So folks are filtering back to homes, jobs and schools, and I have a couple more hours to spend at the RenCen before hopping a flight back to Sacramento. If you’re a little younger, like me, and leaving one of your first conventions, you might need to take a few minutes to wrap your head around everything you did and learned. Here are a few suggestions about things to do post-convention (after you get some sleep, and maybe regain your hearing from karaoke) to make sure the experience carries over, courtesy of Bobby Calvan, a veteran newspaper reporter and AAJA National Board rep from the Sacramento chapter:
- Think back on everyone you talked to, go through the business cards you collected, and reflect on those conversations. Jot down a few notes on what you talked about and the advice that was offered, while it’s still fresh.
- Reconnect with the people you met, whether by email or Facebook. For those who really went out of their way to share their expertise, or gave advice that really hit home for you, write them a thank-you note.
- Make use of the stuff you learned in workshops and seminars by putting it to use. If you’re a print reporter who went to an audio session, for example, try using an audio element in an online package, or something that will let you experiment with the new skills you acquired.
- Email the other members of your chapter, who weren’t able to attend, to let them know what workshops you did and that they can contact you if they want to learn more about what you learned. Or gather your notes, and whatever handouts and links were provided, and email those out.
- Reflect on why events like this are important – reminding you about how joyful it is being part of a community within journalism.
This being my second convention, that last part really resonated with me. It was good seeing a lot of the same people from last year in addition to meeting new ones. Detroit was great (“authentic,” as it was described at the gala last night, was a well-chosen word). And thanks again to the Ford Foundation for allowing me to attend.
— Matt Kawahara, AAJA Sacramento