The Simpsonian celebrates 150 years during Simpson College’s Homecoming Week

A copy of the first edition of The Simpsonian published on Oct. 1, 1870. Special to The Simpsonian.

Simpson College’s Student Media organization is hosting a “birthday party” in celebration of the 150-year landmark of The Simpsonian, Simpson’s student-run newspaper.

The party will be held on Friday, Oct 22 from 7-9 p.m. in Hubbell Hall, located upstairs in Kent Campus Center. Attendees will include the current Simpsonian editorial staff and staff reporters, Simpson Department of Multimedia Communications faculty members and Student Media alumna from every decade dating back to 1969.

Attendees will be introduced by decade, and current and former staff members will be encouraged to share stories about their experiences working for The Simpsonian during their careers at Simpson.

There will be a slideshow of old/prominent previous publications and photos of former staff going back to the early 1900’s, as well old issues and other Simpsonian and memorabilia scattered around the venue for attendees to view.

Brian Steffen, Department Chair of Multimedia Communication at Simpson, is looking forward to catching up with former staff members at the event.

“I will be seeing a lot of people I haven’t seen in 20 or 30 years,” Steffen said. “Working at The Simpsonian, although I’m not the advisor anymore, has always been one of biggest joys of my career here. It will be good to have everyone back together.”

Read more about the current Simpsonian staff’s coverage of this milestone in the links below:

Lgbtq+ spotlight in multimedia communications

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on

October is LGBTQ+ History Month–an annual, month-long celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer history, as well as acknowledging the strides of the gay rights and related civil rights movements.

Although there is still work to be done concerning media representation of LGBTQ+ individuals in society, there are a number of LGBTQ+ identifying people who are incredibly influential in the field of multimedia communications and journalism.

Let’s take a moment to recognize and appreciate some of these figures:

Randy Shilts (1951-1994)

Randy Shilts

Shilts was the first openly-gay reporter for the San Francisco Chronical in the early 1980’s. He also wrote for The Advocate, a bi-monthly LGBTQ+ interest magazine. Shilts spent most of his career covering the AIDS epidemic…an epidemic that took his own life in addition to the lives of over half a million U.S. citizens. He conducted hard-hitting and critical coverage of lawmakers and heath experts who dismissed HIV/AIDS as an insignificant and strictly gay disease. Thanks to the help and dedication of Shilts’s work, much of America’s prejudice, denial, and misunderstanding of HIV/AIDS ended.

Lisa Ben (1921-2015)

Lisa Ben

Edythe D. Eyde, known famously as her pen name Lisa Ben (a play on words of “lesbian”), created the first lesbian publication in North America called Vice Versa. Vice Versa sought to establish a medium to reflect lesbian emotion, thought, opinions, and material that appealed to LGBTQ+ citizens in the U.S. She was also an established author, songwriter, and a pioneer in the LGBTQ+ rights movement. Although Vice Verca ceased publication after only nine copies (as content addressing homosexuality was deemed obscene), her work is credited with setting a precedent that has dominated lesbian and gay journalism for years to follow.

Alan Bell

Alan Bell

Alan Bell was the first black publisher of a mainstream gay publication. He also founded the monthly magazine BLK, which centered around the black LGBTQ+ community, an area with minimal coverage at the time. Like Shilts, he was also a prominent advocate for the LGBTQ+ community during the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and usually focused on the underrepresented community of black, LGBTQ+ individuals.

Janet Mock

Janet Mock

Janel Mock is a prominent writer, journalist, editor, television host, director and transgender rights activist. She began working as a staff editor for People magazine post-graduation; she came out publicly as a transgender woman in Marie Claire article in 2011. Mock is an avid advocate for transgender communities of color, and has contributed to outlets such as Elle, The Advocate, and Huffington Post in addition to People and Marie Claire. Her book, Redifining Realness, won a Stonewall Book Award from the American Library Association. She was also awarded a spot in Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influencial People of 2018”, and Sylvia Rivera Activist Award, among other accollades.

Thomas Roberts.

Thomas Roberts

Thomas Roberts is known famously for being the first openly gay evening nightly news anchor for a network television outlet. Throughout his prestigious career, he anchored for MSNBC, CNN Headline News, CBS News, Way Too Early, Morning Joe, Today and NBC Nightly News. He spoke at the annual convention of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) in 2006.

To learn more about prominent LGBTQ+ figures in journalism and mass communication, visit

#TuesdayTips – Shooting highlights with Jake Brend

Photo by Terje Sollie on

If you’re interested in a career within the sports communication field, you’ll most likely have to shoot highlights for an athletic event.

This can seem intimidating and hectic at first—athletic games or events move fast, and it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint key plays and moments if you’re not yet used to covering sporting events.

Jake Brend, a junior sports communications major, is SCTV’s News Director. Through his work for Simpson Student Media, he’s become skilled at putting together sports video packages and shooting highlights.

He’s also gained experience shooting highlights during his internship with WHO 13 Sports this past summer. Here are some of his tips for shooting highlights:

Come Prepared

“Have your camera, a tripod, microphone, charged batteries, and raingear,” Brend said.

Know Your Sport

“If you are shooting a sport, be familiar with the sport you are watching and the teams that are playing,” Brend said. “Familiarity will help you when filming the game and editing later.”

Be (AT LEAST) 15 Minutes Early

“Coming early will give you time to white balance your camera, find the best lighting, and get situated before you will need to film,” Brend said.

Establish The Setting

“You’ll almost always want to open your highlights with an establisher,” Brend said. “Examples would be a panning shot of the stadium or the team huddled up in pregame.”

Shoot With The Sun At Your back

“The lens facing the sun will make your highlights look blown out and too bright,” Brend said. “At nearly any cost, try and have the sun at your back to make the lighting more even and natural.”

Follow The Ball

“All the important action will happen where the ball is, or where the ball is going,” Brend said. “If you’re following the ball, you will get almost every goal, basket, or touchdown.”

Find The Hero

“Once someone scores, zoom in on them and follow their celebration,” Brend said. “Depending on the sport, the celebration can be memorable and something that you won’t want to miss in your highlights.”

Use An Indicator

“Sporting events are long, so when you are editing you won’t have the time to watch through all your highlights to find the best stuff,” Brend said. “After someone scores, start a new clip and get a shot of the scoreboard with the score and time. In the editing room, when you see a scoreboard, you know something important happened in the prior clip”

Get Cutaways

“For your highlights, you won’t want it to be all action and celebration.” Brend said. “To avoid jump cuts, you will want to get shots of the crowd, coaches, refs or anything you find interesting outside of the game.”

Make The Highlights Timely

“Edit and upload your highlights to social media as soon as the game is over,” Brend said. “Highlights are most important when they are timely, so get them out as soon as possible.”

Here is an example of one of Jake’s highlight packages:

To see more examples of highlight packages, you can browse The Simpsonian’s YouTube channel:

#TuesdayTips – Navigating Adobe InDesign with Bailey Earls

Adobe InDesign is a popular software application used for desktop publishing and layout design. InDesign can create designs for magazines, newspapers, presentations, books, posters, flyers and brochures, among other things.

Although it’s a commonly used application, it can be intimidating to navigate at first.

Simpson College Student Media uses InDesign for the layout of The Simpsonian and ID Magazine, their student-run newspaper and magazine publications.

Senior Bailey Earls is The Simpsonian’s Layout Editor. Here are a few of her tips for using InDesign efficiently:

Use the command+d Function

“Download any photos you plan on using before hand, that way you can easily use command+d to pull them up,” Earls said. It’s a quick and efficient way to insert photos for your designs.

Make a Template

“Always start from a previously used document that way you can set things to the side of the screen you want to use later,” Earls said.

Double Check before Downloading

“Check fonts and formatting beforehand to make sure that the document downloads properly,” Earls said. “(W) is a great key to use to preview your creation.”

When in Doubt, Force Quit it out

“When in doubt, force quit the document when you’re trying to download it,” Earls said.
“InDesign can be a pain when it comes to downloading your creation.” If the document is taking too long to download onto your computer, you can (file+force quit) in order to pull up the document from your files.

If you’re completely new to InDesign, Adobe offers several helpful tutorials for beginners to use for free. You can view them here:

#Tuesday Tips – On camera presence tips with Noah Sacco

Noah Sacco (’21) on the set of KCAU9 News

It’s normal to feel nervous in front of a camera. For those who want to explore areas of broadcast news, it can be intimidating at first.

Former SCTV co-anchor Noah Sacco graduated from Simpson in May with a degree in sport communications major with a multimedia journalism and sport administration minor.

Sacco now works as a sports reporter and weekend anchor for KCAU 9 News in Sioux City. He has a few tips on establishing good on-camera presence.

Good Posture

“A good posture helps you appear more charismatic, trustworthy, and professional to viewers,” Sacco said. “Throw back the shoulders, avoid slouching and use your hands to show emotion. This shows authrority and confidence, which is crucial if you want an engaged audience. Everyone is different, so find a good stance for yourself where you feel comfotable and alert. I suggest keeping your feet firmly planted on a chair or the ground if you’re standing up.”

The Camera is your Friend

“Speaking to a camera lens can be a difficult concept to grasp. Treat it as a way to talk to yourself, rather than imagining a crowd of eyes watching you. Practice talking to yourself in the mirror. Once you get comfortable talking to yourself, speaking to a camera won’t seem as hard,” Sacco said.  

“The goal is to get a better feel of your voice, facial expressions, and mannerisms. The best way to connect with a viewer is to speak to them directly and BE NOBODY BUT YOU! People can tell the difference between authenticity and spuriousness.”

Show your Passion

“You can’t fake passion. Without it, you’ll come across as disinterested and like you don’t care about what you’re saying. Who wants to watch that? Get to know your subjects. Learn more about the topics, ask probing questions, start conversations … Make an effort to be an expert in what you’re sharing with viewers,” Sacco said. “Passion fosters enthusiasm. Show emotion with your delivery, but don’t overdo it to the point where it’s disengaging.”

Project your Voice   

“This is where most people struggle. Think about your energy levels while on camera and whether you need to bring more of it or tone it down,” Sacco said. “If you can’t tell, err on the louder side and make sure you articulate, articulate, articulate!”

“Stay away from cadences. Notice how you start and end sentences and try to vary up your volumes. Same goes for speed,” Sacco said. “Be conversational. Act like you’re telling the script to a close friend. Make it flow. Being comfortable should not affect delivery. The voice is the biggest weapon in improving your on-camera presence, so don’t let it be weak!”


“Constant, consistent practice is the most efficient way to be better in front of a camera. Use a camcorder, computer screen, or phone to record yourself talking about a topic you enjoy. Forget the script. Just hit record and go,” Sacco said. Always get names right! Nothing makes an audience tune out easier than the mispronunciation of a person, business, or organization.”

“Watch all of your practice videos. It may be cringy, but who cares? You’re making progress and you’re already better than when you were before,” Sacco said. “Like riding a bike, the more you work on it… the better you’ll get. Practice makes a perfect presence on camera.”

Simpson College celebrates Constitution Day; Student Media hosts annual Free Speech Wall

Dr. Andrea Frantz delivering the annual Constitution Day lecture. Taken by Sophie Reese, special to The Simpsonian

Many citizens use their First Amendment rights daily, but only 1% of the population can name all five freedoms. This was one of the main points of discussion at this year’s annual Constitution Day lecture.

Dr. Andrea Frantz, a 1986 Simpson alum and Professor of Digital Media at Buena Vista University, delivered this year’s Constitution Day Lecture on Sept. 15.

Frantz cited a statistic from the Freedom Forum Institute stating that only 29% of people can’t name even one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment – and only 1% can name all five. Despite not knowing their rights, many people still exercise them daily.

“The interesting thing is, while 29% [of people] can’t name any freedom, my guess is that among that 29%, we’re all exercising it — we’re all exercising those all the time,” Frantz said.

Frantz said that Simpson College students have a legacy of exercising one of their First Amendment freedoms: the right to peaceably assemble.

“There may be a point in your life when you feel like these things are being threatened,” Frantz said. “You’ll need to stand up, and you need to raise your voice a little higher, a little more publicly. That might mean taking to the streets, and I happen to know that at Simpson. We’ve got a tradition of that.”

To emphasize her point, Frantz told the story of Brandi Levy, a student at Mahanoy High School in Pennsylvania. She was suspended after posting a photo of herself and a friend raising their middle fingers to the camera in a post at Snapchat.

“F— school, f— softball, f— cheer, f— everything,” Levy said in a caption posted to Snapchat.
Frantz quoted the Tinker v. Des Moines Supreme Court ruling. “Students do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom at the schoolhouse gate,” she said, emphasizing the need for college students to understand their First Amendment rights.

However, Frantz did acknowledge the limitations of the First Amendment.

“We cannot just sort of fly off the handle whenever compulsion strikes and say whatever comes to mind,” Frantz said. “There are limits. This is not exactly a crowded theater, but I couldn’t walk in here and yell, ‘Fire!’ I couldn’t shout, ‘Active shooter!’ In all seriousness, ultimately that can put you in danger; the panic that could ensue from all of that would ultimately have potentially really bad repercussions… The Constitution doesn’t guarantee me that right to be able to share whatever I please. There are limits.”

Frantz also emphasized the importance of the press, the only profession named in the First Amendment outside of the government. Frantz told the story of a friend who was a photojournalist working in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001.

After being trapped underneath an awning outside of the towers, a firefighter asked the photojournalist to use his camera flash to guide everyone out of the rubble.

“He turned around and saw that the second building was coming down. And, at that point, he knew that he had to run… So he ran. And then, he turned around and he started taking photographs, and he worked for the next 48 hours without sleep,” Frantz said. “Why? Because all of us needed to understand what was happening. Without those stories, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

Frantz ended with a powerful statement, “Journalists run toward the fire so we can run away.”

This article was written by Amelia Schafer, Editor-in-Chief of The Simpsonian, Simpson’s student-run weekly newspaper.

In addition to the Constitution Day lecture, Simpson Student Media hosted the annual Free Speech Wall, where students are free to write whatever they choose to be displayed in Kent Campus Center.

The wall is intended to remind students of the importance of their First Amendment rights.

“I think it’s important that students understand the value of free speech and what it means,” student media faculty advisor Mark Siebert said. He wrote a quote on the wall from American philosopher Noam Chomsky, which states:

“If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”

You can learn more about the Free Speech Wall from SCTV’s Liv Allen here:

Simpson College PRSSA set to host their annual 2021 Goodwill Fashion Show

Photo from the 2019 PRSSA Goodwill Fashion Show

Last year the Goodwill Fashion Show got canceled due to the coronavirus; Simpson’s Public Relations Student Society of America plans to bring the event back this year.

The Goodwill Fashion Show is a fundraising event facilitated by PRSSA. All of the proceeds that are brought in from the show will go to Goodwill. Students can either pay to get in or bring an item of clothing for donation. These will be used as a means to get in for admission.

The members take students to Goodwill to pick out outfits according to the theme. Then they present their outfits on the runway. The theme this year is “seasons”. 

“It’s just a community event that helps our members gain event planning skills,” said sophomore and PRSSA’s vice president Colbee Cunningham.

The Goodwill Fashion Show began in 2004 after the club attended an event in New York City. At this event, they saw a similar show being put on by the national PRSSA chapter. They returned to campus inspired and decided to put on their own show. The event has been running since then.

“It has given me a lot of opportunities, and I’ve learned a lot about the world of PR and marketing communications,” said Cunningham. “I definitely recommend it to all Simpson students.”

The club is open to anyone; you do not have to major in marketing communications or any other multimedia communications. PRSSA is a nationwide organization for college students to develop their PR, marketing and communication skills.

Models Maraya Haynes and Liv Allen posing after the show

“Freshman year, I was a model. I wasn’t even in PRSSA. That’s actually what piqued my interest in the club itself,” said junior and PRSSA public relations director Liv Allen. “The more I learned about it, the more I realized it coincides with my journalism major.”

The event will be held Monday, April 19, at the Kent Plaza (weather permitting) at 7 p.m.

“It’s going to be a really fun event. I would love to have a big crowd there,” said Allen. “We are going to have fun music playing and snacks.”

Article by Bailey Earls, staff reporter for The Simpsonian

#WomeninMedia Spotlight – Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange (1895-1965)

Dorothea Lange is one of the United State’s most prominent and influential photojournalists; she is best known for her photo documentaries during The Great Depression.

Lange began what we now know of today as “documentary photography”–she did so by roaming the streets and roads of California where unemployed or homeless citizens roamed during the height of the Depression.

Lange’s photographs truly portrayed the vast societal and economic upheaval caused by the Depression, and her new, revolutionary style of documentary photography humanized the many negative consequences of the Depression. Her work was so stirring that she was hired to work for the Farm Secutiry Administration (FSA), a New Deal program created to combat poverty in rural America.

Under the FSA, Lange’s photographs became iconic in bringing about public attention to those suffering the hardest amidst the Depression–specifically migrant workers and families, sharecroppers, and displaced farmers.

Lange’s most famous photograph is titled “Migrant Mother”, which was published in 1938. The photograph depicted a woman named Florence Owens Thompson, a mother of ten who had been living in a pea-picker’s camp in Nipomo Mesa, California. This poignant image became a poster of the Depression-era:

Lange’s “Migrant Mother”, 1938

In reflecting on her experience capturing this photo, Lange is quoted in saying:

“I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean-to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it.”

After viewing the conditions of the camps which Lange documented, a San Francisco newspaper editor contacted federal authorities about the images, causing the government to send aid to the camps to help the impoverished, starving citizens living there.

Aside from her Depression-era coverage, Lange also documented the travesties of the Japanese American internment camps during World War II.

She covered the forced evacuation and internment of Japanese Americans (and their subsequent incarceration), focusing on the anxiety these individuals and families had to endure. Most of her coverage took place throughout urban and rural California. She eventually focused on Manazar, the first of the permanent Japenese internment camps.

Unlike her Depression-era images, the U.S. government did not respond positively to her work; most of her images depicting Japnenese internment were impounded by authoirities and not seen by the public during wartime.

Nevertheless, Lange’s legacy left an immense mark on the field of photography. Her work has since been put in the Museum of Modern Art, and she has been recognized in the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the California Hall of Fame, and the California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts, among others.

You can read more about Lange and her career through these links:,

#WomeninMedia Spotlight: Martha Gellhorn

Martha Gellhorn 1908-1998

Martha Gellhorn was an American journalist, travel writer, novelist, suffragette, and is considered one of the greatest war correspondents of the 20th century.

Her journalistic career was sparked working as a foreign correspondent for the United Press bureau in Paris, France. After working for the United Press for two years, she was fired after reporting on sexual harassment by someone from within the agency.

She then spent years exploring and freelancing in Europe. She had the opportunity to cover fashion for the famous Vogue Magazine. During her time in Europe, she was active in the pacifist movement; Gellhorn wrote about her experiences in Europe in her book titled What Mad Pursuit.

Gellhorn returned to the United States in 1932 and was later hired by Harry Hopkins, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s closest advisor on foreign policy during World War II.

Gellhorn was invited to live at the White House, spending evenings helping first lady Eleanor Roosevelt write correspondence and her first lady’s “My Day” column. She was then hired as a field investigator for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), which was created by President Roosevelt to alleviate the effects of the Great Depression.

Gellhorn traveled across the country under FERA reporting on how the Great Depression was affecting American citizes. She worked with renound photographer Dorothea Lange to document the lives of the impovershed and homeless. Their work was inconic in that these topics were not usually avaible for female journalists to cover. She wrote a series of short stories titled The Trouble I’ve Seen, which was inspired by her reports of the Great Depression.

Gellhorn was later hired to cover the Spanish Civil War for Collier’s Weekly. As World War II developed, she covered the rise of Adolf Hitler from Germany. She covered the war from all across the world, including: Finland, Hong Kong, Burma, Singapore, and England.

Though she did not have the press credentials needed to witness the Normandy landings, she persisted in her coverage–hiding in a hospital ship bathroom and impersonating a stretcher bearer. She is quoted in saying: “I followed the war wherever I could reach it.”

She was the only woman to land at Normandy on D-Day, and was also among the first journalists to report from the Dachau concentration camp in Germany after it was liberated by US troops.

Her unwavering commitment to international war coverage and iconic career led to the establishment of the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. According to the prize’s official website, it is awarded to a journalist whose work has penetrated the established version of events and told an unpalatable truth – a truth validated by powerful facts that expose what Martha Gellhorn called “official drivel”. For the kind of reporting that distinguished Martha: in her own words “the view from the ground”

Gellhorn’s dedication to journalism in a war-era so impactful to our country’s history did not go unrecognized. She truly higlights what it means to be a hard-working, dedicated journalist. Gellhorn’s committment to war coverage allowed for many Americans to be informed, which is a lifeblood for our democracy.

You can learn more about Gellhorn and her historic career using these links:,,

#WomeninMedia Spotlight: Mary Ann Shadd Cary

Mary Ann Shadd Cary (1823-1893)

Mary Ann Shadd Cary was a prominent African American/Canadian journalist, teacher, anti-slavery activist, and lawyer.

Cary was born into a free African American family. She was introduced to the world of journalism at a very young age; her father worked for the famous abolitionist newspaper The Liberator, which was ran by the famous abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison.

Her father also worked as a conductor in the Underground Railroad and was a member of the American Anti-Slavery Society. She grew up in a home that often served as refuge for fugitive slaves, inspiring her to direct most of her writing and journalistic efforts towards anti-slavery activism.

Upon completing her education at a Quaker boarding school in Pennsylvania, Cary established a school for black children. After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act however, Cary and her family moved to Canada. She wrote a report encouraging other African American people to emigrate in search of better lives, entitled: A Plea for Emigration; or Notes of Canada West, in Its Moral, Social and Political Aspect: with Suggestions respecting Mexico, West Indies and Vancouver’s Island for the Information of Colored Emigrants.

In Canada, Cary founded the newspaper The Provincial Freemen, which was a weekly newspaper for African Americans, specifically those who had escaped slavery. This earned her the title of the first female African American newspaper owner and editor in North America. She also founded another school in Canada, one open to all races.

Cary later returned to the United States during the Civil War to help with the war effort. During this time, she worked as a recruiting officer for the Union Army in Indiana. She focused on recruiting African Americans to join the fight against the Confederacy and against slavery.

Once the war was over, Cary continued to make new strides for herself and African American women as a whole. In 1883, she earned her law degree from Howard University–making her the second African American woman in the United States to earn a law degree.

Cary was a truly revolutionary and pioneering woman, journalist, and activist. You can read more about her and her work through these links:,