Excellence in Journalism 2011

As a long-time student member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), nothing excites me more than a joint convention between two of the largest journalism organizations. On September 25-27, 2011 in New Orleans, LA, student SPJ members will have the opportunity to build twice as many connections, choose between a diverse range of workshops and sessions, and have twice as much fun!

I hope you join me for what is sure to be a memorable end to your September and a great start to your school year. Be sure to register by August 31, 2011 to get the cheapest rate! Check out the convention website for more information or read below.


1.) Resume, Video, and Writing Critiques: Bring your resume and/or work samples to receive helpful tips that will help you land a job and improve your journalistic skills.

2.) Pre-Conference Workshops: SPJ and RTDNA are offering a handful of half-day and all-day Pre-Conference Workshops on Sunday, Sept 25. The workshops include video storytelling bootcamp, great bosses bootcamp, business journalism, backpack journalism, and mobile tools for journalists. Read more about each pre-conference workshop and register here.

3.) The Student Union: On Monday Sept. 26 from 1-2:30 p.m., SPJ will host a free event focused on student networking. At the event, the McCormick Foundation will present awards to national honors to collegiate winners of its Freedom of Speech PSA contest, the National Mark of Excellence Award first-place winners will be recognized, SPJ will present awards to national honors recipients, and students will have the opportunity to mix and mingle with other student journalists from across the country. This is the perfect opportunity to forge relationships with other SPJ students and  learn from collegiate award-winners about how they produced award-winning work.

4.) Featured Speakers: Learn and hear from  some of the best in the business! Convention speakers include Andy Carvin (NPR), Al Tompkins (The Poynter Institute), Victor Hernandez (CNN), Vadim Lavrusik (Facebook), Jan Schaffer (J-Lab), Lara Salah (ABC News), Victoria LIm (Bright House Sports Network), Steve Berkowitz (USA Today), Paula Lavigne (ESPN), Todd Petr (NCAA), Lane DeGregory (St. Petersburg Times), Boyt Huppert (KARE-TV),  Hill Geisler (The Poynter Institute), Kevin Sites (NBC, CNN, Yahoo!’s Hot Zone), and more! Visit the conference website for the complete list and for biographical information.

5.) Breakout Sessions: Topics include: j-school in the New Media World, Mobile Journalism: The Revolution of Capturing News Media, Ten Things Great Bosses Know, Creating Multiplatform Stories, Social Media Ethics: Making It Work for You, What Journalists Can Learn From Radio Peeps, Google 101 for Journalists, Records of Disaster, Cool Free Tools for Online Journalism, More Than 140 Characters, Follow the Money: College Sports in America, Just Who Do You Think You Are? Launch Your Personal Brand, Facebook and Journalism, 20 Tips Your Editor Won’t Tell You, The 10 Commandments of Video, and more! See the complete list here.


If you’re anything like me, being a college student means that money is tight! Register for the convention before August 31, 2011 to save yourself some money. You can register online.


1.) The official conference hotel is the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel. Call 1-888-627-7033 to make a reservation and be sure to mention “SPJ/RTDNA 2011” to receive the special rates. The cut-off date for special convention hotel rates is Sept. 4, 2011. Visit the convention website for pricing information.

2.) Ground Transportation: The Sheraton New Orleans Hotel does not provide ground transportation to and from airports. Visit the convention website for a list of transportation options available to you.

3.) Parking and Driving Directions: Visit the convention website for parking rates and driving directions.

4.) If you’re trying to save yourself some money, consider sharing a room with others from your school or with other SPJ students around the country!

Can’t wait to meet you at Excellence in Journalism 2011 in New Orleans. Be sure to say hello!

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