“There’s something to be said about bragging rights.”
That’s what Laura Widmer, executive director of the National Scholastic Press Association, had to say of the honors awarded at the NSPA’s Associated Collegiate Press Midwinter National College Journalism Convention in San Francisco.
Clark placed first out of 15 entrants in the ACP’s large-school website competition, and fourth out of 12 in the two-year school newspaper competition.
Clark’s 12 student editors, reporters and advertising manager joined the 593 students and advisers from 84 schools throughout the U.S. and Canada who attended the conference from March 2-5, according to NSPA associate director Gary Lundgren.
Widmer said that publications can grow from comparing themselves to other schools halfway through the year.
“Competition not only gives you an idea of the quality you’re producing,” Widmer said. “It also gives you a great lift when you know you have something to build on.”
Independent Editor-in-Chief Ieva Bračiulytė said her favorite workshops were about “Leadership, and the little things like how to talk to people and how to organize the process of each cycle.”
Bračiulytė said she enjoyed the interaction with other student journalists.
“It was so exciting to network and get to know the struggles of other newsrooms and how they problem-solve.”
She also thanked the ASCC for funding the trip.
“I know [the conference] inspired and educated our editors,” Bračiulytė said. “That will get passed down to next quarter’s staff and benefit the newsroom for a long time.”
The ACP is the largest and oldest national organization for college student journalists.
Clark students Marvin Peña and Diana Aristizábal presented a workshop about their work on the Mundo Clark publication, titled “Can You Hear Me Now? Creating New Media Outlets.”
“It was challenging because it was my first time presenting on this level,” Peña said. “But it was inspiring because I got to inspire people, and get feedback from other students working on new projects.”
The award-winning Independent website was designed in 2014 by past student Lisa Presley, using WordPress’ MH Magazine theme.
According to Presley, the creation of the website was a laborious process between her, then-Independent Editor-in-Chief Zack McMahon, and Independent adviser Dee Anne Finken.
“We wanted to improve on the look and make it user-friendly,” Presley said. “We also wanted it to still have a newspaper look with the text columns, and we worked with the disabilities services office to make it accessible… It’s kind of my baby.”
Presley transferred to Washington State University Vancouver where she studies psychology and human development, and still designs websites on the side.