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And here it is: an historic final issue with historic page one placement of an editorial on an historic issue.
This Beacon video by Shelby Vaculin provides context for the editorial:
The final issue also featured a look back by 2015-16 Editor-in-Chief Katie Dunn and a look ahead to our all-digital move by 2016-17 Editor-in-Chief Malika Andrews
Behind the scenes at our final print production night:
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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:
Bonus tip for students: If your nervous for the interview, tell your source. It may create empathy.
Glossy Standards-The Ethics of Magazine Reporting and Editing
This panel featured:
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.
Big takeaway:”Keep that skeptical part of your brain always active.”
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.
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.
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:
And in our down time, we went to The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. The topic of the night: Donald Trump’s racist supporters
One more thing: The Beacon came in Second Place in the Apple Awards. Not bad!
by Malika Andrews |
The media industry has always relied heavily on personal interaction, whether it’s the television news anchor with the sparkly white smile or the local paperboy dropping off the morning edition on the doorstep every morning.
But media conferences can often be impersonal and formal, with many people trying to listen to a single speaker in a classroom-type setting. In that environment, it can be difficult to build the connections that an anchor has with his or her audience or even that a Facebook user might have with his or her friend when they share articles.
This year was my second year in a row attending the College Media Association (CMA) conference in New York and it was my third media conference with The Beacon. My goal this year was to make the most of the conference experience while also seeking out the personal side that drives the industry. My week in New York showed me that one-on-one interaction is more crucial than ever to aspiring media personalities.
On my second day in New York, I walked into the Wall Street Journal building to meet Miriam, a 33-year-old financial reporter who I met through a friend with whom I covered Portland Trail Blazers. Miriam toured me around the building and introduced my to the WSJ’s Pulitzer prize-winning sports editor. Although he had never seen my work or met me before, he told me he was impressed that I had made the effort to come visit and he gave me his card. We’ve been emailing back and forth since, proving that going the extra mile (or 6,000 miles round-trip) to get face time can really make a difference.
I‘m learning that making the extra effort is what sets you apart in the media industry. I set meetings with five different journalists in my seven days in the city and spent time in three different newsrooms and television stations, which helped expose me to even more aspects of the industry. Spending time at Sports Illustrated made me realize that working for them — something that I have dreamed about since I was a kid — is within my reach.
The CMA conference sessions were informative and one of the speakers, Byron Pitts of ABC News, offered moving words about the opportunities that each of us in attendance have. He told us that he believed “with every fiber of my being, that each of you has the ability to change the wold.” That really made me think about the network I have built and the doors it has opened for me. More than that, if and when I make it, I am obligated to give back and give someone else a door into industry. Looking back, though, I think that the most valuable part of the experience in New York was walking around the city, shaking hands with working media professionals, and seeing how and where the news gets made. As I made a conscious effort not to look up at the skyscrapers (a dead giveaway you’re a tourist) and walk quickly, in pace with the city, I couldn’t help but feel an intense sense of belonging. The information I took from the conference was helpful, but the personal connections I made were truly inspiring.
by Clare Duffy |
Many people, when you tell them you want to be a journalist, look at you like you’ve just grown a second head.
Even more people, when you tell them you want to be a foreign correspondent, look at you like you’ve grown a third.
And the majority of people, when you tell them that a former foreign correspondent’s story of being kidnapped on the job and talking her way out of it made you excited, will look at you with the half-confused, half-sympathetic smile of someone who’s just realized the person they’ve been talking to doesn’t actually speak English, and shuffle away.
Welcome to many an uncomfortable family dinner I’ve attended in recent years.
But it’s true, and Tina Susman’s presentation about her career as a foreign correspondent was thus truly the cherry on top of my CMA 2016 experience.
What had once seemed such a foreign and far-off goal for my future (no pun intended), became so vividly real and tangible, as she recounted memories of a harrowing drive through the Kashmir Mountains and wandering in disguise through the streets of Baghdad.
And beyond the wild experiences she had had and the horrible things she had seen, Susman spoke of the goodness of many of the people she encountered along the way, and this truly hit at the heart of why I want to be a journalist abroad. People who speak different languages helping one another to make sure marginalized voices are heard, people of vastly disparate backgrounds coming together to promote the spread of truth in times of crisis, this power for social good that journalism allows has driven me in this direction. And in every sad or upsetting or infuriating story she told, these bits shined through – the translator who helped her when she knew no one after being sent on a last-minute assignment to cover the earthquake in Haiti, the hotel bellman who aided in her escape after being kidnapped in Somalia, the other foreign journalists living abroad whom she would invite over for tea in the midst of an often chaotic work environment.
I’m not sure where I’ll end up when I leave school and can stop pretending to devote my resources to anything other than journalism (just kidding, Mom), but I hope that wherever I am, I’ll be able to speak with the humble candor and genuine appreciation for the experiences that Susman exuded during her presentation. And that I, too, will be so willing to help and encourage young journalists that I’ll stay an hour beyond my allotted presentation time to answer their questions.
Thank you, Tina.
by Clare Duffy |
Networking: A word that strikes fear into the hearts of many, mine included.
Until I discovered that “networking,” when done properly, is really just a fancy way of saying, “talking with smart, passionate people about things that you love” – that doesn’t sound half bad, does it? Not to mention that building a network is crucial in the journalism industry: people who are also new to the trade and seasoned vets, people in a variety of different positions and specialties, people who can give you advice and to whom you can offer something as well.
All this we’d been working on since our first professional conference experience at ONA15 in September. And it came in handy just hours after we’d touched down in New York for CMA16 and were talking about everything from marriage to interviewing Oprah with an editor from Ebony Magazine.
Making these kinds of connections is all about putting yourself out there, keeping them is all about maintaining relationships without always asking for something and you can take advantage of them when you’re in their city and take them for coffee or visit their newsroom.
While we were in New York, we visited the Washington Post, Sports Illustrated and the Today Show, and had coffee with reporters at CBS and International Business Journal. When it comes to setting up these sorts of meetings, don’t be afraid to ask – people generally like talking about what they do and showing younger journalists the ropes. But, also be extra gracious and thankful, as they are no doubt pushing back a deadline or extending their workday for you.
In each of these meetings, there were several common pieces of advice: