Posted in Uncategorized, Conferences & Conventions, Education, journalism

Members Share Their #NABJ19 Experiences

I spend a lot of time encouraging NABJ members, especially our younger ones, to attend the association’s annual convention. I always want to hear back from them to see how their experience was. Some of our members were kind enough to share their experiences, below.

Elijah Baker

The 2019 National Association of Black Journalists in Miami was my best convention by far. I can’t explain it. I prayed that God would allow me to be intentional with my behavior and words. Leading to the conference, I did my best to prepare our students and younger journalists on expectations and budgeting via social media. They said, “Are you the guy who did that video on Twitter?” I said, “Yep!” I did it for us.
In return, the family looked after me. I’ve been struggling these past 20 months in my personal life, at church and at work. It got to the point where I felt like I was slipping away. I wasn’t taking care of myself. I felt paralyzed.
For the first time, I believe, NABJ had a managing your mental health while on the job. You have no idea how much I needed the support of my brothers and sisters in that workshop. I was able to release the pain I buried on the inside. Black men hugged me. Black women encouraged me. NABJ was the first time I asked for professional mental health advice.
I see clearly how NABJ changes lives. When we stop merely seeing our conventions as the come-up, we’ll start to see our gathering as a space to heal. We’re really good at hiding our pain until it overcomes us. I am refreshed now. New Orleans was my first NABJ experience. Detroit was my second. Miami was therapeutic.

Janay Reece

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This year, NABJ was different for me. It was my first convention as a working television
reporter/MMJ. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to accomplish: Get a TON of feedback on my reel, meet new friends, and take the first steps toward becoming an investigative reporter. Little did I know, hardly any of that would happen.

Instead, I learned more about myself and connected with people in a different way. I went to a session about mental health and it made me realize that I need help. Our health as media professionals is beyond skin deep. Listening to the panelists made me realize the journey we take in the media industry can’t be done alone, and I was trying to do that. It was draining me and I didn’t even know.

Hearing my peers and other experienced journalists discuss what they have been through, made me see I am not alone and my support system is right in front of me. This year at NABJ —- yes —- I still got my reel critiques, gained new skills, and had a good time, but I saw the village of people here to support me. Before my first reporting job, I had no idea how draining things would get. Every single person I spoke to during the convention breathed life back into me and it was an experience I needed.

Nicholas Lawrence Vaughn

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Vaughn is a rising senior at Morehouse College and an intern at the Atlanta Voice.
My experience at my first NABJ convention was magical. It was great being around so many people who want to go into the same profession. It was similar to being at Morehouse, where the competition makes you work that much harder to get what you want — but increased by 100 percent, with so many people there from all over the country.
The convention was inspirational and motivating. I not only saw local reporters and writers, but also the ones I see on TV every day. They were all nice and willing to help the next of us because at the end of the day, everyone wanted to help each other make it to the top and be the best that they can be.
Note: While attending the convention, Vaughn learned he had been selected as one of five Online News Association HBCU Digital Fellows. He will attend the ONA conference in New Orleans next month, where he will write for the Student Newsroom and receive digital skills training.

Royal Thomas II

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This year’s NABJ conference in Miami was honestly an eye-opener for me.  On several different fronts, I learned so much about the field and its inner workings. The most obvious takeaway is networking; meeting so many fresh, successful, BLACK faces is an experience unparalleled to anything I have come across. I also received great tips and guidance at the conference.  Seeing what others are working on and how they go about their craft was great food for thought. I have identified several areas to which I can make improvements in my own work.
I thank all the people who shared their NABJ Miami stories. It’s always good to have a reminder of the true power our organization has to change lives. Watch this space for tips to save money for Washington, D.C.!
Posted in Conferences & Conventions, Education, journalism

10 Things I Learned At #NABJ19

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1. NABJ changes perceptions.  I posted the above photo on my Facebook page. It is still racking up views. I thought all my friends should see a different view of black men, including my mentee Avery Braxton (far left).

2. NABJ’s next generation came to slay. I was SO proud to see so many of my mentees, who are all doing SO well in their careers. And they were all prepared when it came time to go to the exhibit hall.

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3. I value my time with founders. I had the chance to spend almost two hours with Founder Sandra Long Weaver. We talked about everything from teaching the next generation to the history of Jack Daniels.

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4. There were too many workshops to choose from. Did you see this year’s schedule? It was chock-a-block full of sessions that competed, making it hard to choose. I was happy to see that some panels were live-streamed, and I hope that will be a trend that continues in D.C. next year.

5. Black people *want* their washcloths. There was a situation for those of us staying at the host hotel where the Turnberry Isle ran out of washcloths. So much so that it was the runner-up in this year’s Overheard at #NABJ19.

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6. The Young Black Journalists Task Force rocks! As task force co-chairs Chelsea Fuller and Walter Randolph-Smith wind down their tenure, I want to give them a shout out for all their hard work representing the future leaders of NABJ.

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7. Suite talks are really cool. The Visual Task Force always has great programming. But this year, VP-Print Marlon A. Walker also hosted two days of suite talks for the NABJ Freelancers Task Force. Roy Wood missed his talk because he was sent to Iowa, but the other talks were intimate and informative.

8. We worked it out when it came to the bar. Yes, the bar was small. Yes, the drinks were expensive. But there was a very reasonably priced happy hour at Corsair Kitchen and Bar from 3-6 p.m. every day that helped.

9. Bring back the spa booth. The person who set that up outside of registration is a genius! That definitely needs to return next year in D.C.

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10. You *must* have your tribe! Every year, we end NABJ with brunch. And it was doubly good because we were celebrating Aprill Turner’s birthday. See you all in D.C.!

Posted in Conferences & Conventions, journalism

How To Pack For #NABJ19 In Miami

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I am a world traveler who has been on the road since taking my first flight – New York to London – when I was six.

As an aviation journalist, I’m an expert in packing, especially now that airlines (except for Southwest) charge for checked bags.  As you prepare to pack for your upcoming trip to Miami, please allow me to offer you some of my best packing tips.

  • Choose a primary color, like black, navy or brown, and accessorize accordingly. Bring basics like pants, suits, skirt and blazer, and use accessories and different shirts/blouses to mix and match;
  • Roll your clothes to make sure things fit accordingly. If you don’t want to roll, then buy Space Bags or packing cubes (my new favorite) to compress your outfits. Use the space in your shoes to pack things like underwear;
  • Go to a dollar store and buy TSA-friendly bottles for your shampoo, conditioner, moisturizers, make-up, lotions, etc. You don’t need to pack the full-size bottles. They’re heavy and take up space;
  • I know this is hard, but limit yourself to 3 pairs of shoes, including the ones you travel with. Shoes take up a lot of space;
  • Weigh your luggage BEFORE you leave. Airlines limit that first bag to 50 lbs; after that, hefty fees kick in. Don’t beg-they won’t waive them and you don’t want to shell out that money;
  • Pack important/valuable items (jewelry, medicines) in your carry-on. Include a portable toothbrush, underwear and a small deodorant just in case your luggage is lost;
  • Keep a list of what you packed (I like this $2.99 app, but find free options here). You know what you’re wearing every day and you have a list just in case your luggage is lost and you have to file a claim with the airline; and
  • Don’t overpack. You know you’ll pick up materials at your destination and you’ll want to have room for them. Plus you don’t want to pay those overweight bag fees.

I hope this helps. See you in Miami!

Posted in Conferences & Conventions, journalism, multimedia journalist

10 Things I Learned At #ONA18

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I usually have this post done the Monday after the 18th annual Online News Association conference. But there was so much to unpack I needed extra time to process everything.  And for those of you who didn’t make it this year, it was just as good as it looked on social media, so I hope you’re preparing for New Orleans next year. So here’s my review.

Board elect

  1. The ONA board is very popular! We have a record 22 folks running for six board seats, including me. No matter who wins, the board will be in a great position to help implement ONA’s strategic plan, already in progress. Click here to see the video, listen to the audio or read the social media on the candidate’s forum. Did I mention there was a bar? You have until Sept. 27 to vote, here.
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Partial group photo of #NABJAtONA
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#TheBrownAndTheBeautiful photo at ONA, styled by Paul Cheung.

2. Diversity a thing! I remember when there were so few of us attending the ONA conference that we all fit into a picture. But not this year! My #NABJ tribe took a photo but had to take several in order to get everyone, and we still didn’t do it. I saw many more people of color and got to see many friends I made at my first (and the last true) Unity convention in Chicago in 2008. And my heart was warmed seeing how many NABJ members say they will attend ONA in 2019. Overall, the diversity at this year’s conference was pretty good. Wait until New Orleans! #NABJAtONA

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The HBUC Fellows and Leader Michael Grant at ONA’s awards banquet.

3. The ONA HBCU Fellows crushed it — again! THESE are the #ONA18 HBCU Digital Journalist Fellows at our awards banquet. Left to right: Xavier McKnight (Savannah State); Leah Proctor-Ford (Spelman); Shayla Simmons (Tennessee State); Kyla Wright (Hampton); Daja Henry (Howard); and Program Lead Mentor Michael R. Grant (Grambling State).  I strongly encourage you to check out their work here, under HBCU FELLOWS REPORTING. And if you’re looking to diversify your newsroom internships, contact them; they’re all seniors! Or contact me — I’ll help you find them and other deserving students of color in need of paid internships.

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4. I get by with a little help from my friends. I have to thank all of my friends who stopped by to speak with the HBCU fellows. They took time out of their busy schedules to share their experiences and wisdom with these young people. Most importantly, they made the HBCU fellows really think about the realities of a journalism career. So shout out to my boss Mandi Woodruff, executive editor at LendingTree; Rochelle Riley, award-winning columnist at the Detroit Free Press; 2018 CNN Diversity Fellow and SB Nation staff writer Tyler Tynes; Sarah Glover,NABJ President and NBC Social Media Editor; Ebony Reed, director of innovation and the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Futures Lab at the University of Missouri; Imaeyen Ibanga, senior producer and presenter with AJ+ and ONA board member (vote for her here); Akoto Ofori-Atta, senior editor of The Trace; and Jamal Jordan, 2017 CNN Diversity Fellow and digital storytelling editor at the New York Times.

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Award winner Marissa Evans.

5. And the winner is… This is my mentee Marissa Evans. Marissa worked in the Online News Association Student Newsroom (along with Anna-Lysa Gayle) in 2012. She is now the health policy reporter at the Texas TribuneShe was one of a few journalists of color to win an ONA journalism award for her story comparing the childbirth process in Poland and Texas. Marissa won a grant from the Pulitzer Foundation to pay for her trip to Poland (after meeting the granters at NABJ in New Orleans) to report on the story. These awards are prestigious and they are always competitive, but the right person won. P.S. If you’re looking to hire a talented journalist for your newsroom, you should definitely give Marissa a call. Or email me here — I have a lot of people who would be great for your newsroom. Seriously.

Wendy

6. Amy Webb was…soothing! Her panel, “Tech Trends For Journalists,” is always packed. It’s known for dropping some serious wisdom — and scaring the crap out of us. But this year, Amy flipped the script and focused on the optimistic side, and gave us cocktails to boot! You can view, listen to and read about her session here — and I highly recommend that you do.

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Emma Carew Grovum (leader, Journalism Mentorship Collaborative), Kim Bui (board secretary), Mandy Jenkins (board president) Benet Wilson (board VP), Charo Henríquez (board member) and Rubina Madan Fillion (board candidate).
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The annual #BlackGirlMagic photo at Amy Webb’s tech trends presentation.

7. Women rule. This is a photo of women who are kicking ass, both on the ONA board and in their careers. I hope that every one of them ends up running ONA, now and in the future.

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8. Time management. The truth is, I *suck* in this area. There was always a workshop to attend, a person to have coffee with, mentees to hug, board duties to perform, receptions and parties to enjoy, dinners to eat and cocktails to enjoy (thanks, Mandy Jenkins for making me stay up when I really wanted to sleep).

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Companies participating in the ONA Midway.

9. I saw the future of journalism. One of my favorite things about the ONA conference is The Midway. I call it an exhibit hall on steroids because you have great companies creating interesting tools and tech that help us do our jobs smarter and better. There are hands-on demonstrations and presentations on what’s next. Check out this 2:10-minute video on what you missed.

ONA staff

10. The ONA staff kicks ASS! Led by Executive Director Irving Washington, this staff — a perfect blend of full-timers and great consultants — always manages to raise the bar with our conference every year. If there were issues, we never saw them. Every single time I saw a member of the ONA team, they were cool, collected and smiling. And a BIG shout out to the newest member of the staff, Diana Lopez, who started on the job mere days before we descended on Austin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Conferences & Conventions, Education, journalism, multimedia journalist

10 Online News Association Panels Relevant to Digital Journalists

The 18th annual Online News Association (ONA) conference is happening this week in Austin, Texas.  The conference has become the must-attend event for digital journalists and storytellers. Full disclosure  — I’m currently VP of the ONA board, running for re-election and I’d really appreciate your support. Keep up with NABJ members attending the conference via the hashtag #NABJAtONA.

It’s well known that attending ONA isn’t cheap. Every year, the conference sells out because people see the value it brings to the table. But one of the many things I love about this particular event is how open and accessible it is.

If you can’t be in Austin, you can still join us — for FREE — thanks to our amazing video, audio and social teams that cover almost every workshop. And we’re also doing, for the first time, we’re also doing the ONA on Air podcast, which will be available on Soundcloud, Google Play, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher.

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Look at the “How’s My Story Doing? Custom Analytics and Empowered Local Newsrooms” workshop. The Audio and Screen symbols mean that this particular session will be live streamed and also have audio available. You can also sign up to gets notifications when the live stream and social conversation begin. Not every session will be live streamed, but between that, audio and social, you’ll get access to the majority of our programming. It’s not like being in Austin, but it’s pretty close.

So below are my picks of 10 workshops that can help digital journalists of color remain relevant in their newsrooms.

  1. 11th Annual Tech Trends For Journalists (AUDIO & VIDEO): This is THE must-attend session of the convention every year. If you had the chance to see a version of journalist and futurist Amy Webb’s presentation at NABJ’s Philadelphia convention in 2011, then you know what I’m talking about. If not, check out a presentation where Webb will blow your mind via insights into what trends will impact journalism, what tools are on the horizon and how newsrooms can use them, while also avoiding potential disruption.

  2. Notes from the Journalism Diaspora (AUDIO & VIDEO): This year’s NABJ Region I conference included a Diversity and Management training program led by former Deputy Regional Director Nicki Mayo. One of the panels, “New management and leadership skills for journalists,” featured Justin Ellis, a journalist who wrote for Neiman Lab and ESPN the magazine. At that time he had taken a job as a researcher on former “Daily Show” correspondent Wyatt Cenac’s new HBO show “Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas.” As newsrooms continue to cut editorial jobs, this panel discusses how journalists can develop skills that are useful within and outside of news media.
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    Screenshot of AirTran Airways’ website on Aug. 15, 2000.

    Setting the Record Straight by Going Wayback (AUDIO): If you attended my NABJ Innovation Bubble workshop, “Tools & Apps for Digital Journalists,” you know that one of the tools I highlighted was the Wayback Machine, The Internet Archive, which allows anyone to see archived versions of web pages going back to 1996. Site director Mark Graham will discuss how newsrooms and journalists can use it to build out their archive-sourcing capabilities and leverage the internet’s long memory because it’s true — just because you delete it or archive it doesn’t mean it’s gone forever.

  4. Vicarious Trauma Response Planning (AUDIO): We’ve had a year when it comes to covering traumatic events. This is a great panel for newsroom leaders and reporters on how to plan for this coverage and ensure that teams leave room for self-care.
  5. Beyond Audiograms: Audience Engagement in Podcasting (AUDIO): It seems like we’re seeing news-related podcasts being released on the regular. But it’s not enough to just throw one out there. In this workshop, panelists will look at things like social metrics, SMS, chatbots and Facebook groups that are portable, scalable concepts that promote products while also fueling storytelling.

  6. Alerts, Apps and Algorithms: Loyalty in a Mobile-First World (AUDIO): It seems like new and updated digital tools come out every day. This workshop is designed to help newsrooms building mobile channel strategies, decision makers trying to understand where traffic and loyalty intersect and anyone trying to get a handle on the impact of mobile OS-driven algorithms.

  7. Subscriptions, Metrics and the Newsroom: How Journalists are Getting Involved (AUDIO): Online newsrooms have always had a focus on these topics, but legacy newsrooms have been slower to the game. But we know that metrics are driving how stories are written and who stays and goes based on the numbers. This session is for anyone looking to get a handle on how to read conversion metrics.

  8.  Ten Secrets of Fast Writing and Powerful Storytelling (AUDIO & VIDEO): As newsroom leaders and editors push to create content to feed the beast, sometimes you can feel like you’re constantly grinding and not telling the stories you want to tell. This workshop helps you balance speed with good storytelling.

  9.  Meet Me IRL (AUDIO): Texas Tribune FestivalSlate Day! A Podcast Experience. Washington Post Live. Blavity’s AfroTech. Newsrooms are using these types of events to not only connect with their audiences but to help shore up the bottom line. Check out how they’re doing it and get tips on how your newsroom can map out a strategy to run them successfully.

  10.  Beyond Facebook: How to Survive and Thrive After Newsfeed Changes (AUDIO): Facebook, for good or bad, has become an important tool for newsrooms to push out their content. But every time you think you’ve mastered the algorithm, change comes, causing chaos to your feed. This panel will discuss how you can use tools like Reddit, Flipboard and Pocket to keep their audiences and reduce their reliance on things like Facebook and Google.

 

 

Posted in Conferences & Conventions, journalism

NOW Is the Time to Get Ready for #NABJ19 in Miami

Sarah

Do you see this? If you think Detroit was great — and it was a great as it looked in photos and on social media — you know Miami is going to be even better. So if you had FOMO about Detroit, the good news is that you have plenty of time to start saving your pennies now for Miami.

The Turnberry Isle Miami is a top Marriott property. People, it’s stunning. The basic room has two Queen beds AND a sofa bed. And students, I don’t know if you heard, but there’s going to be a special room rate just for you! Nearby is Sunny Isles Beach.

So let’s get to the point of this post — the money it will cost you to get to Miami.  I started saving for Detroit last June, and did the same for Miami this year. There’s a core group of us who help students and young journalists get to convention every year. I can’t speak for everyone, but do NOT contact me for help if you don’t have at least two of these three things — airfare, registration or hotel. And if you come at me last minute for help, it’s going to be a no — and a link to this post.

I don’t know what the room rate is, but I’m guessing it will be in the $200-$230 range, so let’s use that as the number. The rest of these numbers are on the high end, because I like to plan for every contingency.

Registration – $325. This is for Early Bird. If you belong to a chapter, that drops to $275.

Hotel – $1150 for Wednesday through Sunday. Divide this by four if you have roommates.

Airfare – $500. This depends on where you’re flying from. I did a quick check of Southwest Airlines fares from Baltimore to Fort Lauderdale in late February-early March, since that’s how long their schedule goes right now. it came to $499.28. But I expect that fare to drop, since August is not the high season for Miami.

Transportation – I always budget about $100 for this, including a ride to and from the airport and downtown visits. A Super Shuttle from Miami International to the host hotel will be around $24 each way; the same ride from Fort Lauderdale is about $30 one way.

Convention Prep –  $200. This is anything you need to do to get ready for convention like clothes, business cards, resumes, hair, nails, clothing alterations, etc.

Meals/Bar – You can’t expect to get free meals every day. And you know you’re going to be socializing at the bar, so budget about $75 a day for this.

Ways to Pay

This all adds up to about $1700. There are ways to get this number down with creative budgeting, but let’s be real. This convention is not going to be cheap, but it can be done — if you start now.

Take advantage of the chapter discount for registration. Or consider volunteering to get a free one. That hotel cost will drop if you have roommates. The last time I had a room to myself was in 2006 in Indianapolis, my firs NABJ Convention.

When it comes to airfares, consider flights to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, which tends to have cheaper fares than Miami International Airport.

With transportation, you can share costs with others coming to Miami. You can also decide what you need — and what you don’t — for convention prep. I cut hair (I’m #TeamNatural), nails (again, #TeamNatural), business cards (if you want to find me, it’s pretty easy) and resumes (I haven’t applied for a job since 1992, plus anyone can go to my website), from my convention budget.

Meals/bar are always a big expense for me, because I don’t allow my mentees to pay when they’re with me. I know this and budget accordingly.

Show Me the Money

So how are you going to get the money for Miami? Start now! Below are 10 tips you can use to help.

  1. Start a savings account. Set one up on auto pay and walk away. My personal favorite is Smarty Pig because it takes out the money automatically and it’s in an account you can’t see, so you avoid temptation. Others include Digital (but it does cost $2.99 a month) Qapital and Chime.
  2. Happy Birthday/Merry Christmas-Kwanzaa/Graduation. Look for these and other celebratory milestones. Ask friends and family for contributions toward convention costs rather than gifts that can’t offer a return on your career future. Grandma can pay for a hotel night or two. Mom and Dad can spring for airfare. Auntie can give you a gift card you can use for incidentals. Your Uncle can take on registration.
  3. Early bird registration. As soon as NABJ announces this, register. Aside from the chapter affiliate discount, this is the lowest rate you’re going to get.
  4. Ask your employer. There are companies that have line items in their budgets for professional development. See if you can get some of that money to help pay for NABJ. Come correct; show them the convention schedule and show them the workshops you’re going to take that will help you do your job better. See if they’ll give you the time off without having to use vacation.
  5. Buy your airfare early. The earlier you book your flight, the cheaper the fares will be. Sign up for either Hopper or Airfarewatchdog, which will tell you the best times to buy that ticket.
  6. NABJ. Check the website and eBlasts for announcements on scholarships and fellowships that help cover convention costs. This year there were grants from Columbia University.
  7. Local organizations. See if your NABJ chapter offers scholarships to help students/young journalists.
  8. Facebook and Twitter. Follow accounts for convention information, including ways to fund your trip. They are: (NABJ) National Association of Black JournalistsNational Association of Black Journalists; NABJ Students; Marlon A. Walker, Your NABJ Vice President/Print 2015-2018; Benet J. Wilson, Immediate Past VP-Digital, NABJ; @NABJ; @NABJDigital; @NABJSTUDENTS; and @Marlon4NABJ.
  9. #SideHustle or part-time job. I have a day job, but I also have two writing-related side hustles. I always put a percentage of what I earn with those into my Smarty Pig account to help pay for convention.
  10. Carpool. If you are in driving distance of Miami (my limit is 8 hours in a car), get a group together and ride to convention.

So there you have it — your blueprint to get to #NABJ19 in Miami. If you start now, you’ll be ready to go Aug. 7-11. Only 345 more days to go!

Posted in Conferences & Conventions, journalism

Top 10 Things I Learned at #NABJ18

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I usually write this post the week after the convention is over. But I’m not as young as I used to be and needed time to recover accordingly. Those of you who weren’t able to join us in Detroit, all I can say is that you missed a great one. Yes, there were some issues, but in the end, #NABJ18 is my second-favorite (#NABJ11 in Philly is still number one) annual convention. Read why, below.

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    Students in a pep talk on the first day of newsroom operations.

    The kids are all right. For the third year in a row, I had the honor of doing a Google News Lab tools training for this year’s student newsroom. The students came correct this year; I didn’t have to send anyone upstairs to change, nor did I have to lock anyone out because they were dressed and ready to go at exactly 7:30. Big shout out to NABJ Founder Allison Davis (and my personal Digital Journalism sensei) who reached into her bag of tools and came up with a projector for my presentation. Check out the work they did in the NABJ Monitor.

  2. IMG_4047Volunteers make the convention work. NABJ saves a fortune in labor expenses because our members step up and volunteer to make this convention work every year. Former NABJ President Will Sutton took over as Volunteer Coordinator at the 2017 convention and he was in full force in Detroit. He helped SO many young people who were struggling to get to Detroit, including three of my babies. Much love to everyone from the student newsroom mentors to the folks at the airport and in the hotel who greeted members and offered help with a smile. read about Alexis Grace’s volunteer experience here.
  3. Benet ToolsEach one teach one. I was thrilled to be part of the team — shout out to former educator board rep Michelle Johnson and Google’s Sam Stewart — that did a day of Google News Lab Tools training. Want to bring this FREE training to your newsroom, NABJ chapter meeting, regional conference or other events? Click here to learn more about the program and request me (or others) to do your training. Did I mention it’s FREE to bring me or other trainers in? I also had BIG fun doing an interactive — and packed — presentation in the Innovation Bubble on my favorite tools, tricks and tech that help me do my job smarter and better (click HERE for a post where I share my presentation).
  4. 38470895_10156819064857018_1196883406869233664_nTeach where you are. Teaching doesn’t just happen in workshops. When you bring young people along with you on events, they meet people who are always ready to pass on wisdom. The hotel lobby bar is a great way to do resume reviews (shout out to Kim Bardakian), or teach a master class on being the best television producer (shout out to Carol Ash). My mentee Shayla Simmons (one of two students I sponsored this year) also happens to be a student of Founder Sandra Long Weaver, so you can bet she had an amazing experience in Detroit!
  5. The future is digital. As a recovering print journalist who has transformed into a digital one, I really appreciated this year’s theme, “NABJ18: Driving Journalism, Technology & Trust.” We had some good digital programming in Detroit, both inside and out of the Innovation Bubble. It’s clear now that digital is the future of our industry and I hope we have even more workshops in Miami that will let our members stay relevant in their newsrooms.
  6. Step up and serve. The vast majority of us owe our jobs and careers to 44 Founders who risked theirs to start NABJ on Dec. 12, 1975. So it’s disappointing to see so many board seats either uncontested or open.  Half the board — president, vice president-digital, vice president-broadcast, secretary, Region I, Region III and student representative — will be up for election or re-election, so please consider running. We all have seen first hand the importance of both voting and stepping up to serve. If board service isn’t your thing, then join a task force or committee, volunteer to help plan and execute next year’s convention or get involved with your local chapter. If you’re in Baltimore, I’m the Baltimore Association of Black Journalists chapter president and we’d be happy to have you join us.
  7. S38422335_10157669978394606_1590279231244337152_nupport the millennials! This group now makes up the largest segment of NABJ members. They will be the ones who keep our organization growing in the future, so we must support them now. I made and donated this quilt as a fundraiser for the Young Black Journalists Task Force so they can do their important work. This is part of a larger discussion I hope NABJ will have about supporting — and funding — task forces because they are an important part of helping the association meet its mission. It’s also a great place to groom our next generation of leaders.
  8. I overpacked for Detroit. Damn it! I overpacked for New Orleans and swore I’d do better. I will do it for Miami!
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    Justin Hinton and Kirstin Garriss

    Feeling the love. Most of us work in newsrooms where we are either the only or one of a few. Even though I now work for the most diverse newsroom of my 30+ year career (shout out to my boss Mandi Woodruff), it still brings me much joy to see so many people who look like me doing the work I do. But I have the most love for my babies, who are doing SO well in their careers. I’m so very proud of you. A few (but the list is SO long) of them include Kirstin Gariss, Marissa Evans, Justin Hinton, Stephon Dingle & Justin Madden (who both killed in the Student Newsroom), Ashley Jolicoeur, Sia Nyorkor and Tierra Carpenter. Please note — this is an incomplete list, so don’t be mad at Auntie!

  10. 38660549_10157673184909606_6027202983152844800_nFind your tribe. You need friends to keep you sane at NABJ conventions. This group — special shout out to DR. Carol Ash — is the one. We talk in the time leading up to convention and we see each other at different events. But we ALWAYS end the convention with a lovely brunch outside the host hotel to catch up and bond. It’s a great tradition. I hope you’ll consider it with your tribe in Miami.