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Posts Tagged ‘college newspapers’

Times SquarePhoto by Kate Stringer

Times Square
Photo by Kate Stringer

Covering national news – call up the FBI while you’re at it

My guess is that if you’re here, it’s because you go to a small private school where nothing ever happens, and if things do happen, the administration refuses to tell you about it.

Thus began Michael Perrota’s talk on covering national news on campus. For schools like UP, hard news stories are hard to come by. So, when a national news story hits, it’s only natural to want to cover it. The trick is simply how. In order for a college campus to cover a national news story, Perrota said one of three criteria must apply:

The story is applicable to the college campus

The story is applicable to the local area

The story is applicable to the life and experiences of a college-aged student

Filling one of these three criteria is not too challenging. What is challenging is coming up with the right sources to talk about an issue. Perrota said that once you have sources that are knowledgeable on a topic in national news, the story is set.

For national news stories, sometimes the best sources will be off-campus. Perrota said there is nothing wrong with branching out to sources like lawyers, business owners, or students from local colleges if they add to a story. Newspaper clips that show reporters have put in extra effort to contact sources outside the campus will impress their future employers. Besides, Perrota pointed out, getting an interview with the FBI is a lot easier than getting an interview with a university president.

Another source to scavenge for story ideas is PEW research. Many surveys can become stories if they are about college students.

Beaconites at the conferencePhoto by Nancy Copic

Beaconites at the conference
Photo by Nancy Copic

Details, details, details

The next time I interview a source, I’m going to ask them where they got their shoes. And it’s not because I’m in need of a new pair or a creep.

By asking students in our session where they got their shoes, Rob Kaiser discovered that one student is 20 months apart from her sister, who she regards as a best friend. Random? Not if you knew that she was wearing her sister’s shoes to the conference. With this demonstration, Kaiser pointed out how important the details are to revealing people’s character.

The amount of detail in an article can make or break a story. There is a fine line between too much extraneous information that takes away from the point, and not enough detail to engage readers.

Using details in stories take readers to an angle not usually explored. Kaiser showed us an example article about Jackie Kennedy at the funeral of her husband. Rather than focusing on simply the 5 W’s, the author “zoomed-in” on a moment where Jackie struggled to take off her black glove and remove her wedding ring to place by her husband’s body. It was simple description that added a powerful component of connection to the story. The reader saw the human element in the story rather than the simple facts.

I loved this talk because it focused on the art of writing that can be added to news stories. Sometimes I find myself getting bored with a story and frustrated with the writing process because it seems so lifeless. This session gave me a new way to add life to my stories.

“Writing is really a wrestling match with yourself – it’s an act of self-discipline.” –Rob Kaiser

-Kate Stringer

A bit excited to see The New York TimesPhoto by Kathryn Walters

A bit excited to see The New York Times
Photo by Kathryn Walters

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Taking notes in the fancy conference roomsPhoto by Kate Stringer

Taking notes in the fancy conference rooms
Photo by Kate Stringer

A news reporter walks into a magazine publishing house

What do bike locks, chicken piccata, and coach purses have in common?

All are photographed, written about, and published in magazine form in a 44-floor glass building in Manhattan: Hearst Tower.

Want a view of central park from the 44th floor of Hearst tower? You're welcome.Photo by Kate Stringer

Want a view of central park from the 44th floor of Hearst tower? You’re welcome.
Photo by Kate Stringer

Kathryn and I woke up at 6 a.m. to get spots in a tour of Hearst Tower, home of magazines like Marie Claire, Popular Mechanics, and House Beautiful. Hearst Corporation owns 20 magazines in the U.S. as well as cable networks, newspapers and real estate. It also has an exciting escalator fountain entryway in its lobby.

Yes, that is an escalator going up a water fountainPhoto by Kate Stringer

Yes, that is an escalator going up a water fountain
Photo by Kate Stringer

Eliot Kaplan, the executive director of talent acquisition at Hearst magazine, gave us a tour of the many floors of Hearst tower. Fun facts: Cosmopolitan is on the top floor because it makes the most money and Seventeen magazine is located on the 17th floor…for obvious reasons.

Iphone photos 413

Solemn executive boardroom on the 44th floor

Good Housekeeping magazine involves more than a writing and marketing team. A testing team analyzes products advertised in the magazine and gives them a “Good Housekeeping” seal of insurance. If a product breaks or a consumer is unsatisfied, Good Housekeeping will refund it. A shame-case marks infamous products that were once given the Good Housekeeping seal that turned out to be not-so good products, like diet snacks that made the user gain weight and flammable children’s Halloween costumes (would NOT like to know the story behind that one). Pillows, towels, and mixers are all tested in Hearst tower. There’s even a room with climate controls that runs tests on both refrigerators and anti-frizz gels for hair.

Every recipe in Good Housekeeping is tested 3 times in these kitchens before it can make the pagePhoto by Kate Stringer

Every recipe in Good Housekeeping is tested 3 times in these kitchens before it can make the page
Photo by Kate Stringer

While Good Housekeeping was lovely, a more age-appropriate tour was waiting for us on the 34th floor. Marie Claire, a magazine for 20-30 year olds, was filled with clothing, bulletin boards of fashion samples, and…20-30 year old employees!

I found the young age of the employees to be both encouraging and upsetting. Encouraging because it meant that the industry doesn’t require 50 years of freelancing to land a permanent job. Terrifying because the editors informed us that every employee has had many internships before entering the field. Try not to panic.

Cubicles of Marie ClairePhoto by Kate Stringer

Cubicles of Marie Claire
Photo by Kate Stringer

We talked with the Fashion Features Editor, Katie Connor, and Executive Editor, Riza Cruz.  They were interested in learning about our education, interests and experiences, which I found very encouraging. However, when talking about their own journey into the journalism world, they both used words like fortunately, luckily and miraculously to describe how they landed jobs. These words were not so comforting. Many times landing a job seems to depend on who you know. The importance of networking is something I’ll definitely take away from this conference.

Magazines 3.0

Keynote address by Jason WagenheimPhoto by Kate Stringer

Keynote address by Jason Wagenheim
Photo by Kate Stringer

Whoever believes magazines are dying needs to talk to the publisher of Teen Vogue, Jason Wagenheim.  While many magazines were folding a few years ago, Teen Vogue was one of two magazines with a teenager audience to survive the plague.

Jason shared how magazines can utilize business models other than the subscriber, newsstand, advertiser. TeenVogue embraced the onset of mobile phones and internet to draw in their teenage audience. They have a presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They have apps like teenvogue me girl which allows girls to dress models and get ratings for how well their outfits match. Jason said this app reached 600,000 downloads after the first week! Additionally, pages in the magazines can be scanned by iphones to get special features not included in print.

Back to School Saturday, or #BTSS, was an event Jason hoped would become comparable to Black Friday. By soliciting stores to have discounted prices on August 11, 2012, and encouraging readers to go shopping and hashtagging, BTSS was a success for both advertisers and the magazine. As Jason said, “We invented a holiday. I haven’t felt like this since Jesus created Easter.”

The beautiful buildings of NYCPhoto by Kate Stringe

The beautiful buildings of NYC
Photo by Kate Stringe

News reporters make the best magazine writers

If you want to argue with that subheading, talk to Mark Mayfield, former reporter for USA Today and editor of several magazines. Mayfield showed how the skills of accuracy and getting work in on a deadline are highly valued in the magazine world.

Mayfield compared magazine writing to feature writing in newspapers. However, instead of sticking solely to facts, writers get to tell the story with more space and more voice.

To be successful in the magazine industry, Mayfield recommends finding one topic you love and learning as much as you can about it. A lot of magazine writing today is done by freelancers rather than a hired staff. To get a feature published, writers should send in a cover letter explaining what you want to write about and why you would be good at writing this particular story as well as several published writing clips.

-Kate Stringer

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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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The Beacon is a finalist for several awards from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. Winners will be announced May 6th. Keep your fingers crossed!

Best News Section– Hannah Gray, Rosemary Peters, Enid Spitz, Laura Frazier  (Beacon News Section: The Road to River Campus & Your Safety on and off campus)

Best Features Section– Roya Ghorbani-Elizeh, Laura Frazier, Rosemary Peters, Elizabeth Tertadian (Living/Feature section)  From hall director on The Bluff to cop on the street and likealittle:Online flirting captures UP)

Best Special Section– Rosemary Peters, Andy Matarrese, Staff  (75th Anniversary of The Beacon)

Best News Story– Philippe Boutros, Hannah Gray  (Campus-wide alert leads to arrest)

Best Series– Andy Matarrese, Laura Frazier  (Foundation president withdraws from gala  / GSP works with UP administration)

Best Sports Story– Bruce Garlinghouse  (BOOM! Pilots fly high over No. 24 St. Mary’s)

Best Review -Enid Spitz  (Eat at Le Bistro Montage)

Best Photography– Kevin Kadooka  (BOOM! Pilots fly high over No. 24 St. Mary’s; Homecoming 2010;The inside scoop on the bell tower)

Best Graphic -Rosemary Peters

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In this workshop, Frank LoMonte , executive director of the Student Press Law Center addressed increasingly important legal issues regarding websites. A few salient tidbits:

  • Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act,  one is not liable for information on one’s website that one does not create. In other words, The Beacon would not be liable for a posted reader comment.
  • It’s important not to edit online comments because once you revise them, you become the creator and therefore become liable.
  • Interesting:  According to LoMonte, there’s a legal double standard for the print and online editions. Under current law, a newspaper could be held liable for a libelous Letter to the Editor printed in a publication. However, the law gives the same newspaper immunity if libelous comments posted by a reader  appear on its website.

-Nancy Copic

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Click here to get to the special section on Issuu.com. From there, you can also download it as a PDF file and print it.

2009-2010 Beacon Staff

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