Conference craziness: Looking back at SPJ and forward to ONA

It’s conference season, folks! Get out your complimentary tote bags and notepads.

Greg meets Carl Bernstein, Ben Bradlee and Bob Woodward at SPJ 2007.
Greg meets Carl Bernstein, Ben Bradlee and Bob Woodward at SPJ 2007.

Last Thursday through Sunday, I attended the Society of Professional Journalists convention in Atlanta, Ga. This is the second SPJ national convention I’ve attended — the first being last year’s in D.C.

The sessions at this year’s conference offered much more in terms of online, multimedia, blogging, etc. and I say kudos to that. But my gripe was that there was no Wi-Fi available in the conference center, so liveblogging was not possible.

Instead, I tweeted most of the sessions I attended using my phone. Check them out @greglinch or search for all SPJ-related tweets (greglinch + SPJ08 can be found here).

Other people who did some good tweeting:

For more about the convention, check out the stories written by the Working Press.

Looking forward, I’ll be flying to Washington, D.C. tomorrow evening for my first Online News Association conference. There will be Wi-Fi in the conference areas, so stay tuned for some liveblogging and tweeting.

I had thought about doing some livestreaming video, but — as some of you know — my MacBook Pro is being disagreeable and I’m back on my old HP laptop.

If you’re going be at ONA and want to meet up, direct message me on Twitter or contact me. Hope to see you there!

ONA-related links

Greetings from Indianapolis!

It’s been far too long since I’ve posted. My internship at The Miami Herald has been keeping me busy. Here some recent articles I wrote that ran on 1B:

‘ICE’ procedure helps rescuers save lives – Miami Herald

See a familiar face? Give the police a call – Miami Herald

New signs give bus riders some timely tips – Miami Herald with a photo by me!

I’m in Indianapolis today through Sunday for the SPJ Scripps Leadership Institute. A dozen of us who arrived before noon met up and went out to lunch at a local Buca di Beppo Italian restaurant. Yums.

Because of the nature of the “conference” (it’s not really a conference) I don’t plan to liveblog, but I may post thoughts in the evenings.

About 50 student and professional members are gathered here to learn about SPJ, how to improve our chapters and play duckpin bowling, so it should be a good weekend.

I’ve already met some cool people and I look forward to getting acquainted with everyone else as the conference begins.

Stay tuned.

And check out this photo I snapped of Monument Circle in Indianapolis with my smartphone camera.

NextNewsroom conference recap

Megan Taylor, managing editor for online/new media at The Independent Florida Alligator, and I had the same idea to recap the NextNewsroom conference, but she beat me to it:

NextNewsroom: Wrap-up

Megan summarized it all very well, so I won’t repeat what’s already been said except to thank Chris O’Brien for organizing what was hands-down one of the best journalism conferences I’ve attended — and I’ve been to quite a few, thanks to The Miami Hurricane and UM’s SPJ chapter.

I’d also like to thank Megan for providing the proper computer to stream video live using and later Yahoo!Live with my Canon HV20, which would have been impossible because I don’t have a computer with a six-pin FireWire port. Her hand mic was another asset, helping us get pretty decent sound, and she played videographer for the first livestreamed session before I — sadly — gave back her MacBook Pro.

I couldn’t have done it without her. And besides the awesomeness that is livestreaming video, this is a great testament to the importance of working as a team. I’ve done mojo/backpack journalist/one-man-band coverage of events before, but backpack journalist-squared is hands down the better way to go.

For more great coverage of the conference, as Megan also cites, check out Bryan Murley’s CoverItLive blogs: day 1 and day 2.

Weigh in: What did you think of all the coverage?

NextNewsroom – Innovation for college media

Facilitated by Kathleen Sullivan

Notes from the board

What changes need to be made

  • Different deadline reality
  • Different sources for content
  • Story doesn’t end when it goes to print (continue the discussion)

Assets and obstacles to adaptation

  • What can be delegated and what can’t (address workload)
  • Assign a team to a long running story
  • Build an in-house wiki (not starting from scratch each year)
  • Territorial attitudes towards space
  • Interdisciplinary staff, not just “journalism” major or the equivalent
  • Think about the mark they leave, legacy
  • Workload, time management: Go for low-hanging fruit, make things doable
  • Competition (either with other student people or local publications)

UT Arlington: once a week in print, five times a week online

NextNewsroom – How to change from the old to the new

Facilitated by John North, Knoxville News Sentinel

What is the new world?
“It’s publishing now, we don’t wait.”

On the board

Old World:

  • Print tomorrow or
  • Print whenever

New World: Web, e-mail, text

  • Publish now
  • Publish now
  • Publish now
  • Publish now
  • Print tomorrow

You [should] begin to work a story throughout the day. Start with a a few graphs early on and evolve the story slowly — not a 15- to 20-inch update each time.

“We’re talking about quick hits and things you can get up quickly.”

Then, you can reach into that system and put it into the newspaper.

“For us, it’s really been, ‘Wow, you can do this?’ ”

Shannon Morgan, editor in chief, The Arbiter, Boise State

  • “My focus to tell the stories in as many dimensions as we can.”
  • You also have to make sure the various elements are different.
  • People thought, “Oh, she’s just that multimedia girl — she doesn’t know journalism.”

Megan Taylor, managing editor for online, The Independent Florida Alligator

  • She recently wrote a story for the front page and people were surprised she could write.
  • Regarding having staff do new media: “You can’t just tell them what they have to do, you just have to do it.”


“Universities are on the radar nationwide now. You guys can do amazing things. If you guys feel limited, you’re not; there are no barriers.” Wait until you get to the paid world to see limits.

For new media: “If you set that expectation, you will get the result you want. … Once you start that little bit of synergy, it tends to begin to grow itself.” It’s not so difficult to push through that wall to find success.

Examples include promos, Web refers, etc.

“Sometimes you just have to be creative and think outside of the box.”