The Beacon’s transition from a weekly newspaper to an all digital 24/7 news outlet has turned into a model that student media organizations at other colleges and universities apparently are watching. CMA invited The Beacon to lead a session on the subject at the New York conference.

Beacon adviser Nancy Copic leading “Diving into Digital” session.

Malika, Clare and I worked as a team in telling our counterparts from other schools how we changed our approach to our work, overhauled our workflow and implemented rolling deadlines, incorporated multimedia and inforgraphics in our storytelling and how we use analytics as a motivator.

Beacon Editor-in-Chief Malika Andrews talks about the transition from weekly newspaper to all-digital campus news outlet.

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Managing Editor Clare Duffy describes the big change in Beacon workflow since going all-digital.

The Beacon’s Dynamic Duo

Watching Clare and Malika, I felt nothing but pride at their leadership over the past year and their professionalism during the session itself. Throughout the rest of the conference, we were all approached with positive feedback and questions about how we do what we do. Because Malika is also headed to the New York Times to be a James Reston Fellow after graduation, she was also asked to be on a panel about successfully moving from college media into the professional world. She was the talk of the conference after that.

Group text from Beacon photographer Jeff Braccia:

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-Nancy Copic

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“Know the power of women in leadership.”

When I first learned about this conference, and started planning to go, I expected the learning to happen within the confines of the conference. I had no idea that I would spend the whole week learning, in the conference and throughout the whole grid that is Manhattan. 

One of the convention’s keynote speakers was Mara Schiavocampo of Good Morning America. Mara spoke on the importance of branding and networking, what its like to be a woman of color doing journalism in 2017, her experiences and she gave her advice. I was engaged throughout her entire talk, and the Q&A that followed, but I was most impressed by her point about personal branding. When pinpointing one’s own personal brand, when asking the question “What is my brand?”, she said “Be yourself,” and encouraged to be forthcoming, be authentic and be genuine. According to Schiavocampo, you can usually decipher someone’s brand by giving their social media accounts a quick glance. This was thought provoking for me, I wondered about my brand, and asked my fellow Beaconites what they perceived my brand to be not long after the session had ended. She gave her extensive knowledge of Beyonce as an example. When she spoke about finding a niche, she reminded us that “What you do most is what you’ll do best,” and encouraged us to find a balance between our genuine interests and our career goals.


My notes from Mara Schiavocampo’s key note speech

My takeaway: Be yourself. Do it consistently and in a way you’re proud of.

One of my favorite sessions was led by Michael Koretzky, of the SPJ Board of Directors. He led a two session theory entitled “Editor-in-Grief” part one called “Rule with an iron fist, wear a velvet glove” and part two was called “10 secrets of very sexy editors.” Koretzky gave leaders tips, tricks and strategies for managing a staff and running a productive publication. Throughout all of this lessons, team work was emphasized. I think this is important in any group, but especially at The Beacon. On this trip, in our free time we had the opportunity to explore Manhattan as a team and really grow in our relationships and bond. We explored Times Square (twice), we ventured downtown to NEMO karaoke, we waited in line and saw a live taping of “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah”, we survived Blizzard Stella. I think one of the reasons we are so productive at The Beacon is because we really are a strong team.

Having a niche was emphasized almost as much as networking and branding were, throughout the conference. It was mentioned in Mara’s speech, in panel “Making it there” that featured The Beacon’s very own, Malika Andrews, and in other sessions. It also came up when I was having lunch with LGBT national reporter for Buzzfeed, Dominic Holden. Although I’m not sure whether or not I would like to make LGBT news my niche, it is his, so we talked about it. He discouraged me from limiting myself to only LGBT news, because he said that Buzzfeed is one of the few publications that prioritizes LGBT news enough to have a person be solely devoted to it’s coverage. He encouraged me to make LGBT news one of four or five beats that I am very knowledgable about, and to go from there.


-Olivia Sanchez-

The Beacon staff in New York Times Square

This was not my first time to New York but after this experience I realized how much I love the city.  Upon arrival and going out the first night with the Beacon staff members and seeing Times Square, I saw once again the magical and breathtaking city. Throughout the trip, I realized how much I love the city, and someday I may want to live there.

Keep doing what you love

Mara Schiavavocampo a keynote speaker talks about the power of networking

One thing I consistently heard while asking speakers how did they get to the job now, was that they continued to keep doing what they loved. They took interesting job paths to get where they are now.  The common theme was to keep doing what you love and want to do like reporting because the more experience you have and people you know, the more opportunities you get. The key is to not give up and to keep networkin. You never know who might tell you about an amazing job offer.

Learn from those you work with

Malika Andrews talks about The Beacon going all digital

I knew I worked for an incredible group of people working for the Beacon before this trip. This trip helped to affirm that though and I realized how lucky I am. The Beacon led one session about going entirely digital. In this session, I could see how The Beacon is on the cutting edge of college news as a completely digital news source and how it allows The Beacon to do more digitally and cover breaking news in a whole new way. In another session entitled “Making It There (New York, New York),”  Malika Andrews, The Beacon’s editor-in-chief, spoke about her Beacon experience and other experiences that led her to get a fellowship with the New York Times. Getting with Malika and everyone on The Beacon staff is great and in these few months left with the seniors I will try to learn as much as I can from them. -Jeffrey Braccia, Beacon photographer

Malika Andrews talks about her experience to getting a fellowship with The New York Times


Meeting Who I want to be when I grow up

Todd Maisel

One of my favorite sessions was “Surviving Photojournalism – Becoming a Swiss Army Knife of Media.” It was here that I met Todd Maisel or who I want to be when I grow up. He is an incredible photojournalist for New York Daily News. He showed photos he took during the events of 9/11  and while showing these photos he told stories of how he saved people and continued shooting photos. In doing this, he emphasized the importance of capturing photos but also paying attention to surroundings and how he could not just stand and take photos but also had to help people too. He then went on to show how switching between taking stills and video could have a powerful impact on a story, especially on a digital site.

Todd Maisel 9/11 photo


CBS News Tour with a starstruck moment

CBS News room

I got to tour CBS News. I got to see the CBS newsroom where the anchor reads the nightly news.  I then got to see the studio and producer’s offices of one of the most successful TV shows in history: 60 Minutes. I got to see where they produce the show and where they run through the tape and make edits to it before it is officially shown.  I also got to briefly see Bill Whitaker, who said hello and introduced himself to the tour group which was a bit of a starstruck moment.

me in front of the 60 Minutes main office

In these experiences and many others, I got to see what it is like to work for a big news company and how exciting it can be covering news on a large scale, and learn about possible future career paths. I also got to meet and connect with great people in this industry who I will continue to keep in touch with.


Me, trying to keep my cool at Buzzfeed.

I first followed Dominic Holden on Twitter in the early hours of June 12, 2016 when @buzzfeednews tweeted, suggesting that those who wanted updates on the Pulse Nightclub Shooting in Orlando, Florida, follow him.

When Omar Mateen killed 49 people in the Pulse Nightclub Shooting, I was only 187 miles south. And despite it being the middle of the night, I was awake.

After I read the words BREAKING and SHOOTER, I climbed off the sticky, deflating air mattress that I was sharing with my sister, and found myself sitting on the piano bench in the dark living room. I clicked follow and spent the remaining hours until my family woke up reading everything I could about the tragedy that took place in Orlando that morning.

Dominic Holden is the national LGBT reporter for Buzzfeed News. He is based in New York.

I have been following Dominic’s work for the past nine months. When I first followed him on Twitter I had already been hired by The Beacon, but I did not yet know that I wanted to be a journalist.

Two weeks ago, I entered a media tours lottery for the fast approaching College Media Association spring convention. I clicked the boxes for The New York Times, Rolling Stone and Buzzfeed. I was one of twenty students who got to go to Buzzfeed. I was so excited and overwhelmed and busy in the days leading up to the conference and tour that reaching out to Dominic before the tour did not occur to me until the morning of.

Two hours before I was supposed to be walking through the gates of heaven, oh wait, I mean walking through the doors of Buzzfeed, I DM’d Dominic on Twitter. I asked myself “What’s the worst that could happen?” And clicked send.


This is the view from the 16th floor of Buzzfeed NY. (My jaw dropped, too.)

He responded, told me where his desk was, and said he would be glad to talk to me.

After the tour of Buzzfeed’s incredible, 16 story New York office, I was introduced to him in the cafeteria, which they call The Canteen. I was so nervous that my hands were shaking, but I smiled and shook his hand and he invited me to stay for lunch.


Me, after the tour Q&A with Buzzfeed video producer Matt Ford, during which I raised my hand about 12 times.

Just be yourself.

My stream of consciousness from those few minutes looked something like this: I’m wearing heels, what if I fall? Don’t spill. Don’t fall. Don’t forget all the questions you want to ask him. Don’t look nervous. Wow, this place is so cool. I want to work somewhere where they give you free Mexican food. Compliment her purple hair but don’t stare. Don’t trip. Don’t spill. Act natural. Wow, I really want to work here. What do I have to do to get them to hire me? Why is everyone wearing jeans? Can they tell that I am freaking out? Don’t fall. Don’t spill. Don’t stare.

Dominic noticed that I was looking confused and told me I could sit wherever I wanted. Great, I’ll go clear myself a spot at the breaking news desk, I thought. But then realized he meant for lunch, and I found a table for two in the middle of the room near a window, and sat down.

After a few minutes, I settled down.

In 2016, Dominic won the Journalist of the Year Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalism Association. His niche is LGBT news. He’s reported on so many important LGBT stories including Gavin Grimm, the Pulse Nightclub Shooting and North Carolina’s Bathroom Bill. He wakes up at 6:30 a.m. and checks Twitter from bed. He makes his own ranch dressing and when lunch at the office isn’t catered (Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) he brings a turkey sandwich and Doritos. He’s from Seattle but he loves New York. Before he was hired by Buzzfeed he was the news and managing editor at The Stranger, a weekly arts and culture newspaper in Seattle. He didn’t graduate from high school and he doesn’t have a G.E.D.. Before he became a journalist, he was a drug activist and campaigned for the legalization of marijuana. He’s turning 40 this spring. He likes his job.

He patiently answered all my questions, and surprised me by asking quite a few back.

After I finished telling him about the story I wrote for National Coming Out Day and the ways I hoped it would be thought provoking and impactful on our small, Catholic campus, he asked me, “Do you want to be a journalist or an activist?” I paused then said, “A journalist.”

We talked about the difficulties of reporting on social issues in a neutral way. He said he finds it difficult to report on some issues as if they are two sided, when one side clearly neglects human rights. But it’s his job to cover them neutrally, so he does. “Do you want to be a neutral journalist?” he asked me. I thought for a moment, and told him, “I don’t want to be a neutral person, but I want to be a neutral journalist.” I explained how important it is to me to cover things that matter and provide neutral, but thought provoking coverage that may challenge problematic ideology by presenting facts and truth.

According to their website, “BuzzFeed is the leading independent digital media and tech company delivering news and entertainment content to a global audience.” The company has 18 offices worldwide and the New York office is in the process of constructing a rooftop workspace. When I visited, most people were wearing jeans. The energy was positive and productive. When it came time for me to leave, I didn’t want to. I was left wanting more. I learned and left inspired.

I only spent a few hours at Buzzfeed, but I haven’t stopped talking about it since I walked out of the building.

I only got to go on this tour because of the media tours facet of the College Media Association spring convention. This was absolutely the best part of the conference and trip for me because in the time I spent at Buzzfeed, and since then, I have realized what my goals are, I have been totally reinspired to pursue them.


-Olivia Sanchez-


I learned a lot at the College Media Association. I would be worried if I hadn’t. But here’s the thing—I wasn’t expecting to do a little teaching of my own while I was in New York City. And I did just that in addition to learning.

I went to a session about making your college newspaper go all digital and, unlike the other sessions, the faces leading this one were familiar. The Beacon was doing the teaching at this session and it was evident that we were doing it well because the young journalists in the audience were engaged and had lots of questions.

The Beacon’s very own Malika Andrews and Clare Duffy leading one of the sessions at CMA.

During the tour I took of Bloomberg News, I became friends with a student from PLU. After the tour had ended, I decided I wanted to go see Grand Central Station and he decided to tag along. When we found Grand Central Station, we both whipped out our cameras and began shooting.

After a few clicks from our cameras, he asked me why his photos were turning out too dark. So, I taught him how to properly use his camera—how to use the manual setting to get shutter speed, aperture, and ISO just right. Suddenly, I was the teacher! And it was exciting to be one! I was helping others learn!

The resulting image of Grand Central Station.

I’m on a plane now heading back to Portland. I was sad to leave New York City—it’s true that a tear or two were shed—but I’m also ready to bring back what I’ve learned to The Beacon. I’m ready to do some more learning, but I’m also ready to do some teaching.

Annika Gordon

When thinking about the highlight of this trip, it was difficult to pinpoint exactly what stood out. I got to attend a conference in New York City, see the Fearless Girl before it is taken down, tour Democracy Now and watch a live broadcast, meet Mara Schiavocampo and Amy Goodman, see Trevor Noah, experience a blizzard and so many more to mention!

Although some of the workshops did not appeal to me, many stood out and gave me a piece of journalistic knowledge to bring back to Portland. Mara Schiavocampo’s keynotes speech inspired me to build relationships and meet as many people as I can. Amy Goodman showed me the fierceness and power of a journalist. Ultimately, this learning experience is something I will take with me wherever life leads me today, tomorrow and onto the future. And because it is difficult to express how I feel about this experience, here’s a short clip I made of our trip.

-Rachel Ramirez