Back from Austin Journalism Conference, with a Pacemaker!

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After tornado warnings, flooding, and three cancelled flights, our group of seven Pioneer staff members is safely back on campus after a five-day journalism conference. Capping off a great and informative week, we learned that we won an Online Pacemaker award during our journey back to Walla Walla!

Minutes after we got the Pacemaker news at 2 a.m. in Sea-Tac!

The group of us flew to Texas last Wednesday to attend the College Media Association/Associate Collegiate Press Conference (ACP) in Austin. In workshops and sessions led by professionals and students, Christy Carly (Feature Writer), Kerr Cirilo (Production Manager), Lachlan Johnson (News Editor/Investigative Director), Olivia Gilbert (Opinion Columnist), Hannah Bartman (Feature Editor) and I learned about the changing face of collegiate media, ways we can improve our writing and design, and strategies for becoming a journalist post-grad.

The team!

We broke up our time in sessions by exploring the city. Live music seemed to float everywhere we walked, and we enjoyed studying on the UT campus during a few of our off-evenings. Some great food was had (Tex-Mex is an interesting cuisine!) and we witnessed some exciting Halloween happenings downtown.

Wandering the Texas State Capitol rotunda on Saturday night.

Wandering the Texas State Capitol rotunda on Friday night.

The Online Pacemaker was great news- our website shares the award with Occidental and Boston College in the ‘Schools under 5000’ category. This award has been called the ‘Pulitzer of College Journalism,’ and it’s exciting to see the combined efforts of our staff and web team acknowledged.

While the award was a nice surprise, we’re most excited about incorporating the lessons we learned. Some goals we have upon our return is better engagement and involvement with Whitman’s community, a stronger social media presence, less text-heavy print layouts, and better functionality and flow on our new website.

Here’s Kerr looking smart, getting lots of design ideas during a coffee break. We learned that he is a connoisseur of ‘Dirty Chai’ and smoothies, in addition to six-column layouts.

Marra and I have also decided to hold office hours, to get feedback, tips, advice, and suggestions from the community (anyone is welcome, come say hi!). These office hours will be held in the Pio Office, upstairs in Reid, at the back lefthand corner of the second floor. Marra will be there weekly from 7 to 9 pm on Thursdays, and I will be in on Sundays from 2:30 to 3:30 pm. We hope to see you there soon!

Go student journalism! Many, many thanks to the ASWC Finance Committee for making this happen for us, especially the ASWC Finance Chair, Anya. We are so excited to improve our work, expand our readership, better engage with the community.

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