The Independent at ACP

Nineteen members of The Independent news staff at Clark College attended the Associated Collegiate Press Conference in Los Angeles last February to grow together and individually as news reporters. At this convention, the staff and reporters attended many of the workshops and the keynote speaker event featuring Brian Stelter, a senior media correspondent for CNN and previous media reporter for The New York Times. Stelter shared lessons he learned from the late David Carr. Carr was a highly respected media columnist for the times who was scheduled to speak at the conference but died two weeks prior. Overall we learned many lessons and are excited to apply them this Spring quarter to create the best publication possible. The Independent was awarded third place in a national Best of Show contest among two-year news publications. This site provides lessons our reporters and other staff learned while in L.A.

-The Independent

Best In Show 


For the second year in a row, Clark College’s student news publication, The Independent, captured a third-place national Best of Show award among two-year news publications at the annual Associated Collegiate Press convention.

Three members of the Independent staff also presented a workshop at the Feb. 26-March 1 conference, which took place at the Universal City Sheraton, north of Los Angeles.  The conference drew some 700 attendees, the majority students at two and four-year colleges and universities from across the country.

The conference also featured more than 130 workshops and sessions with lessons on topics such as multimedia news production, interviewing skills, managing a newsroom, public records requests, writing about sex and gender, and others.

The Indy presentation, titled “Taking the Pulse of your Student Body,” covered the ins and outs of student polling in the digital age, according to Editor-In-Chief Tra Friesen, one of the presenters.

“The Indy, like news organizations around the world, is discovering new and better ways to report and share news and information,” Friesen said. “I’m happy our staff had the opportunity to share some of new skills we’ve developed in recent months with other student journalists.”

More than 50 people attended the Indy-sponsored workshop, according to Friesen. News Editor Steven Cooper and Visuals Editor Diana Aristizábal also presented.

Conference attendees also heard from CNN contributor Brian Stelter and documentary filmmaker Rory Kennedy, who were keynote presenters.  Stelter stepped in at the last moment after New York Times media reporter David Carr, originally scheduled to speak, died Feb. 12.

Last year the news staff took home the third-place Best of Show award among community colleges at the ACP convention, which was held in San Diego.

“I’m happy we continue to get recognition for all of the hard work we put in,” Friesen said. “But at the same time we can’t be content with where we’re at. We hope to use the skills gained at the convention to improve our content and increase student engagement in our reporting.”

Friesen said the staff submission for the Best of Show event included a story about President Obama’s proposal to make community college free, a student’s first-hand account of his 500-mile hike across the Camino del Norte in Spain and a feature story about Clark’s women’s basketball team which The Columbian also printed under the Voices from Clark College partnership.

Accompanying the Independent staff were Dee Anne Finken, who advises the news team and teaches journalism at the college, and Roxane Sutherland, a communications studies professor and division chair.

Finken and Friesen said they were grateful for support from the Associated Students of Clark College, which helped fund the trip.

Other members of the student staff who attended were Tyler Urke, Kyle Bliquez, Savannah Scott, Sandra Zichterman, Kamerin Johnson, Tori Benavente, Scott Unverzagt, Marvin Peña, Selah Zichterman, Zach McMahon, Drew Telegin, Jamison Rapciewicz, Josh Brody, Michael Ceron, Kailan Manandic, Kammie Sumpter and Becca Robbins. Liepa Bračiulytė is also on staff, but didn’t attend the conference.

Urke, the Independent’s managing editor, said it was a great opportunity for Clark to get national attention. “Not only did we finish third in best of show but we have a bigger following on social media now.”