At the National College Media Conference in Atlanta this week, the Quest was honored to receive a best of show award for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Reporting. The conference was organized by the Associated Collegiate Press — an association of college newspapers from across the country, of which the Quest is an active member. Quest editor Declan Bradley’s data analysis and commentary column on The New York Times’ College Access Index — which ranked Reed in the bottom eighth percentile of U.S. colleges for economic diversity — placed eighth in the bracket for DEI reporting, and the Quest returned to Reed with a new plaque for the Student Publications Office.
Prior to the awards ceremony, the Quest attended a keynote given by New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow, who spoke on his journey as a young journalist and his difficulty finding his voice. He offered advice on how to maintain one’s own authentic voice while still pursuing the truth and upholding the standards of professional journalism.
Another session at the conference the Quest attended was entitled “America’s Shame: The Silent Tragedy of Indigenous Women,” given by Sheena Roetman at the Indigenous Journalist Association, journalist at the Arizona Luminaria Chelsea Curtis, and current student at Sul Ross State University Brooke Manuel. They discussed the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) epidemic, and how their work in journalism is addressing it. Manuel is currently working on a large project, which aims to “bring awareness to the crisis that Indigenous women are currently facing, answer the question of why these criminal offenses are not given the same priority as others, and offer potential remedies.” The panel also discussed how to conduct journalism within or with Indigenous communities, including showing a bingo card created by the Indigenous Journalist Association of missteps often made by news organizations in their coverage of Indigenous issues, available on their website.
The ACP is an association of more than 570 college newspapers from across the United States, although many of its members are large publications associated with degree-seeking journalism programs. The Quest has been a member of the ACP since last semester, and in that time has won three of the organization’s national awards: a best of show award for the publication’s website at the spring 2023 conference, a second place opinion writing award during the open call contest for the spring 2023 semester, and now a best of show award for DEI reporting this fall. The Quest has received Top 6 funding to participate in the ACP for the past two semesters, and its resources are available to all of the paper’s contributors.
Members of the Quest arrived in Atlanta on Saturday evening, after encountering setbacks in the airport such as one member arriving late to the Uber, missing the flight, and getting stranded in Las Vegas for most of Saturday. The group was thankfully reunited on Sunday morning, where they settled into their Airbnb, stocked up on Kraft Mac n’ Cheese, and got some well-needed sleep before the conference. Throughout the week, the Quest attended a series of talks by journalistic professionals by day and watched Dr. Who by night. While the team was occasionally plagued by “sky water” falling from the ceiling of their Airbnb bathroom, this problem was solved initially by a teapot, and eventually by building maintenance.
On Wednesday, the Quest toured the newsroom and live studio of Atlanta News First, and spoke with writers, producers, and even two news anchors — who broke character to shake hands with students for exactly 180 seconds while the cameras went dark between segments.
All in all, Quest reporters are excited to be returning to Reed and eager to make the Quest better than ever this quarter.