Another Successful Midwest Journalism Conference in the Books!

It’s Monday and I’m still buzzing with excitement over the success of our Midwest Journalism Conference! If you were able to attend, I hope you had a great time and learned a lot! If you went and are an SPJ member, I hope you will use the MJC as an example of how our organization helps your fellow colleagues and/or classmates expand and improve their skills in this ever-changing industry.

Here are some of my personal highlights from the conference:

-Welcoming SPJ executive director Joe Skeel to the great state of Minnesota and to our fabulous conference. Throughout the conference, Joe kept telling me he was very impressed with all aspects of it, from the turnout to the panels to the people who organized it.

-Filling in for social media journalist Jeff Cutler at the last minute to do two Friday morning presentations on “Social Media and News” and “60 Websites in 60 Minutes”. Cutler was unable to come at the last minute due to a death in his family. But with thanks to JJ Murray and Derrick Hinds, we were able to fill Jeff’s enormous shoes on short notice.

(By the way, if you missed any of the sites in the 60 Websites presentation, you’ll find them at

-Giving out awards to some of the best student journalists in the region at the SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards luncheon. Laurie Hertzel, books editor at the Star Tribune, also had some inspiring advice for our audience, of which many are young journalists. Click here to view the complete list of Region 6 winners on the SPJ website.

-Meeting RTDNA chairman-elect Kevin Benz and seeing his presentation on “New Media in the Newsroom”. As you know, RTDNA and SPJ are partnering to bring you the “Excellence in Journalism” convention in New Orleans this September. It was great to meet Benz and see how much energy he has!

-Meeting energetic student and professional leaders from the different Region 6 chapters in SPJ. We had a great turnout at our annual regional meeting Saturday. Chapters from Madison Pro, Minnesota Pro, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Eau Claire, St. Cloud State, and University of Minnesota were represented. I also had great conversations with people who may be interested in starting chapters in Duluth, North Dakota, at South Dakota State University, Winona State University, Minot State University, and Loras College (which is technically in Region 7).

-And last but not least, catching up with old friends and meeting new friends in this crazy business we call journalism!

If you weren’t able to attend the conference, you can log onto Twitter, follow @mwjournconf and check out tweets from the conference! Look for the hashtag #mwjournconf.

If you have suggestions for next year’s conference, such a program idea or a speaker you’d like to see, please send it to We’d love your input!

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