Summer 2013 Vol. 36, No. 3 2013 NEWSPA Conference introduces new features by Barbara A. Benish NEWSPA Executive Secretary The 2013 NEWSPA conference lasted only a day. But I hope you’re still celebrating your publications’ successes. We have already sent press releases to all area newspapers, so if you haven’t yet seen the story about your publications’ awards, you should shortly. Inside this newsletter, too, is a listing of all winners, as well as several of the winning articles, designs and photographs. But NEWSPA is more than just newspaper and yearbook contests. The 2013 conference, held April 17 at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, featured many top speakers from northeastern Wisconsin and as far away as Chicago. Keynote speaker Kirsten Strom, client services supervisor for Pandora, told students about her path to Pandora, which took skill, hard work and a little bit of luck to land the job at the company synonymous with internet radio. If you missed her speech, you can listen to the podcast at http://www.uwosh.edu/journalism/newspa/. Just click on the resources link to find it. You can also watch podcasts of Kevin Rau on “Yearbook Layout and Design,” Amanda Gojdosik on “Blogging about Food and Other Topics” and Sara Steffes Hansen and Brody Karmenzind on “What’s Your Klout and Why it Matters.” We tried something new this year— asking students and advisers to critique each session by doing a SurveyMonkey survey using their phones and iPods. While the response we received was good, we had few people who took the time to give feedback. For next year, we’ll be back to paper surveys to get more input. Still, here are just some of the comments: § Shane Nyman, “Writing Reviews” — “Shane was a great speaker who had some fantastic information to give. It was really interesting to hear him speak. Those who didn’t attend his session really missed out. “ § Brad Weber, “Using YouTube and Social Media to Market Yourself” —“Funny guy. Good examples.” § Nick Penzenstadler, “Get the Dirt” Harnessing Search Functions on the Web to Get the Story” — “It’s almost creepy what you can find out about people online when you know where to look.” § Grace Lim, “It’s about You. Not! The Art of the Artful Column — “Had good samples of student work.” § Trent Scott, “Get the Most from Every Interview” — “Really interactive, helpful information.” § Amanda Gajdosik, Blogging About Food or Any Other Topic “ — “Loved her personality and presentation!” The live Twitter feed worked well again this year to keep students abreast of speakers and sessions. That will return in 2014. Also back will be Vince Filak, adviser to the Advance-Titan, offering one-on-one critiques with newspaper staffs. As much as schools loved his feedback, they also loved the book he created filled with all sorts of helpful hints. What was also exciting this year was that some of our speakers were NEWSPA alumni, including Penzenstadler and Gajdosik who came to NEWSPA as high school students and are now giving back to the organization as speakers. Others were UW-Oshkosh alumni, such as Amelia Compton Wolff, Melanie Cross and Brandon Berg. If there were a negative to the conference, it would be lower than expected attendance at about 350 students and advisers. I’ll be emailing schools to see why they didn’t come, and if the reason is financial, we’ll look to create some type of scholarship program to help pay for substitute teachers, buses, or whatever need they have. I hope to have more on that in our Fall newsletter. Can we improve the conference? Of course. That’s why we do the surveys and ask for your feedback. We need — and want —your comments. Good and bad. The board will be meeting in October to begin planning for the 2014 conference. If you have ideas about the conference or contest, email those to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Yes, it’s a lot of work to put together a conference with 40-plus speakers and nearly 400 students and advisers. But when you see the students engaged and staying after to meet with presenters, you know it’s worth it. You know that they are going back to their school, once again excited to work on their high school yearbooks or newspapers. You know that those high school students are the future journalism professionals who will be giving their wisdom at NEWSPA conferences within a few years. And what could be better than that?