Thursday, July 12, 2012
The end of annual conventions for NAHJ?
Where's NAHJ hosting the 2013 Convention? Like so many other questions...this one too goes unanswered by the current NAHJ leadership. There's a push (although we would have a difficult time getting Russell Contreras to confirm it) to move from an annual convention to local conferences. That is an alternative touted for it's cost savings that like the decision to lay off NAHJ's staff, shutdown the office and diminish the website is riddled with flaws. Here's why: -sponsors are as economically challenged as NAHJ. Most do not have the budget to attend two or three separate conferences (and you have to consider they're also budgeting going to other conventions (NABJ, AAJA, etc). -the draw for sponsors is the access they get to potential candidates. It's one stop shopping for them (members attending the convention from all U.S. markets). -the convention is the largest fundraising event that NAHJ produces. -Local conferences do not draw the number of members (as the convention). -Members go to the convention (in part) to network with colleagues and companies from across the country. If we eliminated the convention and only produced local conferences than they would only network with local media professionals (and companies). We don't need to eliminate the annual convention...we need to a better job of producing it. Here's what many members have shared with me: -limit the locations. There should be a finite list of cities (driven by easy travel access, tourism and media significance). -move from a convention center to a hotel (economy, easier to fill). -consider partnering with a university (location for panels, training, social events, etc.) I think NAHJ needs to host the 2013 convention in Los Angeles. -most of the 50M+ Latinos call L.A. County home. -it's the #1 market for Spanish language media, #2 for the general market. -NAHJ's local chapter can lead in producing the convention...they're our local experts. -we can ask to meet with other media organizations (CCNMA among them) to partner with us in hosting. -there's already a campaign underway to explore the economic impact (in producing and fundraising). Let's not limit our ideas by short sighted, band-aid solutions that only address the here and now at the larger expense of tomorrow. We're already experiencing the impact of those decisions to member and sponsor services. Thats not the type of "rescue" we need from a RUSS-olucion. We can do better. Yes, we can! Si, Se Puede!! Hugo Balta for NAHJ President 2012 Ask Questions, Get Answers at Hugo4NAHJ@gmail.com