Over the course of several days at the AAJA convention in Detroit, I attended six different workshops, reunited with old colleagues, developed new relationships, received some career advice and even found time to spend a few hours in Canada for the first time in my life.
Yet as I reflect on my convention experience from my home in Minneapolis, I have to say that I feel a renewed sense of passion for the profession I chose.
I’ve been unemployed since January. Yes, I’ve done some occasional freelance work, but nothing that would allow me to make a living. Needless to say, the past few months have been discouraging as I’ve struggled to find a full time job. But after talking with people at the Detroit convention — people who still have the burning desire to tell stories and act as watchdogs in their communities despite the current status of the industry — I not only have a renewed sense of optimism, but I’ve also been reminded that journalism is not just a job, but an important public service. And with this newfound sense of optimism, I can safely say that a career change won’t be in the cards for me anytime soon (despite the warnings of some people during the workshops I attended about how journalism is a dying industry with a broken business model).
So once again, I thank AAJA and the Ford Foundation for making my trip to Detroit possible.
I look forward to seeing some old and new faces next year at UNITY in Las Vegas.
— Delane Cleveland, AAJA Minnesota