By Alex Hager
After a jam-packed weekend, the ENN team is safely back on campus, and I have a moment to look back on an eventful ACP 2016.
Overall, I have very positive reviews of the ACP conference. I was busy all day, and I really felt like I got a lot of value out of the sessions. While some of the sessions were a bit of a miss, other speakers delivered information that can tangibly help my efforts as a journalist and can help improve ENN through my contributions.
For example, the talk with Charlie Weaver from Oregon’s Daily Emerald helped me understand how to reach new audiences through entertaining content, without letting that content interfere with the publication’s hard-news journalism.
Some of the sessions were niche and skill-based, but others, like the panel with writers from ESPN’s “The Undefeated” were a fantastic opportunity just to hear different perspectives from people in the business.
And, of course, the keynotes were a highlight. Hearing from Bob Woodward and Edward Snowden was an absolute treat, and they provided legitimately helpful tips to young journalists.
Although I had less opportunities to network with student journalism peers than I had hoped, I still talked to a number of other journalists from all across the country, and comparing our news outlets’ styles and habits really helped me get some perspective.
By Christina Elias
After spending the weekend in D.C. hopping from session to session and monument to monument, I’m sad to say we’re back on campus and the fun is over.
I’m very impressed with what the ACP had to offer this weekend. The keynote speakers and sessions were all incredible opportunities I was happy to take advantage of while I had the chance. I was able to hear from accomplished communicators from The New York Times, the Washington Post, the White House, universities across the country and more.
I would say the most valuable piece of insight I gleaned from my time at the ACP convention was the continually evolving capabilities of news media in how we produce and deliver content across platforms. There are so many ways to creatively provide content to different audiences, and I can’t wait to use these concepts in my own work.
By Alex Hager
Midday on Saturday, I attended the standing-room-only keynote talk with Edward Snowden. Joining us via video link, Snowden talked about his involvement with journalists and their role in his infamous reveal of classified NSA information.
Snowden talked about the value of journalists in many different respects. He described how he reached out to specific reporters who he knew he could trust to accurately and responsibly interpret, manage, and disseminate the information he had.
I thought Snowden was incredibly articulate, and his appearance brought a lot of value to the conference. As journalists, especially at a journalism-focused event, it’s incredibly easy to get caught up in our own work, focusing on the storytelling, phrasing and distribution. And this can turn into a dangerous mindset that prevents us from remembering to think beyond our own story and remember the real-world context and implications of the story we’re covering, and most importantly, the impact our reporting can have outside of our own lives.
After handing his information off to journalists, Snowden watch that story unfold, and now that he’s put some time between today and his initial leak, he was able to describe the story from a perspective that considered all of the implications.
By Alex Hager
Saturday morning, I attended talk on digital advertising with Mollie Pointer of The Hill. As a student of journalism, I have recently taken interest in the advertising world, as advertising accounts for a large portion of the industry’s revenue. Although the nature of advertising’s involvement in journalism is changing, it still plays an important role in the business side of many publications.
Pointer, who also spent time working in Atlantic Media’s advertising department, shared facts and statistics about the nature of web ads and their engagement. As tastes change and adblock becomes more and more prominent, the outlook for the relevancy of advertising is fairly dismal.
I asked Pointer what a journalist, like myself, should know about advertising within the media industry, while still working as a reporter. She said that many people are ingrained in the long help principle of keeping the newsroom and the publication’s business department strictly separate, but by cooperating, the two can create a strategy that includes better, more relevant ads.
By Bryan Anderson
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I have thoroughly enjoyed the past few days in Washington D.C. at the ACP National College Media Convention. I got to have a former Washington Post editor critique my resumé and offer advice for being competitive when applying for internships. Bill Elsen told me clips are the greatest item of importance along with a cover letter or bio. Though resumés are important too, he said evaluators care most about experience and drive.
The highlight of the convention was the fantastic keynote speakers. Because our organization left Sunday morning, I only got to see three of the four presenters — Donna Brazile, Bob Woodward and Edward Snowden. All of these keynote addresses were informative and helpful for young professional journalists. I really appreciated how ACPDC had keynote speakers with diverse backgrounds.
The sessions themselves were interesting, especially Al Drago’s presentation about Snapchat. It seemed the majority of speakers in sessions were professors talking about issues specific to their institutions or of little relevance to my work at Elon University. For example, one speaker talked about FOIA requests. The presentation was interesting and engaging, but it had little to do with my work in student media at a private institution. I would hope more efforts could be made in the future to try to bring in more speakers from professional newsrooms as opposed to professors. Several professors delivered amazing presentations. I just hoped to see greater variety in the scheduling.
As a side note, one issue I had was the lack of opportunities for people to interact with students from other organizations. I felt that an overwhelming majority of students stayed within their respective social circles. The opportunity cost to this was an open exchange of ideas. I’m not sure I have a solution to this problem because I feel it is more of a cultural issue. Nevertheless, I felt it was worth noting that there is value in fostering a more collaborative, sociable environment. I was still able to meet a couple terrific individuals I will make sure I stay in touch with.
Outside of the convention, I was able to enjoy the city by walking to the White House and the Lincoln Memorial. I even got to visit the Newseum for a couple hours. In the future, I hope to be able to explore more of the city. Also, I loved capping off the trip by going to the Verizon Center to watch the Washington Capitals square off against the New York Rangers. Though my adviser was not pleased with the outcome — the Rangers won 4-2 — we had a fun time.
Cheers from D.C., it’s been a terrific experience! I very much look forward to coming to the next conference.
It was really cool to hear from Edward Snowden when ACP Skype him in for a keynote speech. He obviously couldn’t tell us where he was, but he spoke for about an hour and had some interesting points. His main theme was that journalist have the power and awesome responsibility to hold the government accountable when needed. Woodward touched on this when he spoke at Elon, so these two speaking so close to each other was complementary. One quote Snowden said that was interesting to me was
“When there are people who see you are investigating the story, there might be someone who agrees with what you are saying and will reach out and help you”
People love to see reporters investigating and will normally help out if needed. Deep Throat was a good example in Watergate. This is applicable to ENN because if we show that we genuinely want to report the truth, the community will more likely than not try to help us out.
By far the best session I went to in the convention was “Rule with an iron fist but wear a velvet glove.” It basically talked about how to manage people on your staff properly and effectively. I also went to ESPN’s The Undefeated office after this session and talked to one of my mentors about this topic.What they both said is that everyone is different and that you have to tailor your treatment of someone to compliment your strengths. College media is supposed to be a building block for you to learn, to gain experience and to have fun— its not supposed to make you feel overwhelmed, stressed and frustrated. If you are continuing to feel that way, then something needs to change, whether that be letting go of someone who repeately slacks or changing an organizational issue. staggering and being stricter on deadlines will erase some headaches, and mentoring reporters on how to become better writers will make life easier in the long run for both writers and editors. listening to my mentor and going to this session was really eye-opening and I will definitely use these tactics in the future.