One thing I love about the University of Missouri School of Journalism is that it provides me with opportunities to get out of the state on a regular basis.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy living in Missouri. I just enjoy the ability to get the most out of my time in graduate school.
Anyway, for the second time in three weeks, I am at a conference. Three weeks ago, I was working the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting conference in St. Louis. This weekend, I’m in Indianapolis at the conference for the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, also known as SABEW.
It’s been a long day, but it’s been fun and relatively educational. Since this is a three-day conference, I think I’ll do a post each day with the five biggest things I learned each day. However, not all will be entirely journalism related.
So here goes:
1. Google is doing its best to help make journalists’ lives easier. For starters, I still don’t love their search. Because it can’t search behind paywalls or those random verifiers on some sites that make you spell words to verify your humanity, it doesn’t find everything.
However, things like Google Trends, Google Public Data and Google Insights are providing analytical data that journalists don’t have to piece together themselves. Better yet, with most things on their site being embeddable, journalists can use these tools on their sites without asking for permission.
2. Good business journalists are in high demand, because business jargon might as well be its own language. If you sat in on a speech by the Security and Exchange Commission chair, Mary Schapiro, as I did, you’d easily get lost if you weren’t an economist. If a journalist cannot understand the subject matter, he or she will never be able to communicate it to a broader audience.
That’s not to say that there aren’t great business journalists at this conference. On the contrary. Many of the journalists here are very good at what they do and very knowledgeable about the world of business. But this is just a small sample size.
3. Indianapolis is much smaller than I expected. I was expecting a hustling and bustling city. It does not seem that way from my vantage point. The city is very compact and even during busy hours the traffic isn’t terrible.
That being said, there’s a lot to like about this city. Monument Circle is gorgeous. The State House is just as pretty. The food is good. It’s very walkable. I can’t say that I would be averse to living here in the future, although I still think my likeliest destination is a major city by the coast.
4. The National Endowment for Financial Education is doing a lot to help students prepare themselves to be financially responsible. I was lucky enough to be one of the few invited to speak at a breakfast for the organization this morning, mostly involving my experiences with personal finance. Apparently I did a good job.
In the near future, I will be publishing a few blogs for the organization, about my own unique personal finance situation. As part of their College Connect program, I will share my experiences with college students across the country on what to do, and what not to do, when it comes to personal finance. The organization does good work, and I am excited to help them out.
5. The Indiana Pacers are in good hands. Tonight, I got the opportunity to hear Jim Morris, the Pacers’ president, speak. He’s a great speaker and very insightful. He knows a lot about basketball and is very passionate about bringing great basketball back to the state of Indiana.
I did not realize that the man was a former Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme. He’s a smart man, and very community oriented, and I was proud to shake his hand and chat him up a bit after his speech was done.
That’s it for today. Looking forward to a full day tomorrow. Stay tuned.