Today was the first day of the SPJ Region 11 conference, and to be honest, it was a little boring. I felt strange going back to my alma mater and it brought back A LOT of memories from my undergrad years.
I met current UH students who also wrote for Ka Leo, the school newspaper (I did that too), and we all sat in the front row during John Temple’s (founding editor of Honolulu Civil Beat) presentation about the changing role of journalists and the field itself. It reminded me of my mass communication classes about citizen journalism, participation of the public in the shaping of news, etc. The questions people asked at the end were good, and in response to one of my new acquaintance’s question about what skills students should have upon graduation Temple said that we should start blogging (already do that), and be familiar with HTML. My takeaway from his presentation was that journalism should be an all inclusive industry, from the reporters to the public, everyone has something to contribute.
I stayed for the panel called Protection of Journalists, which reminded me of that tough journalism law class (motions, cameras allowed in the courtroom, shield laws, etc.) This one was local, focusing on obtaining government records in Hawaii and how journalists are protected here. What really got to me was Tommy Russo (editor at Maui Time Weekly), told his story about his run in with Maui police and how disorderly they are. They’re brutal, literally. They don’t like reporters. Conclusion: Journalists need protection and it’s tough to get it.
By the time that panel was finished it was 5:30, so I decided to go home and not stay for the mixer. Even though it was kind of boring (I did yawn a bit in the panel) I did learn things, and was reminded of a few things.
Tomorrow is gonna be a long one, but it has the best panels. I’m not thrilled to be waking up early but oh well.