Humor and Politics Mix at Macon

By Ed Grisamore
The (Macon) Telegraph
NSNC 2012 Conference Chair

I Love MaconColumn writers attending the 36th annual NSNC Conference in Macon, Ga., May 3-6 will find a lively mix of humor and politics, served up Southern style

A special guest will be Dedra Grizzard, widow of the late, great humorist Lewis Grizzard. She is expected to bring with her former Atlanta newspaper editor Jim Minter, who hired Grizzard at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in April 1977.

Also coming from Atlanta is Lauretta Hannon, a popular Southern writer, storyteller and NPR commentator. She’s the author of The Cracker Queen, and Southern Living magazine called her “the funniest woman in Georgia.”

Newly added to the conference program is Suzette Martinez Standring, who writes a syndicated humor column and a twice-a-month Spiritual Life column, in addition to hosting a TV show, It’s All Write With Suzette, and teaching writing workshops. She’s well known to NSNC members as a past president and author of “The Art of Column Writing.” Suzette’s topic will be “A Writer’s Meditation”, the title of a CD which she has produced.

Another recent addition to the schedule is Tim Regan-Porter, the newly named director of Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism, who will lead a seminar on social and digital media.

Erick EricksonWith the 2012 presidential election campaign well underway, there’s bound to be a lot of interest in a  session on political column writing and handicapping the 2012 national election. Panelists will include Erick Erickson (CNN, WSB-AM radio and; Charles Richardson, editorial page editor of The (Macon) Telegraph; and Jim Wooten, retired Atlanta Journal-Constitution political columnist.

Erickson is a respected conservative political analyst on CNN’s John King, USA. He hosts a nightly talk show on WSB-AM in Atlanta and is editor of He is co-author of the book “Red State Uprising” and distributes his daily “Morning Briefing” email to thousands of conservative readers. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon and attended Mercer’s Walter F. George School of Law. He is a former member of Macon City Council.

Jim WootenWooten, a Macon native, retired as associate editorial page editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2009. He was listed as one of the “100 Most Influential Georgians” by Georgia Trend magazine. He covered Jimmy Carter’s campaign for President in 1976 as a staff writer for U.S. News and World Report magazine.

Richardson also is co-host of NewsTalk Central radio/TV/Internet program broadcast on two TV stations, the ABC and Fox affiliates, NewsTalk 940 and is a McClatchy–Duke University Journalism Fellow and a Fellow at the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism at the University of Maryland. He has attended executive education sessions in journalism and non-profit governance at Harvard University.

Richardson is the past state chairman of Kids Voting Georgia and was also chairman of the board for the Center for Racial Understanding. He now serves as treasurer for Education First and is past state chairman of the trustee board of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Foundation.

Regan-Porter is the co-founder of Paste Magazine, the third-largest popular music publication behind Rolling Stone and Spin. He developed the technology and strategy that helped Paste build traffic to 2 million unique visitors a month. A study by Cornell University in 2010 cited Paste for Tom Johnsonhaving one of the 100 most influential Twitter accounts, beating out Oprah, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, MSNBC, ABC News and others.

Previously announced program participants are TV legal analyst Nancy Grace, former CNN president Tom Johnson, Charlotte Observer columnist Tommy Tomlinson and New York Times columnist Gail Collins, 2012 Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award honoree.


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