By Michael Bodley
When I wasn’t in a presentation or sleeping in New Orleans, chances are I was probably eating, everything from beignets to alligator sausage. But my favorite food by far was the artery-clogging po-boy, French bread heaped with seafood, meat and some combination of sauces and vegetables. I miss it dearly.
I decided against trying to bring a po-boy back in my backpack, but that’s about the only thing I left behind in New Orleans. I brought back so many ideas, and I now have so much enthusiasm. We’re good, but we can be better. With the people we have in the office and all of the talent and potential, I have a singular goal for the next calendar year, 2014.
I want to walk into the office this time next year and see another Pacemaker plaque. Aim high.
By Kristen DeMaria
Wait, it’s already been a week since we left for New Orleans? Though the time absolutely flew by, I can confidently say that I have returned with more knowledge and skills than I could have imagined.
It was truly an honor to be sitting in the crowd at the Pacemaker awards. All of the winners put so much time and effort into their publications, and I am thrilled to be part of an organization that does the same.
I am ready to take everything that I have learned and use it to make the Pendulum even better than it is today. I know that if all of us continue to give it our all, we’ll be back next year, heading up to collect our Pacemaker award.
To quote one of my favorite movies, Footloose, “This is our time.” Let’s make sure to make it count.
By Mary Kate Brogan
It’s been a crazy couple of days, but I think this journey to New Orleans has taught me a lot about innovation and creativity, both of which will help our organization in the end. I’ve seen some of the amazing things newspapers have done going fully digital. I’ve learned about journalism bootcamps that have helped create excitement around learning new skills. I’ve discovered a new way of training students to keep them coming back. I truly hope that my colleagues and I can take what we’ve learned here and use it to innovate in the industry, invest more in the success of our reporters and better our organization for future generations of Elon students to come.
I thank Colin Donohue and The Pendulum for allowing me to go to New Orleans and have this unforgettable experience. The knowledge I’ve gained is something I will no doubt share with my fellow staffers and friends for many months to come.
I’ve returned from New Orleans as a more confident and more competent journalist. The opportunity to compare experiences with people from other universities was gratifying and, at times, gave me a sense of superiority over those schools who just don’t have it together on the student media front.
While New Orleans wasn’t nearly what I expected it to be, I’m grateful for the time that I got to spend there, even the extremely dark and pointless 6 a.m. stroll through the French Quarter (it ended with a belly full of beignets, so I can’t complain too much).
I apologize in advance for my dramatic increase in enthusiasm, which is sure to take effect in these last few weeks of the semester. I’ve learned a lot; I’m feeling motivated; and I have a lot of ideas.
By Jonathan Black
After a whirlwind four days in the Big Easy, I’ve returned to the Elon (or as a presenter liked to call it “Alon”), a little bit tired and a lot more wiser.
While New Orleans left a lot to be desired, and cleaned, I feel like I learned a lot more than I did at the previous convention in New York City. I met more people, stalked an editor-in-chief at another school. took some helpful advice from presenters and peers and, yes, ate a couple of beignets.
Jokes aside, I’m excited to see how I can implement what I learned into not only helping myself become a better journalism, but help The Pendulum reach new heights. After all, the Pacemaker is only a year away.
By Mary Kate Brogan
Every person is a part of what make a newsroom work, but with every person comes a different personality, and some personalities butt heads more than others. Adrianne Henderson’s session, I’m Sorry, Is MY PERSONALITY Getting In The Way?, was an insightful look into the different personalities in a newsroom.
A description of the True Colors personalities. Image courtesy of Texas A&M and Head Start of Greater Dallas.
The session consisted of a discussion of the results of a short True Colors Personality Test that each individual took upon coming into the room. From this test, individuals determined if they were predominantly blue, green, gold or orange.
I learned that I’m predominantly blue, which means I care a lot about others, but people sometimes make assumptions that I’m too emotional because of this. Henderson addressed how the people in the room can deal with each type of person. In dealing with a particularly emotive blue, it’s helpful to make sure you’re listening to other people’s perspectives because the blue won’t want anyone to feel left out. People should also consider putting criticism a bit more gently for a blue as they might be more likely to take it personally if you say it too bluntly.
This session was particularly helpful overall because it taught me that there is a need for each type of personality to make a newsroom work. If we can respect those personality differences, the newsroom will work well together.
By Mary Kate Brogan
The Daily Tar Heel is the gold standard of North Carolina college newspapers, so hearing the Tar Heel’s adviser Erica Perel discuss the online analytics of the highly successful organization helped me see what needs to be changed to make The Pendulum more successful online.
The Tar Heel uses live analytics via Chartbeat and makes them accessible to all members of the organization so they can understand the big picture of what’s going on online and strategize as to how to make their online presence stronger.
Perel says quality is more important than quantity in online journalism, so a story that only warrants 250 words should be just that. Perel also suggests creating a mobile app and acting with a sense of urgency on breaking news because if you get there first, you usually get the story first. She recommends creating meaningful pages for various topics, similar to Times Topics, when they are necessary.
Ledes must be short. Headlines must be SEO. Discussions of online news should be held as part of news meetings to make the newsroom as a whole more productive online. I plan to turn on the TV today and keep our analytics up in the office for all to see.