Getting Potomac Fever

This column originally was published in the May 2014 edition of The Columnist, the members’ newsletter of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

President’s Message

By Eric Heyl
President
National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Eric Heyl

Eric Heyl

Admit it. You’re intrigued.

You probably assumed we were planning some special things for the upcoming NSNC conference, which will occur June 26-29 in Washington, D.C., at the Washington Plaza Hotel. In fact, I can picture you standing on your veranda on a lazy Sunday afternoon recently and telling your spouse, your dog, or perhaps the two of them, “I’m well aware the NSNC has lined up an incredible array of speakers who will inform and entertain me. But I bet those rascals who are working hard to organize this spectacular event also will spring a few surprises to make the event absolutely irresistible to me.”

Right, you were! Pat yourself on the back and then put that prescience to better use by going out and buying some winning lottery tickets.

Pool coverage: President Ford with Liberty and pup, circa 1976, at White House pool.

Pool coverage: President Ford with Liberty (right?) and pup, circa 1976, at White House pool.

We’ve previously revealed who the speakers will be, and elsewhere on the website you will find their specific session topics. You undoubtedly will find them informative and illuminating, but then you already knew they would be. You were expecting it.

But were you expecting to spend an evening at the U.S. Capitol? Unless you’re John Boehner or Harry Reid, how often does the opportunity arise to have dinner in that environment? (Don’t bother pondering, as I’m more than happy to provide the answer: Rarely. Extremely rarely.)

Wait, there’s more. Were you anticipating that for our awards banquet, we would transport you to the environment of the historic Howard University campus?

Were you predicting to your husband, wife, or best canine bud that even though we have an excellent assortment of high-quality speakers, we realize you might want to do a little sightseeing while you are in D.C? Were you expecting several hours of free time in which to do that?

(Here might be the appropriate time to interject that the centrally located Washington Plaza is 1.5 miles or less from the White House, the Smithsonian, the Holocaust Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the International Spy Museum. Oh, and there seems no better place than this very sentence to mention that the McPherson Square metro station is just a hop, perhaps two skips and considerably less than a half-dozen jumps from the hotel).

Tell me you were expecting all of that, and I will immediately summon a scoffers’ chorus to serenade you. Trust me, you don’t want that.

What you do want is to peruse this newsletter, which is chock full of valuable information regarding the conference. Then you want to do yourself and this esteemed organization a favor.

Tell your spouse, or your dog, or perhaps both of them that they’re going to fend for themselves the last weekend in June.

Tell them you’re attending the conference.

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