Highlights from the 2012 ASNE Convention
The convention program, including luncheon speeches by President Barack Obama and Republican challenger and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, was a big hit inside the meeting rooms at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. Many of the sessions also generated a huge amount of attention outside the walls of the hotel, and much of it was broadcast live by C-SPAN. Click below for convention highlights and an index to media coverage surrounding the event.
The ASNE 2012 convention program, including luncheon speeches by President Barack Obama and Republican challenger and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, was a big hit inside the meeting rooms at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. Many of the sessions also generated a huge amount of attention outside the walls of the hotel, and much of it was broadcast live by C-SPAN.
C-SPAN recorded the opening session of the convention on Monday, April 2, including a presentation by RJI's Roger Fidler and Mike Jenner on the latest research demonstrating rapidly growing use of smartphones and tablets by consumers and news organizations; and a seminar by the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute's Val Hoeppner on how mobile technology is transforming the reporting process. (See Part 1 of the Video Playlist on this page.)
Later that afternoon, war correspondents from The New York Times and the Associated Press talked about the challenges of reporting from a war zone. The Times' C.J. Chivers and Tyler Hicks, and AP photojournalist Rodrigo Abd received a standing ovation when the panel concluded. (For the C-SPAN recording, see part 2 of the Video Playlist on this page. Also see coverage of the discussion by Poynter.)
On the morning of Tuesday, April 3, with police dogs and Secret Service agents securing the meeting room area for the president's arrival, the convention moved to the hotel basement for a panel on innovation and newsroom leadership. As Alicia Shepard noted on Poynter's website, the panel “starred an unusual lineup: five heavy-hitting top female journalists”: Jill Abramson, The New York Times; Donna Byrd, TheRoot.com; Kathleen Carroll, The Associated Press; Chrystia Freeland, Thomson Reuters Digital; and Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post Media Group. PBS's Gwen Ifill moderated.
After passing through magnetometers to re-enter the secured meeting room area, attendees had a choice of ASNE's “Stepping Up: Skills Editors Need Today” panel, or the Associated Press annual meeting with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. (C-SPAN recording of AP annual meeting.)
ASNE and NAA convention delegates walked across the hall for the Associated Press annual luncheon, where President Obama criticized the House budget introduced by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and introduced his election-year campaign themes in front of a standing-room-only audience. He spoke and took questions for over an hour. You can watch the president's speech on C-SPAN, read the White House transcript, or dive into the voluminous press coverage here and here.
Later that afternoon, ASNE members were treated to another widely anticipated event: The reunion of journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein for a panel discussion that asked the question: How would Watergate unfold in the digital era? Adding to the sense of journalism history was the presence, in the front row, of legendary Washington Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee, now 91, who growled his approval (and disapproval) at certain points during the discussion. You can watch the discussion on C-SPAN, or read coverage of the panel in the Washington Post or on the Poynter website. (A comment by Woodward about the naiveté of students at Yale University was still generating opposition — and apologies — a week after the panel ended.)
The reception at the Newseum that evening began with a program moderated by ASNE President Ken Paulson exploring similarities between online content piracy in the music industry and news business. The centerpiece of the program was Paulson's interviews with songwriters Sonny Curtis, Jim Peterik and Jessica Frech, which included brief solo performances that raised the roof of the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Theater. Digital First Media's Steve Buttry posted a brief report that includes Frech's video, “Where Have All the Newspapers Gone?” which was created especially for ASNE.
When Mitt Romney took the stage at the ASNE/NAA lunch on Wednesday, April 4, a day after he swept the D.C./Maryland/Virginia primaries and became the presumptive GOP nominee for president, it was another historic moment. Romney's appearance signaled the beginning of the general election and marked the first time that this year's major-party presidential nominees spoke to the same audience and shared a stage as candidates. (They were also the featured speakers at a Gridiron Club dinner in Washington in 2004, when Romney was still governor of Massachusetts and Obama had just been elected to the U.S. Senate.) Romney spent much of his time responding directly to Obama's speech from the previous day, but he also took a moment to address media issues and mourn the loss of editors, the absence of whom, he claimed, is creating “quality control” problems in new media. You can watch Romney's speech on C-SPAN, read a transcript, or review the press coverage here and here.
A number of attendees wrote columns or blogs about the convention when they returned to the office, including:
- Lou Brancaccio, The Columbian (Vancouver, Wash.): Of boots, 'gates and politics
- Silas Lyons, Record Searchlight (Redding, Calif.): What if brutal honesty won votes?
- Sam Matthews, Tracy Press: Paying witness to the general election's first punches
- Jack McElroy, Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel: What Obama and Romney agree on
- Karen Peterson, The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.): Conference sheds light on trends
- Margaret Sullivan, Buffalo (N.Y.) News: What do women voters want?
- Ed Wasserman, The Miami Herald: Exposing Watergate might be harder today
The prodigious Steve Buttry's #ASNE12 tweets were so voluminous Twitter actually cut him off. But that didn't stop him from filing a Storify of Monday's sessions, and CoverItLive compilations from Tuesday and Wednesday. Poynter's Jeff Sonderman also Storified Tuesday's early sessions.
Student journalists from the University of Maryland covered the other convention panels that didn't get the C-SPAN treatment. They posted their reports on a blog site hosted by NAA.