10 Things to Do NOW to Prepare for #NABJNAHJ16

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The 2016 NABJ/NAHJ Annual Convention and Career Fair is happening in only 37 more days.  In order to have a successful convention, you need to be prepared. Below are 10 things you need to do now to be on your game in Washington, D.C.

  1. Buy your plane ticket. The closer you get to the convention date, the more expensive that airfare will be. I’ll be driving to D.C. from Baltimore, but I bought my ticket for #NABJ15 in Minneapolis in February. The closer it gets to the convention the more your ticket will cost. I tweet airline fare sales regularly at  @NABJDigital or @AvQueenBenet. Also, set a fare alert on Airfarewatchdog.com to be informed about the lowest fares.
  2. ClznqjvXEAA5k2FBusiness cards. Get them now. Vistaprint has a great selection of templates so you can have cards that stand out. Click here for two specials that expire on June 30: $1.99 for 100 no-frills cards or $9.99 for standard business cards (minus shipping). I’m also a big fan of Moo cards, which come in different shapes and sizes, and allows you to highlight photos or copy on the back. Mine shows off my aviation pictures from around the world. They cost more than Vistaprint (starting at $19.99 for 50 cards), but I feel it’s worth the investment.
  3. Resume/online portfolio. Now is the time to make sure your  resume and online portfolio are completed so you can impress recruiters at the convention. Need help? Check out the DJTF webinars covering online portfolios and resumes. They’re free to watch, but you must register. And in a shameless plug for my new Resumes By Benét business, I can help you get ready for the convention or your next career move at very reasonable rates.
  4. Check your social media profile. Google yourself and see what comes up. Check your Facebook profile and Twitter timeline and make sure there are no embarrassing photos or posts because potential employers will be checking.
  5. Look at the convention schedule and list of exhibitors. Work out a plan on what workshops you want to attend and create a schedule on your smartphone. Prioritize who are the must-see employers on your list, start making appointments and get a jump start on the crowds.
  6. Start making a list of all the people you want to see in D.C. The schedules of those attending the conference are very tight. Start now to create that list of must-see people and map out appointments, interviews and chat times. And consider breakfast meetings, since schedules tend to slip as the day goes by.
  7. Find ways to save money. Going to the convention is not cheap, but you can do it and not break the bank. Find folks to share a hotel room at the NABJ Convention Roommate Bureau. If you’re checking a bag, tuck in some non-perishable snacks and water. Reach out on NABJ’s listserves and social media channels for ride shares to and from the airport or take the Metro subway, which stops right in front of the Marriott Wardman Park at the Woodley Park station on the Red Line.  Check out sites like Yelp and Zomato to find places in the hotel’s Woodley Park neighborhood and around the city to eat that are less expensive than the hotel’s offerings. Search Hotwire and Priceline for nearby hotel deals.
  8. 17225139376_19b2842b5f_qCheck your wardrobe. See what clothes fit and what don’t. See what needs to be cleaned or altered. And if you need to buy things, do it  now. Consider thrift shops like Savers.com or Goodwill, where you can find real bargains, especially on designer labels. See this suit I wore in Minneapolis last year? It’s a designer Elie Tahari suit I bought at Savers for $10.99. My dress for Salute to Excellence? $12.00.
  9. Check yourself. Our convention is all about fun and family, but it’s also a professional event. You never know who will be watching. So enjoy yourself, but don’t overdo it.
  10. Hang out with your friends now. The convention is the time to meet new people and grow your network. It is not the time to hang with the same group of people that you do at home. As much as you love them, they are not going to get you a job, so break away and expand your horizons.

The Digital Journalism Task Force is doing its annual convention preparation TweetChat on Tuesday, June 28 at 8:30 p.m. ET. NABJ convention veterans will offer great tips and advice to get ready for D.C., and they’ll also answer your questions and share stories. Follow along using the #NABJNAHJ16 hashtag.

Benét J. Wilson is the vice president-digital on the NABJ board. She is a long-time member of the Digital Journalism Task Force and is secretary of the Online News Association board. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Aviation Queen LLC, a freelance writing company.

Getting Ready for #NABJ40: The Convention TweetChat

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With the 40th Annual NABJ Convention and Career Fair only 42 days away, the Digital Journalism Task Force, in partnership with AllDigitocracy.org, held its annual TweetChat to get folks ready for the event.

We had a stellar panel of NABJ convention veterans — Kelley Carter, Kirstin Garriss, Marissa Evans, Merdie Nzanga, Sarah Glover, Cindy George, Kathy Chaney, Marcus Vanderberg, Michael Feeney,  Marshall Latimore, Marlon Walker, Marc Willis Marissa Evans and Ashleigh Atwell — who shared their best tips and tricks for navigating the convention. I also want to thank all the #NABJ family members who chimed in with their own convention experiences.

Click here to see the Storify of the event.  And don’t forget to register for the convention, Aug. 5-9, 2015, in Minneapolis. See you there!

Do the Hustle Twitter Chat

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Dr. Sybril Bennett is chairing this workshop at this year’s NABJ convention in Minneapolis. She held a TweetChat with her panelists to get the conversation started. Click here to see our Storify of the discussion. And join us in Minneapolis for the workshop!

Dogged About Digital?

Join NABJ’s Digital Journalism Task Force

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Interested in being more involved with the National Association of Black Journalists? Ready to lead? Let me know if you’re interested in serving on the NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force, and in what capacity. Tweet me @NABJDigital, find me on Facebook, or email me at tracie.powell@gmail.com.

10 Things to Do NOW to Prepare for #NABJ15

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The 2015 NABJ Annual Convention and Career Fair is coming up fast. In order to have a successful convention, you need to be prepared. Below are 10 things you need to do now to be on your game in Minneapolis.

  1. Buy your plane ticket. The closer you get to the convention date, the more expensive that air fare will be. I bought my Baltimore-Minneapolis ticket in February on Southwest Airlines, and it still cost me $324 roundtrip. NABJ members get a discount at United Airlines. I tweet fare sales regularly at  @NABJDigital or @AvQueenBenet. Also set a fare alert on Airfarewatchdog.com to  be informed about the lowest fares.
  2. Business cards. Get them now. Vistaprint has a great selection and you can get 500 for as little as $10. You can even get free cards (minus shipping costs) that sport an ad on the back.
  3. Resume/online portfolio. Now is the time to tighten up that resume and freshen up or create an online portfolio to impress recruiters at the convention. Need help? Check out the DJTF webinars covering online portfolios and resumes. They’re free to watch, but you must register.
  4. Find ways to save money. Going to the convention is not cheap, but you can do it and not break the bank. Find folks to share a hotel room at the NABJ Convention Roommate Bureau. If you’re checking a bag, tuck some non-perishable snacks and water. Reach out on NABJ’s listserves and social media channels for ride shares to and from the airport.  Check out sites like Yelp and Urban Spoon to find nearby places to eat that are less expensive than the hotel. And search Hotwire and Priceline for nearby hotel deals.
  5. Look at the convention schedule. Work out a plan on what workshops you want to attend and create a schedule.
  6. Check out the exhibitors and recruiters (not posted yet, but here’s who attended in 2014). See who will be in Minneapolis and start prioritizing who are the must-see employers on your list.
  7. Start making a list of people you want to see in Minneapolis. The schedules of those attending the conference are very tight. Start now to create that list of must-see people and map out appointments, interviews and chat times. And consider breakfast meetings, since schedules tend to slip as the day goes by.
  8. Check your wardrobe. See what clothes fit and what don’t. See what needs to be cleaned or altered. And if you need to buy things, do it  now.
  9. Check your social media profile. Google yourself and see what comes up. Check your Facebook profile and make sure there are no embarrassing photos or posts because potential employers will be checking.
  10. Hang out with your friends now. The convention is the time to meet new people and grow your network. It is not the time to hang with the same group of people you do at home. As much as you love them, they are not going to get you a job.

The Digital Journalism Task Force will do its annual convention preparation TweetChat in May, which will offer great tips and advice from NABJ veterans. Hope to “see” you there!

Benét J. Wilson is the vice president of education for the NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force. She also serves on the board of the Online News Association and is the owner/founder of Aviation Queen LLC, a freelance writing and social media consulting company.

AllDigitocracy Looks at the Numbers Behind the NABJ Board’s Travel Expenses

The NABJ Board of Directors

The NABJ Board of Directors

Denise Clay has an awesome story about NABJ and its out-of-control travel expenses on AllDigitocracy.org. If you care about the association and have ever wondered about its internal workings, you’ll want to read this piece. Here’s an excerpt:

Right now, journalists hoping to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) at its annual convention in Minnesota this summer are shopping for low airfare — and in some cases hotel accommodations — to Minneapolis on discount travel websites.

But it might be a good idea for NABJ executives to start surfing those websites as well, especially if they plan on continuing to rack up skyrocketing travel expenses. At a time when journalism diversity is stagnant at best, a set of expense reports released to NABJ’s membership last month shows that its executive board spent more than $190,000 solely on travel in just two years.

According to the reports, the largest expenditures ($13,116.60 in 2013 and $28,391.24) can be attributed to NABJ President Bob Butler alone.

Read more: What does ‪#‎NABJ‬ have to show for the nearly $200,000 it’s spent on travel?

Side Hustle Webinar Series – What Do YOU Want?

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This past weekend at the Baltimore Association of Black Journalists Professional Review event, a group of us were chatting about our side hustles and how that money comes in handy. We then started talking about folks in journalism and communications who don’t have them — but should.

Skip to March 18, where I posted the following question on my Facebook page: For my journalism/communications friends: do you have a side hustle? What is it? For those who don’t, do you want one? Is it time for a webinar on getting that side hustle?

I got a whopping 47 (and counting) responses, plus public and private pleas to do the webinar. As someone who fell into her side hustle quite by accident, I thought it would be a great idea to do a series of webinars to help those looking to start a side hustle or improve their game in their current side hustle.

So the NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force, in partnership with the Diverse Social Media Editors and Digital Journalists Facebook group and AllDigitrocracy.org, will do a series to help people with their side hustled. But we need your help to know what you want in a webinar series. So we’d appreciate it if you could answer this quick 7-question survey so we know what you want and when.  And watch this space for more details!