you who are “committed readers,” and the few of you scanners who are fascinated enough by my stunning headlines and photos to continue on. So, if by some miracle you’re still reading, you’ve probably gotten the gist of what I’m trying to say. Headlines are, in many cases, the only words people who pick up the newspaper read. So it’s important for headlines to be accurate and not mislead the story, and to be eye-catching and interest-sparking.

“UP installs new water fountain” is a boring headline that appears to preclude a boring story – and it seems to the reader that all the information they need to know is right there in the headline. Headlines need to feature the most interesting detail of the story, and the subheading can elaborate on what that means. “Athletes’ thirst quenched after two-year dry spell,” for example, is a slightly more interesting headline. It features two details, “athletes” and “dry spell,” the former of which would catch the attention of any athletes vested in getting a new water fountain for their fitness center. It also tells you just how long the fitness center has been without a water fountain, which might surprise some, and interest others because they’ve had to deal with the problem. In order for editors to come up with more engaging headlines like this, they need to read through the whole story and figure out what the story is, not just a summary phrase of the broadest interpretation of the story possible. Reporters work hard on stories, and it’s a disservice to them and to the paper to guarantee that no one will read their story because the headline makes readers nod off.

NY times

Beaconites in front of the NY Times building

Can I get a photo with that, please?

Most section editors are former reporters, so they often think like reporters – in terms of content, ledes, nutgraphs and word choice. The story is the most important things, photos get inserted later, and design is just a way to make the story more readable. But like I wrote earlier, most readers are scanners, so the majority of them won’t read the story, or at least all of it. Don’t be discouraged – having the whole story, and having the whole story well-written and accurate is vital. There are those that will read the whole things, especially those who are directly involved in the story. But photos and design should never be afterthoughts or fit in at the last minute because there is extra space. The photos and design will be seen by vastly more readers than will actually read the stories, so they need to be given just as much time and though. The leader of this session suggested having the photographer, designer and reporter meet as soon as the story is assigned and have a face-to-face conversation about their vision for the story. From then on, they should be in contact whenever the story morphs or changes. If a photographer goes to an event and gets a really great photo, they should notify the reporter so that they can go talk to the subject of the photos, keeping the photos and story connected. When the photographer has a very clear idea of the details of the story, they can take photos that represent the story best. Similarly, when the designer is in the loop the whole time, they can come up with a design that represents the story, showcases the photos appropriately and catches the reader’s eye. When all three are in communication throughout the entire process, they can all share input into every facet of the story and how it is presented, giving the paper a chance to be the best it possibly can be.

#buildyourbrand #getyourstoryoutthere #unnecessarilylonghashtagsareneveragoodidea

During the convention, Beaconites got the chance to meet Twitter superstar Sree Sreenivasan and VP of Twitter Mark Luckie, who made our heads spin with hashtags and the importance of building our brand. In the information age, twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets are as much a part of  your resume as your references and work experiences. Social media cannot be considered a private outlet for everything that pops into your head. Whoever you want to hire you will look at your social media presence, and if it’s unprofessional or shows that you don’t seem to fit in with the company’s mission, you’ve hurt your professional reputation and your chances of getting hired. Not only that, but having no social media presence is also a problem. Social media  is a huge part of journalism today, and being active in social media is a must. What’s more, is that having connections is vital in journalism, and with social media you can have connections with people across the world whom you may never have met. These connections can help you find stories and source, as well as make career connections. Sreenivasan talked about how having the skills to get and write the story is only half the battle. Having the skills to get the story is just as important. You could be insanely talented at getting information and interviews and writing the story, but if you can’t get the story out there, then the story you’ve covered is basically useless. Nowadays, social media and the web world are the primary platforms on which to share information. If you show, by your social media presence, that you can be successful at sharing stories and being seen, you show that you know how to get stories out there.

Mark Luckie

Beaconites with Twitter VP Mark Luckie


Cliches aside, this convention has taught us all things that we will now bring back to our work at The Beacon, having learned how to me more professional, effective journalists and create a paper that is a must-read. There’s so much more we learned…such as to use narrative arcs and anecdotes in stories to lure the reader in and create a story that really communicates the emotions of what you’re covering, instead of only reporting cold, hard and dry news. We learned so much more than we can fit into a few blog posts, but everything we learned will help push us to be better student journalists. #cmanyc13 #studentjournalist #hashtag #goodnight

-Sarah Hansell

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Another day, another fifty people talking about Twitter (#hashtag #everything #now). The last series of sessions were just as helpful, and I’ve since been wandering around mumbling things about “leadership” and “freelancing” and “networking.” Strangers have been giving me a wide berth which is particularly rare in NYC. Here are a few of the session highlights:

Social Media 

Language like “putting the story to bed” leads journalists to think that once they turn in the final draft of their story, they’re done. However, if a journalist wants their story read it is partially up to them to get their story “out there” through social media. This is part of why social media presence is so important for journalists and is one of those skills that gets you hired. Here are a few of Sree’s tips concerning social media:

  • Social media can help media pros find new ideas, trends and sources, connect with readers in new and deeper ways, bring attention to their work, and help create their brands. It is important for journalists to use social media in all four ways!
  • Your twitter bio should be clear and direct in describing who you are and what you do. It should also include your email address and website.
  • Remember that every time you post on Twitter of Facebook it is a public document. Ask yourself – is this putting my best foot forward? Is this enhancing my brand?
  • Success formula for social media: post information that is helpful, useful, timely, informative, relevant, practical, actionable, generous, credible, brief, entertaining, fun and occasionally funny. All your posts have to be some of these things.

200 Story Ideas 

Repeat after me: everyone and everything has a story idea if you look hard enough. Everyone. And Everything. By being constantly curious, journalists should find new and fresh story ideas every day. Take the same old topics, such as academics and student life, and look at them in completely different ways.

I left this session an hour early to get to another, but I still left with quite a few new ideas under my belt. Weird study habits or animal cruelty in science labs, anyone?


Story Idea: dangers of public transportation?
Beacon staffers Sarah Hansell and Shellie Adams ride the subway.


Apparently color isn’t just to make things pretty (although that too!) It has the power to make readers pay attention to certain articles, feel a certain way towards these articles and even remember the articles better later. In short – it’s important. But there are a few things to keep in mind to use color affectively:

  • Use a single color at least three times for balance. 
  • When using small pops of color, go vibrant.
  • Be careful that color under text does not make the text difficult to read.
  • When you have great photography, the best way to show color is on a clean, white background.
  • Keep in mind the meanings of certain colors when pairing them with articles (ie. red = passion / excitement and yellow = sunshine / optimism)
  • Image

Journalism literacy 

Just because someone tweets something does not mean it’s true. Just because someone took the time to chart or graph something does not mean it’s true. Just because a bunch of news sources are sharing the same info does not mean it’s true. Just because it’s on a press release does not mean it’s true.

Basically – check everything out for yourself, even if it means calling people outside of your school bubble. Recognize that everyone you interview has an agenda and a bigger idea they want you to buy into, even if they are not conscious of it. Don’t just report what people say. Avoid the “he said she said” and report the truth.


Example of a true statement: The Beacon is the most read newspaper on Wall St.

I can’t decide whether I am more sad that we have to leave the conference (can’t we just stay and talk about journalism in NYC forever?!) or more excited to put all that we learned into practice. I’ve even seen several Beaconites practicing their new Twitter knowledge already!


(Yes, I screenshotted your tweets. Yes, I just invented a new word. Okay, that’s all.)

Nice work! Cheers.

– Kelsey Thomas

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I LOVE JOURNALISM!! Did you think I was happy when I typed that? Well, today at the Journalism conference I learned about design and typography and exactly what effect it has on readers. At times today, the first of our three-day conference, I was overwhelmed, sometimes fearful but mostly I was invigorated. I felt unstoppable! Having so many people surrounding you with the same passion for journalism was such an amazing feeling! I loved that there were speakers like Ron Johnson, who complimented me on the look of The Beacon but also offered me so many great ideas for how to improve our paper. My session with Ron Johnson also taught be that you can never have too much white space. If you think that there is dead space on the page, you’re probably wrong! During Ron’s session I was able to objectively look at the way we run The Beacon and the way we design The Beacon.
Another session I went to pretty much blew my mind! It was called design in the alternative universe. This session taught me all about alternative story forms, which mostly consisted of graphics, but it taught me ways to break down a story into key questions, idea, essential data, and it showed me that you don’t have to have full blocks of text for a story to be a story.
Some other random design tips I took away from today was to always put content first and the design that you put with that content should be silent. You don’t open a paper for the design you open it for the content. This statement blew my mind at first because being a designer, I always think about the design first, but its true if you don’t have a good story you don’t have a good design and the content is what’s most important. The design aspect is supplemental.

Kelsey and Katie typing notes at the College Media Association's Journalism Conference in NYC

Kelsey and Katie typing notes at the College Media Association’s Journalism Conference in NYC

I also learned some things about color. For example if you have a so-so photo you aren’t going to make it better by putting color behind it. I had to chuckle because this is a go-to technique for me that I will quickly be killing! I also learned that instead of coloring whole headlines, you should color key words because they make the design stronger and they pull readers into the story and paper.
I also learned that sometimes you don’t need to put a stroke around photos!! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! I was always taught to put a stroke around photos but Ron Johnson said to use .25 or .15 if we needed a frame! Needless to say I heard lots of things from Ron that I already do as a designer, but there were other things that completely blew my mind!
I think the most beneficial part of my day was not when I was complimented for my work, or when I was told I was doing so many great things, but when I gained new information about different ways to present stories in our paper. It’s amazing all the different perspectives people can have, and the varying ideas that a conversation with 20 journalists all from different places in the US can bring. For the first day of the conference, the bar has been set pretty high so I can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring!
– Shellie Adams

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When I saw the email subject line “Gold Circle Winners Announced,” my reflex was to steel myself for disappointment. My expectations could not have been lower.

Gold Circle Awards are national awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association based at the graduated school of the Columbia School of Journalism in N.Y. There are so many better-funded, impressively-staffed college journalism programs and student media programs out there, I believed The Beacon could maybe score an honorable mention. At best.

Not that I don’t swell with pride over the work of the students journalists at The Beacon. I obviously had enough faith to enter The Beacon’s work. It’s just that, well, our little Beacon, we’re not really in the major leagues.

Are we?

The email revealed the surprising (to me, at least) answer: Yes, at least in 6  awards categories.

Six awards and three certificates of merit (honorable mention). Did I mention these are national awards?

So… drumroll, please, I am thrilled to announce The Beacon won the following Gold Circle Awards:

Editorial Writing- 2nd place: Caitlin Yilek and Rosemary Peters- “Where are all the women?”

Personal Opinion: On-campus issues- 3rd place: Caitlin Yilek- “Breaking my silence”

Personality Profile- 2nd Place: Laura Frazier- “Impossible is Nothing”

Certificate of Merit: Natalie Wheeler- Homeless teen turned UP student

Overall design:Tabloid format- 2nd place:  Hannah Gray, Rosemary Peters, Elizabeth Tertadian

Page one design,tabloid format -2nd Place: Hannah Gray-“‘Big Bang Theory’ star returns to The Bluff”

Certificate of Merit:Hannah Gray, Rosemary Peters- “Would you pay $6.95 for this?”

Single subject news or feature package, single page, tabloid- 3rd Place: Will Lyons and Shellie Adams- “Netflix Nosedives”

Certificate of Merit: Rosemary Peters – “What’s in our air?”

Where are they now?

Of the eight students who won Gold Circle Awards, four graduated from UP last May:

Former Beacon Editor-in-Chief Rosemary Peters, who was an engineering major at UP, is pursuing her interest in scientific journalism at Imperial College London, where she will earn an master’s in Science Communication.

Former Beacon news editor Hannah Gray does research for a think tank in Washington, D.C.

 Caitlin Yilek is an editorial writer and copy editor for the St. Cloud Times in her home state of Minnesota.

Natalie Wheeler won a Snowden Foundation paid journalism internship, and is currently reporting at the East Oregonian in Pendleton.

Now for the four returning Beacon staffers who won Gold Circle Awards:

Liz Tertadian is editor-in-chief of The Beacon.

Laura Frazier is news editor of The Beacon. She also won a Snowden Foundation internship, and worked as a reporter for the Portland Tribune and Forest Grove News-Times last summer.

 Will Lyons is opinions editor of The Beacon.

 Shellie Adams is design editor of The Beacon.

‘Looking forward to more astonishing achievements from these students and alums!

-Nancy Copic, Ass’t Director of Student Media & adviser to The Beacon

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It’s been a whirlwind for four Beacon staffers at the annual National College Media Convention in New York City…and we’ve barely just begun! 

                      Beacon journalists Kate Peifer, Liz Tertadian, Laura Frazier and Jackie Jeffers at  Rockefeller Center (ie:30 Rock)

Nonstop from morning until early this evening, they attended journalism workshops with thousands of other college journalists from around the country. A sampling of topics: Libel, design, photojournalism, investigative reporting, management and leadership, mobile apps, public records.

A favorite presenter here is Michael Koretsky, who also happens to be the director of the convention. Below are some tidbits from his workshop about improving your page design in just a few minutes,doing the best you can with what you have. ‘Wish I could show you his before and after photos too!

  • Photos of people who look bored are boring photos.
  • Designers must read/understand stories.
  • Write headlines for students not bureaucrats.
  • No tombstone headlines
  • No  photos or headlines the same size on front page.
  • Always have a separate box for an event (time, place, date, etc.)
  • Dominant photo, headline.
  • Editors: You get hired to make bold decisions that are correct.
  • One pull quote per story per page
  • White space is your friend
  • Don’t misue clip art;Use clip art as section breaks.
…Much more to come. Stay tuned.

2012-2013 Beacon Editor in Chief Liz Tertadian at Michael Koretsky’s workshop

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‘Just received word that The Beacon received a Certificate of Merit at the Columbia Scholastic Press’ 2011 Gold Circle Awards at Columbia University in New York City.

Specifically, honors  went to Hannah Gray (News Editor), Elizabeth Tertadian (Page Designer) and Gaona Yang (Reporter) in the category of “Single subject news or feature package, single page.”

Below is the story/page design (“Making Sense of  Your Dollars”) that was recognized for its excellence:

The story,  through words, numbers and graphic design, examined how UP’s student government (ASUP) allocates the student activity fees that all students pay every semester. Click here for the full coverage.

About the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, according to its website:

The Association is owned by Columbia University and operated as a program affiliated with its Graduate School of Journalism.

The Columbia Scholastic Press Association serves student journalists as follows:

  • to make clear expression the standard for success;
  • to maintain the student media for students, by students and containing news of students;
  • to conduct contests and offer awards to make student media better than they were; and
  • to recognize that journalism can be a means towards broader understanding of society and people.

Congratulations to  Elizabeth, Gaona and Hannah!

-Nancy Copic

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