Register Now for the May in Macon Conference

By Ed Grisamore,
NSNC Conference Chair


Registration is open for the 36th annual Conference of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists in Macon, Ga., May 3-6, 2012.

“Macon Whoopee” is the theme for this year’s conference, our first in the Old South. We’ll meet and mingle with New York Times columnist Gail Collins and other high achievers who’ll help us become better and more successful writers.

We’ll also enjoy the rich musical roots of the city that was home to Otis Redding, Little Richard, Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell and the Allman Brothers.

It’s easy to register and pay online. So do it now.

I look forward to welcoming you to Macon.

You’re going to like it …

Click this sentence for the registration form.

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(You may have already paid during online registration.)

The conference site will be Macon’s Marriott City Center Hotel. We’ll all be “Macon Whoopee” Saturday evening, May 5, with the awards banquet, featuring presentation of the Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award to columnist Gail Collins as well as announcing the winners of the annual NSNC Column Contest.

The conference — including seven meals — costs $299 for NSNC members and $349 for nonmembers. The fee for guests is $249. Join the NSNC when you register, $50 per year for all the benefits.

The program starts Friday morning, May 4. The annual membership meeting, following a continental breakfast, Sunday morning May 6, concludes the conference. An optional group dinner, not included in the fee, will be Thursday, May 3. See the schedule here.


Nancy Grace, the outspoken legal analyst and host of a top-rated show on CNN’s Headline News, will lead one of the featured seminars at the 36th annual NSNC annual conference in Macon, Ga., May 3-6. Other forums include sessions with former CNN president and newspaper publisher Tom Johnson and Southern humorist Lauretta Hannon, and an e-book workshop with publisher Marc Jolley and web consultant David Cassady.

Nancy Grace
Nancy Grace

Grace is a former prosecutor and well-known advocate of victims’ rights. She is an avid blogger and the author of three books, all of which have been New York Times bestsellers. Her novel, The Eleventh Victim, is currently in development as a television movie.

She received an Emmy nomination for her work on Court TV’s Swift Justice with Nancy Grace. She has appeared as a guest on Oprah, The View, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Dr. Phil and Larry King Live. Last fall, she was a contestant on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars.

Grace grew up in Macon and attended law school at Mercer. Her parents still live in the Middle Georgia city.

Tom Johnson
Tom Johnson

Johnson is another Macon native with CNN ties. Johnson was tapped by Ted Turner (who ran his father’s billboard company in Macon in the 1960s) to serve as president of CNN during the 1990s.

He is a former publisher of the Dallas Times Herald and the Los Angeles Times. He worked in various positions in the administration of President Lyndon Johnson.

Hannon — a well-known Southern writer, storyteller and NPR commentator — promises to be one of the more entertaining speakers. Hannon is the author of The Cracker Queen, which was named by the Georgia Center for the Book as one of the “Top Twenty-Five Books All Georgians Should Read.’’ Southern Living magazine called her “the funniest woman in Georgia.’’

Lauretta Hannon
Lauretta Hannon

Hannon grew up in Warner Robins, a community 15 miles south of Macon, and once worked for the newspaper there. She now lives in Kennesaw, a suburb of Atlanta. She is founder of the Down Home Writing School, is a columnist for Creative Loafing and a contributor to “A Good Blog is Hard to Find.’’

David Cassady, Faithlab, Macon, GA
David Cassady

Cassady is president of Faithlab, a new firm offering publishing consulting, creative and technical services to congregations and non-profits. He brings more than 20 years of experience in publishing and holds a Ph.D. with a focus in curriculum development. David also teaches philosophy as an adjunct at Wesleyan College.

Marc Jolley, Director, Mercer University Press
Marc Jolley

Jolley is director of Mercer University Press. He has been in publishing for 20 years, 17 years at Mercer, and holds a Ph.D. Marc is also a senior lecturer at Mercer University in the department of philosophy. He is also the author of Safe at Home: A Memoir of God, Baseball, and Family.

Other speakers include conservative blogger and CNN analyst Erick Erickson and retired Atlanta Journal-Constitution political columnist Jim Wooten. Charlotte Observer columnist Tommy Tomlinson has canceled his appearance. Other speakers and panelists may be scheduled.

The conference also will include a panel discussion of Mercer University’s “Center for Collaborative Journalism” partnership with The Macon Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting – the first of its kind in the U.S. The joint educational and business venture will utilize The Telegraph newsroom as a “teaching classroom” as part of a $4.6 million grant through the Knight Foundation. The Telegraph will move its newsroom from downtown to the college’s new journalism school, which is under construction in the Mercer village. The newsroom and instructional facilities will occupy about 12,000 square feet of the new building, which will include lofts for student housing on the upper floors.

Hotel, Transportation

Make your hotel reservations now by calling (866) 882-4465 (tell them you’re attending the NSNC Conference to get our special rate) or register online at, a link that sets up the NSNC rate. Our block rate of $112 a night  (exc. taxes) includes free Internet wi-fi access in the guestrooms (and meeting rooms) and free parking at the hotel. The NSNC rate is good for the nights of May 3-8.

Fliers: The recommended airport is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Recommended shuttle bus from ATL airport: Groome Transportation with $34 one way and $63 round trip standard, but a special NSNC rate is being negotiated. That information will be emailed to registered conferees when it’s ready.

NOTE: For those who prefer not to register for the conference online, please phone the NSNC office at (415) 488-NSNC (415-488-6762) and leave a message, or write via the Contact Form for assistance.

ALSO: We have a few seats available for columnists, bloggers and others to join the conference for those parts of the schedule that interest them. Reservations (which are required), and financial details (this is affordable) to attend whole days, half days, or meals can be arranged by sending a message right away on NSNC’s contact form.

More? How about a video of Macon?  Or if history is your forte, check out this excellent video called Historic Macon from “Georgia Traveler.”

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