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“The Outlook” editors attend ACP Conference

From Thursday, Mar. 7, to Saturday, Mar. 9, six editors from “The Outlook” had the opportunity to attend the Spring 2024 Associated Collegiate Press College Media National Conference in La Jolla, California. Attended by over 900 students nationwide, our editors sat in on breakout sessions led by experts in the field, listened to esteemed keynote speakers, and networked with individuals from across the country. “The Outlook” likewise had the honor of winning ninth place in the “Best of Show” category for college campuses of 15,000 students or fewer.

Each day of the conference consisted of diverse breakout sessions attendees could choose to attend, which spanned a wide range of topics, like “The future of journalism & technology,” “Podcasting: No money, no studio, no problem,” and “Investigative journalism for undergraduates: Training and mentoring,” to name a few.

Mairead Spellacy, a sophomore communication student, serves as this paper’s Sports Editor. “My favorite breakout session was ‘Smart interviewing: Simple rules for interviewing almost anybody,’” she said. “The reason this was my favorite was that with the career I plan on going into, I will be interviewing people day in and day out. This session was very insightful when it came to interview questions to ask, how to be a good interviewer, how important it is to listen, and every aspect of interviewing.”

Gabrielle Sangataldo, a senior communication student, as well as Editor-in-Chief and News Editor of “The Outlook,” favorited one of the keynote speakers. “Emmy Martin, the current Editor-in-Chief of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s ‘The Daily Tar Heel,’ was the closing keynote speaker and my favorite part of the conference. Hearing how she, someone our age and in our same position, navigated her university’s school shooting last year and then translated it into a powerful piece of newspaper was so inspiring.”

Lauren Bevacqua is a senior English student and is also the Editor of “The Outlook’s” Features section. Her favorite breakout session was a roundtable discussion specifically held for LGBTQ+ journalists. She explained, “I met some amazing journalists [at the roundtable] who shared the same values as me, and we got to learn about each other’s newspapers. We also discussed issues within our universities and were able to have a great discussion.”

Senior Ceciliah Leininger and junior Taylor Memoli—both English students and Editors of Lifestyles and Entertainment, respectively—enjoyed the session, “Something old can be new” the most.
Leininger added, “My favorite breakout session had to be ‘Something old can be new’ presented by Randy Stano from the University of Miami. This session was the most eye-opening in terms of design. He taught us how we can draw inspiration from commercial media and integrate these design schemes into our own paper, helping us to push the bounds of our creativity. I realized in this session more than any that we can make the paper into whatever we want it to be, not just the version that’s been given to us.” This session in particular inspired both Leininger and Memoli to push the boundaries of design and to take more creative liberties when designing their pages.

Learning new techniques and gaining a newfound love for journalism proved to be unanimous among the editors who attended. Bailey Fredericks, a junior communication student, found that the conference helped her understand the many branches that grow off of a journalism career. She emphasized, “This conference really broadened my interest in journalism. I learned about so many different and interesting career paths I could take when pursuing journalism.”

The conference additionally served as a bonding experience for the editors, who spent four days traveling and cohabiting with one another. Memoli explained, “I gained new and valuable skills in journalism, as well as the opportunity to bond with the other editors outside of the newsroom.”

Bevacqua said, “I learned a lot of new information regarding design and text. I’m always looking to improve Features, and I took away techniques I would have never thought of before the conference. I also learned that headlines and typography are extremely important for accessibility and making your section more cohesive.”

“I thought the conference succeeded at having different breakout sessions for different interests. There were breakout sessions for people in sports, people who are interested specifically in podcasting, people who are interested in writing, broadcasting, etc,” added Spellacy.

Fredericks agreed, “The conference hosted a great variety of breakout sessions for attendees. From writing to design, there was something for everybody.”

Leininger concurred, “The conference succeeded in providing a variety of options for students in all forms of media. From newspapers, magazines, and yearbooks, there truly was something for everyone there.” She continued, “There were so many sessions I wanted to go to that I was unable to attend because they took place during others. I almost wish the conference was longer or had repeated sessions in order for students to hit every session they wanted to.”

Bevacqua held a similar notion, mentioning that it was difficult to decide which sessions were more important than others. “One thing the conference could improve on is having a designated lunch time when no breakout sessions are held,” she said. “By having a designated time, no one has to worry about missing any sessions they wanted to go to.”

All of the editors agreed that the conference is an opportunity that future editors should take advantage of. Leininger said, “Going to this conference will truly inspire you to be a better editor, writer, designer, and an overall better journalist. I came back from the conference ready to take on this paper and launch it into a new, updated era.”

“[The conference] was extremely insightful for new ideas, organization, and designing, as well as how to improve your own skills,” emphasized Spellacy.

Memoli said, “I enjoyed every minute of it, and we all learned skills that will help us improve as journalists. This conference gave me the inspiration I need to finish out this year on a strong note and the confidence for next year when I become Editor-in-Chief.”

She concluded, “The conference succeeded at unifying and inspiring student journalists. They created a community that made you feel proud of what you do.”