Students journalists inspired at college media convention


From left: Madison Schultz, Gabby Dodd and Elizabeth a ttended the College Media Association conference in Washington D.C. earlier this month.

Gabby Dodd and Madison Schultz

From Oct. 31-Nov. 3, the staff from Sierra Nevada College’s Eagle’s Eye newspaper was given the opportunity to attend the College Media Association’s annual Fall Convention. Gabby Dodd, managing editor, Madison Schultz, associate editor, and Elizabeth White, staff editor, flew to Washington D.C. to expand their journalism knowledge, listen to professionals in the field of journalism, and indulge in D.C.’s rich history and unforgettable sightseeing.

On the first day, the Eagle’s Eye staff met with Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and also toured around the city, visiting the Washington Monument, the U.S. Capitol Building, and the Supreme Court.

The second day of the CMA convention featured keynote speaker Marty Baron, executive editor at the Washington Post. During his career, Baron has covered issues that many journalists encounter within the field and he discussed how those issues are dealt with at the Post. Responding to a question about how to deal with accusations of “fake news” by president Trump, Baron said, “If we only published fake news, I wouldn’t need 850 people.”

Other concepts Baron touched on were breaking out of normal stereotypes that are assumed within the career of journalism, representing transparency in any findings, and to always attempt to showcase multiple perspectives in news stories if possible.

Baron is famous for supervising the team that broke the famous news story about child molestations within the catholic church. The story inspired the movie Spotlight.

Other keynote speakers during the convention included Nina Totenberg, legal-affairs correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR), and Rick Hutzell and Alex Mann from the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland. Totenberg focused her talk largely on what it was like to be a female journalist during a time when there were few. Hutzell and Mann spoke about what it’s like working for a small-town newspaper and dealing with how they covered a 2018 shooting that killed five of their colleagues.

Throughout the convention, the Eagle’s Eye staff attended workshops like, “Maintaining Optimism While Covering Bad News,” “Building and Marketing your Student Media Brand,” “Using Social Media for News Reporting,” and “Building a Successful Front-Page Design.” These workshops helped the staff to not only improve the Eagle’s Eye as a paper, but also gave useful insight and advice about working as journalists after college.

Over the weekend, the staff was able to tour different areas around D.C. Aside from normal D.C. sightseeing, the staff toured the Newseum, a five-level museum all about news; and they also took part in a historic event during their time in D.C.: the Washington Nationals World Series parade. It was the first time the baseball team had ever won a World Series, and D.C. locals made it well-known that they had made history.

Overall, the experience that the Eagle’s Eye staff had at the CMA Conference was unforgettable. The staff took away many lessons, learning, motivation, and creative ideas back to SNC, as well as finding inspiration within themselves for their future in the professional field of journalism. More than ever, the staff are excited to produce a successful and strong newspaper for SNC students, faculty and the North Shore community.