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

Picking And Choosing The Right Conferences

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

I recently did an interview with an industry social media type, and she asked me what conferences do I attend.  We both laughed that between journalism, “new” media, communications and social media, one could attend something every day of the week.  The fortunate thing is that time constraints and money make us all choose very carefully.


A session at NABJ's 2010 conference Photo by Benet J. Wilson

My two must attend conferences are the National Association of Black Journalists and the Online News Association.  I feel that these are two that help me the most in making sure I’m still vital to my newsroom.  And I am able to cite examples of how NABJ has done just that since I started attending the annual convention in 2006.


But after that, where do you go?  Others on my list include SXSW Interactive, March 11-15; The National Conference for Media Reform, April 8-11;  BlogWorld & New Media Expo; the Society of American Business Writers and Editors spring conference April 7-9; Blog Her; Internet Week New York City, June 6-13; Blogalicious; DC Week 2011; and Blogging While Brown, among others.

And then there are the  various trainings, webinars, one-day conferences and workshops that pop up all year.  And then I learn about the inaugural Mashable Connect 2011 conference on my Google Reader.  It’s described as:

Mashable Connect 2011 will be an intimate experience that brings together leaders from the digital world for a weekend away to share and connect offline. Set away from the distractions of traditional conferences, Mashable Connect will recreate the Mashable web experience on the grounds of Disney World, creating an environment where attendees can truly engage and build lasting connections.

I am a big fan of Mashable, and they are a must-read for me.  I attended their summer tour event in July when they came to USA Today’s headquarters, and it was a great networking event.  This one, scheduled for May 12-14 in Orlando promises to be even better.  They are currently taking applications for 300 spots.  I want to be one of those 300, not only because it promises to be a fascinating event, but I’m betting there won’t be a lot of diversity at the event.

I commend Mashable for opening up the application process, and I know they will have people beating down the door to attend.  As much as I’d love to be there, I know I’ll have to pass.  I just don’t have a spare $2,500 lying around to be there.  This does include 3 nights of hotel accommodations at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, all meals, full conference access including conversations with speakers, special activities and networking events, plus a few surprises. I know I’ll kick myself for not attending, but it’s all about priorities.

So here’s my question to you – what are your must-attend conferences? What are some that you’d like to attend if you won that $63 million Power Ball ticket?  How do you save your pennies to attend the conferences that are tops on your list? Tell us in the comments section. Thanks!



Home of the National Association of Black Journalists's (NABJ's) Digital Journalism Task Force

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