Inside the National Conference
Kathryn Drury Wagner
The 2007 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference took place in Washington, D.C. in October. Turnout was strong: of the SPJs 9,220 members, 1,000 were at the conference. I was lucky enough to go, as the vice president for the Hawaii Pro Chapter, and cast ballots to represent our organization.
For me, the highlight was when the Hawaii Pro Chapter won a Circle of Excellence Award, during the final evenings banquet. We won in the area of scholarship activities for our work on the Gridiron Show, which raises money for the summer SPJ internships. (See a call for 2008 interns at http://www.hawaiispj.org/Interns/2008int.htm). The crowd literally gasped when the announcer noted that our Gridiron Show annually raises $24,000. I was pretty proud.
Ive written up a recap of the conference, but even better, you can also see streaming video of the conference itself, at http://www.spj.org/conventionrecap.asp.
Whats New with National
The national organization has a new president, Clint Brewer, inducted during the convention. Hes a bow-tied, true Southern gentleman whose day job is executive editor at The City Paper in Nashville. For the national organization, his goals are:
Some of the liveliest sessions included:
I also attended some great workshops on Citizen Media (how former journalists and non-journalists are covering local issues and government); reporting hyperlocal news (our panel on this examined the Washington Posts Loudon Extra; see it at http://loudounextra.washingtonpost.com/); the erosion of college press freedoms; and
resources for learning how to "get into the Freedom of Information habit." A Crime Beat panel included correspondents from CNN, NPR and the Washington Post, who gave riveting accounts of tracking down their stories.
The staff from the Student Press Law Center was particularly great speakers and a good resource for any college paper. They provide free advice and legal assistance at (703) 807-1904 or http://www.splc.org.
Of course, it wasnt all work. There were parties, such as the opening night reception, where the crowd raised $23,123 in a silent and live auction for the Legal Defense Fund. There was Taco Night at the National Press Club. A Journalism Expo Trade Show offered job opportunities, internship information and colleges specializing in journalism programs.
Region 11 News
In addition to Hawaii, Region 11 consists of Arizona, California, Nevada, Guam and the Northern Marinas Islands. Our new Region 11 director is Sonya Smith, of the Orange County Register. She has been an SPJ member since college and a national campus representative. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her first order of business was to bring back the e-newsletter, which she has now done.
I reported on our Hawaii Chapter activities, including the Gridiron, internship fund, Byron Acohido lecture/reception, and Region 11 meeting we hosted in April 2007.
The next Region 11 meeting will be held April 11 to 12 in Tuscon, at the University Marriott. Half the panels will be on border/immigration issues. Half will be on general journalism topics. Cartoonist Dave Fitzsimmons will be a keynote speaker.
Later in the conference, I also attended a brainstorming session with other regions, where we looked at some membership, fundraising and activities that have worked for different chapters around the country.
Next years conference will be Sept. 4 to 7 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. For more, visit https://www.spj.org/c-register.asp.
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