Session 9: Schmoozing With the Stars (and an Ode To New York)

The CMA Conference ended in all the perfect ways.

Monday night brought with it a delicious dinner at Three Monkeys with Elon alumni, all of whom gave great career advice and really alleviated some of my fears about the summer internship search. The best part, though, was strolling the streets of Times Square with Kate, Elizabeth and Kristen that night. I have yet to experience a more electric place than Times Square, and getting to enjoy it with three of my favorite girls was so much fun. I’m so grateful to The Pendulum and Colin Donohue for allowing us to roam the city and have fun outside the walls of the Sheraton New York. It made all the difference, and turned our trip to the CMA Conference from interesting to unforgettable.

Tuesday morning, too, was a perfect end to the conference itself. I attended one last session — “Schmoozing With the Stars: How to Break Through the Actor and Interview the Person” — led by Jeff Giles, executive editor at Entertainment Weekly. It was, without question, my favorite session of the conference. One thing that set Jeff apart from most of the session leaders was that he really answered everyone’s questions. There were so many instances throughout the conference when a question would be asked, the session leader would start on the right track, then end up somewhere completely different (most of their answers would end with, “Not sure if I answered your question,” which is slightly disheartening).

It was extremely refreshing to chat with Jeff, because those of us who had questions got them answered directly and concisely, assisted by Jeff’s sense of humor and overwhelming arsenal of pop culture knowledge (which probably makes sense, considering the publication for which he works).

This last session was a near-perfect conclusion to the CMA Conference. Attending nine different sessions provided me with knowledge about summer internships, the post-graduation career hunt and, most importantly, how to improve The Pendulum beyond the great product we have now. I learned so much about further transforming The Pendulum into a full-blown news organization — receiving criticism on two of our editions from this semester was more helpful than I could have anticipated.

I truly can’t wait to return to The Pendulum next week with these lessons in mind. We’re winding down our school year soon, but I know we can start implementing these changes immediately to help The Pendulum flourish in the future. And I’m so, so grateful to have had the chance to attend this year’s CMA Conference. I strengthened my friendships with three wonderful, hard-working staff members (and our advisor, of course!), while simultaneously stockpiling a ton of great information for working on The Pendulum, and as a journalist in general.

Until next time, New York!

–Rebecca Iannucci

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