University of Oregon students respond to their experiences at AAN Digital

This year’s AAN Digital Conference featured the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication as a major partner. Journalism students had the opportunity to attend sessions and network with AAN members, and members got to hear from some University of Oregon’s School of Journalism faculty in sessions of their own. Several students afterward wrote reflection pieces on the sessions they attended. We did a round-up to see what they had to say about their experiences at AAN Digital.


Undergraduate student, Kenny Jacoby, wrote:

Minutes after Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, a group of journalists convened at the Association of Alternative Newsmedia Digital Conference in Portland to discuss ways to restore the public’s trust in media during the Trump era.

He reflected on one speaker in particular:

Radcliffe said local media must show readers they have their backs and give them a reason to buy and support their product. He offered several empirical suggestions for what news outlets can do to restore trust with their communities.



Masters of Journalism student, Caitlin Howard, wrote about the “Solutions Journalism” session:

Thier and Dahmen explored the technique of using a restorative narrative to tell a story that illuminates recovery, resilience and restoration instead of the ever-common angle of destruction and despair. This form of narrative follows a story past the newsworthy moment of tragedy and chaos, allowing readers to know what happened next, how people continued forward with their lives.

She explored how this session impacted her writing personally:

I’m writing a story right now about sex trafficking… I want my story to be one of the ones that doesn’t cause us to live in a state of fight-or-flight, subconsciously worrying about all the danger cues we subconsciously digest in any given day. I want it to show that we can exist in a state of believing that things are OK, that bad things can get better and that strong reporting can help us play a part in whatever that solution is.



Masters of Journalism student, Josie Fey, wrote about her experience attending the Portland sister march to Women’s March On Washington the day after attending sessions at AAN Digital:

Once I got home and took stock of it all, I wondered – in this new paradigm, how can a journalist really connect with people? And then I thought back to what I’d learned in Damian’s session the day before: simply, be trustworthy.

She added:

Being trustworthy, in the context of journalism, means prioritizing our role as a member of society before “getting the story.” So here’s my additional tactic for getting people to trust you: If you find yourself in the middle of a historical march, get off your computer and get on your feet. You can always write about it later.



The breadth of meaningful dialogue was not the only positive effect of this partnership between the association and the university. Several member publications made connections with students which are now leading to successful internship placements.