I said at the beginning of this school year that The Beacon would pioneer a new kind of journalism. That we would transcend paper and flourish in an all digital platform. I sit behind my laptop screen almost a year later and I can see that we’ve met the mark. We’ve covered faculty salary issues, nuisance odors coming from Daimler, former students surviving shark attacks, protests on and off campus, the election.
Our hard work paid off. The Beacon won three first place awards for our all-digital work this year, including the Society of Professional Journalists’ Best Online Publication Award, and was a finalist for many more.
The Beacon has continued to shed a light on issues important to the student body, but we couldn’t have done it without all of you. Thank you all for coming on this journey with us, sharing your stories and bearing with us through our first year as an all digital publication.
I joined The Beacon at the beginning of my sophomore year as a sports reporter with no prior journalism experience. I didn’t have any idea what career path I wanted to pursue or even where my place was on campus. I was lucky to have found my spot on campus in our little alcove in St. Mary’s. The newsroom isn’t very flashy. We don’t have the amenities that some larger J-schools have, but we do have passionate people, ideas and an ultimate goal to report the truth. The Beacon gave me and so many others something to rally behind, a vocation worth dedicating hours of time. I spent late nights and early mornings piecing together the print paper (back when we had one) and laying out the digital newsletter now that we are online-only. I spent frustrating hours slaving over feature stories that I just couldn’t get quite right.
During my time at the Beacon, I have been able to tell some amazing stories like Terry Porter’s arrival to The Bluff, Korey Thieleke’s struggle through adversity to come to UP and the experience of black students on campus. Working here has allowed me to discover that I am passionate about telling the stories of those who are often overlooked and writing stories about the intersection of sports and culture.
The Beacon wouldn’t be where it is today without our incredible staff adviser, Nancy Copic. You won’t see Nancy’s name on the masthead and you may not have even seen her around campus – that’s because she spends all of her time putting her heart and soul into our publication and the students who work here. She has written countless letters of recommendation for staff members, taken my panicked midnight phone calls and popped the cork on the Martinelli’s when The Beacon completes a phenomenal story. She has taken staffers to New York, Los Angeles and Denver for networking opportunities that have opened the door for Beaconites to land internships at the New York Times, Denver Post, Portland Business Journal and Portland Tribune. The Beacon wouldn’t be the best digital publication in Oregon without her.
Secondly, I need to thank The Beacon’s staff, especially the editorial board. These student journalists work tirelessly and fearlessly to write, report and photograph stories that need to be told. The Beacon would not be able to run each day without our patient and hardworking managing editor Clare Duffy. There is no story too big or too small for Clare to chase and she does so with the utmost professionalism and poise. I am so lucky I had you to pilot this ship with (See the Pilots pun I made there?).
Rachel Rippetoe and Olivia Sanchez, the next editor-in-chief and managing editor, will do an excellent job navigating The Beacon through its second year as an all digital publication. I look forward to following along, this time, as a reader, and seeing even bigger and better digital storytelling. I have valued every Facebook comment, reader submission and mean tweet that has been sent our way and I can’t wait to experience it from the other side.