Convention Features Best of College Media


Jim Scripps, Zoe Tuttle, Jaime Edward and Morgan Meadows at the 2018 National College Media Convention.

The historical Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky was recently filled with students ready to network, learn from professionals, and get insight about their future careers.

On Thursday, October 25, the first day of the College Media Association convention was held right in the heart of the bourbon capital of the U.S. Students from states across the country gathered to hear from professionals in the field and get advice to better the future of media at their schools and in their lives.

For the first time in two years, director of Sierra Nevada College’s new media journalism program, Jim Scripps, Eagle’s Eye managing editor Zoe Tuttle, editor Morgan Meadows and myself made the trip, representing the Eagle’s Eye.

We touched down in Louisville in the late afternoon on Thursday and attended our first day of the convention on Friday morning where we were met by hundreds of college students in lanyards and name tags ready to expand their knowledge.

At check-in we were handed a canvas bag equipped with a pen, a booklet with all of the events for each day of the weekend, and brochures.

Photo: Zoe Tuttle
Associate editor Jaime Edwards shows off the Eagle’s Eye Best of Show entry.

The schedule was broken into five parts with the break-out sessions starting at 9-11 a.m. From 11 a.m.-12:20 p.m. a different keynote speaker talked each day.

From 12:30-4:20 p.m. the final breakout sessions were held again. Each evening after the sessions ended, awards were granted to schools that entered.

Breakout sessions were my main joy and frustration of the event. Each session was 50 minutes long with the option to leave and go to something more suitable to you in the middle of the talk.

There were around 20 held each hour, all focused on a variety of topics within the media field with the option to ask the advisor leading the session about any issues you may have in your newsroom.

The problem with majority of the talks was the target audience. Sierra Nevada College does not fall into the large-school category.

With only 500 undergraduate students and a newsroom the size of a walk-in closet, these talks were not tailored to our school.

The first session I went to called “Getting Your Groove Back” was filled with complaints from editors-in-chief about their budgets being reduced and therefore their student employees getting paid less.

My mind was boggled when I realized other schools did not offer editing as a class, but instead as a job opportunity.

Breakout sessions with titles like “Find Your Inspiration,” or “Managing Stress Before It Manages You,” were misleading. They were not applicable to the way we run the Eagle’s Eye and spoke less to finding story ideas and more on how to get your “employees” to care deeply about the newspaper so their pay is worth their work.

Photo: Morgan Meadows
The view of downtown Louisville from the Galt House Hotel.

The upside of the breakout session is that there were more than 275 held throughout the whole weekend so the likelihood of finding something relatable was high.

I began tailoring my experience at the convention to my love of digital arts and attending sessions that covered topics of web design, the Adobe Suite, and cover pages.

I noted tips and tricks that advisors gave about Adobe Premiere, learned a lot about how to match your headline to your picture, and how to get a larger following on your website just by changing the design.

These tools were not necessary for the bettering of the Eagle’s Eye specifically, but definitely helpful in the future of media and the expansion of technology.

Advisors gave solid examples and were clearly knowledgeable on the topics they spoke to. Most were professors from schools across the nation who taught a variety of media classes at their respective colleges.

During breakout sessions students from any school were also offered the option to have their newspaper critiqued by an advisor in the check-in room.

Advisors would go through the paper page-by-page and give advice to help better future issues and give an extra set of eyes to their current issue.

We entered the Eagle’s Eye into the Best of Show awards. Though the Eagle’s Eye did not place, we were proud to be a part of such a prestigious collegiate event and represent a small-but-mighty school.

Jaime Edwards is associate editor of the Eagle’s Eye.