What I Don’t Know Could Fill a Column

President’s Message

This piece was originally published in November 2013 edition of The Columnist, the members’ newsletter of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

By Eric Heyl
President
National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Eric Heyl

Eric Heyl

Brace yourselves. The information I’m about to share will shock some of you.

I don’t know everything.

I’m sure you thought that only the omniscient are elevated to the lofty level of NSNC president, and even then only after surviving a month-long trial in the wilderness in which their only provisions are an unlit candle, a gallon of laundry detergent and a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly. Not so. Surviving that hellish wilderness walkabout is a requirement, but being all-knowing is not.

I know lots of things. I can tell you the chief exports of Denmark: processed foods, furniture and windmills. I can name the six wives of King Henry VIII: Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Kathryn Howard and Katherine Parr. Without any fear of contradiction, I can identify my favorite autumnal microbrew: The Great Lakes Brewery’s Nosferatu. Feel free to send me a bottle or two before the brand vanishes again until next autumn.

Possessing such knowledge often comes in handy, although admittedly none of it is particularly useful if you’re being chased by a bear in the wilderness while wondering how the pursuit possibly can make you a more effective leader of a columnists’ organization. Nor does such knowledge help me ascertain precisely what it will take to get you to the 2014 conference in Washington.

We’re moving along in the planning process for what undoubtedly will be a spectacular event at the Washington Plaza Hotel, at the exceptionally affordable rate for D.C. of just $149 a night. That I know.

But we’re not so far along that we can’t include elements that make you salivate for the conference like you were sitting down to a delectable steak dinner (or, for the vegetarian crowd, I don’t know, perhaps a plateful of saltines and your favorite flavor of hummus).

What would entice you to come to conference, which will occur June 26-29? Are you interested in hearing from the creme de la creme of the columnists from the nation’s capital? Are you more intrigued by the prospect of learning how better to market yourself and your column and/or blog? Do you prefer a mixed bag of programming that also might include a mime?

Beats me. That’s why I’m soliciting your suggestions. If there’s something you’d like to see in D.C., message me on Facebook. You also could email me at eric.m.heyl@gmail.com, although then I’d wonder why we’re not already Facebook friends. Was it something I said at the Hartford conference? I probably didn’t mean it.

Can I guarantee that all recommendations will be taken? Heck no. but I can guarantee that each one will be seriously considered. This is your opportunity to become involved in the planning process for the upcoming extravaganza in Washington. Will you take advantage of it?

Beats me. I don’t know everything. Weren’t you paying attention?

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