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Exhibitors converge for joint convention

By eijnews

By Olivia Ingle
The Working Press
Three days and 49 exhibitors make up this year’s Journalism Expo at the Excellence in Journalism 2011 convention.

SPJ and RTDNA member Randy Beamer of San Antonio and exhibitor Ziggy Chau of New York at the journalism expo on Sunday. Kevin Zansler/The Working Press

Chris Vachon, associate executive director of the Society of Professional Journalists, said it is not the usual convention for SPJ, and the expo reflects that change.
“There are some booths that are unusual to SPJ, but not to RTDNA,” Vachon said. “There are some exhibitors that sell news sets for TV newsrooms. That’s something new and different for us.”
This year’s convention is catering to both SPJ and the Radio Television Digital News Association. The Journalism Expo is held in the Napoleon Ballroom and is open Monday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Niklos Salontay, CEO of Flare Code, demonstrated his QR code software to Bernadette Lee, vice president of Marketwire and RTDNA Canada board member. Kevin Zansler/The Working Press

Exhibitors include AccuWeather, Angie’s List, The Coaching Company, College Press, Chyron and Flare Code.
Vachon said Flare Code is a unique addition to the expo.
The company attaches QR codes that viewers can scan with their phones to view Web feeds that aggregate Internet information on a particular topic.
Ian Bowman-Henderson, president of Flare Code and a student at Ohio University, said the company caters to all journalists.
“I think journalists are people who can use this tool for social good,” Bowman-Henderson said. “Flare Code creates online interactions and shares the experience in real time.”

Infamous copies of the Sept. 11, 2001, edition of the Chicago Tribune awaited bidding Sunday in the Legal Defense Fund's silent auction. Bidding ends at 3 p.m. Monday. Kevin Zansler/The Working Press

Vachon said universities are more common exhibitors at the expo. They come to the SPJ convention every year to promote their journalism programs.
The Missouri School of Journalism, the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, Medill at Northwestern University and Ball State University are a few of the academic programs exhibiting at the expo this week.
Belinda Lichty Clarke, communications director at Medill, said with the combined convention, there seems to be more energy and collaboration.
“Any way we can get the word out about our program and collaborate with others in the industry is beneficial to everybody,” Clarke said.
Mary Spillman, an assistant professor and director of the digital media minor at Ball State University, said the combined SPJ and RTDNA convention is a good fit for her because it is representative of Ball State’s program, which has a curriculum that merges print and broadcast.

Christine Dobbyn, center, visited the Ball State University booth to talk with professor Suzy Smith, far right, as Allison Grotjan, right, and professor Mary Spillman, left, looked on. Kevin Zansler/The Working Press

Vachon said the Journalism Expo is expected to be the heart of this week’s convention.
“I think the expo has a lot of energy and buzz,” she said. “Not only are there 49 exhibitors, but there’s other things that make it the hub of the conference.”
Vachon named the Wi-Fi Zone, the BookMart and registration as Journalism Expo elements that attendees will be likely to visit.
“It’s really the central point of anything and everything related to the conference,” Vachon said.