Sunday, October 3, 2010

Newspaper Weekend!

Back from my two-day WNPA Better Newspaper Contest conference in Wenatchee, WA.

My English teacher would be so proud, I was making connections all weekend! Oh, and I obtained four awards for my writing with the La Conner Weekly News; but more on that in a little bit.

In English class, we're reading sections of the book The Young and the Digital by S. Craig Watkins. In it, Watkins explains the cultural migration of tweens and young adults to the internet and digital, social media. The concept of the book is that all of this media communication is making people evolve in their communication, rather than stunt it. The internet is just an extension of real-life relationships, and is the next social adaption.

Now, the newspaper industry is going through something similar. As my editor from the La Conner Weekly News said this weekend, "There are some dinosaurs here. We have to evolve from dinosaurs if we want to survive."

There is a migration of news-related media to the internet. I know you're thinking that the big news stations like Faux News and everyone else has already been online. I don't classify "TV news" as actual news, not in the same way as locally-produced newspapers.

At the convention, there were several workshops on various topics, and all of the ones I attended were very informative. The first one was in two parts, and was basically the business plan of the future, and it revolved around the idea that multi-media, internet/social media-driven news sources were the next step in evolution.

It really got my editor thinking, and now they're going to experiment with different things, including more on their blog and starting a Twitter account.

Anyway, the paper won fourteen awards total, with a clean sweep in our group for Best Government Reporting. (The papers are grouped by circulation, and we are in Group I for having < 2,500 in circulation every week).

Of the fourteen, I won four awards:
Second place - Best Story of the Arts
Third place - Best Government Reporting
Third place - Best Sports Story
Third place - Best General Story - Short

Oh, and I was the youngest person attending.

The convention was a great experience for me. I got to hear from long-time industry professionals, learn from these professionals, and meet several interesting people, including the President of the WNPA--we sat at his table and got away with it.

Later this week I'll actually post the articles I won these for. For now, adieu.

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