Just a couple days away from the NABJ convention and I can't stop thinking about New Orleans. Is it the gumbo? No, maybe it's the sounds of jazz and splashes of French culture dancing down the scorching hot streets. I have realized that it takes a lot of effort, thought, and preparation to attend this year's 37th Annual National Association of Black Journalists convention. For starters, I had to make sure all of my 3oz toiletries were purchased for travel. I had to order some new business cards and revamp my resume website. Thankfully, I have my reporter notepad ready to take notes during learning labs, which will cover entrepreneurship and career transition. My iPad has been charging for the past week, so I can live blog from each event and put my voice recorder to good use.
I plan to be ahead of the game, dressed in high heels and a two piece skirt suit to show that I mean business. Although the Big Easy is a city to get your party on, I won't be getting it "crunk" until I've soaked up more knowledge than I arrived with. I'm a newbie to the NABJ convention, so I have no idea what to expect, which is the beauty of stepping into a new environment. It seems like it can be overwhelming -- trying to attend every learning lab, shake everyone's hands, and exchange business cards to broaden my network, but like always, I'm up for the challenge.
NABJ's convention is like the Oscars for black Journalists. There are endless possibilities for a budding reporter like myself who is hungry for knowledge, crawfish, and opportunities. I look forward to rubbing elbows with seasoned professionals like, Mr. Controversy himself--no not Kanye West, but Roland S. Martin, MSNBC host, Melissa Harris Perry, and political leaders Joe Biden and Reverend Al. Sharpton (I probably won't get close to Biden, but it's nice to dream). It's rumored that President Barack Obama will be attending this year's event, so I'm beyond elated to be in attendance.
I am a GED prep teacher by day and a multimedia journalist who spends all my free time trying to break into this tight knit industry. The career fair is what attracted me to NABJ's convention because I need a job in my field. I recently received my Master's in print and multimedia journalism not only because I wanted to enhance my journalistic skills, but because the economy stunk when I graduated in 2007 from Howard University (HU!!!). I definitely feel a little more optimistic than I did five years ago because I know I will land a job because of Obama's efforts to create more jobs in the US and work towards building a stable economy (which he barely receives credit for).
I leave from Boston on Wednesday to go to New Orleans. Admittedly, I'm a bit antsy to dodge some of the disappointed Celtics fans and this bipolar weather. After playing tug of war with my finances and researching hotels and tickets; I finally landed a sweet deal that I couldn't resist. I received a grant post graduation from Emerson's College's graduate school, which helped fund my trip. I believe my attendance at this year's convention is a blessing and will open several doors to new opportunities and connections. I'm ready to immerse myself in journalism overtime, eat crawfish, blog for the Huffington Post, listen to great music, and meet good people.