The Beacon Goes to Broadway


Four undergraduates on the staff of the Beacon, MCLA's student-run newspaper, took advantage of their time off over the spring break to become immersed in the world of journalism when they attended the College Media Association's Spring National College Media Convention in New York City.

Held at the Sheraton Times Square Hotel, the convention was a great opportunity for the students to learn from professionals in the field, as well as from other journalism students, according to Gillian Jones '91, Beacon adviser and an instructor at MCLA (pictured above, on the far right).

As the media capital of the country, New York City is an ideal place for journalism students to learn the latest trends in the profession, Jones said. Workshops covered "everything," from print journalism and broadcasting to radio and social media.

"It's really a good way to make the students aware of what's happening now," Jones said. "Journalism has changed quite a lot, even in the past five years. Students have to be more than just writers; they have to be photographers and videographers. They have to have their own Facebook and Twitter accounts. It's so much different from when I started out."

Shannen Adamites '14 of Hatfield, Mass., (pictured above, second from right) is the Beacon's arts and entertainment editor. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., she attended sessions taught by media advisers from all over the world. An English/communications major, she's focusing on a career in public relations.

"Because I'm on the editorial board for the Beacon and plan on being on it for my senior year as well, I attended a lot of workshops on team building and communication," Adamites explained. "I also attended a design workshop focusing in typography, a social media seminar, and a session on music journalism taught by two women who have interviewed and wrote about several classic rock icons back in the 1970s and '80s. The music journalism session was really cool and it gave me a lot of ideas for future A&E stories."

She continued, "While I don't plan on going into journalism at the moment, it's important as a PR major to understand the relationship between journalists and PR representatives, and how to work together instead of against each other. I learned a lot about how the journalism industry works through this conference, and it makes me very excited to see where having both sets of skills will lead me in the future."

Kayla Degnan '15, an English/communications major from Oxford, Mass. (pictured above, center), is a photographer for the Beacon. A motive to attend the conference was the opportunity to look further into career ideas that involve her interest in journalism.

"Another reason was to get ideas to bring back to the photographers of the Beacon staff," including how to use photos to engage viewers who look at the newspaper to use the website, she said. "I also got some ideas of how to add a photo section to the website."  

In addition, Degnan discovered how she might further her success as a photographer. One tip she plans to take advantage of is to build up her portfolio to better establish herself within the realm of freelance work.

"I am eager to get an awesome portfolio put together," she said. "This trip has really inspired me!"

Since returning from the conference, "The students were very invigorated," Jones said. "They're sending out emails and want to work on team-building exercises. It's neat for them to come back from spring break and be energized about the job that they're doing for the student newspaper."