Independent wins fourth place at the national media convention


Independent wins fourth place at the national media convention. From left to right_ Ankush Vyas, Sara Galván Orozco, Liliana Armas Serna and Matthew Rago. | Photo by Ankush Vyas

Ankush Vyas, Editor-in-Chief

The Independent, NEIU’s media organization, earned fourth place honors at the Associated College Press (ACP) Best of Show Award Ceremony in the four-year campus newspaper that publishes less than weekly category at the National Media Convention.

Hosted by the Associated College Press (ACP) and College Media Association (CMA), the National College Media Convention is the largest annual gathering of college journalists, advisers and media professionals in the United States. The ACP and CMA brought together industry-leading media experts to meet with advisors and students from all across the nation at the Grand Hyatt, Washington, D.C., from Oct. 31 to Nov. 3.    

The convention provided a variety of offerings such as informative sessions, awards, hands-on workshops, film festival competitions, job fair and postgraduate studies fair. The conference also offered networking opportunities with high-profile keynote speakers and attending delegates in addition to thorough critiques for college media publications. 

According to the event planning mobile application CrowdCompass AttendeeHub, about 1,700 delegates attended the convention. Of those 1,700 attendees, four students from NEIU’s media organizations were able to attend the convention, two representing The Independent and two representatives from NEIU’s only Puerto Rican/Latinx publication, Que Ondee Sola (QOS). 

Attendees had the chance to listen to and receive advice from professionals actively working in the field of journalism. Volunteers from well-known organizations such as USA Today, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, POLITICO, CNN, National Geographic and many reputable universities were at the convention. Keynote speakers included Marty Baron, the executive editor of the Washington Post; Nina Totenberg, National Public Radio’s (NPR) award-winning legal affairs correspondent; Abby D. Phillip, a national political reporter for CNN and Rick Hutzell, editor-in-chief of the Capital Gazette. 

More than 275 sessions were hosted at the event, covering all aspects of college media such as newspaper production, broadcasting, yearbook design and magazine journalism. The convention featured workshops and panels about how to overcome or address any media-related issues. Sessions focusing on ethics and law, technology and design, advertising and business operations, photography and art or just the basics of news writing and reporting were all offered over the weekend. 

The NEIU students who attended the convention hope to impart the invaluable knowledge and experiences that they acquired to their respective publications: 

Sara Galván Orozco | Que Ondee Sola | Editor-in-Chief 

“I learned about how important the cover of a magazine truly is. It’s important for the cover to be impactful and to go in line with the theme of the magazine. I also learned that it’s not a good idea to cover your name or logo of a magazine with a picture unless your magazine is well known. At the end of the workshop, I knew that the cover for the next magazine had to be impactful and memorable.”

Matthew Rago | Independent | Sports Editor

“I learned different ways to reach out to artists or athletes. I also learned the importance of taking initiative and accepting assignments that you’re unsure of. I was taught to remain steadfast in my journalistic purpose, employ a deceptive bravado when in doubt and condition myself to step outside of my comfort zone or else risk remaining stationary. Last, I learned the importance of exploring all angles, from fan perception to the underlying goals of a spotlighted talent. A story can manifest itself out of nowhere for a keen and adamant journalist. According to one speaker, it’s better to say yes and research later than to miss out on an opportunity to expand your horizons and portfolio.”

Liliana Armas Serna | Que Ondee Sola | Office Manager

Some things that I learned from attending the conference is that a lot of journalists are exposed to traumatic events and journalists themselves need aspects of self-care. And sometimes it’s okay to say no to covering a story if it ever hits too close to home or it affects you personally too much, because, at the end of the day, journalists are humans too. I also learned that you don’t necessarily have to start in the position you want to be in to ultimately end up there. For example, we learned the personal story of a pop culture news editor and the way she got her job. She entered the New York Times as a mailroom operative and grew from there to ultimately get where she wanted to be. So, I think not only did I learn that patience is important, but determination is what is going to get you where you want to be.” 

NEIU student media organizations are always looking to create learning experiences outside the university to provide students with the most comprehensive, multidimensional educational opportunities available. There are many opportunities for new students interested in journalism or media to gain hands-on experience for their post-college careers. If you wish to be part of conventions like these, consider joining any of NEIU’s student media organizations, such as the Independent, Que Ondee Sola, WZRD or Seeds.

Associated Collegiate Press is a membership organization for college student media in the United States that promotes the standards and ethics of good journalism accepted and practiced by print, broadcast and digital media through education, training and recognition programs for its members, including the Independent. Similarly, the College Media Association is an organization that serves aspiring students and media advisors by providing education, research and resources at local, state and national levels.