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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Look at the convention schedule. Work out a plan on what workshops you want to attend and create a schedule.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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- The 2015 Southeast Journalism Conference will be hosted by Georgia State University at its Student*University Center and the Ramada Plaza Capitol Park Atlanta on Feb. 26-28, 2015. Members and non-members alike are invited to attend this fantastic learning opportunity for journalism students across the southeast.
- The Society of Professional Journalists’ Spring Conferences are day-long professional development meetings bringing area journalists, students and journalism educators together in one place to hear from industry experts on topics ranging from improving writing to leveraging technology in today’s new media climate. Networking opportunities at the conferences allow participants to build relationships that can lead to the sharing of the best practices in newsrooms. Enhance yourself and your journalism career by attending a Spring Conference in your area. For more information, click here.
- The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) will host the Region III conference March 5-8, 2015, aboard the Carnival cruise line to the Bahamas. This conference will feature diverse programming for freelance and transitioning journalists, public relations practitioners, entrepreneurs and students.
- Join Investigative Reporters and Editors and the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting for its annual conference devoted to computer-assisted reporting in Atlanta March 5-8, 2015. Come and learn about tools you need to dig deeper into stories and give your audience the information they want.
- Journalists, media and communication professionals and students are invited to participate in the 2015 National Association of Black Journalists Region VI Conference, March 13-14,2015, in Oakland, California. The event – which takes place at the Waterfront Hotel in Oakland’s Jack London Square – will begin with a Friday night mixer reception at Lungamore’s @ Jack London Square followed by a full day of workshops, which will offer information and discussion on the impact and future of technology in the media and communications industries. Saturday’s sessions will end with a dinner/dance open to all participants.
- The Center for Journalism Ethics will address ethics in sports journalism at its seventh annual conference, Fair or Foul: Ethics and Sports Journalism, April 10, 2015, at Union South on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. The conference will feature Robert Lipsyte, veteran sports journalist, author and current ombudsman for ESPN, as keynote speaker. The program will include panels on privacy, editorial independence in a world of sponsorship and rights fees, representation of minorities, and the bounds of civil discourse in a sporting context.
- Journalists will gather for two days of training sessions, awards ceremonies and networking April 10-11, 2015 for the Midwest Journalism Conference at the Crowne Plaza Minneapolis International Airport Hotel and Suites at 34th Avenue South and American Boulevard in Bloomington, Minnesota. Planning is under way for the 2015 conference and we welcome your suggestions for speakers, sessions and events.
- Join hundreds of journalism colleagues in California’s Silicon Valley — an intersection of health and technology, and home to Health Journalism 2015. Register to visit area sites during field trips, hear from world-class health experts and journalists during panels, take part in skill-building workshops, and more. The conference will help reporters, editors and producers cover the latest in medical research, health technology, public health issues, the business of health care, health policy matters and journalism. The conference kickoff speaker will be Stanford University physician and bestselling author Abraham Verghese.
- The Missouri School of Journalism and the Reynolds Journalism Institute will host Journalism Interactive, the conference on journalism education and digital media April 24-25, 2015. The keynote speaker will be Vivian Schiller, who was most recently global chair of news at Twitter. Her address, “Beyond the Buzzwords: What It Means to Be a News Organization in the Digital Age,” will focus on the impact of emerging technologies on both the practice of journalism and the business viability of news media companies.
- The Global Investigative Journalism Conference is the world’s largest international gathering of investigative reporters. It will hold its next conference in October in Lillehammer, Norway. The conference will be hosted by Association for Critical and Investigative Press (SKUP), Norway’s investigative journalism association.
If you have items you wish to include, please email them to me at benet AT aviationqueen DOT COM. Thanks!!