SAN FRANCISCO, CA – UNE’s The Bolt sent representatives to this prestigious college journalism convention hosted at the Hyatt Regency to attend workshops led by a variety of people in all aspects of the media world, the majority of them with careers in journalism. Alongside attending the convention, the news team enjoyed the sights of San Francisco viewing the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz and attending the Exploratorium.
Traveling cross country, the team of including Kane Emerson, Beanie Lowery, Matt Demers, and I along with our advisor Professor Jesse Miller came to learn from the best in order to gather ideas on how to improve The Bolt. Below, each member breakdowns some of the highlights of the conventions and what they learned from them.
Jack Allsopp: Editor-in-Chief
This year’s convention was my third, having attended the past two, but my first as an Editor-in-Chief. This meant I had to shift how I viewed and attended workshops. Three workshops that stood out to me were Editor-in-Grief 1: Rule With an Iron Fist. Wear a Velvet Glove led by Michael Koretzky, Internship Intel: A Career in Journalism led by Paul Glader, The King’s College, and The Onion: The Original Fake News led by Brain Janosch, IDEO.
I am still a relatively new Editor-In-Chief and wanted to learn as much as I could from a session meant for improving how editor’s run their newsroom. The major points I took away from the session were; set the example for my newsroom and create an environment that fosters ideas. Set the example by vocalizing what I expect from adhering to deadlines, articles, and editing. Also, leading a brainstorming session by asking pointed questions instead of broad ones.
Another workshop that came to be of immense value was the Internship Intel: A Career in Journalism workshop that detailed tips and in-depth advice on getting an internship in journalism and what to do once you get one. After filling out a page and a half of notes on what seemed to be a goldmine of information, I felt much more confident going into the process of landing an internship in the field I desire to find a career in.
As a team, we attended the Onion session which proved to give us a perspective we didn’t expect. One of the main points was that a good portion of the way we receive news is through a comedic lens, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But, that says something about society and the way that news will be consumed in the future. Along with that, Janosch spoke of how in times of tragedy, well-placed satire can lighten the mood. For example, this is an article on the front page of The Onion’s post 9/11 issue.
Kane Emerson’s: Staff Writer
My view of The Journalism Conference was one of great value in knowledge and experience. I first attended a meeting called, Design and The Online Story, by Michael Grant. I learned about how using visual pieces can not only be fast, but effective in telling a summary of an article. It helped opened new possibilities in what types of articles we as a journalism group could use to help portray complex stories.
I proceeded to join my second session, Good Journalism Isn’t Enough, by Rhiannon Bent and Jacob Sorensen. I would know later to be my favorite session. They talked about when you feel like your journalism isn’t getting the traction it deserves or the club isn’t known on campus and how to get it off the ground. A big point was to use business major students to do the marketing campaign as it can be mutually beneficial. They went on talking about forming partnerships with other clubs or departments, having live events around news in general, doing big extensive projects on the school that are controversial, and most importantly have a continuous flow of surveys on what the audience wants to read.
Beanie Lowery: Staff Writer and Social Media Coordinator
The first speaker that really caught my attention was the Friday morning keynote by Kevin Fagan and Brant Ward. They have been doing homelessness coverage for the past decade, and have won over 85 combined awards in their time in journalism. In the keynote, they showed us images taken by Ward throughout the streets of San Francisco and how they covered the issue of homelessness in the Bay Area. Their talk was difficult- both teared up at different times, and the topics they covered were hard to talk about. Both men showed incredible compassion through their work, and it was refreshing to see two journalists throw themselves mercilessly into their work. They lived on the streets and in shelters for months themselves to truly understand the system and learn just how poorly it runs. Listening to them speak about what they saw and learned was absolutely incredible.
I also want to talk about Photojournalism in the Age of Instagram by Sara Quinn. This one talked about the focus of the eye, and how to catch the attention of the viewer in order to get them to continue reading. Faces are the first attraction for the eye, then bodily interaction. People enjoy seeing people in action, and headshots are less likely to catch someone’s attention than a photo of them in action. The other thing she mentioned is that the public is very perceptive of professional and non-professional. During her testing to see what photographs people thought were the best quality, the top-rated were all professionally done, without exception. This was fascinating to see, and really emphasizes the importance of having good photos to include with articles. I’ll definitely be keeping that in mind as I work on our Instagram page!
Matt Demers: Staff Writer and Treasurer.
At this conference, I was able to participate in several interesting workshops on a variety of subjects and listen to speeches and presentations given by experienced and lauded members of the journalism industry. The number of workshops, and the wide variety that were open for me to participate in, made it hard to choose which ones I wanted to participate in. Two that I found interesting were The Fake News Gameshow by Kathy Simon, Central Michigan University and The Visual Coverage of Politics by Bradley Wilson, Midwestern State University.
The Fake News Gameshow was a workshop centered around fake news; how its made, what it looks like, and various clues that can help you identify it. This course is particularly relevant in our day and age, with extensive fake news on the rise. The Visual Coverage of Politics focused on political writing and photography. Politics has always been an interest of mine, and I’m glad I got the chance to learn tips and tricks on how I can better cover the subject.
I am incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to see and hear from so many accomplished journalists, editors, and photographers, who represent a wide and diverse group of newspapers and magazines. This conference has opened my eyes to the boundless possibilities that are available for any school news publication and taught me a great deal about how I can better contribute to my own newspaper back home. I’m excited to get down to business and use everything I’ve learned to see just how far I, as a writer, an editor, and a treasurer, can go.