Six members of the Grand Valley State University student newspaper the Lanthorn traveled to Washington D.C. for the Associated Collegiate Press’ National College Media Convention over the Oct. 21-23 weekend.
The students were able to learn about new trends in journalism, meet other journalists, hear from well-known journalists including Bob Woodward, gain experience for their future careers, and gain knowledge to bring back to the Lanthorn. Among the group that attended the conference were journalism students, a photography student and graphic design students.
Editor-in-chief at the Lanthorn and senior journalism student Audra Gamble said the sessions helped her come up with ideas for ways to improve the Lanthorn. One specific idea she plans to implement involves asking writers who submit articles to also draft a tweet about the article for the Lanthorn to send out.
“It’s about thinking more of the complete package of how we’re presenting stories, from print, to online, to artwork, to quotes, to different versions of headlines, and everything in between,” Gamble said. “It means making sure that everybody on the staff is involved in that presentation of stories and not just the initial collecting of information for that story. It’s a start to finish process.”
The students attending the convention were able to learn about what is going on in journalism today by hearing from editors at papers like the New York Times and the Washington Post. Gamble said what she learned at the convention will help her be more knowledgeable when she gets her first job in the newsroom.
“It’s interesting to see industry trends,” Gamble said. “We’re functioning within the bubble of journalism professors (at GVSU) who have their specific skill sets that they’re bringing to the classroom. When you go to a national conference of this size and this caliber, you get to pick the brains of people who are from very different realms and experiences.”
Among the experience that the students on the trip were able to benefit from was Bob Woodward, who gave the keynote speech for the convention. The students were also able to Skype with Edward Snowden and hear from Donna Brazile, interim chairperson of the DNC.
“As a journalist, getting to see Bob Woodward in real life is kind of like getting to meet the Queen of England,” Gamble said. “I mean Bob Woodward is the father of investigative journalism, and he was so encouraging and so optimistic about the future of journalism. It was just such a fun way to remember why what we do is important, why we work so hard and why that really matters.”