Hot off the press

The Chanticleer takes on Harvard

On March 31 and April 1, the two of us were fortunate enough to attend the Christopher J. Georges Conference on College Journalism. The conference was held by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

We had the opportunity to be in a new city, learn more about being journalists, and meet other students who are just as interested in the field as we are.

Every Spring since 2008, the Nieman Foundation has invited collegiate journalists from various universities and college newspapers across the Northeast to attend the two-day conference. The conference consists of networking with other student journalists, forming relationships with professionals in our field and attending lectures and talks with Nieman journalists and other successful professionals in the field.

The workshops we attended this year included trauma-informed journalism, the art of the interview, telling stories with sound, tips on getting a job in journalism, and online abuse defense training.

We took some moments to interact with other students and heard more about the structures of their newspapers. Some universities had over 100 people on staff, and others had a variety of positions that gave them the chance to branch out across several media platforms.

One of the best parts of this trip was hearing some of the reported stories from other universities. Students that presented shared with us the preparation of covering breaking news on campus and the process of telling tough stories on campus despite many obstacles.

The first lecture on trauma-informed journalism was presented by Kate Porterfield. Porterfield is a founding member of the Journalist Trauma Support Network, which is an initiative of the Dart Center for Journalism at Columbia University. Her presentation consisted of different tools and information that can be of use when interviewing people that have experienced trauma, whether it was a recent occurrence or a case where post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is involved.

This lecture stood out in how it taught that journalism is not just reporting on what is happening and informing people on it, but it is also helping people get their story out and be heard. Many times, it is our job to interview people who have just experienced something traumatic or deeply emotional, and Porterfield emphasized the need to understand what someone is going through and prioritize their safety and comfortability.

Overall, we thought this was an amazing experience to learn more about the journalism field and adding a sense of humanity and passion by talking to others.