Dispatch from Austin: Day One

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October 29, 2009

7:00 PM

Thursday morning, 4 a.m., and four other Flat Hat editors and I are leaving Williamsburg to catch a flight to Austin, Texas, for the annual Associate Collegiate Press college journalism convention. We’ll spend several days attending seminars, honing our skills and learning even more about journalism to improve the newspaper for you, the reader.

I, along with Managing Editor Sam Sutton, Photography Editor Caitlin Fairchild, Variety Edior Jess Gold and my fellow News Editor Isshin Teshima, arrived in Austin at 10 a.m. exhausted but excited. After checking into our hotel and being solicited to write for an African magazine, we headed over to the Austin Hilton to sign in and attend some journalism workshops.

Caitlin, Jess and I went to the notorious “Chicken Salad” workshop first. Michael Koretzky, the Florida Atlantic University newspaper advisor as well as design employee of Star Magazine and the National Inquirer, put college newspaper’s front pages on a projector screen and tore them to pieces. He reworked graphics, text and headlines to make pages more interesting and more likely to draw in readers. His major points were: nudity makes students read newspapers, graphics and headlines should have a hierarchy and photographers suck (his opinion, not mine).

After “Chicken Salad,” Caitlin went to register for the convention photography contest and Jess and I attended a speaker on the first amendment and the internet. This may sound boring, but it was actually very interesting. They discussed anonymous comments as well as online comment policies and emphasized student speech rights, discussing Missouri’s new internet bullying law that criminalizes online speech that is “frightening” to anyone under the age of 18. Isshin, meanwhile, attended a conference about technology and newspapers as well as an Asian-American journalist round table.

Today, Jess just left to go to a speaker on blending photography and design, Caitlin is out taking pictures of the city, Sam and Isshin are waiting for their next workshop to begin and I am about to listen to a speaker on retaining a staff (plug: if anyone wants to write, edit or assist with layout, e-mail [email protected]). We also plan on getting Austin tattoos tonight — after we attend a newspaper critique and play first amendment bingo.

_Check back with From the Newsroom for more updates from Austin._

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