As journalists from all over the country convene in the heart of Las Vegas for this year’s Society of Professional Journalists convention, the proceedings might feel a little different from previous years.
This year’s convention will feel more intimate, according to SPJ interim Executive Director Jennifer Royer. Most years, SPJ partners with other national journalism organizations which tend to be larger conferences.
“This year, we are alone for the first time in years. It’s just SPJ,” Royer said.
Approximately 500 people had registered for the convention as of Sept. 15, so there’s still going to be a lot of people in attendance, Royer said. While there was no particular reason thatSPJ didn’t partner with other organizations this year, Royer cited the timing and COVID as contributing factors.
“It was just more difficult to find people. Things were kind of uncertain like, when are we going to get back into in person conventions?” she said. “And so, it just kind of made it more difficult to be able to coordinate dates with another group.”
Royer said that she’s already speaking with organizations like the Associated College Press and the College Media Association, to partner with for next year’s convention. Even with a slightly smaller convention, the programming is still very robust, she said.
The convention will have more than 50 breakout sessions varying in topics from mental wellness to AP Style. In addition to keynote addresses from Gio Benitez, co-anchor of “Good Morning America Weekend Edition” and award-winning “Inside Edition” journalist Lisa Guerrero.
One of Thursday afternoon’s deep dive sessions that Royer thinks will be special is “The Review-Journal’s Fight for Jeff German’s Sources,” regarding the murder of investigative reporter Jeff German. The Las Vegas Review-Journal is currently in a legal fight to protect German’s sources from being revealed.
Staff from the Review-Journal will discuss the days following German’s death and the case’s legal impact for journalists everywhere. The late journalist will also be recognized at the President’s Award Banquet, she said.
“I just think because we are in Las Vegas, and they cover Las Vegas, it’s going to be kind of a nice and moving session,” she said.
There will also be an exhibit hall, where recruiters are looking to meet eager reporters to fill open positions. This is a great opportunity for students who are looking for a job post-graduation, said Royer.
While the early-bird and online registration deadline has passed, people can still walk up and register at the conference.
To find the full schedule for this year’s SPJ Conference, click here.