Mustang Daily goes to Hollywood

  • Mustang Daily won 1st place for Best Orientation edition and Best Infographic and 2nd place for Best Opinion article
  • The Associated Collegiate Press journalism conference took place in Hollywood, Calif. March 3 – 6
  • Colleges students from all over the country attended the conference

Copy editors Margaret Pack and Cate Harkins pose in downtown Hollywood on their way to dinner with the Mustang Daily staff. Courtesy photo.

One of the great things about going to college journalism conferences is that you discover you’re not the only person who gets excited about writing style guidelines.

When the rule-makers of the AP Style Guide (also known as the journalist’s bible because it has every writing style answer needed) changed ‘Web site’ to ‘website’ last year, journalists everywhere panicked. Most people don’t really understand why we scoff at the Oxford comma or get unnecessarily frustrated by people who aren’t medical doctors that insist they be titled ‘Dr.’ in the story (sorry everyone, but AP says no). But at a journalism conference, you feel normal for the quirky things you like and can’t stand.

At the Associated Collegiate Press journalism conference in Hollywood, Calif. March 3 – 6, the editorial staff members met renowned sports writers and attended a press conference with actor Robert Redford; they roamed Hollywood around  the hotel; competed in a bowling showdown where loser had to buy a round of drinks (thanks Jerome!); won awards against top newspapers such as UCLA’s The Daily Bruin and grew closer together as a staff.

Arts editor Sarah Gilmore said she enjoyed being in Los Angeles with the staff because she was able to interact with staff members she wouldn’t normally get a chance to.

“Normally there are just a select handful of us in the newsroom at night so I don’t get to interact with the photographers and the staff writers that aren’t in my section on such a personal level,” Gilmore said. “You know, we all work together to put out one product but I don’t directly work with everyone so it was just neat to become better acquainted with the people that help put out the paper.”

When the Mustang Daily staff wasn’t singing along to “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen or embarrassing Mustang Daily adviser Brady Teufel by getting an entire restaurant to sing happy birthday to him, they were attending lectures on sports writing, design, blogging and sex columns with other college newspaper staffs from all over the country.

Copy editor and sex columnist Cate Harkins said that in addition to enjoying donuts from the One-Stop Restaurant across the street from the hotel, she also really liked the variety of different topics offered to students.

“They included stuff like how to be a columnist, how to write a how-to or even covering topics like sex on campus which is really cool because that’s what I do,” Harkins said. “My favorite part of the conference was Brady Teufel’s multimedia session because he just brought up so many things that I didn’t know about and he was really receptive to hearing about things that he didn’t include. He seemed really excited and really committed to actually using the things that he was talking about in his presentation in his classes.”

In addition to heckling the Mustang Daily adviser during his presentation on multimedia applications, the staff was able to interact with other schools (our sports editor Brian De Los Santos met another guy from CSU Northridge named Brian De Los Santos!) and gather different ideas that can be implemented in our paper. Gilmore said she walked away from the conference with a little bit of an ego boost because there are many colleges that don’t put out a newspaper every day.

“Compared to the other schools it seems like we do a lot more and we were one of the only daily papers there and stuff so it kind of made me feel good that we put out such a great paper every day,” Gilmore said.

Design editor Christian Millan poses with his award for Best Infographic. Millan said he was surprised to win first place. Courtesy photo.

And our hard work paid off.

In February, I wrote a blog about the awards the Mustang Daily would be winning. The only thing we were uncertain about was our placement. So when our name was called for first place in Best Orientation edition and Best Infographic, it was exciting. While general manager Paul Bittick, Teufel, managing editor Patrick Leiva, special sections coordinator Kristy Gonzalez, design editor Christian Millan and I were at the awards banquet, the rest of the staff was hanging out in De Los Santos’s hotel room. He said receiving the text message that we had won first place for the Week of Welcome edition and the “How to Spot …” infographic was exciting.

“We put a lot of hours into that paper and to win an award in our first edition that we ever printed as a staff together, that’s pretty amazing,” De Los Santos said.

Putting in a lot of hours on a 96-page paper is somewhat of an understatement (it took me more than seven hours alone to edit all of the pages), so seeing it get recognized in such a way was fantastic. But even more thrilling for me was watching the staff come together. When you take 17 people and put them together for a weekend away from work, big personalities can come out. Lucky for us, the only thing that showed up was security when our singing got too loud at 2 a.m.

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