By Holly Edgell | June 23rd, 2012
The phrase above was the theme of the 2012 National Association of Black Journalists Convention and Career Fair, winding down today in the Crescent City.
The last time I was in town was also a professional occasion: Excellence in Journalism 2011 in September. That was my first visit to New Orleans and the first joint gathering for the Society of Professional Journalists and the Radio Television Digital News Association.
The NABJ convention comes in the wake of the layoffs at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and NABJ offered journalists let go by the paper free admittance to the Career Fair, which is a famous and very effective element of the NABJ annual convention.
Media company recruiters come to NABJ with real jobs to hire people. The broadcast networks, big papers, news services, television ownership groups, new media, magazine publishers — you name it; they are here. (CNN was conspicuously absent this year, by the way). At any rate, I hope the Career Fair was beneficial to laid off Times-Picayune employees.
So, what is a laid off journalist to do?
Never having been laid off myself, I can only imagine how it feels. One editor attending NABJ–and still employed by a major metro daily–told me she’s beginning to think about what her options in the event the axe falls her way. Teach? Freelance? Consult? Go on unemployment and take stock? Start a business?
There’s no doubt that journalists are in a “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” moment. SPJ can help.
A fully employed SPJ member may utilize his or her membership in certain ways, and not even be aware of all that belonging to SPJ can mean, so here are a few reminders:
- Training to reboot your skills
- Committees in journalism interest areas that provide insights and share resources
- Freelance directory to showcase your work
- Local chapter activities where you can network
- The spring conferences around the country (check the SPJ website for news about when and where starting around the first of the year)
- The national Excellence in Journalism convention. This year it’s in Fort Lauderdale from Sept. 20 to 22.
- …and much more!
The SPJ Freelance Committee is one the most supportive and welcoming groups in the organization, so I strongly urge any journalist seeking to work independently to engage with a member or two. You can find all committee chairpersons and their contact information here.
- If you are not an SPJ member, do consider joining! You can shoot me an email with any questions: email@example.com.