The Roar Hits the Road for Student Media


Instead of dressing up in spooky costumes for Halloween and going door to door for candy, nine Mass Communications Student Leadership Council members, along with Dr. Joseph Dennis, the adviser of the Roar, donned their business casual best and hit the road to Washington D.C. for the National College Media Conference.

There, students went to different sessions related to college student media, such as journalistic reporting, yearbook and social media. Many of the sessions were led by professionals within the field of mass communications, including individual(s) who work for “The Washington Post,” “the LA Times,” “National Geographic” and “NPR.” The sessions were beneficial, as students learned both how to improve their student media on campus and skills that may benefit them in future jobs. 

“I think it’s always important for students to have an opportunity to interact with media professionals and also students from other schools involved in journalism,” Dennis said. “It’s also a great opportunity for our student leaders to bond.”

Laura Alyssa Platé, the news editor for the Roar, spoke at a panel with other students during The Role of Student Media on Campus session. The panelists spoke about issues their newspapers had when it came to combating censorship.  

“I was excited to speak to a room of student journalists who are dealing with censorship from their own administrations,” said Platé. “We are lucky at Piedmont because we have a wonderful adviser who lets us choose how to present the news as it comes to us. I used the opportunity to share with others the strategies that have worked for us on how to fight censorship in their own newsrooms.”

Some of the students received critiques about the Yonahian, the campus yearbook. Critiques were also given to the Roar’s print newspaper and website. One of the students who went was Nathan Blackburn, executive director of the SLC. 

“The website critique put things in a whole new perspective for me,” said Blackburn.  “It’s always good to have a new set of eyes analyze something that, even if I manage it, all of the staff puts hard work into with their stories, photos and graphics.  It gave me a lot to think about and a lot of good ideas to put into motion.”   

Anna Watson is the arts & entertainment editor for the Roar, and her favorite session was Building and Marketing Your Student Media Brand, which was led by Tami Bongiorni, the student media adviser at Kent State.  Bongiorni’s session was inspired by Bongiorni and her students rebranding Kent State’s student media. 

“Many of her main points gave me ideas that we could use to better our student media,” said Watson.

The Roar Student Media staff made a pit stop at the Newseum before hitting the road back to Piedmont.

On Sunday, Nov. 3, students went to the Newseum before heading back to campus.  The Newseum is a museum that shows the different aspects of news and how it has evolved.  The Newseum has exhibits of the Berlin Wall Gallery, the “First Dogs” exhibit, which had pictures of the presidents with their dog, the NBC News Interactive Newsroom and the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery. Hadley Cottingham, the opinions editor for the Roar enjoyed the museum.  

“I liked that it covered a lot of different branches of mass communications,” said Cottingham. “I think my favorite exhibit had to be the Pulitzer Prize winners. They were very powerful pictures, and they give a lot of context to what we write about as journalists.”  

“I hope students will be able to incorporate what they learned in future issues of the Roar,” Dennis said.