Home > thoughts > Unity ’08: The Story Pt. 1

Unity ’08: The Story Pt. 1

I’m back!

Last week I went to Chicago for the Unity ’08 Journalism Conference and let me tell you, it was splendiferous. Unity is the quadrennial meeting of the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Thanks to some convincing by my Aunt TaRessa, Uncle Joe Calvin, and cousin Calvin, along with funding from the mother, I was able to partake in the glory that is minority journalism.

The following is part 1 of my “assignment” for my Uncle Joe, which is several days late. I think he would agree me working, contacting individuals about financial aid, and squaring away my academic future is worth the delay… at least I hope.

To start off the city of Chicago seemed great. I say seemed because I didn’t really get to experience Chicago. The schedule and structure of the conference did not lend itself to exploration, yet it gave enough of a taste that when I get the opportunity I will definitely return to create a unique set of Chicago adventures. Sidenote: Niketown in Chicago SUCKS—God awful. Niketown Seattle kills the Chicago version, and if I remember correctly, as it’s been over a decade, the one in Portland puts the both combined to shame.)

The vast majority of the time at the conference with Calvin (aka hurt Spanky, just Spanky, Baby Barkley and any other random name you see in this blog), and we tried to do everything that Unity had to offer, while pelting each other with insults. So from day one we took in all the networking, learning sessions, and freebies we could find.

I am not a big fan of crowds and I anticipated being daunted, by such a large gathering of people. I was right. But it wasn’t necessarily the crowds as much as it was the women. They were everywhere. It was like….hmmm. How bout this, imagine the greatest thing you can imagine and multiply that by a very large number. Yep, THAT good!

Lucky for me, I had a wonderful mentor to keep me in line and make sure I was in the right place at the right time. Sheila Brooks founder, CEO and President of SRB productions MADE the trip for me. She introduced me to the most important people in NABJ, made sure I got to see and do everything valuable Unity had to offer, and made sure I dotted my I’s and crossed my T’s when it came to networking etiquette.

The main “happening” of the conference was the continuous career fair. Schools, broadcast companies, newspapers, online news entities—even the WWE showed up and showed off their interests to a large diverse portion of the journalism workforce. I bounced around the expo center, jumping from booth to booth and gathering all the information I could, while bouncing my ideas and thoughts off of the various representative agents.

I must say, even though it looks like the job market is shrinking in journalism I feel like there is something for anyone who chooses to embark in “professional gossip,” as the great Gabriel, who speaks on everything, eloquently calls journalism.

As the expo hall was laid out, the major corporations and bigger news entities (ESPN, NBC, CNN, USA Today, etc) held the prime real estate in the center of the fair. On the outside perimeter, the less glamorous elements of the media (Poynter Institute, USA.gov, smaller schools, and environmental journalism) beckoned for those who seek training, and a channel to meet the needs of specialized groups. So for all you young journalists, there are opportunities if you seek them out.

That’s it for part 1. I think that’s enough to digest for one day. Part 2 and more posts coming very soon!

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