Relaunch

I’m busy as a bee, but I’ll try to get back to this later.

I relaunched the blog with a standard template because it’s still not showing up on IE for XP. I’m none too pleased, but I need a quick fix until later.

Entering journalism arena

I’m writing from an Internet kiosk with many eager journalists waiting in line, so I’ll be brief. Kerry gave a well-received speech this morning. His speech was a good blend of his current campaign talking points and addressing the concerns of attendees. I hope Bush does this well tomorrow.

So far, the media and career fair is very useful for me — primarily for making contacts although the critique I received for news writing gave included some good pointers and positive feedback.

It’s fun trying to balance my time at the fair with the workshops and everything else I want to do in the Beltway. There should be some fun tonight at the convention hotel — many receptions will be underway.

I’ve jotted down many thoughts on my eMate. I’ll be updating the blog with these entries whenever I can.

First off: Journalism Arena

Why didn’t I sign up for UNITY six months ago? I found out yesterday that Iron Chef Morimoto would be at Friday’s AAJA gala. However, there’s a considerable waitlist with the show “sold out.” I also found out that he wouldn’t be speaking, but “attending.”

In addition to the Iron Chef, someone named Connie Chung is supposed to be speaking. However, seeing Morimoto in person would’ve made my day.

More later.

Huh?

I can’t see the blog from where I’m posting at the career fair. I’m kinda hoping that it can be viewed elsewhere. I don’t know why it’s a big deal — IMO blogging typically means far more for the author than for the intended audience.

On the floor

On the floor of the career expo. Working on this entry while balancing the computer on one hand and typing with the other. It’s kinda awkward, but it’s working out.

Making good contacts that I’m definitely going to follow up on. Ran into former Guardian editor Grace. Still trying to develop my schedule, but there’s still a lot of people I want to meet.

Kerry gave an excellent speech this morning. Look forward to seeing Bush speak tomorrow.

This post was originally created on Aug. 5, 2004. It was uploaded later.

Getting used to DC

I’m getting adjusted to how close so many attractions are to the convention center. NPR, one of my meccas of journalism, is literally across the street.

My initial accommodations are another example. I spent my first night in the International Hostel on 11th Street (where many young, frugal journalists are staying). The facility is relatively close to the Metro Center rail station — about four blocks. It’s a shame that I later realized that the main entrance to the “new” convention center is two-and-a-half blocks away.

The distance to the subway station would’ve been manageable had there not been a sudden cloudburst Wednesday night. Thankfully, nothing got soaked because of the refuge of the “old” convention center. As it turns out, the hostel is between both buildings.

The hostel was a nice, if old, place and I wish I got to spend more time getting to know the global trekkers that stayed there. However, I’m committed to stay at the Hyatt Hotel in Crystal City. I got a heckuva deal on rates, and I’m tickled pink that it’s near the Metro line (which goes right back to the convention center).

This post was originally created on Aug. 5, 2004. It was uploaded later.

Tapping into the future

WASHINGTON — What do drumsticks have to do with UNITY and promoting diversity in media? I was wondering that when the usher handed me a pair on entering UNITY’s opening ceremonies on a muggy, yet manageable Wednesday evening. Would there be performers like those in Broadway musicals like Stomp and Bring in da’ noise, Bring in da’ funk?

As it turns out, the audience used the sticks to applaud speakers and to keep the beat during the numerous dance interludes during the ceremonies. All the groups were extremely energetic and entertain, although I found the yellow jumpsuit/red bikini tops worn by the female members of the troupe representing the National Asssociation of Hispanic Journalists a little — bizarre.

The presidents of all four journalism organizations gave appropriately inspiring words about UNITY and promoting diversity. Their comments got me thinking about the meaning of “diversity” and what role it plays in the newsroom and in real life.

All the speakers were generally good, even the sponsors got a say. However, I think the mayor of Washington pushed his agenda for a true representative government in the district a little too hard after some positive opening remarks.

In the end, I was happy that one of my predictions came true. I thought it would be nice for all the dancing and performing groups to perform together. Sure enough, all the groups came on state at the end and started jamming. It looked a little awkward at first, but it came together when everyone started to get into the rhythm. Might their performance be an example for others trying to work together? We’ll see.

Later that night, I was awestruck by the beauty of the airy arches of Union Station. A great portion of the station was closed off for the UNITY opening reception.

The reception was huge — I got a real sense of what 7,500 people in the same room was like. The roar of the conversation in the cavernous room resembled the rumbling of the subway that the gathering was held over. It was easy to feel like a drop in a multicolored sea of people, but I thankfully met a few people toward the end.

One of the people I met — a PR guy from Philadelphia — described UNITY as a “Woodstock for ethnic journalists” albeit a more professional gathering. As the next three days approaches, it’ll be interesting to see events as they unfold.

This post was originally created on 4:49 p.m. on Aug. 4, 2004. It was uploaded later

It’s all in the bag

Just got into town, so here’s a few thoughts as the convention hall fills for the opening ceremonies.

One of the touted perks of convention going are the “goodies.” Since this is a journalism convention, I anticipate many pens, sample newspapers and brochures about media companies or certain causes.

Although I’ve only spent a limited time on the convention floor, many attendees are carrying around bags from several media chains. I don’t know if they’re handouts or if the attendees are actually from that company, but I’m interested in finding out.

One thing that I’m sure about is the handbag that’s included with the registration. The blue bag is emblazoned with the logos of UNITY and The New York Times. The bag appears to be very functional — with many pockets. If there’s one thing that’s true about me is that I like a lot of pockets — especially when I’m a mobile newsroom with notepad, recorder, camera, pen, etc. Although _everyone_ is carrying around these bags, they still look stylish.

Most of the pockets were empty, but the main section yielded some fruit. The pits and stems included most of the material from the sponsors, although the bottled water from the USA Today was nice. The guides to the career fair, visiting DC and the convention itself seemed handy.

This post was originally created on Aug. 4, 2004. It was uploaded later.

Linking up

My UNITY experience begins tomorrow although the convention has had events starting last Friday.

In preparation, here are some useful UNITY links that I’ve come across so far.

  • UNITY 2004 – It’s got almost everything you need know about the convention, including schedules, general information as well as links to tourism info around DC.
  • Knight Ridder at 2004 – A quick Google search turned up a couple of useful sites, including this one. Information about Knight Ridder’s presence at the convention. It also includes useful advice from recruiter Joe Grimm of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Gannett at Unity – Information about Gannett and its UNITY effort.
  • Fun Patrol – This blog from Knight Ridder reporter Jon Fortt _should_ be useful in a few days when the convention gets into full swing.
  • AAJA UNITY Highlights – If you thought the UNITY schedule was daunting, the Asian American Journalists Association lists its events on a separate page. (So does the National Association of Black Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association.) The National Association of Hispanic Journalists has a convention page

Lift off

I relaunched my professional Web site this morning. The site includes examples of my journalism work in writing, photography and design.

To accommodate the form and function of the new Web site, I’ve moved the professional Weblog to http://www.rtomedia.com/pro. I will continue to post updates about my career and journalism-related information on this blog.

Speaking of journalism-related information: This week, I will be attending the UNITY 2004 convention in Washington DC. As the largest gathering of journalists of color in the United States, it’s a terrific opportunity to meet hundreds of media professionals from all over the country.

I’ve set up a special UNITY blog where I will be posting updates and information from the convention floor as time permits.

I encourage you to take a look around the entire site. Please contact me if you have comments or questions. Contact ryan -at- rtomedia.com