Recharging My Batteries

While I’m sitting at the airport in Fort Lauderdale, waiting on an afternoon flight back to Texas, I have some time to reflect on the very valuable and energizing weekend I — and a few hundred other journalists — just had.

We were in town for Excellence in Journalism 2012, an annual conference hosted jointly by the Society of Professional Journalists and the Radio Television Digital News Association. It has been a few years since I last attended, and I was really eager to get to this one.

As a faculty member and student newspaper adviser, I chose sessions that primarily focused on social media developments and techniques, campus journalism issues, and best practices for student journalists. I’m pleased to say the sessions were top notch.

If you’re on Twitter, and you’d like to follow the weekend’s tweets about what was happening or to find useful links and advice, look for #EIJ12. There’s a ton of material to find there.

But an advantage this conference offers beyond the sessions and tweets is the opportunity to talk to fellow faculty members and professionals about the current state of journalism, both academically and professionally. That is something that often gets lost in the day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month routine.

I heard several colleagues remark how they felt as if their batteries had been recharged for another year. I get that, because I feel the same way. As a journalism faculty member, it’s important for me to maintain strong ties to the profession, to stay on top of new trends, and make contacts that could help my students get jobs. Otherwise, my teaching might get stale and no longer prepare my students for modern journalism.

I’m energized, and I’m working on lessons for next week’s classes based on what I’ve learned this weekend. And I’m already looking forward to next year’s conference.

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