Ochsner and his team of 25 to 30 content creators write stories for the official NOAC 2015 website and the daily NOAC newspaper, The Current. The have a veritable army of journalists covering this massive event from all angles and writing great stories.
The content team is one of three groups that form the communications team at NOAC. There’s also the visual media team that takes photos and videos and the production team that designs the newspaper and website.
True to the Order of the Arrow’s focus on the youth in Scouting, Ochsner lets the young people shine. Though he works professionally as a journalist, he steps out of the spotlight to let these 15- to 21-year-olds do work that helps them grow.
For example, Ochsner’s team secured an interview with BSA President and former Defense Secretary Dr. Robert M. Gates. Instead of handling the interview himself, Ochsner assigned it to a youth Arrowman, John Mazurie.
“That will be the highlight of his conference,” Ochsner said. (You can read the interview here on page 3.)
Because this is a live event with so many moving parts, there’s very little that’s prewritten. More than 80 percent of the content Ochsner’s team churns out is generated live at NOAC. Arrowmen cover general assignments, human interest stories and technical, policy-related matters.
Stories are due at noon, which gives the copy editing and production teams time to send it off to a local printer by 6 p.m. Ochsner has a daily deadline in his job, but even he finds himself sweating as the clock inches toward 6 p.m. each day.
“We’re working on deadlines that even the pros would find challenging,” he said.
The response to The Current has been “overwhelmingly positive,” Ochsner said.
Pretty much every Arrowman at NOAC has a smartphone, but they’re turning to The Current to get their NOAC news. It’s actually quite refreshing to see a teenager pocket his cellphone to flip through a printed newspaper.
“The biggest feedback that we can get is walking around NOAC and seeing open newspapers,” Ochsner said. “And we look at the [newspaper] stands, and they’re empty.”
When he’s not giving up a week’s vacation to volunteer at NOAC, Ochsner (right) is an investigative reporter for WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, N.C. He said he actually negotiated into his contract that he’d need time off for NOAC.
So why use a week away from journalism to do more journalism? Why isn’t he on a beach somewhere?
“My wife wants to know the answer to that same question,” he said.
But really, it’s about giving back to the program that gave so much to him. He attended NOAC as a youth, and now he’s paying it forward.
“I want to use my professional talents to give back to Scouting,” he said. “To sit down with an Arrowman and teach him something — how to write a lede, how to use quotes, how to do an interview.
“It’s really rewarding to give back to these youth and see them grow in a week’s time. As fun as it would be to sit on a beach, this is far more rewarding.”
The Current team
Big props to the entire team behind The Current. They are:
- THE CURRENT LEAD: Jackson Beckerly
- THE CURRENT ADVISER: Jim Ganley
- LAYOUT EDITORS: Michael Dioguardi, Timothy Hellaby, Sean-Eric Ortiz, Codie Smith
- MANAGING EDITOR: Greg Brousse
- CONTENT EDITORS: Joe Donahue, Nathaniel Lim, Vincent Kiernan, Andrew Kuhlman
- NOAC COMMUNICATIONS CONFERENCE VICE CHIEF: Patrick Burtchaell
- LEAD ADVISER: Tony Fiori
- CONTENT LEAD: Gerald Fraas
- CONTENT ADVISER: Nick Ochsner
- PRODUCTION LEAD: Nick Oliver
- PRODUCTION ADVISER: Sam Pitts
- VISUAL MEDIA LEAD: Keola Nakamato
- VISUAL MEDIA ADVISER: Matt Madderra
- SOCIAL MEDIA LEAD: Mitch Leonard
- SOCIAL MEDIA ADVISER: Branden Morris
- SUPPORT ADVISER: Jim Lewis
- INFO BOOTH ADVISER: Greg Nygren
More NOAC coverage
See my other NOAC 2015 stories here.