Vinny Vella, at 22, takes home piece of Denver Pulitzer

Young journo is a strong advocate for value of internships

By Bradley Wilson
CMR Managing Editor


Vinny Vella is a journalist from Philadelphia. He graduated from La Salle University in 2012 with a bachelor’s in communication and a minor in marketing. He is working as the night cops-and-crime beat reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News.

But at age 22, while working as a Dow Jones News Fund intern at the Denver Post, Vella participated in editing stories on the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado and got his name on a Pulitzer Prize. In the submission for the prize, Editor Gregory Moore said, “Once again, Colorado would be ground zero to mass murder.”

His story just isn’t that different from many recent college graduates completing internships, job hunting and discovering the power of quality journalism. Except, of course, he has his name on a Pulitzer Prize.

Follow Vinny on Twitter @Vellastrations and read some of his impressions on the importance of gaining real-world experience outside the classroom.

Vincent Vella of La Salle University listens during the tour of the post-production room. Vella will be doing his internship at The Denver Post. Austin American-Statesman, Thursday, May 24, 2012. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Vinny Vella of La Salle University listens during the tour of the post-production room. Vella will be doing his internship at The Denver Post. Austin American-Statesman, Thursday, May 24, 2012. Photo by Bradley Wilson

Continue reading Vinny Vella, at 22, takes home piece of Denver Pulitzer

The nuts and bolts (and more) of redesign in a collegiate setting

“Redesign. The mere word can strike fear into a veteran adviser.”

By Ron Johnson
Indiana University

The adviser to The Maroon, said he was looking to give the newspaper a boost.

Michael Giusti, Student Media Adviser at Loyola University New Orleans, said the newspaper had a strong tradition, but it was time for an upgrade.

Before the redesign: "Crackdown on alcohol," The Maroon, Loyola University, Feb. 21, 2014.
Before the redesign: “Crackdown on alcohol,” The Maroon, Loyola University, Feb. 21, 2014.
After the redesign: "Smoke signals," The Maroon, Loyola University, May 2, 2014.
After the redesign: “Smoke signals,” The Maroon, Loyola University, May 2, 2014.

“We have traditionally done well in many areas — ones that I am personally strong in as a professional journalist — writing, editing, story selection,” Giusti said.

“But we were missing the whole package. We found that people didn’t tend to consume that great coverage because they weren’t drawn to it.”

Design was the piece that would pull it all together, Giusti said. “But I wasn’t the guy to lead it. I joke that when it comes to design, I am a technician, not an artist.”

Well, I’m no artist, either, but I signed on to help the folks at The Maroon in spring 2014. From advising my own newspaper staffs at three universities of different sizes, I knew the potential. I also I knew the pitfalls. Continue reading The nuts and bolts (and more) of redesign in a collegiate setting

CMR Extra — Quick Links

CMR_arrow26_RotateThe Plot Against Student Newspapers? David R. Wheeler, University of Tampa, published a piece in The Atlantic on how college media organizations always seem to be targets of the ire of officialdom. At many colleges, budding journalists and their advisers are still fighting for freedom of speech. http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/09/the-plot-against-student-newspapers/408106/

Crossing boundaries: A journalist chronicles her friendship with a serial killer – Columbia Journalism Review. Vew it here  http://www.cjr.org/analysis/michael_ross_murdered_eight_young.php

The critical moment. How a reporter captured the moment a fifth grader found out she was HIV positive – Columbia Journalism Review. You can view it here http://www.cjr.org/the_profile/telling_jj.php

Why aren’t there more minority journalists? Columbia Journalism Review pece examines diversity in the journalism classroom and  transition into the workforce. http://www.cjr.org/analysis/in_the_span_of_two.php

Shoot-Out provides photographers on-location learning opportunity

From the contest coordinator’s notebook: change, evolution the constant in student photojournalism

By Bradley Wilson
CMR Managing Editor

Twice a year, photojournalists come to the College Media Association’s national conventions to share ideas, to meet other college photojournalists and to visit another part of the country. And twice a year about 60 of them choose to learn by doing, participating in the CMA Shoot-Out, an on-site photo competition and critique, an event that has helped students as they begin their work as visual communicators.

BradleyWilson3
CMR Managing Editor Bradley Wilson is entering his second decade of work with CMA’s on-site “Shoot-Out” for student photojournalists.

Mark Watkins, a participant when he was a student at Georgia College and State University said, “Winning ‘Class Favorite’ at the Shoot-out in Chicago in 2012 was the moment I decided to pursue photography as a career. It was a challenge, and I remember thinking not just how a photograph communicates something, but for the first time how I can communicate something through a photograph. It seems a small distinction, but I think it makes all the difference.”

When I first started helping out with the Shoot-Out, in 2004, students still used film. The contest was limited by how many rolls we could afford to develop, 30. So it didn’t take long to move to a digital paradigm. In 2005, to be precise. Kansas City. The theme for the contest was “Kansas City Portrait.” Then as now, we challenged students to “to get outside that box.”

FIRST PLACE 2005: Nathan Lang, Johnson County Community College (Anne Christiansen-Bullers, adviser) — Kansas City’s 106th homicide of 2005
FIRST PLACE 2005: Nathan Lang, Johnson County Community College (Anne Christiansen-Bullers, adviser) — Kansas City’s 106th homicide of 2005

Continue reading Shoot-Out provides photographers on-location learning opportunity