Reflections on CMA NYC ’13

After a solid three-weeks’ reflection on everything I learned at CMA NYC ’13 last weekend, I feel like I now know which pieces I will truly take away from this convention and use in my career and life (because they still stand out to me after this long post-convention break). Here’s a lovely bullet list of my life lessons from CMA NYC ’13:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions. The worst that can happen is someone gets upset, and you can’t let every time someone gets upset get in the way, otherwise you’re a pretty ineffective journalist. (Tough Interviews? You Can Do It!)
  • Take risks and jump into the unknown. Who knows? You may just end up with your dream job. (Want to Land a Cool Gig Overseas?)
  • There are many social media tools to help you gain followers or likes, but you can’t just tweet about whatever and expect them to follow you. Find your niche. (Free Tools to Increase Your Following on Twitter and Facebook)
  • Facebook is for emotional posts and questions, and Twitter is for action. Tailor your posts for each. (Free Tools to Increase Your Following on Twitter and Facebook)
  • Think about your audience when you’re writing and anticipate certain types of feedback for controversial posts. If there is a huge negative backlash, it is best not to respond. (The Changing Role of Your Audience)
  • Refine your social media policy once every semester or so. (The Changing Role of Your Audience)
  • Learn to say ‘yes’ and roll with the punches in the newsroom. (Using Improv Comedy to Make Your Staff a Better Team)
  • Your blog is your calling card. As with “Free Tools to Increase Your Following on Twitter and Facebook,” find your niche and do original reporting on it. Doing this will distinguish you from your competition. (This Is How We Roll! Rock & Roll Reporting in a Digital World)
  • Don’t make excuses. Learn to code. You can learn HTML in a day, and it will help you get jobs. So do it. (Coding Doesn’t Suck: It’s Awesome)

So after this very long period of reflection, I would like to say that CMA NYC ’13 was a fantastic convention and one that any aspiring journalist should certainly attend in the future. It has helped me learn and prepare myself for the real world of journalism, and I appreciate having the opportunity to take part in this incredible experience.

– Mary Kate Brogan


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