ACPDC Rewind: Rewarding experience, amazing keynotes, wider speaker variety needed in sessions

By Bryan Anderson

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I have thoroughly enjoyed the past few days in Washington D.C. at the ACP National College Media Convention. I got to have a former Washington Post editor critique my resumé and offer advice for being competitive when applying for internships. Bill Elsen told me clips are the greatest item of importance along with a cover letter or bio. Though resumés are important too, he said evaluators care most about experience and drive.

The highlight of the convention was the fantastic keynote speakers. Because our organization left Sunday morning, I only got to see three of the four presenters — Donna Brazile, Bob Woodward and Edward Snowden. All of these keynote addresses were informative and helpful for young professional journalists. I really appreciated how ACPDC had keynote speakers with diverse backgrounds.

The sessions themselves were interesting, especially Al Drago’s presentation about Snapchat. It seemed the majority of speakers in sessions were professors talking about issues specific to their institutions or of little relevance to my work at Elon University. For example, one speaker talked about FOIA requests. The presentation was interesting and engaging, but it had little to do with my work in student media at a private institution. I would hope more efforts could be made in the future to try to bring in more speakers from professional newsrooms as opposed to professors. Several professors delivered amazing presentations. I just hoped to see greater variety in the scheduling.

As a side note, one issue I had was the lack of opportunities for people to interact with students from other organizations. I felt that an overwhelming majority of students stayed within their respective social circles. The opportunity cost to this was an open exchange of ideas. I’m not sure I have a solution to this problem because I feel it is more of a cultural issue. Nevertheless, I felt it was worth noting that there is value in fostering a more collaborative, sociable environment. I was still able to meet a couple terrific individuals I will make sure I stay in touch with.

Outside of the convention, I was able to enjoy the city by walking to the White House and the Lincoln Memorial. I even got to visit the Newseum for a couple hours. In the future, I hope to be able to explore more of the city. Also, I loved capping off the trip by going to the Verizon Center to watch the Washington Capitals square off against the New York Rangers. Though my adviser was not pleased with the outcome — the Rangers won 4-2 — we had a fun time.

Cheers from D.C., it’s been a terrific experience! I very much look forward to coming to the next conference.

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