Posted in Conferences & Conventions, Education, journalism

Start Preparing for #NABJ18 in Detroit – NOW!

Saving for #NABJ18.pngOK. I know we’re still recovering from the very successful #NABJ17 in New Orleans. For those of you who didn’t make it this year, yes — it was just as great as it appeared on your friends’ myriad social media posts. You can click here for my summary on just what you missed.

If you’re already preparing for next year’s convention in Detroit, I applaud you, but this post isn’t for you. This one is for the following people:

  • Those with hard-core FOMO, who always vacillate whether to come or not then get mad when they don’t;
  • Those who want to attend the convention but have no idea how to pay for it;
  • Those — PLEASE pay attention — who think throwing up a GoFundMe account a month or less away from convention is a good idea; and
  • Those who email me, NABJ VP-Print Marlon A. Walker and other NABJ members sob stories about how they want to go but have no money (and asking me for “an airline hook up”) one to two weeks before the convention.

There are two journalism conferences I attend every year — NABJ and the Online News Association. I, like you, know that these events happen every year. Back in 2012, DJTF did a TweetChat with Natalie “The Frugalista” McNeal on ways to save. I encourage you to read it because the tips are still pretty good.

I began saving for both in June of the year before the conventions; that means I started saving for #NABJ18 and #ONA18 in June. I use the Smarty Pig website, which automatically takes out a designated amount twice a month (you can choose your own deposit schedule). I never see the money, so there’s no temptation. There are also apps like Digit and Qapital that are designed to help you save.

You need to break down your expenses: airfare, hotel, transportation to/from the airport, city transportation, food/drink, tips and gifts/souvenirs. You also need to save for things like clothing, hair, nails/grooming, business cards and a resume/portfolio website.  Once you get that number, divide it by 10 and start saving — today.

Other ways to raise funds for Detroit include a part-time job or side hustle and using birthdays, Christmas and Kwanzaa (specifically Kujichagulia, Self-Determination) to ask for things like registration, airfare and hotel costs.  And save on costs by sharing a room (I’ve had roommates every year since 2008), attending the free professional breakfasts and lunches (bonus-you’ll learn something) and sharing transportation. Most mentors will also help with a meal or drinks, especially if you are a student.

Don’t get me wrong — I have and will continue to help those who are also working to help themselves. This year I paid to register a professional and a student. I also gave $25 grants to help folks with expenses in New Orleans and did several free resume reviews. And I fully expect to help folks get to Detroit.

You now know what you have to do nearly a year in advance. But be warned — if you email me asking for help, or I see you posting one of those last-minute GoFundMe, my reply to you will be this column. So come correct and start saving now. Only 345 more days until NABJ hits the Motor City!!

 

 

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Posted in Conferences & Conventions, Education, journalism, Uncategorized

Aunt Benet’s Top 10 Student Etiquette Tips for #NABJ17

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As a certified (but young at heart) old fogey, I chat with my fellow fogeys (and some who are not quite fogeys) regularly about how the journalism industry has changed — for better or for worse.

But one thing that remains the same is the need for proper manners and etiquette when dealing with more experienced journalists, most of whom will be the people who will either hire you for your next job. And allow me to keep it real — some of you have major issues with interacting with people in real life because you spend too much time looking down and glued to your smartphone

So as the NABJ convention fast approaches next week, please indulge me and read my 10 tips — which I offer with love in my heart — on how to interact with your elders in New Orleans.

  1. Please address your elders properly. If you don’t personally know someone, it is not cool to informally email them or call them by their first name in person. Even at my advanced age, I do not refer to anyone I don’t know personally by their first name. Once they give permission, then have at it. Remember to start the email with hello or some other greeting and their name, and end it with regards/best/sincerely and your name. And you get bonus points if you have a signature line with all your contact information. Wise Stamp offers a free one here.
  2. Check out the NABJ exhibitors lists. Now is the time to download the convention’s Guidebook app, see who will be there and who’s on your must-see list. Once you’ve done that, start reaching out and asking – politely – for times to meet. And don’t rule out early breakfasts or late evening coffee or drinks (if you’re old enough).
  3. Ditch your friends.  You can see them anytime.  Did you spend all this money to get to New Orleans just to spend time with the same people you see every day? This is your golden opportunity to meet new people and build your networks, so take advantage of that and hang with your friends when you get home.
  4. Dress for the job you want. You will be attending a conference with nearly 3,000 professionals from across the country. Some may be dressed casually, but that does not apply to you. Think of this conference as one big job interview and networking opportunity, so dress accordingly. Skip the colored hair, concert/political t-shirts, ripped jeans, wrinkled clothes, those cool new kicks, crop tops and too-short skirts and shorts. Think tailored and professional, with stylish but appropriate suits and dresses and no tennis shoes or flip flops.
  5. Stop texting and start speaking to people, damn it! Conference attendees will be wearing name badges, so put down the smartphone and look up. You need to walk up to someone, introduce yourself and start a conversation. You never know where it might lead (click here to read where it led for Brionna Jimerson at #NABJ13).
  6. Make eye contact. While you’re doing the speaking thing, don’t be afraid to look people in the eye. It shows that you’re interested and engaged.
  7. Say thank you and offer a firm handshake after speaking with people. This is the best way to make that final good impression before you part ways with someone who could have a major effect on your career.
  8. Ask for a business card or contact information. It may be old-fashioned, but you are building your network. So you need to collect information from people who may be able to help you with things like scholarships, internships, references and even jobs. And have yours ready to hand over too.
  9. Write and snail mail a thank-you card to everyone you meet at #NABJ17. The art of writing is becoming a lost one. Stand out from the crowd by sending a handwritten thank-you card to people who made an impression. Trust me — this goes a long way. Bring pre-stamped cards and mail them on the day you leave New Orleans.
  10. Have fun — but not too much fun. There will be time built in for fun activities, but remember where you are. People will remember the one who got sloppy drunk in the hotel lobby bar. This is not the impression you want to leave in New Orleans.

The NABJ convention is a great opportunity to meet and interact with the people who will help you navigate your journalism/communications career. Come correct and take full advtange of it! Love, Aunt Benét

Posted in Conferences & Conventions, Education, journalism

10 Things to Do NOW to Prepare for #NABJ17

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There’s only 63 more days until the NABJ Annual Convention and Career Fair in New Orleans. That seems like a long time, but it flies by quickly. You need to start working now to get yourself ready. Below are 10 ideas that will help.

10.  BUY your airline ticket. Fares are cheaper when you book at least 21 days in advance. After that, prices only get higher. And because New Orleans is a popular destination, fares will be higher, so use an app like Hopper to find out the best time to buy.

9. BOOK your hotel room. What are you waiting for? The room block is almost sold out, so you’ll either have to pay a higher price in the Hilton Riverside or pay more for nearby hotels.

8. CHECK your wardrobe. Now is the time to start mulling what you’ll wear. Look for rips, stains or alterations. Or start shopping for key pieces you may need. Also, do those shoe repairs you’ve been putting off.

7. LOOK at the exhibitor list. While you’re looking at that list, start making appointments with 3-4 companies you definitely want to see in New Orleans.

6.  Buy your ticket for the Sports Task Force JamThis is the not-to-be-missed event at every NABJ convention. This year’s party will be at the House of Blues. Early bird regular and VIP tickets are still available but tend to sell out. And the best part? The proceeds fund scholarships.

5. Check out the NOLA.com Dining Guide so you can scope out all the city’s great restaurants.

4. Order new business cards. Vistaprint has hundreds of designs or you can create your own. Click here for discount coupons. Or check out Moo cards, which uses based on your Facebook timeline.

3. Review and update your resume. Make sure you’ve updated all your jobs and skills. Keep a copy in the cloud and on a thumb drive so it’s easily accessible. And check out my DJTF webinar (registration is free) and my website on crafting a good one or if you need further help.

2. Create a portfolio website. You need to send potential employers to one place that shows to house your work and your resume. Don’t know how to get started? NABJ member Marissa Evans did a webinar on that!

1. Read VP-Broadcast Bob Butler’s “Tips for Young Journalists/Students at the NABJ Convention.” It targets the younger folks, but there are plenty of tips that apply to all of us.

Posted in Conferences & Conventions, Education, journalism, Uncategorized

3 DJTF Webinars To Prepare You For #NABJ17

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It’s amazing, but the 42nd Annual NABJ Convention and Career Fair in New Orleans is now only 65 days away!  So while the clock is ticking, NOW is the time to get ready for our convention.

You need to have a resume that’s on point, and you need to have an online portfolio to point potential employers to.  It also doesn’t hurt to start either working on or sharpening up your personal journalism brand.

Lucky for you, the Digital Journalism Task Force did three great hour-long webinars on these very topics.  So now is the time to review these webinars so that you’re ready to shine in New Orleans.

You need to submit an email address, but the webinars are free to view. Register for the convention here.  I hope they help, and I look forward to seeing you in New Orleans!

Posted in Conferences & Conventions, Education, journalism

Time Is Running Out for #NABJ17 Pre-Registration

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If you participated in or read the Storify of the NABJ Students’ recent TweetChat about preparing for the upcoming Annual Convention and Career Fair, you know you don’t want to miss it.

Time is running out for you to pre-register for our convention Aug. 8-13, 2017, in New Orleans. After June 30, rates jump from $380 to $550.  You know you want to be there. You know there’s a strong chance of having FOMO (fear of missing out). You also know you’ll be MAD if you wait and have to pay an extra $170 for registration, so what are you waiting for?

I know, I know – you think you still have plenty of time to register, book a flight and get that hotel reservation at the Hilton Riverside. But you really don’t have that much time.  The truth is, the convention will be before you know it!!  So run — do not walk — to the NABJ website and get yourself registered TODAY!!