BY: Maura Olek (’17)
What happened in Atlanta most definitely will not be staying in Atlanta.
On October 27, Marywood Media Group (MMG) Board Members Kristen Pietryka, Rachel Looker, Kyle Clouse and Alex Weidner attended the Society for Collegiate Journalists (SCJ) Biennium and the College Media Association’s (CMA) National College Media Convention in Atlanta. They were accompanied by their adviser, Dr. Lindsey Wotanis. The group shared their knowledge at the conference with their presentation, “From Green to Golden: How Training Retreats Can Shine Up Your Staff,” and brought home many valuable lessons.
The Comm Arts Department tries to send students to conferences every year, and this one was particularly important because it was the debut of the MMG. To have this new group represent Marywood University at a national conference is a big step for the department. We have very much of a “family” feel and have always worked well together, but with the formation of this group, we can now act and be presented like a real news organization.
A major moment for the MMG was when The Wood Word’s Editor in Chief and TVM Station Manager Rachel Looker won the SCJ Art Barlow Student Journalist of the Year Award at the SCJ Biennium held on October 26. This national award is given to one student each year who meets “the highest standards of ethics, service, leadership and technical skills in college journalism.”
In her nomination letter, Dr. Wotanis wrote this of Rachel: ” People on Marywood’s campus know Rachel. They know her as the quiet yet dogged reporter who waits outside doors of major campus meetings looking for a comment. They know her as the person to call if they have a news tip. They know her as one of the best reporters on campus. Her reputation is good; people like and trust her.”
Wotanis said she is delighted that Rachel received this national honor. “Rachel is a strong leader, a fine journalist, and a true workhorse. She is so deserving of this recognition. She’s a fantastic representative of Marywood’s Communication Arts department. Those who come behind her will have big shoes to fill,” said Wotanis.
The College Media Convention also provided students with an opportunity to attend a variety of sessions about issues related to campus media production. PRSSA/AAF President Kristen Pietryka said one of her favorites was a branding session called “Building Your Brand Without Stealing Another.” Some of her biggest takeaways were to be early for meetings and work, to know your value and to build your own brand as a hard-working individual.
Another one of Pietryka’s favorite moments was touring the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, where the MMG crew got the opportunity to learn what really goes on behind the camera at a worldwide news organization.
Getting away from campus and seeing what other colleges do can really reinvent and inspire great ideas. Pietryka had nothing but positive remarks about her experience at CMA, which also provided her with her first flying experience.
“I was a little anxious riding on a plane for the first time, but after experiencing what I did, with the talented and passionate individuals I traveled with, I wouldn’t have traded it for anything,” said Pietryka. “This trip was definitely a highlight of my undergraduate career!”
Maura is a senior advertising and public relations major. She is the social media editor for The Wood Word and Her Campus Marywood. She is on the social media team for Marywood PRSSA and AAF. Maura loves dogs, traveling and coffee.