Welcome to Phoenix, the nation’s fifth-largest city, in the Valley of the Sun. With hundreds of learning sessions, high-profile keynotes and problem-solving breakouts, workshops and discussion groups, Phoenix is the perfect place to Power Up. Convention activities such as vendors showcasing journalism-related products and services, contests, awards convocations, on-site critiques, Break with a Pro and Media Swap Shops, student dances and adviser receptions will all help you go home and power up your publication, Web site or broadcast.
The energy begins Thursday night with Aaron Brown’s opening keynote. Reporting on conflicts from Vietnam to Iraq, questioning those in power from Nixon to Bush and narrating the unprecedented events on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 and in the days that followed, Brown has been at every turning point in television news of the past three decades. Now, as the Walter Cronkite Professor of Journalism at Arizona State University, he’ll share his knowledge and experience with you and show how he carries on Cronkite’s legacy of solid, courageous and calm reporting.
A different kind of legend will inspire you on Friday afternoon. In December 1965, Mary Beth Tinker, her brother, John, and their friend Chris Eckhardt wore black armbands to protest the Vietnam War and supporting a Christmas truce. Their suspension from school resulted in a court case that was ultimately decided by the United States Supreme Court in February 1969. To mark the 40th anniversary of the landmark decision upholding students’ free speech rights at school, Mary Beth Tinker will share her story and empower students to use their voices.
Both the keynote sessions, as well as the awards ceremonies Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, are held in the Phoenix Convention Center. Most other sessions and contests are there, too, with wide hallways and spacious rooms. Other convention sessions are across the street at the Hyatt hotel and a few blocks away at ASU’s new Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Its state-of-the-art labs and studios will impress, so be sure to head over for a session or tour. Downtown Phoenix has grown since JEA and NSPA were last here in 2002. Look around the Copper Square area for restaurants, shopping and entertainment at the Arizona Center, Chase Field or US Airways Arena. METRO light rail opened last December, and it’s your convenient and inexpensive link to Phoenix as well as the airport, Tempe and Mesa. Of course, the hotel pool is probably a good place to relax in the sun after the sessions end. Make sure you wear sunscreen.
We’ve made some changes for the 2009 spring convention, and we want to hear from you. Let us know what you think by stopping one of us to chat, or fill out the convention evaluation survey. You can always send e-mail, or post comments on our Facebook page.
By the time we say our goodbyes Sunday morning, we hope you have been energized, charged and powered up — ready to finish the year and plan for the next. We hope you’ll have had a chance to soak up some good ideas — and some sunshine.