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Notes: National SPJ convention, New Orleans

The match Muhammad Bouazizi struck to set himself on fire in Tunisia to protest a $40 vendor’s fee — a bribe — in December sparked the Arab Spring uprisings.

Andy Carvin, NPR senior strategist, watched thousands of miles away through Twitter. Tunisians used Twitter and Facebook throughout the resulting revolt: identifying sniper nests, to organize. After the Ben Ali government was overthrown, a message went out on Twitter: “OK, Arabs, you’ve seen how it is done in Tunisia. Tag you’re it.”

Carvin, who started using Twitter in 2007 to chat with people, went on to use social media to cover the Egyptian uprising and the presidential election. He was one of three main speakers Sept. 25-27 at the national convention of the Society of Professional Journalists and Radio Television Digital News Association in New Orleans.

CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager and CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien headlined the other talks, both advising young journalists to work hard in order to advance their careers. Fager said he swept floors at a radio station and wrote scripts at home on his own time.

- Student journalists’ view of the SPJ convention.
- RTDNA coverage of the 2011 convention.
  • CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien: As long as a reporter keeps talking to narcissistic people like mass murderer Wayne Williams, he will talk about himself “to keep the conversation going.”
  • Victoria Lim, reporter/anchor, Bright House Sports Network: Online writing should be done in short paragraphs.
  • St. Petersburg Times features writer Lane DeGregory: Don’t forget the neighborhood bartender as a contact for good stories.
  • 2010 Pulitzer Prize winner Sheri Fink: When working on an in-depth piece, create a timeline and fit in details as you go along. You will see connections.

  • Delegates rejected two resolutions to restore the Helen Thomas award, which the board retired after she made comments that Zionists controlled the White House and Congress.
  • Delegates approved a new election system for SPJ’s national officers and directors, giving each member a vote for national officers and directors.

Journalism Career Consultation Workshop

The Society of Professional Journalists and Asian American Journalists Association partnered together for the Journalism Career Consultation Workshop held at Hawaii Public Radio in the Atherton Studio on Sept. 19.

Hawaii Public Radio news director Bill Dorman, KITV 4 news director Genie Garner, Associated Press editor Jaymes Song, and Hawaii Business editor Steve Petranik were on the panel discussion lead by Honolulu Star-Advertiser reporter and AAJA president Gene Park. The panel included an emphasis on what skills are valued in the newsroom, opportunities in Hawaii and the Mainland as well as how the panelists started their careers. (Photos: Kristen Wong)

Attendees then broke into groups of two to four and had engaging 15 minute conversations with news managers and editors. Each group spoke to four or five news organizations which included the panelists, Honolulu Star-Advertiser editorial page editor Lucy Young-Oda, Hawaii News Now news director Mark Platte, Honolulu Weekly managing editor Shantel Grace, and Honolulu Minority Business Development Center business development specialist Kelli Miura. A mix of undergraduates, graduates and returning journalists participated. The event was tweeted live by @aajaHI. Light refreshments were served.