Posts Tagged ‘conference’

KC Press Clubs Host Freelance Conference

Date:  Saturday, May 29, 2010
Time:  10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Location:  Carmack Room
Central Resource Library
9875 W. 87th Street
Overland Park, KS.

Cost:  $20

Reserve your spot:  Send your registration fee to

Debra DeCoster, Vice President KC Press Club
1045 South 47th Terrace
Kansas City, KS.  66106

Make checks payable to Kansas City Press Club.

Kick off the morning with Creative Writing Coach and Author, Deborah Shouse, as she opens the conference with Charging Up Your Creative Energy.

Writing Workshops:

Writing for Publication by author Tessa McDermid

Writing Creative Non-Fiction for Children by authors Lawrence and Suella Walsh

Success as a Freelance Writer–Surviving the Economy and Continue Writing, Speaker Jack Cashill
Cashill has been working as a full time freelance writer for over 20 years.  Within the last seven years, he has written five
non-fiction books.  His work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and WorldNet Daily.
He is also Executive Editor of Ingram’s Magazine.

Social Media How to shoot video and download to the web

Meet the Editors Panel

If you have any questions about the conference, please call Debra DeCoster at (913) 424-8788 or email

Seeds Planted in Nebraska

Region 7 had a great spring conference in Omaha! We had about 75 participants, which I think is pretty good for a state without a professional chapter.  Speaking of that, I am excited to report that several Nebraska journalists have stepped up to get the ball rolling on reviving the state’s professional chapter.  If you are interested in getting in on this, contact one of the following folks:

Joe Radske, News Director FOX 42: or 402-554-4207

Katie Knapp Schubert, News Director KIOS-FM:

Carol Zuegner, Assoc. Professor Creighton University:

It’s important to make this chapter a statewide outreach, so even if you’re far from Omaha & Lincoln, I hope you will consider joining SPJ to take advantage of great services and support. In fact, you can join right now! Then, let Joe, Katie or Carol know you’re on board.

Here is my Facebook photo album, showing the original Nebraska Pro Chapter charter for Sigma Delta Chi (SPJ’s original name), which hangs in the halls of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and snaps from the conference.

Planting Seeds in Nebraska

In just two days I will be heading to Omaha, Nebraska for the Region 7 Spring Conference. I am really excited about meeting with fellow journalists, journalism students, and anyone else who may show up!

We have a great lineup of sessions planned, which I hope will serve to enthuse and enlighten our attendees.  Another big hope: That by the end of the conference we will have planted the seeds of a new professional chapter for Nebraska.  I heard from Ruth Brown of Nebraska Press Women that there indeed used to be a professional SPJ chapter in the state.  These folks at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln were among the driving forces:

Larry Walklin

John Bender

Charlyne Berens

Tim Anderson

I have invited all of them to attend the conference and hope we can convince them to get involved with SPJ again.  Apparently, the original 1947 charter for the chapter still hangs in the halls of the UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications!

We will talk about starting a Nebraska professional chapter at the conference business meeting on Saturday, April 10.  All conference attendees are welcome.

By the way, if you still want to register for the conference, you can do so online now, or on-site (more expensive).

The Other Shoe Drops in Dodge City, KS

The Dodge City Globe has fired Claire O’Brien, the reporter who found herself in the eye of a legal storm over her refusal to reveal the identity of a confidential source. Here’s an excerpt from the AP story (via the Topeka Capital-Journal):

Reporter Claire O’Brien said her firing on Friday from the Dodge City Daily Globe stems from comments she made to media outlets after she was found in contempt for failing to appear at an inquisition, the Kansas equivalent of a grand jury.

O’Brien told reporters at the time that the newspaper’s corporate owners had refused to pay for her legal representation and scuttled her efforts to find independent legal help unless she testified claims that GateHouse Media Kansas Holdings, which owns the newspaper, has denied.

On Sunday, O’Brien said she was fired in “retaliation” for making those public comments.

Claire will be a featured speaker at the SPJ Region 7 Conference, in a “super-session” on Saturday, April 10 at the Doubletree Hotel in Downtown Omaha.

Resume Reboot in Omaha!

I am excited to report that we’ve added a resume “reboot” clinic to the program for the Region 7 Conference in Omaha.  It’s Saturday, April 10 from 2:15 to 3:30 p.m.  We will have pros from different media platforms to critique your resumes and provide advice.  There will be a sign-up sheet at the registration desk, so be sure to put your name down for a reserved 15-minute session.

What you will need: Two hard copies of your resume (one to leave at registration for pre-session review, one to bring to reboot clinic). If you have an e-portfolio online, bring your laptop to the session for feedback.

There’s less than a month until the conference, and early bird registration closes at midnight on March 9.  If you’re coming from out of town, be sure to make your hotel reservations at the Doubletree.  The rate is $109 per night.

See you in Omaha!

Register for the Region 7 Spring Conference in Omaha

Registration is now open for the Society of Professional Journalists Region 7 Conference, April 9 & 10 in Omaha! It’s easy to register:

Our sessions promise to help professionals reboot their careers in this tough economic climate and period of change in our industry.  Students will hear from recent grads about the job market, learn what to expect when they “get out there,” and recognize their peers’ outstanding work through the Mark of Excellence Awards.

I visited Omaha in November and I can attest that it’s going to be a great city for the gathering with lots to do if you’d like to bring your family along.  (See “The Heartland Beat” with just a sampling of activities

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have, and please tell your colleagues and any students you know about the conference!

My weekend in O-Town (Omaha, not Orlando)

This past weekend your regional director traveled from Columbia, MO to Omaha, NE (about 4.5 hours via I-70, I-435, I-29, I-480) to do some advance work for the upcoming Region 7 Spring Conference.  Journalists and journalism students (and anyone else who pays registration) will gather at the Downtown Omaha Doubletree Hotel on April 9-10, 2010.

The Doubletree turns out to be ideal for our conference:  It’s centrally located (easy access to the interstate, Dodge Street and other arteries), easy to find, and near a number of Omaha’s top destinations and sites (like the Old Market neighborhood, Durham Museum, Joslyn Museum, Orpheum Theater, the Qwest Center, Creighton University, and more). A few miles down Dodge Street you’ll find the Dundee neighborhood — where I sampled the great cuisine at Goldbergs II Dundee — the University of Nebraska-Omaha Medical Center, the University of Nebraska-Omaha campus, a Borders, Target, and — wait for it — Nebraska Furniture Mart.

The Doubletree also has a free airport shuttle, pool, restaurant, gift shop (where you can find fresh Starbucks coffee), workout facilities, onsite parking ($7 a day).  My room was great:  updated and clean.  There is free wireless in the public areas and plug-in Web access in the rooms for $9.  We’ll be in the Lewis and Clark Rooms (side by side) for our panels and sessions and in the Winnebago Room for the Mark of Excellence luncheon.

Based on my experiences this weekend and some research, here are ten things you might want to check out while in Omaha — AFTER the conference of course.  They are in no particular order.

1 — Old Market.  A cool neighborhood spreading across numerous blocks downtown.  It’s home to restaurants (I saw Indian, Persian, and French for starters), bars, shops (I picked up a few eclectic items at a place called Souq), and carriage rides. Although it was pretty brisk weather-wise this weekend, I can imagine sitting at on outdoor table come springtime.

2 — Marcus Midtown Cinema.  I did not experience this for myself, but I have it on good authority that this is the ultimate in “dinner and a movie.” You can literally watch and movie and order dinner on one floor of the cinema.  It’s called “CineDine.” There also are a couple of bars, plus the usual concession goodies.

3 — Durham Museum. This is a history museum housed in the former Omaha Union Station.  It’s very cool! Especially if you are a train buff.  I enjoyed the view of Omaha and Council Bluffs, IA from atop the parking area.  You can actually board old trains and get a sense of the railway’s glory days.

4 — Joslyn Museum.  Omaha’s art museum. From the web site: “In formation since 1931, Joslyn Art Museum’s collection now contains more than 11,000 works of art from all over the world, antiquity to the present, with a concentration on 19th and 20th century European and American art.” This is definitely a must for me in April.

5 — Gambling.  Council Bluffs, IA is home to at least three casinos that I counted as I drove along I-29.  Ameristar, Harrah’s, and Horseshoe.  Council Bluffs is just a across the river from Omaha.

6 — Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo. This zoo is widely known for its efforts in animal conservation and research. Even better, it’s a big hit with the locals, always a good sign.

7 — El Museo Latino. There is a permanent collection as well as rotating exhibits. Right now the museum is featuring “History of Latinos in Omaha: 1890 through Present,” and “Ex-Votos and Retablos: Miracles on the Border.”  This is another site that I will try to squeeze in come April.

8 — Omaha Royals Basebell.  The team will be at home the weekend of the conference!  There’s a four-game series against Memphis April 8-11.

9 — Boys Town. This is the original: Father Flanagan’s Boys Home is now a National Historic Landmark. It’s still very much in operation and open to the public.

10 — Omaha Children’s Museum.  Interactive exhibits focused on art and science.  The Museum features a kid-sized grocery, a fire rescue area, science and technology lab and much more.

If you know of other Omaha activities I should add to this list, please drop me a line at

Stay tuned for more details, developments, etc.  For students, please remember to enter your work in the Mark of Excellence Awards!

Save the Date: Region 7 Spring Conference

I am starting to get excited about the Region 7 Spring Conference!

When: April 9-10, 2010

Where: Omaha, NE at the Doubletree Hotel downtown

Keep in mind, we are in the early stages of getting this together, so our plans are subject to change.  Still, I wanted to give you an idea of how things are shaping up!

We’ll kick things off Friday night with SPJ’s very own “Ethics Hold ‘Em,” a version of the game where everyone wins (ethically speaking)! See this link from a South Florida Pro chapter event for more

Folks in the region, Heather Porter at SPJ headquarters in Indianapolis, and I have come up with the following subjects/topics for our sessions:

Multimedia –  Ron Sylvester of the Wichita Eagle who will showcase some great ideas for taking traditional journalism forms to the next level.

FOI/SunshineCharles Davis and Randy Brown of the The National Freedom of Information Coalition and the FOI Advocate have a great presentation that will open your eyes to open records.

Diversity from the ground up: Hiring and beyond — I am assembling a panel that includes SPJ Diversity Committee Chair Pueng Vongs.  Looking for at least one more panelist!

Federal Shield Law — Working on a great keynote speaker who can enlighten us, whether we have a law by April or not.

First Jobs — Early career journalists talk about the strategies that worked for them when they embarked on their post college job hunt.

Entrepeneurship for Journalists — Carla Kimbrough-Robinson (you may have read her regular Quill column on career development) will share her strategies.

Of course the Mark of Excellence lunch where we honor student journalists from the region will be a highlight on Saturday!  We’ll wrap up the conference Saturday afternoon with a business session.  I hope we can rope in some Nebraska journalists to start a professional chapter!  If you know you are interested in getting in on the ground floor, it’s not too early to let me know.

You’ll notice that we are not building the conference around traditional media “tracks.” No broadcast-only or print-only sessions.  I expect multimedia and media convergence themes to be part of every session in one way or another.  Many of us are already working across two or more platforms.  As Ron Sylvester says, one day soon it’s likely we will ALL be multimedia journalists.

With all of the above in mind, any ideas for a tag line or conference “theme?” I await your ideas!  Watch this space for information about registration, hotel room rates and more.


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