On Tuesday night, I flew back to Sheridan after several days in Chicago.
Couple of things before I get to the heart of my column.
First, being in Chicago when the Cubs won the National League pennant tops most good days I’ve had this year. The city was electric. Cubs fans were everywhere. Magic, pure magic.
Second, if you haven’t flown on Denver Air Connection, do. The staff was friendly. The flight was comfortable and the trip itself was quick and easy. Not a bad way to travel.
I had traveled to Chicago for the Inland Press Association annual conference. There were a lot of well-known individuals from the news industry there. We spent three days talking about how we can do better and how we can ensure good journalism stays at the forefront of our missions.
The Press, it turns out, already does some things pretty well. We brought home two awards from the national conference. The first, a second-place award, recognized the Press’ front page designs. The second, recognized The Press’ editorial voice — our ability to outline the newspaper’s opinion on various local issues and explain why we felt things could be done differently, better or were done just right.
It’s nice to earn recognition for things, but it’s also nice to be around so many people doing great things. Their achievements and hard work inspire others to continue improving.
For me, the conference was more than just a conference. I also joined the Inland Fellows Program. I, and three other 30-somethings from across the country, met our mentors and talked about the industry.
Of the other three fellows, one works in eastern Pennsylvania, one works in Arizona and one works in Washington.
All of us work primarily for small newspapers and communities. We laughed about similar staff members, brainstormed about how to solve similar problems and pondered the future of our industry. As we looked at a lot of grey hair around us, we wondered what the news industry would look like for us when we were a little more long in the tooth.
Mostly, we were optimistic. Good journalism will also have an audience.
The four of us have been paired with those older and wiser than us to learn the ropes. Our mentors will teach us everything from leadership styles and management techniques to true down and dirty business know-how.
My mentor, Joyce McCullough, works with Miller Media Group in Illinois. It is a group of small newspapers and radio stations in rural areas.
I’m excited to get to know her and learn from her over the next couple of years. She has already given me great advice and I’m already trying to figure out ways to work her tips and tricks into my daily routine.
While the trip to Chicago was great, it’s good to be home working in the newsroom again.
Though, it would be nice to be in Chicago over the next several days…Go Cubs go!