Experiential learning is emphasized in many departments at Sierra Nevada College. Whether it is guiding backpacking trips, working as an intern at local investment groups and resorts or creating student run publications and galleries, most students learn by doing at SNC.
Connecting practice to work outside of the academic world is an important component to a well rounded education. The staff of the Eagle’s Eye had the opportunity to make this connection through networking with professional and student journalists at the Associated Collegiate Press Conference March 1-3 in San Francisco. The weekend included keynote speeches from professionals in the journalism industry including the founder of Storify, Burt Herman, technology correspondent of Politico Pro, Michelle Quinn and Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist Mark Fioré.
“I thought it was really cool to hear professionals talk about what we do weekly. I felt reassured that there are definitely job opportunities out there for journalists,” said Jake Pollock, photo editor of the Eagle’s Eye.
Each speaker brought perspectives on the journalism industry, inspiring future journalists to think about their work differently. Herman discussed how entrepreneurial thinking led him to see the need for a way to aggregate what the readers are discussing and inspired him to create Storify, a website that allows users to build stories using content posted to social media sites such as Faceboook, Twitter and YouTube. The following day, students listened as Quinn shared her struggles with accuracy, fairness and covering a beat, and on the last day Mark Fioré shared how the rapid growth of technology has affected the evolution of his work from simply animated drawings to full cartoon videos.
The majority of each day was spent attending sessions with professionals where students learned various outlets of journalism including newsroom management, page design, photography tips and covering sensitive topics. Additionally each conference attendee had the opportunity to meet with a professional for more in depth discussion of topics and insight into how to land a job.
“My favorite part of the conference was learning about design layout. It was really helpful to see things from a professional perspective. Ideas for the Eagle’s Eye were popping into my brain constantly,” said Eliza Demarest, staff reporter for the Eagle’s Eye.
Throughout the weekend students were able to get inspired by perusing publications from other schools and sharing experiences with other student journalists.
“Talking to other online editors was really interesting because everyone had similar struggles,” said Sam Marquardt, online and news editor for the Eagle’s Eye.
While many of the student papers varied greatly in the content they covered, newspaper staff members seemed to share similar struggles in the classroom. Working to keep a variety of content in a school with a small population, making sure reporters meet deadlines despite keeping up with a full course load, and learning to integrate multimedia coverage with a print edition were common topics in all conference sessions.
The staff of the Eagle’s Eye left the conference excited for the future of the newspaper.