Thursday, October 22, 2009

Adirondack Journalism Conference

The Adirondack Center for Writing, based at Paul Smith's College, is doing a great service to writers and editors by offering the ACW Journalism Conference on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009 at the Blue Mountain Center in Blue Mountain Lake. It promises to be informative and educational to writers and editors wishing to either continue their growth as professional journalists or to simply network with fellow newshounds. I'm hoping that students will take advantage of this unique opportunity as well.

When I worked at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and Lake Placid News, first as a staff writer and then as an editor, I always enjoyed the journalist-only events, especially the awards ceremonies at the New York Press Association (for weeklies) and New York Newspaper Publishers Association (for dailies). We got a chance to network and learn from staffers at similar newspapers from around New York state.

The Adirondack journalism community is pretty tight-knit, and it's important to have that support, even with competing media organizations; however, there is so much we can learn from one another, and regional journalists rarely have a quiet time away from the news scene to work together and improve our skills together. This community is a pleasure to work with because it is generally not cut-throat like in bigger markets, which becomes apparent when a rude TV news crew shows up late and starts jumping in front of your camera shot at a news conference. Here in the Adirondacks, thank God, journalists are still courteous to each other. It speaks a lot to our small-town way of life and the people who live here.

I'm impressed with ACW's lineup of experienced presenters. Environmental journalist Jeff Goodell will give the keynote address, and other speakers will include Brian Mann, Adirondack News Bureau chief for North Country Public Radio; Mike Hill, Associated Press reporter in Albany; and Will Doolittle, projects editor for the Post-Star in Glens Falls.

Topics will include “How to Write A Compelling Story with a 24-hr Deadline;” “Tough Reporting in Small Towns,” how to effectively report tough stories even when they involve neighbors and friends; and “How to Make a Living as a Freelance Journalist,” strategies for building a sustainable income as a journalist working in the Adirondack North Country. This discussion will include nuts and bolts issues of multiple sales, quality control, contract arrangements, and deadline management. There will also be a “Blogging Panel Discussion” with John Warren of Adirondack Almanack and New York History, Brian Mann of The In Box, Lisa Bramen of Smithsonian Magazine: Food & Think, and Elizabeth Folwell of Adirondack Life magazine.

The conference will be held from 9:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. with lunch provided. The cost is $30 per person. Group discounts are available for three or more attending from the same newspaper or school. For more information, contact the Adirondack Center for Writing at (518) 327-6278.

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