After the Facebook session, a group of us went to the Chicken Salad II Extreme Makeover session. Michael Koretzky, who leads the session every year, is infamous, and a trip to the conference wouldn’t be complete without attending one of his sessions. Known for his crazy antics like giving out cigars and love beads (some years it’s gold coins), he actually takes old papers and redesigns them and rewrites ledes.
All of his points were completely, one hundred percent valid. He talked about the focus of papers, and one of the things he said over and over was how the focus of the paper needed to be on the students and how things affect students. We are a student newspaper. I can think of plenty of times, just off the top of my head, that we have played up a story about something other than the students on our campus. Another thing he talked about a lot was the idea that the person is more important than the process. We like to write process stories, telling people all about what is happening, instead of focusing on the people that it will be affecting. We want students to read the newspaper, but we don’t write about them or for them.
His redesigns, however, left a lot to be desired. Every page that he would put up reminded me of something I’d see on the front page of the New York Post. And that’s not a compliment. He redesigned an entire page as if the Soviet Union had just won the Cold War. Why? “Because it’s my page.” That’s great and all, I’m glad you have the ability to make something look like it came from the USSR right after it won the Cold War, but that does not help us in the slightest. That’s not the real world. It would’ve been much better if he had actually shown us something we could use at our own newspaper.
That being said, I do think he was able to emphasis what we should be focusing on as student newspapers, and his sessions are always good for some entertainment.
– Sam Calvert