By Kassondra Granata
I did not go to San Francisco with the same mindset as I did with Seattle or Chicago. Everything came up so suddenly so I wasn’t able to get excited about the trip or hype it up until three days before. Usually I have a countdown, do research on the city and all other preparations. This trip, however, was a little different. Don’t get me wrong, once I landed, I was beyond excited; even beforehand I was. These trips to the conferences are the most rewarding, privileging trips I have ever been on. To be in the same environment with those who share the same passion and interests is a blessing, and being able to learn more and network with other journalists is a dream come true. I always leave these conferences with more wisdom, and it is always a great pick-me-up as a reminder to why I am studying in the field.
There is nothing better than having the ability to write. Being able to write with ease is something that I am sure many envy of journalists and other writers. I have absolutely no issue sitting down and writing a five to ten page word document on anything, whether it be schoolwork or free writing. Free writing is by far one of the best skills you can have.
It is keynote speakers like Michelle Quinn that give me that boost of motivation when she talks about her experiences in journalism and the advice that she wants to give us as we carry on through this journey.
According to Politico.com, Quinn has been a technology correspondent for POLITICO Pro. For the past 15 years she has covered Apple, Hewlett-Packard and digital entertainment for the Los Angeles Times, The San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle. Recently she wrote a general news blog for The New York Times and worked as a media adviser to Jerry Brown. Quinn graduated from the University of Delaware and the University of California, Berkeley. She currently lives in California.
Quinn said that when it comes to covering a story, take it seriously.
“If you ‘poo poo’ your work, you never know what it could potentially lead to,” Quinn said. Besides the few laughs that erupted from the audience at the term ‘poo poo,’ Quinn’s message was positively received. Twitter was full of tweets from those at the convention with Quinn’s speech. There was a lot of conversation between those at the convention throughout the week that reflected on these topics.
Another piece of advice that she gave was to be good to your colleagues and other journalists. The reason why we attend these conventions is to grow as journalists working together and having conversations about each other’s publications. After spending a week conversing with other editors about a variety of topics, it seems that a lot of publications have the same problems that The Recorder does. It was refreshing and interesting to hear other Editor’s advice and methods they take to improve their publications. There were definitely a few things that I plan on taking to the publication. Quinn is right to always be good to the people that you meet. In the future, you can possibly work with them and benefit from them. Networking is an absolute key. As soon as you come to terms with an issue, and you know a source, you can contact them and get what you need. This factor stands for all occupations, not just journalism.
Quinn said that it was essential to always be in the mindset as a student in the journalism realm. There is never a time when you will not learn something new in this field. I just learned how to use outlets such as Spotify, Twitter and WordPress within the last few years for media coverage. With a field that is constantly revamping itself to perform to the readers expectations, it is crazy to say that there will be a time when you won’t have to adjust to something new. With the turn of the digital age and different social media networks and other gadgets developing, we are always learning new things. Look at this field as a student, learn and keep an open mind. Things could and most likely will be different 20 years from now.
Read. Write. Make mistakes. Learn from them. Make friends. Keep in touch. Network. It’s an on-going cycle as a journalist. You never break the cycle. You make a mistake? You’re deathly embarrassed for a day, then you learn from it and never do it again. You read other writers, you develop your own style and you talk with other writers about their style. This is the most competitive, yet collaborative field. Hearing Michelle Quinn as a keynote was definitely one of the highlights of the convention. Her speech was motivating, and it was encouraging to hear that someone of her professional status has made mistakes before. A writer is never perfect. They are always learning, always improving.