By Helen Smith '19
PLU Marketing & Communications
TACOMA, WASH. (March 5, 2018) — Student journalists nationwide get to pick the brains of three Pacific Lutheran University students, who will share their expertise at a national conference in New York City.
The Lutes will present at the College Media Association Spring Convention held March 7-10. The conference gathers students, advisors, and media professionals from all over the country for four days of networking, professional presentations and student-run sessions.
Courtney Miranda ’19, McKenna Morin ’19 and Natalie Mooney ’19 will present on topics related to their experiences working in student media at PLU.
Miranda and Morin will present together on incorporating digital media in a newsroom’s online presence to maximize audience interactions, both on social media and on the news site itself.
“We’re presenting on how to properly pair visual media with your online presence,” Morin said. “We’re going to talk about what worked for us, and what hasn’t worked for us, and how we’ve overcome our issues, and how you need to know your audience to do all of that.”
Miranda says student journalists should apply the social-media skills they’ve gained from everyday use, because those skills are an asset in professional newsrooms.
“We should all know how to do something like this if we’re all successful at it in our personal lives. We are stepping into a world of people who have really just mastered Facebook,” Miranda said. “We’re lucky to be given this skill set.”
Mooney will present on building relationships within student organizations in order to strengthen teamwork and retain members.
“It’s a presentation on team building and leadership in different campus groups, but specifically in a student-media group,” Mooney said. “So it’s different ways to build relationships in order to keep retention and different activities that build strong groups and teams.”
Mooney says good teamwork is essential to producing quality content, and offers steps that groups can take to strengthen their organizations.
“I’m going to share 10 different strategies that they can take back the next week and use,” Mooney said. “I really hope they can take those things, and use them, and implement them right away if they need to.”
Understanding different people’s communication styles improves the way people work together, Mooney said. It’s important not to get caught up in the group’s rhythm in a way that keeps you from catering to an individual’s strengths within an organization, she stressed.
“I think it’s important that you learn more about people,” she said.
The students won’t just be teaching at the conference. They also will gain valuable skills to apply to their student-journalism experiences.
Mooney is excited to improve her communication and public-speaking skills. In addition to improving those skills, Miranda and Morin are looking forward to getting feedback from others in their field.
“I think a lot of advisors will come to kind of learn how to help their students,” Morin said. “I’m excited for their questions, and to be able to discuss technically what we’ve done, and see how other advisors have handled it. It’s going to be interesting to see other people’s point of view and what critiques we’re going to get.”
“I hope there’s somebody out there that disagrees with what we’re saying for whatever reason,” Miranda said. “I think those moments are the best learning moments for both of us, and the best teaching moments for everybody, because if they think I’m wrong there are connections to be found somewhere within that.”
All three women say student media has been an important part of their success as journalists. This conference is one way to demonstrate that to PLU.
“We really want to stress how important this is for student media,” Miranda said. “It’s a big deal to have so many of us presenting at a national conference like this. If nationally we’re being recognized for our talent here at PLU, then there’s value in that and there’s worth in this department, and in this academic field.”
Mooney agreed, adding that participating in student media can be an important part of finding professional development opportunities in college.
“Student media is fun, it’s hands-on experience,” Mooney said. “These opportunities are great and easy to come by if you just put yourself out there.”