Soaking it in

I’ve been feeling really lucky lately to get the chance to sit and listen to people talk.

Whether this is worthwhile depends mostly on the people speaking, and based on who I’ve been listening to, it definitely is.

I spent last weekend in San Francisco at the Associated Collegiate Press Midwinter National College Journalism Convention, where I sat in on sessions with titles like “How to be an editor without killing someone,” listened to keynote speeches from people like Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Mark Fiore, had a small group Q&A session with a news reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle and enjoyed complimentary coffee and red pens.

acpsf I geeked out, to say the least. These conventions get me pumped about my career, and getting the opportunity to engage with professionals and my fellow student journalists from all over the country is priceless. Not to mention the fact that my own newspaper won first place in the Best of Show contest and took home a trophy. I triumphantly carried that bad boy home on BART and then back to the newsroom in Chico. We also won second place in the multimedia package category and fourth place for our website.

The awards were a nice way to end the weekend, but the networking I did and much of what I got to learn were the best parts. Just getting to see how other student newspapers run and look was interesting. And I mean, Storify cofounder Burt Herman made a Storify about the conference during his keynote speech using what all of us had been posting online with the #acpsf hashtag. How cool is that?

I got back to town from the convention Monday, but by Wednesday I was already gaining more insight from another professional, this time on campus. Ali Manzano, the social media editor at The Oregonian, visited our newspaper critique session this week to talk social media as part of the Scripps Howard Foundation/AEJMC Social Media Externship Program.

oregonianShe talked to us about branding, referring to our social media accounts in print and engaging with our audience on these platforms through questions that go along with articles.

Manzano basically created her job at The Oregonian in 2010, which is pretty impressive. It’s always interesting for me to hear about the backgrounds of people with awesome jobs in order to see how they got to where they are.

sustainabilityconference

And even with all of that, I’ll also be sitting and listening to people talk Thursday and Friday. Chico State is hosting its This Way to Sustainability Conference, where I’ll get to gain insight from professionals about various global, national and regional environmental issues. Many of the sessions directly relate to my minor and my interests, so I can’t wait to see what else I can soak in this week.

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The times they are a’changin’

Week three.

This is the first week in which The Orion has implemented the decision to shrink from a four-section newspaper to a two-section newspaper. Financial issues are forcing us to do more of what we have begun trying to do – adapt to the times and embrace the Web.

We are lucky to still have all five sections intact and in print: news, sports, arts, features, opinion. I also still copy edit just as much material, some of which will be presented as online exclusives.

We’re all experiencing some growing pains as we learn to adjust to the sudden need for significant changes, but it can be said that I have fallen in love with this newspaper and that, as a staff, we will continue to work hard, release strong news content and roll with the punches.