Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.



Session: Medical Writing Verdict: Pleasantly surprisedBy Jordan Blanchett, Managing Editor

Although I have an interest in science writing, I went into this session thinking it would be boring, since I am notorious for choosing horrible sessions. Thankfully, this session turned out to be interesting. Rachele Kanigel provided great insight into the world of medical writing, such as how to get the inside scoop before it becomes a press release, and handed out copies of the Power Point slides in order to give the audience ample time to ask questions.

Even though the presentation didn’t feature any bells or whistles, it is definitely a must for anyone interested in writing about science. The session was straight-forward and felt more like a conversation than a lecture, which was a pleasant surprise. I just wish there were more sessions for science writers, since the couple dozen students in the room proved that there is definitely student interest.

Session: Watchin’ the DogsVerdict: Luanne Platter from King of the Hill in person!!!By Dori Zinn Opinions Editor

Kenna Griffin – God bless her. She even pulled off similar facial features! I’m happy, though, that she didn’t show up in a sports bra and gym shorts.

Despite her overly projected voice that made me want to shout for Aunt Peggy, Griffin gave some great pointers on how to effectively cover student government and the administration.

For some students who are a private university, it was hard to see that their administration was in charge of a student publication – not the students. The primary roll of journalism is to keep watch over “governmental” organizations in power, according to Griffin.

She is right and I’m sad that there aren’t enough students that are more interested in covering SG.

Back home, kids were afraid. “I don’t know enough about it,” or “I can’t understand what they are saying,” or “What the F are Roberts Rules of order?” They don’t want to know the business, therefore, they get scared and do things like 250 word band reviews.

A great way to get staff members involved is to have a few people covering the SG beat. This way, one person doesn’t get overwhelmed and they can still be able to remain sane while covering the inner-workings of student government. Rotating the beat is a good way to have the coverage stay fresh.

Also, Griffin strongly believes that no one on the editorial staff (or the entire publication in larger schools) should be involved in SG. If they are, they cannot properly and objectively do their job if they are reporting on the very body that they are protecting. A great session that should have been taught more often!

For all of Griffin’s notes as well as some more pointers, visit her blog at www.thekrg.wordpress.com. Session: Column WritingVerdict: I want Bob Levey to Adopt me.By Dori Zinn Opinions Editor

In a room that couldn’t fit more than 60 people, the Hemisphere room held over 100 eager students ready to hear the voice of the man, the myth and the journalistic legend. When he spoke, the room went silent.

5,411 columns have been published with the byline of former Washington Post columnist Bob Levey. With the paper for close to 36 years, Levey had 24 of those years as a columnist… and to him, they were, and still are, well worth it.

How does he do it? I could barely take notes because I was too busy listening to him. I regret not having a recorder to capture every moment of sound. He didn’t give away any secrets that haven’t been told to us before, but somehow, it just sounded better coming from him. He accomplished what all of us have been dreaming of and no one else matters when he tells us how we can get there.

His major stress point was that reporting is still essential in blogs and columns. Yes, they are there for opinion, but that doesn’t mean there should be a lack of essential facts that the opinion should be using for support. Far too often, I have encountered students who walk into our newsroom and shout, “I have an opinion!”

Yes, we all do… Next!!

It’s difficult to explain to so-called “opinion writers” that reporting is a necessity. They want to rant and ramble and don’t really like working . If you cannot effectively prove your point, there is no reason why you should be giving it to us in the first place. I believe that is how Levey became the person who he is today and I wish there were more like him. His stature, his laughter and his very presence were inspiration enough. Get him to teach every session and I’ll come to class everyday!

Session: College Newspaper “Don’t Bee’s” Verdict: It Sounded Good in Theory…By Michael Yacobellis, News Editor

The veteran advisor turned on his computer and started his PowerPoint presentation titled “Do Be or Don’t Bee’s.” Did he know how many students would show up? I didn’t think so, as his monotone voice snuck up on a near-30 people as they crowded into the dark and 19th century-styled Grant room on the Terrace Level.

Frank Coffman from Rock Valley College shared his knowledge on the many problems young and inexperienced leaders, designers, and writers face at student publications. Some examples of his witty but inconsistent humor that may have matched the room’s style were “The Blandland Gazette” or something to that effect. At the very least, his headlines didn’t overrule his intentions, which pointed out the significant problems with irregular due dates, consistently boring headlines and design, opinionated and slanted news, press release fillers, advertisement or administration- happy pages, and monarchist editors.

The main problem conventioneers will find with this session is that the problems were so blatantly pointed out that they could relate to them from their own publications, yet there was no viable answer given to those problems. Sure, Coffman didn’t have time to talk about monarchist editors who should be giving less thought to how they are king and more to the needs of their writers and editors but he should have at least covered the fact that these things need to be addressed with an advisor.

Overall, Coffman spoke diligently on the problems and seeing examples is significantly helpful, but more annoying without supplement answers and solutions.

Session: How to Write Visually: The Secret to Good Storytelling Verdict: Interesting, but not motivating – I probably won’t use this when I get homeBy Dori Zinn, Opinions Editor

I took great notes. I followed along. I listened and I even nodded to a couple points. However, it was the same thing I’ve been told since I started in journalism.

In writing, you should be painting a picture for the reader, as if the photo wasn’t provided for them. Intimate stories are the most sought after, the hardest to define and the most compelling if done right. Can you get a subject to trust you deep enough that you are let into their private life? If an intimate story is accomplished and you do, in fact, get to the very core of a person’s life, you have truly succeeded.

Brian Poulter and Joe Gisondi from Eastern Illinois University gave some good pointers. Since it was the same thing I had been told for a couple of years now, I figured maybe it was my own listening difficulties that were holding me back. Yes, I know to use inverted pyramid style for hard news and not for anything else. Yes, I know to show, not tell. But when are you going to tell me something new?

They didn’t, really. But something did happen. THEY said it. Coming from my own advisor is like being reprimanded from my mom: in one ear and out the other. Hearing it from someone else gave me the “oh yeah” realization that I didn’t get from hearing it at home.

Session: Are you Red? White? Blue? Yellow?Verdict: Lunch was better By Steve Rivera, Staff Writer

Perhaps an hour was too long for Brigham Young University’s Kaylene Armstrong’s session — dealing with personality types — because 45 minutes into it when I finally left, I felt like I was in an eerily familiar place in the woods. I loved the topic and I feel like I learned a lot about myself and my fellow UP cohorts, but at times I felt like Armstrong was repeating herself and harping on the same subject in the same way.

Regardless, the lunch at Universal Gourmet, on Connecticut Ave between the Hilton Washington and the Rite Aid on the corner sells a good cheap hamburger.

Right On Time: Keeping the College Weekly Fresh and NewsworthyVerdict: Mind blowing-ly GoodBy Steve Rivera, Staff Writer

I’m afraid this was the best session I’ll go to during the convention and might be until I leave — I might as well go home right now. I didn’t expect to learn as much as I did when I walked into this session.

With a clear-cut and spelled out style, Stebbins and Hanrahan from Missouri Southern State University offered up 25 different strategies for finding news stories in a university or college community ranging from “Yea, that makes sense,” to “Why didn’t I think of that?” to “Brilliant.” Well, mostly the latter. Sadly, only one session this convention, catch it at the next one.

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