By Carmen Glover
For years I have mulled over the idea of attending the NABJ Convention and Career Fair but something always came up, pushing the thought into the deep recesses of my mind. But this year was different and I am very happy that I decided to attend the convention in Orlando, Florida from July 31, to August 4, 2013. During the opening night ceremony, New York’s Chapter won professional chapter of the year and Syracuse University won student chapter of the year. Afterwards, we enjoyed a spectacular presentation and block party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, replete with tasty dishes, lively music and a special Disney show.
The next morning, I staggered out of bed to participate in the workout session led by Billy Blanks Jr. and his wife Sharon. However, after surviving the grueling hour-long exercise routine, I nearly fainted from shock when I won a raffle held for workout participants. I also enjoyed a delicious mango/pineapple smoothie, courtesy of the McDonald’s booth. Later in the week, I stopped by the Healthy Pavilion to have my Body Mass Index (BMI) read and get dietary tips.
Throughout the four-day convention and career fair, I attended various seminars, met new friends, re-connected with longtime colleagues and had a good time. Among the most compelling sessions were “Conversation with Civil Rights Legend Simeon Booker”; Prudential’s “Cultivating Personal Wealth” moderated by Sharon Epperson of CNBC and featuring panelists such as Ivory Johnson, founder of Delancey Wealth Management, LLC, Michelle Singletary of the Washington Post and LaToya Smith of Black Enterprise; “Talking Heads 2.0” featuring Michael Smith and Jemele Hill of ESPN’s Numbers Never Lie, Arianne Thompson of USA Today and moderated by entertainment reporter Kelley Carter; “Ethics in Media,” moderated by Randall Pinkston and featuring Trayvon Martin’s parents, “The “Branding of You,” moderated by former NABJ President Will Sutton and featuring Herb Lowe of Marquette University and Paula Madison of Madison Media Management LLC and “A Look at the Future of Magazines,” moderated by Yanick Rice Lamb of Howard University, with panelists including Vanessa Bush, editor-in-chief of Essence, Adrienne Samuels Gibbs, senior editor of Ebony and Keith Reed, senior editor of ESPN the Magazine/Treasurer NABJ.
I especially enjoyed the Awards Gala and the Sunday Gospel Brunch because both events made it easy for attendees to interact, and had great hosts: Don Lemon of CNN and Cari Champion of ESPN for the former and Syan Roberts of WESH-TV and Rod Carter of WFLA-TV for the latter. It was also interesting observing folks swarming around singer Tyrese at the screening of the upcoming movie Black Nativity. The screening of the film, 12 Years a Slave was poignant while subsequent discussion with its stars Alfre Woodard, Lupita Nyong’o and the film’s director, Steve McQueen, was enlightening. During the Sports Task Force Scholarship Jam at the House of Blues, Hugh Douglas had unflattering words for his Numbers Never Lie co-host Michael Smith.
Bob Butler, who participated in the workout session, became the newest NABJ President, in an election that had an alarmingly low participation rate of less that 45% of the overall membership. Tv One’s Roland Martin was named journalist of the year and Gregory L. Moore of the Denver Post received the Lifetime Achievement Award and Disney’s Carmen J. Smith accepted Dr. Shelley Stewart’s Community Service Award on his behalf. Several of the moderators listed in the journal were no shows at the convention but the events went on smoothly. I left the convention loving the world of journalism even more, while being concerned by the changes looming on the horizon for print journalism. See you in Boston next year! –OnPointPress.net.