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By Willie Schatz
Immediate Past President, Washington D.C. Pro Chapter
The Convention Cometh, and So Should You. Washington, D.C., is the place to be from Oct. 4-7!
The 2007 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference is coming to the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. Take advantage of world-class seminars, participate in hands-on workshops and hear from nationally recognized speakers. Here's a sample of what we have planned:
Professional Development Programs. There's something for everyone in this year's schedule, including special tracks in computer-assisted reporting and Campaign '08. Check out the ever-growing list of scheduled programs happening Oct. 4-7.
Heavy Hitters. We have several sessions planned that will go above and beyond our typical top-notch conference offerings. These programs, which include speakers such as Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas); Ken Paulson, editor of USA Today; and Robert Novak, Chicago Sun-Times columnist. In addition, several former White House Press Secretaries will highlight the biggest issues facing journalism today.
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday. Don't bail out early! There are great programs on Sunday morning. Check out the Sunday line-up, which includes: Deconstructing Virginia Tech; The Wrong Stuff, a session that will discuss the fall of Duke Cunningham, one of America's most corrupt Congressmen; Web Productivity and Tech Tools Workout; Investigative Reporting on National Security Issues; When Disaster Strikes; Integrating Staff and User-Generated Content; and 30 Stellar New Investigative Project Ideas.
Young Journalist Forum. McClatchy Newspapers Baghdad Bureau Chief Leila Fadel will talk with veteran Hearst Newspapers journalist Helen Thomas during the Young Journalist Forum at 7:30 a.m., Oct. 5.
Project Watchdog. Join fellow journalists and members of the Washington, D.C., community at 1 p.m., Oct. 4, for a discussion about taxes and our rights. Award-winning WTOP reporter Mark Segraves leads the discussion at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.
Career Advice. Don't forget your résumé and clips. Get them critiqued and take advantage of networking opportunities, Oct. 5-7, at the Career Development Center. And who knows? Maybe you'll get your break with a recruiter at the Journalism Expo.
Pre-Convention Training. Warm up for the convention by going to one of our three Half-Day Training Workshops on Oct. 4. Workshop topics include citizen media, a tour of the Supreme Court building and live shot broadcast training. Space is limited and registration is required.
Headline Tours. Here is your chance to go behind the scenes of some of the biggest news companies in America. Sign-up on site for tours to NPR, Bloomberg News, AP Radio Network, WTTG-Fox 5 and NBC News Washington Bureau.
Opening Night Reception. The convention kicks off at 7 p.m., Oct. 4, with the Opening Night Reception and Legal Defense Fund Auction. Join guest auctioneers Bob Scheiffer, one of broadcast journalism's most experienced newsmen, and Jim Bohannon, a member of the Radio Hall of Fame and the originator of National Freedom of Information Day, for a night of red-carpet treatment. Tickets are required for this event.
How to Keep Busy Outside. Although we'd like to think the main event is the 2007 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference, we know that you'll want to arrive early and stay late to see the city's sights. Get the skinny on what's happening during your stay in Washington, D.C.
Tips to getting around D.C. The District of Columbia is 67 square miles and is divided into four quadrants: Northwest, Southwest, Northeast and Southeast. The U.S. Capitol building marks the center where the quadrants meet. Numbered streets run north and south. Lettered streets run east and west (there are no J, X, Y, or Z streets; L'Enfant was good, not perfect), alphabetically becoming two-syllable names, then three-syllable names as you travel farther from the center. Avenues named for the fifty states run diagonally, often meeting at traffic circles and squares.
Have We Convinced You Yet? By now, we hope that you're feverishly trying to plan your world-class visit to Washington, D.C. Here are a few tips to help you along:
Book Your Hotel. Rooms are going fast! Book yours today. Reduced room rates range between $175-$185 per night. The deadline to secure this special rate is Sept. 10 or until the hotel sells out of SPJ's room block, whichever comes first.
Find a Roomie. If the hotel room rate has you down, visit SPJ.org's discussion board and find a roommate.
Fly friendly. Northwest and American Airlines are offering convention goers discounts between five and 10 percent off their regular fares. Get the details.
Just the Beginning. Obviously, that's not all, folks. But we're out of time and out of space. You can find everything you want to know (even if you were afraid to ask) about the convention at SPJ.org.
See You in Washington, D.C.!