The CMA convention was more than just a journalism conference. I do wish I had had the opportunity to get to know more students from other schools, since their ideas and advice are so valuable to improving The Pendulum, but, overall, it was a pretty productive weekend.
Having our newspaper critiqued was the best part for me. We work so hard every Monday night to pull together a paper that’s even better than the previous week’s, and that’s not an easy task. Even though we’re critical of ourselves because we have high expectations, we have a lot to be proud of, too. There’s always room to improve, but it’s really nice to take a step back and hear someone else’s positive opinion of our work.
As for the sessions, I agonized for hours before the conference trying to choose the best combination. They had all seemed so amazing, it was challenging to narrow them down. But, to my disappointment, it turned out there was often a bit of discrepancy between the description and actual content of each session. While I didn’t attend any sessions that I would call “bad,” there were a few times I exercised the number one rule of the conference: if you’re not learning anything, get up and walk out. It felt rude at first, but walking out of one session led me to explore the exhibit hall and stumble upon an excellent networking opportunity that I never would have expected.
Overall, I had a great weekend exploring the city among hundreds of future journalists. I really wish I could have gone on a media tour of The New York Times or Associated Press, but many of the sessions were led by former journalists from these and other news organizations and it was truly an incredible opportunity to hear them speak.