Washington, D.C. Trip Provides College Media Insights and Axios Tour for Students

By Olivia Schilcher (@oschilcher54)

Journalism students from UW-Oshkosh found inspiration and education during a recent trip to the ACP/CMA Fall National College Media Convention in Washington, D.C., including an extensive tour of Axios with alum Jim VandeHei ‘95. The department’s Moving Forward Fund, with a generous donation from Dave ‘78 and Terry (Folkedahl) ’78 Backmann, supported the trip.

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Advance-Titan students tour Washington, DC

ACP/CMA Fall National College Media Convention

The students attending were members of the Advance-Titan staff. At the convention they could choose from topics to improve their production efforts related to advertising, photography, writing, graphic design and much more. The event featured more than 250 breakout sessions, plus four keynote speakers, including Marty Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post, and Nina Totenberg, legal affairs correspondent for National Public Radio.

“The conference was helpful to me as a ‘newer’ adviser to a student publication,” Advance-Titan Adviser Barb Benish said. “The sessions gave me insight into how to handle various issues that come up. But just as important was the ability to network with other advisers and get ideas about revenue sources, special sections or coverage, and more.”

“The students also learned a lot from the various sessions and have already incorporated some of those things into the Advance-Titan,” Benish said. “In short, I think our coverage is now broader, our stories are better researched and written, and our photos are more impactful.”

The conference also gave the staff a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the victory parade of the Washington Nationals. A Washington D.C. team had not won the World Series in 95 years.

Tour of Axios with Jim VandeHei

The Advance-Titan staff and adviser were able to tour the Axios office, meet with some of the staff members, and then sit down with Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei, who told how he went from UWO student to founder of news organizations. He gave students advice on how to succeed in the field and stressed “To be a good journalist, you have to be fearless, not reckless.”

The entire staff agreed that the visit to Axios was the highlight of the trip.

Jack Tierney, A-T Editor in Chief, described the setup: “The Arlington, Virginia office on the 13th floor of the Clarendon Boulevard suite overlooks the long grassy National Mall with the Capital Building, Washington Monument, White House and Smithsonian museums on its flank. Pop art illustrations of President Donald Trump, tanks and money line the office walls in bright orange, blue and yellow colors. Each meeting room in the Axios office has the same Axioms that headline their stories; ones like “why it matters” and “1 big thing.”

Support from Moving Forward Fund and Dave and Terry Backmann

This travel was made possible through the Backmanns’ donation of $1,000 to the Moving Forward Fund, established with the department’s 50th anniversary in 2018. The Backmanns, recalling their days at the Advance-Titan, believe student travel advances learning opportunities in the field.

“The Department of Journalism is excited to welcome support from Dave and Terry for our students to have professional experiences in diverse environments,” Department of Journalism Chair Sara Hansen said. “This fund is set up for expanding classroom learning through these experiences and we hope to continue to provide them.”

Alumni interested in donating to the Moving Forward Fund, can follow this link to online giving. On the giving page, use the drop down “Designation — Other” and that will bring up a box where to type in “Moving Forward Fund.”





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