What I learned in New York


Editor-in-chief Rachel Becker experiences Times Square while in New York City. The College Media Association’s 2023 spring confrenece was held March 9-12. Photo by Muleskinner Staff

Over Spring Break 2023, The Muleskinner student news outlet was represented at the College Media Association’s spring Conference in New York City to compete, present and soak in all things Journalism. 

  At the conference we got to work with our national colleagues on solving the big issues that face us all today, the idea that “print is dying” and the need for more innovative recruitment efforts. 

  Right before we headed to the airport, Muleskinner Faculty Adviser Julie Lewis co-presented with me on a session entitled “Putting first things first: Editorial Leadership and Time Management” where we shared best practices with student editors and faculty advisers from all over the nation about prioritizing what is important and urgent in a working newsroom. 

  The presentation, and the following discussion with our colleagues really opened my eyes to how we are not alone with the challenges we face in our newsroom. It seemed like all our attendees were editors that were burned out, a feeling I am often left with when running a newsroom of 75 students, and editors faced issues of a lack of new recruits that cared passionately about the craft of journalism. 

  We have found ourselves between a rock and a hard place, we have burned out leadership and a lack of people to delegate tasks out to, a true recipe for disaster. One thing really did unite us in that room, the passion for the continuation of journalism.

  Another workshop I attended was all about innovating the way student newsrooms recruit, as university enrollments have been decreasing across the nation. We are seeing newsrooms with staff in the single digits, we are seeing whole journalism programs shut down and as students invested in storytelling, we cannot let these programs fail. We talked about how to grab new generations, how to market newspaper jobs to those outside journalism majors, and how to incorporate social media into your strategies. 

  The CMA keynote speaker was Ramon Escobar, Vice President for Talent Acquisition at CNN, he spoke about the challenges he has faced as a first generation immigrant and a gay man making it in broadcast journalism. 

  His speech ignited me and got me to the edge of my seat as he spilled inspiration and advice to us and the other journalists in the audience. He said journalism teaches students how to critically think, write and express themselves, all are skills required for today’s workforce. 

  Escobar spoke about resilience, and being to overcome the hurdles a news cycle can throw at you. “Some days, all you have is a dream,” Escobar said. “It will get tough out there, so have a reason.” 

  I hope to bring all the knowledge and resources I took from CMA’s Spring 2023 Conference back to our newsroom, but also to newsrooms all over Missouri. As an Editorial Leadership team we have seen how some journalism programs are facing all the same challenges we are, and want to help start conversations about how to solve these issues.