One week later…

It feels like a year has passed between last Sunday and now. I could blame the massive workload, the paper that needed to be produced the next day, or the large quantities of anti-sinus infection, anti-bronchitis medications that have been consumed for the last few days. I think it’s probably a little of both.

I hadn’t had a lot of time to actually reflect on what I gained from Orlando, and then the other day I caught myself brainstorming a staff member at a magazine I could send a letter and kick off the “informational interview” process, a job search technique I learned in a session. That’s when you know a conference, or any learning experience has been a success, I think. You don’t have to dig down to process or evaluate. The new information is just there, along with all the old stuff, mashing together to increase your intelligence or abilities. So, apparently, I got some learnin’ in Orlando, and that’s always good to know.

The other thing I wanted to mention in this final reflection is that this fall, I’ve had the chance to head to two separate conventions, one that was student-based and geared for undergrads (this one), and Excellence in Journalism, a joint SPJ/RTDNA venture geared towards professionals, with some student attendance. It was very interesting to see the differences between the two, and the similarities. What conclusions can I make? Well several….

  • Social media is a hot topic for everyone, young and more experienced. Everyone wants to talk about and everyone’s got new ways to use it
  • Students are very concerned about fighting for jobs, while professionals are less panicky about it. But no matter what, everyone wants to stand out
  • Professional standards are apparently implemented in people’s brains at graduation. Suits were the standard uniform at the professional level, and at the student level, I saw everything from suits and heels to gym shorts and ratty flip-flops. I’m not sure if it’s a generational thing or not; maybe I’m just an old soul, but I come from the “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” frame of mind.
  • EVERYONE is concerned with protecting that most sacred of journalistic principles: the First Amendment. And there are a zillion ways it can come under attack and we all must rally to preserve it.

So, in closing, we were all merry in Orlando, although it’s always nice to be “home” at Elon. Thanks for reading…

-Rachel Southmayd


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