Embracing any opportunity to grow and expand is necessary when you are dealing with your life’s passion. In order to grow, you must be open to learn, to take in advice, and to absorb the experiences of others. When I am given the opportunity to grow, I embrace it with all that I can.
The NIC Sentinel staff selected myself and one of our photographers to attend the 2017 ACP/CMA Media Convention in Dallas, Texas. With four days full of sessions, critiques, and workshops, I had very limited time to experience all that I wanted to.
We arrived in Dallas in the late afternoon after a layover in Portland, Oregon and almost 5 hours total spent in the air. The plane time was extremely useful in deciding on what sessions we would attend over the next couple of days. Upon arrival, I didn’t hesitate to start my trip off indulging in one of the best things Texas has to offer– Tex-Mex from Chuy’s.
My Friday kicked off with a visit to the Dallas ABC channel, WFAA. I met up with reporter Hannah Davis, and had my own personal tour of the station. She walked me through the news room, introducing me to producers, those involved with digital media, her bosses, and everyone in between.
While at the station, I was exposed to the behind-the-scenes of journalism, but also the adjustments that journalism has made to adapt to the new digital age. This was the day after thousands of previously withheld documents from the JFK assassination were released to the public, so the newsroom was buzzing.
Other than observing the jobs being done at the station, Davis gave me some inside information on how she conducts her own Facebook Live videos. We walked through the process from caption to position to interaction with the audience. You can catch the result of our live-stream on the NIC Sentinel Facebook page.
The rest of Friday was filled with workshops and sessions at the convention. My sessions of choice were selected in an attempt to challenge myself, and show me what it means to branch out as a journalist.
In challenging myself, I took sessions that centered around photography and adapting to the digital age. It is my personal philosophy that no job is and ever will be too small for me, so it is important that I learn and experience each part of both written and broadcast journalism.
The remaining workshops that I attended on Friday were all faith-based workshops. Having a strong Christian belief can be a challenge in any profession, let alone one as public as journalism. Journalism deals directly with politics in many cases, so it was extremely valuable to discuss and listen to challenges Christian journalists face on a daily basis.
Saturday was my day to be the Sports Editor that I am and attend a true Texas football game. I took a bus to Waco, Texas and met up with some of our family friends. The game, played between the University of Texas Longhorns and the Baylor Bears, was frustrating, exciting, and a great reminder of why I have chosen to cover sports.
There wasn’t anything short of excitement at the game, reminding me that sports are a lifestyle for many. My journalism career path means travel and enduring the elements to give a recount of what could be some of the the best and worst historical events in sports.
Sunday I was back at the conference, ready to embrace more from those around me. I began my day with another session on the intersection of being Christian and working in media. The conclusion is that it absolutely is possible. It is crucial for journalists to have a strong foundation, and mine just so happens to be my faith. It was reassuring to know I am not the only journalist with a strong faith.
We had a keynote speaker and awards to finish out the conference. The Sentinel took the 3rd place Pinnacle Award for Two Year Newspaper of the Year for the 2016-2017 academic year.
My final trip to Chuy’s felt like first place.
The conference was meant to be a time to make connections, have fun, and explore various forms of media. It did just that and more—it reminded me why I chose this career.