I haven't been in the office since Wednesday afternoon, but that doesn't mean I haven't been "on duty."
Wednesday afternoon involved a tour of facilities at Northeast Iowa Community College's Peosta Campus, which is one of the facilities to benefit if a bond issue is approved by voters Feb. 20, and then the balance of the same ol' 200-mile drive to Des Moines.
My schedule Thursday and Friday were jammed with responsibilities and activities for the Iowa Newspaper Association and its Iowa Newspaper Foundation: Board meeting, annual meeting, convention seminars, college-student luncheon and election of foundation officers. I continued on a four-year cycle as an officer of the foundation, moving up another chair to First Vice President. That means that, barring impeachment, my one-year term as foundation President starts in February 2008.
On Saturday, I attended the annual meeting and awards program of the Iowa Associated Press Managing Editors. I volunteered the Telegraph Herald to host a regional training seminar in the coming year. Besides recognizing that it was our turn to host, I think it is beneficial when we can bring other reporters and editors to Dubuque. They just might see enough they like to consider Dubuque and the TH as a future place to call home.
The highlight of the week was reconnecting with a former college roommate, Ken Paulson, who accepted my invitation to be the INA convention's keynote speaker. Ken and I have known each other since we ran track at our respective high schools. Ken, who some folks might remember as the creator and moderator of the Freedom Forum's production, which in Dubuque enjoyed its biggest audience ever. That was in April 2004. Within a week of Ken's visit to Dubuque, he was named editor of USA TODAY. Anyway, Ken gave a great speech on journalistic responsibility and heroism that the audience -- yes, even publishers -- gave him a standing ovation.
This might seem inconsistent, but I'll say this: While my time in the capital city passed relatively quickly, by mid-afternoon Saturday I was more than glad to see Des Moines in my rearview mirror.