#ONA18 – Not just for journalists, but digital enthusiasts, too


I have never considered myself to be a journalist, but the annual Online News Association conference made me feel like one. While I now work for The Beacon, my major is still marketing, and my school life and work life are still very much business-based. I was shocked when Nancy asked me, a brand-new staffer, to join her and two other well-established staffers at ONA, but nonetheless, I knew this would be an amazing way for me to immerse myself in the world of journalism, a world in which I have very little experience. Spending time in Austin, feeling the hot air and smelling barbecue LITERALLY all the time was a dream, but being surrounded by some of the brightest minds in journalism and media was even more of a dream. Here are my Top 5 Takeaways and a short list of my Top 3 Favorite Sessions.


  1. Media/Journalism is a TOUGH Industry

Not only is public trust in the media lower than ever before, but many small news sources are failing to make money and are being forced to close down. Local news is the key to a successful, peaceful, and informed community, no matter how small or large of a scale. With so many local news sources struggling to find a way to bring in revenue, the industry is losing valuable information, sources, and voices in communities.


  1. Email is Still a Powerful Tool

As the Beacon staffer who creates and edits the weekly newsletter, it was incredibly valuable to learn how powerful email can be when used correctly. Email newsletters allow news sources to connect in an intimate way with their readers, giving them a more casual and individual way to consume news and important stories. They also give news organizations a way to present information in a more visual and creative way, which appeals to different audiences than hard news.

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  1. Transparency is Key

Consumers of news have very little trust in the media already, and journalists now have to focus on gaining that trust back in addition to reporting on important events, people, and happenings. It’s so important for news organizations, especially small ones like The Beacon, to be transparent with their readers, including information about the story writing/vetting process, our correction procedures, and eliminating biases.


  1. Social Media is Important for News Consumption

Whenever I’m looking to learn more about what’s happening in the world, I go directly to news sources I know and trust (CNN, BBC, NYT, AP, etc.), but many young people today are using social media to learn about what’s happening in the world and their communities on the daily. Having a solid social media presence that tells the story in an easily-digestible way is so important to keeping loyal readers and attracting new ones.


  1. Technology and Media/Journalism Go Hand-in-Hand

The number of times speakers talked about AI and algorithms in sessions was too many to count. AI is an up-and-coming piece of technology in a variety of industries, but journalism is starting to adapt it in some really unique and innovative ways. This new technology can help eliminate bias in stories, make the editorial process more streamlined, and find patterns with how readers consume news and tailor their experience in an individualized way.

My Favorite Sessions

  • Beyond Facebook: How to Survive & Thrive After Newsfeed Changes
  • Email as a Driver of Innovation & Loyalty
  • #TwitterForNews: An Inside Look at New Products & Partnerships




Starting the year with lots of enthusiasm…

Ed Board

The new editorial board kicks off the year at a barbecue/planning meeting at our adviser’s house. Pictured: (Back row, l to r: Kyle Garcia, Brigid Lowney, Annika Gordon, Natalie Nygren. Front row, l to r: Hannah Sievert, Delaney Vetter, Ana Clyde, Claire Desmarais




Here are some shots from all-staff Beacon Boot Camp, a four-day journalism crash course.


Editor-in-Chief Hannah Sievert and News and Managing Editor Claire Desmarais lead the first day of training.


Multimedia Editor Annika Gordon (L) tells staff about copyeditor Ana Clyde (R) after interviewing her.


Beth Nakamura 2018

Award-winning photojournalist Beth Nakamura from The Oregonian coaches Beacon photographer Jeff Braccia during a workshop she gave for Beacon staff.


Investigative reporter Gordon Friedman tells Beacon staff about stories he’s working on for The Oregonian.


Jose Velazco, UP’s Digital Initiatives Coordinator, gives Beacon staff a tour of the Digital Lab.


Claire Desmarais, David Estrin and Autumn Fluetsch repping The Beacon at the Activities Fair.


The College Media Association has announced finalists for its Pinnacle Awards, which “honor the best college media organizations and individual work.”  The Beacon is a finalist for five of these national awards:

Winners will be announced at CMA’s national fall convention in Louisville, Kentucky.



Rachel Ramirez, Rachel Rippetoe and Olivia Sanchez at the Online News Association conference last fall. All are pursuing journalism careers.

2018 grads Rachel Rippetoe and Rachel Ramirez have been selected for the Dow Jones News Fund internship program. They will soon head to New York University for a week of training to prepare them for paid summer journalism internships.

Rachel Rippetoe will intern at The Nashville Business Journal. Upon completion of her internship, Rachel will go to CUNY (City University of New York) to get a master’s in journalism.

Rachel Ramirez will spend the summer in Philadelphia as a reporter for Wearables, Counselor and Advantage magazines.

Olivia Sanchez starts her master’s program this summer at the journalism school at the University of Oregon.

Hannah SIevert

2018-19 Editor-in-Chief Hannah Sievert will intern as a reporter at the Daily Astorian this summer, an ethics-based internship program sponsored by the Charles Snowden Excellence in Journalism Program.

Rising senior and 2018-19 Beacon Editor-in-Chief Hannah Sievert has been awarded an internship through the Charles Snowden Excellence in Journalism program. Hannah will have a reporting internship at the Daily Astorian on the Oregon coast.


Hannah Sievert spring 2018

2018-19 Editor-in-Chief Hannah Sievert

Major: Organizational Communication
Minor: English
Hometown: Gig Harbor, Washington


Claire Desmrais

News and Managing Editor Claire Desmarais

Major: Business (Marketing)


Hometown: Yakima, Washington


Multimedia Editor Annika Gordon

Majors: Spanish, Sociology

Hometown: Ukiah, California


Kyle garcia

Sports Editor Kyle Garcia

Major: Communication Studies

Hometown: Portland, Oregon


Brigid Lowney 2018

Living Editor Brigid Lowney

Major: English

Hometown: Gilroy, California



Opinions Editor & News Reporter Delaney Vetter

Major: Communication Studies

Hometown: East Grand Rapids, Michigan


Community Engagement Editor Natalie Nygren

Major: Business (Marketing)

Minor: Communication Studies

Hometown: Auburn, Washington


Ana Clyde

Copy Editor & Sr. Sports Reporter Ana Clyde

Majors: Political Science, Spanish

Hometown: Roseburg, Oregon

Incoming Editor-in-Chief Hannah Sievert with 2017-18 Editor-in-Chief Rachel Rippetoe

Graduating seniors: (Back row L to R) Erin Bothwell, Haley Grant, Olivia Sanchez (Front Row L to R) Julia Cramer, Rachel Rippetoe, Rachel Ramirez

2017-18 Editorial Board:
Annika Gordon, Kyle Garcia, Hannah Sievert, Erin Bothwell, Rachel Rippetoe, Olivia Sanchez, Julia Cramer

New Editor-and-Chief and News and Managing Editor Claire Desmarais

Beacon karaoke!


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