Saturday, February 09, 2008

Iowa Newspaper Association Convention 2008

I returned today from Des Moines, where I spent a full two days at the annual convention of the Iowa Newspaper Association. As a member of the Program Committee and an officer of the Iowa Newspaper Foundation, it is common for me to have a couple of speaking parts at the convention, usually moderating a break-out session or two. I did that, and also, as incoming president of the INF, had the honor of announcing a couple of awards at last night's banquet.

I introduced the panelists for "Writing for the Web vs. Writing For Print," featuring (from left) blogger Dien Judge, who posts on Iowa Independent, former Des Moines Register managing editor Bill Mauer and Doug Burns, of the Daily Times Herald in Carroll who also posts on Iowa Independent; and Chuck "Iowa Boy" Offenburger, the former Des Moines Register columnist whose Web site is .

Because I have this blog, want to learn more about Web news and recently purchased Adobe products for photo and video editing (and have much to learn!) I attended an hour-long PhotoShop basics class by Kevin Slimp, arguably the foremost consultant and presenter on such software. Skeptical about his credentials? Slimp is the man who invented PDFs.

Though I have PhotoShop Elements 6, not exactly the product Slimp reviewed, I learned enough to get headed in the right direction. (A few of these photos were edited using his tips.) As it happened, I wound up sitting next to Slimp, an energetic and entertaining presenter, during lunch, so I was able to get in a few extra questions. (BTW, he told me he didn't get rich on solving PDF for Adobe in 1993 -- even though it might have saved the company -- but his achievement paid dividends for his career afterwards.) Slimp accepts about 80 speaking engagements a year, many of them at press association conventions such as Iowa's.

The keynote speaker was Phil Currie, Gannett's senior vice president for news, who debunked the conventional wisdom that the newspaper industry is dying. After his speech, Currie reiterated why he believes that newspapers will adapt, survive and thrive.

In the long-overdue category, Quad-City Times columnist Bill Wundram, who has written a daily column for the paper for more than 63 years, was finally recognized with the Distinguished Service Award.

In the afternoon, I moderated a Web-reporting session by Thomas Richie, (top) of Sioux City, and Jeff Raasch, of the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Well done!

After a 15-minute rest, I was off to the annual business meeting of the Iowa Associated Press Managing Editors, of which I am president. (Fortunately, the duty doesn't require much time!)

The TH had its best INA contest in several years -- and fared even better in the Associated Press' state contest, results of which were also released on Friday.

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver stopped by the convention's pre-banquet social hour, said a few words and then chatted with several of us. Coincidentally, that very morning's Telegraph Herald editorial took the governor to task over his proposed cut in funding for public libraries. The piece opens, "What is he thinking?"

I re-introduce myself -- we met during the 2006 campaign -- and said, "Governor, we took you to task this morning." "Yeah, I saw that," he said. News travels quickly -- as it should. The governor calmly explained his office is trying to figure out a way to restore the money. I hope he's right.

Younger daughter Ellen, who lives and works in Des Moines, was my guest at the convention's awards banquet. Not only did she agree to sit with her Dad -- she did so at the head table. What a good sport! What a special way to conclude the convention. Thanks, Ellen!

1 comment:

Ellen said...

Thanks for letting me go with you. I enjoyed it and it was great to see you!