Region 11 Conference in Phoenix April
By Linda Chiem
DAY 1 - FRIDAY, APRIL 3
Region 11 Conference was held at ASU's brand new Walter Cronkite School of
Journalism and Mass Communication and the conference was clearly a vehicle to
market the school and its programs.
Perhaps it was the windstorm that
came from nowhere that kicked in on Friday, the first day of the conference, but
it was pretty quiet aside from a few new student orientations.
regional delegates meeting, members were asked, "Why are you in SPJ?" and just
about everyone talked about the importance of networking and fostering
connections and relationships.
I didn't get an official count from Mark
Scarp, conference committee chair, on attendees but I gathered it was a small
group -- probably between 50 and 80 participants.
Aside from a few
California delegates, myself and SPJ national president Dave Aeikens of the St.
Cloud Times in Minnesota, just about all the conference attendees were from
Arizona. And a large contingent were ASU journalism students.
the wind, networking was in full force at the opening night reception at the
Hotel Clarendon. (It was a 10-minute light rail ride and a very long three-block
walk from the campus and my hotel.)
Several people talked to me about
the Hawaii ceded lands case in U.S. Supreme Court resonated with several of the
conference attendees who covered tribal issues in the northern parts of Arizona.
DAY 2 - SATURDAY, APRIL 4
This was the full day
of conference activities.
The opening session, titled "The Future, What
is it?" was sobering as panelists talked about layoffs and newspaper shutdowns.
But the success of this new wave in social media, online-only news sites like
The Voice of San Diego was highlighted and they hammered it home that
consumers have so many avenues in which to get their news nowadays that
traditional media has to stay innovative in order to compete.
business writer, the session on covering business in this economy was very
valuable as well as the discussions on coping with changes in editorial
But the bulk of the day's sessions really seemed tailored
to helping students prepare for life after graduation and how to make themselves
stand out and I got the sense that many weren't even looking to apply with
traditional newspapers, magazines or news stations.
They see what's
happening so they're looking at freelancing, self-start ups in online blogging
and networking and there were a lot of sessions offering tips on how to go about
For professionals, it's about diversification: good writers
need to be thinking about video and photographers and videographers need to know
how to write well.
Overall, we're all in this boat together but there is
plenty room for journalists with enough grit and skill to stay relevant, in case
anyone was wondering otherwise.
Back to About