ALINA PANEK, SHANTI BASU, MARY CLARE EDWARDS & LIZ ANASTASIADIS — Taking a step back to understand the larger picture is integral to being a journalist.
Recently, four members of The Denisonian editor team, Liz Anastasiadis ‘21, Mary Clare Edwards ‘21, Shanti Basu ‘20 and Alina Panek ‘20 discovered another way to add to their education and collection of resources when they traveled to New York City to attend the 2019 College Media Association’s (CMA) spring conference.
Despite the many academic opportunities that Denison brings to the hill, it is likely that you have wondered what awaits beyond the tranquil incubator in which students at Denison live and learn. Attending department events and listening to guest speakers while utilizing the Knowlton Center is a way to learn outside the classroom and plan ahead. In addition, making the most of summer and winter breaks is always an option for travel, but what about when the dreary spring months just keep stretching on? Looking for conferences and professional development events is one way to explore a city and stay engaged with your plans for the future.
The CMA convention took place in the heart of Manhattan. Each day, the four Denisonian attendees made the trek to the Marriott Marquis, nestled between billboards in Times Square. Each day offered an exhaustive convention program for College Media staffs — print, online and broadcast — and their advisers, managers and faculty from public to private, four-year to two-year colleges and universities plus professional, technical and graduate schools in the United States, Canada and other countries. Over 1,900 students and faculty attended, creating an engaging atmosphere of sharing ideas, experiences, and resources.
Throughout the three days of the conference, there were over 250 sessions offered that editors could choose to attend. Since several topics would be offered simultaneously, the Denisonian editors sought out the sessions they found most insightful and resourceful. Shared below are the presentations that most impressed us, to provide a sense of the conference’s variety, application and depth.
For me, the most insightful session that I attended was “Covering Sexual Assault: What You Need to Know” by Emporia State student journalists and their advisor. Editor-in-Chief Sarah Spoon received a letter sent to their newspaper from a source that presented a case of a wronged sexual assault victim in their investigation. The investigation was about a professor who offered a better grade to a student in exchange for a sexual favor. Spoon created a presentation that went through the process but was mindful to be transparent about the emotional vulnerability and the taxing emotional strain that investigative journalism has on a student. I learned a great deal about privacy laws, Title IV policies, but also most importantly the common mistakes and practices of conducting an investigation.
I luckily had the opportunity to embark on a tour of VICE Media’s Headquarters in Brooklyn, NY. The tour was offered through CMA through a lottery drawing to allow around 20 students per company in for an inside look at several different media companies including Bloomberg, Democracy Now!, Good Morning America, Fox News Channel, ProPublica, Sirius XM, WNET, Yahoo Finance and VICE. VICE Media’s Brooklyn Headquarters has over 1000 full-time and freelance employees work in corporate and creative departments such as media/video production and several different editorial teams. During our visit, VICE editors in the media and video production department, women’s writing department gave us tips on getting our foot into the media industry. Overall, the media organization is focused on developing and exposing their readership to different cultures, truths, media, videos and art. Going there finalized in me what I would love to do — and that’s to become a resource and mind for those who are interested in creating new content and opening the minds of others, whether that be through journalism or art.
What was most meaningful to me about the 2019 CMA conference sessions was the diverse range of possibilities the speakers presented within the realm of journalism by art directors from New York Times, to another on the benefit of ‘managing up,’ the itinerary of the three days was an engaging mix. One of the presentations I took away the most from was a talk on managing microaggressions in the media, by Tamara Zellers Buck from Southeast Missouri State University. As a mentor and advocate for racial equality in her communities, Zellers Buck spoke to the presence of these issues in media and student spaces with a unique patience and expertise. Her presence demonstrated the validity given to diversity and representation throughout the conference, continued most notably with keynote speaker Felice León of The Root, who focused on race relations in the United States. Meeting and hearing these passionate women speak was an unexpected yet inspiring outcome of the conference.
Mary Clare Edwards
I appreciated hearing how every speaker got their foot in the door in journalism, and how that led to where they are now. For one VICE editor, it was working as a freelance fact checker and sending out job applications-until finally getting a yes on the 84th one. For Asian American Journalism Association’s President, it was through a Princeton Fellowship I just learned about through Denison. For an ACLU Media Associate, it was working as a press intern and seeking out connections the first day on the job. It was really important to learn how it will take a lot of freelancing, applying, and flexibility in terms of what I want to do, but how it’s all possible, and that being involved in your college’s newspaper is a good place to start.
As students passionate about journalism and media, volunteering our time as editors of our weekly campus newspaper, we are infinitely grateful to Denison University for supporting our attendance at the 2019 College Media Association’s spring conference. That being said, our experiences are not inaccessible- it took interest and intentionality to take us from airy John Glenn to the chaos of La Guardia.
So the next time you’re wondering how to enhance your academic learning, hop on Handshake, optimize your LinkedIn or do a quick google search for resume tips and network building. There are countless opportunities for every career path waiting to be applied for and explored and you can discover it simply by taking a look to somewhere you never might have expected.