Friday was the last day of the convention for me.
My overall impression of the convention was positive, but only just. There was nothing that I disliked, but I felt indifferent about several of the panel discussions and workshops. There were some disappointments, because the discussion would veer off track or focus on things that I didn’t think were the most important. I also found that there were pleasant surprises, like the diversity panel from day two of the convention.
Though some of the discussions were dry, I know that I learned something from each workshop and panel, and I’m glad I attended.
The focus of this discussion was how to tell a story in a non-traditional way. It started off with a short documentary-style film about student diversity in a small town. It included staged, artistic shots of the students and voice-over where the students would be reading their thoughts aloud.
The question was then posed: Is this journalism? The consensus was surprisingly “yes.”
Despite the staged aspects of the video, the reporting done was valid and the audience thought the artistic nature of the video was acceptable to create tone.
From there we discussed other forms of storytelling, focusing on the options for interactivity on the Web.
First, there are the more obvious advantages of the Web, such as virtually unlimited space and the ability to provide dynamic content. However, simply using the Web to connect to audiences directly is a powerful tool.
A newspaper can take examples like these and tailor them to their audience. For example, when running a story on a resident trying out for American Idol, the paper can host its own local competition and post it on the Web for readers to participate and vote.
Be Your Own Boss
These two workshops were more tailored toward the people who had recently lost their job in journalism or were looking for alternatives. I attended these because I thought it might give me an idea of what else I can do if the job market was unwelcoming upon graduation. The possibility of freelancing was discussed, and it was interesting to hear the frank discussion about what the job really requires; things such as calculating costs, deciding what stories to take and how much time to spend on them. Other panelists shared their success stories of delving into other fields, such as Web startup companies and authoring a book. Although all of these other careers seemed interesting in their own right, I don’t see myself heading in that direction.
Career Fair and Expo
Perhaps if I was at a different stage in my life I would have found the career fair more useful. The fair undoubtedly offered many opportunities for out-of-work professionals, but students just entering the job market were mostly overlooked. If nothing else, I appreciated having the opportunity to see what the job hunt could look like.