Nina Totenburg, Abby Phillip and More Educate Journalists of Future

By Admir Durakovic and Elizabeth Scalzo
Editor-in-Chief and Entertainment Editor

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The third day of the Fall National College Media Convention kicked off with keynote speaker Nina Totenburg, NPR’s legal affairs correspondent, discussing women in the Supreme Court and concluded with a keynote presentation from Abby Phillip, CNN White House press correspondent. 

After Totenburg’s speech, the floor was open for questions from students from across the country. When asked how student newspapers should cover the impeachment, Totenburg paused for a moment before stating the simple reply of “You don’t.” 

She made the responsibility of student-run news organizations clear in that if people wanted to read about impeachment, they already have plenty of avenues available to them. Instead of competing with CNN, The New York Times, NPR or Fox, student media outlets have an obligation to amplify the voices of their local communities. 

For example, The Equinox did a story on the initial impeachment news, which you can read here

After the initial keynote speech, The Equinox members went their separate ways to learn as much as possible in the smaller sessions being offered by notable names in media from around the country. 

One of the most eye-opening sessions for The Equinox was a session titled “Social Media: It’s Not Just For Memes and Puppy Pictures.” The speakers at this session were Brandon Carter from NPR and Adrienne Shih from the Los Angeles Times. Both manage the social-media platforms at their respective companies. 

During this session, students learned that measuring success on social media and the organizations’ websites is about much more than just views, retweets and likes. Audience engagement is not only measured in the number of loyal viewers, but also by how many new viewers there are and how they are finding the website.

There is also a formula to how much should be posted for each platform a day. Instagram and Facebook are similar in that the platforms should average about two posts per day. What was most shocking to The Equinox is that in order to run a successful Twitter account, the minimum number of tweets per day is six for a media news source. 

Many themes were shared in the presentations. A major theme was the competition in order to make it as a journalist in the professional world. With a typical attendance of 1,700 delegates, according to the Associated Collegiate Press, and with many news organizations shutting down and trust in the news media faltering, there aren’t enough stable jobs to support everyone interested in journalism. 

For example, Erik Vance, a speaker at the convention, who has written for the Washington Post, National Geographic, PBS NewsHour and other media outlets, is currently a freelance reporter. 

Despite the dim future in the journalism industry, we feel there is still a future for reporters who want to bring the truth to light.





dc part 2Abby Phillip gave a keynote presentation recounting her experiences as often times the youngest — and only — African-American female reporter in the room.

Photo by Admir Durakovic