Seven students traveled to New Orleans, La. last weekend to soak in all things journalism.
Sponsored by Associated Collegiate Press and College Media Association, the National College Media Convention has more than 360 educational sessions based on media studies. Keynote speakers included Dateline NBC correspondent Hoda Kotb and The New Orleans Times-Picayune photojournalist Ted Jackson.
Simpson Student Media’s leaders fell in love with the sights, sounds, beauty and culture of New Orleans. More importantly, though, they brought back lessons to implement into The Simpsonian, KSTM-FM radio and I.D. Magazine.
“I took away lots of valuable information and tips relating to every aspect of student media, from writing and design to internships and portfolios,” she said. Junior multimedia journalism major Megan Quick said when presented with the opportunity to attend, she knew she had to immediately take advantage of this conference.
Quick is currently the director for I.D. Magazine and was able to attend sessions pertaining to magazine design and content.
Critiques, workshops and trade shows also provided students chances to review their media outlets. The Simpsonian was able to receive critiques from media professionals and other collegiate advisers. Students also had a chance to keep up with all sessions through live-tweeting under the the hashtag: #collegemedia13.
Some takeaways are:
For senior integrated marketing communications Julia Warfield, the conference was an opportunity to not only hear from media professionals, but also other students in her shoes. Warfield serves as The Simpsonian’s 2013-14 editor-in-chief.
“I chose to go on this trip because I think it is a great way to network and get ideas from other student journalists,” she said. “Also, the presenters are extremely talented and a great resource for networking after college.”
After attending the conference, Warfield came back to Simpson College with a realization about the industry. In a world with breaking news and a constant sense of urgency, sometimes people forget what matters, she said.
“The biggest thing I took away from this trip was that journalists need to take a step back and remember they are a person before they are a journalist,” she said. “You need to take time to get to know your subjects as a person. Don’t be so focused on getting the story right away.”
Students had a chance to meet American free speech activist Mary Beth Tinker. Tinker is famous for her role in the 1969 Tinker vs. Des Moines Supreme Court case, where the Court ruled that the First Amendment applied to speech in public schools.
Senior Sarina Rhinehart is currently pursuing studies in integrated marketing communications and political science. She serves as Simpson Student Media’s director of marketing and the conference provided her with ideas on how other newspapers and media outlets market their brand.
“I went on this trip expecting to get some great ideas from other schools that we could implement into The Simpsonian,” she said.
She did just that. She attended sessions about eye-catching column ideas, potential news ideas and advertising strategies for college newspapers.
Rhinehart said the conference taught her a valuable lesson about Simpson College and the success students can have at this college.
“The biggest thing I took away from this trip was the Simpson Student Media really can compete with state schools,” she said. “When comparing our product to theirs, we are doing an amazing job here at Simpson.”
And not only did students learn how to market Simpson Student Media’s brand, they also came home with ideas on how to build their own brand. Communications is competitive, but with strong portfolios, resumes and online profiles, students can come out on top.
“I learned how to use my strengths when trying to get a job and learned about how crucial an e-portfolio is,” senior Renee Castenson said.
During free time, students and advisers from across the nation were able to try different cuisines and partake in New Orleans festivities. Simpson Student Media’s adviser, Mark Siebert, provided students with ideas on what to take advantage of, such as the Halloween parade and popular restaurants.
Students came back from the conference feeling even more fired up about journalism and media studies. With a little more than halfway to go for the semester, the staff is working hard to strengthen Simpson Student Media in print, web, video and radio.