This column originally was published in the May 2014 edition of The Columnist, the members’ newsletter of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.
By Dave Astor
Even as many politicians are at each other’s throats, columnists and bloggers will coexist peacefully at the 38th annual National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC) conference in Washington, D.C.
May 15 is the extended early-bird deadline to get the lowest price for the June 26-29 gathering, based at the Washington Plaza Hotel; click here for registration details.
At the June 26-29 gathering in the Washington Plaza Hotel, attendees will hear syndicated Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank discuss what’s “hot” in early-summer D.C. (politics-wise, not weather-wise) and also hear Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Connie Schultz talk about how things have changed for columnists and how they can attain/maintain success.
But that’s not all! Conference-goers will also enjoy remarks from the Post’s Gene Weingarten after the two-time Pulitzer winner receives the NSNC’s Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award.
In addition, there will be a writing-about-race session featuring award-winning, multimedia journalist Mary C. Curtis; Maynard Institute for Journalism Education media-diversity columnist Richard Prince; and News Journal (Wilmington, Del.) columnist/editorial writer Rhonda Graham.
Conferees also will be offered a session offering advice on how to successfully use social media for publicity and branding. The latter talk will feature U.S. News & World Report’s “Washington Whispers” columnist Nikki Schwab and writer/standup comedienne Michelle “Wojo” Wojciechowski. Like the Creators Syndicate-distributed Connie Schultz, Wojciechowski also contributes to Parade Magazine.
Among the other conference speakers: The Art of Opinion Writing author and former NSNC President Suzette Martinez Standring, Post blogger Alexandra Petri; Daily Beast editor John Avlon, former USA Today columnist Craig Wilson; and columnist/TV host Llewellyn King.
Petri’s talk is described this way: “How to Have a Totally Novel and Unique Opinion About Breaking News on Demand While Cultivating Rock-Hard Abs With This One Weird Punditry Trick. …” Perhaps one of the best conference-session titles ever!
And get this: The annual Will Rogers Humanitarian Award (brainchild of former NSNC newsletter Editor Bob Haught) will be bestowed at a Friday evening dinner in the U.S. Capitol building!
Then, Weingarten and various winners of the NSNC’s annual column contest will receive their honors during a Saturday evening dinner at historic Howard University. Those two venues were arranged, respectively, by Haught and NSNC Vice President Jerry Zezima.
NSNC President Eric Heyl is making the opening remarks at the conference, which will feature the fun and camaraderie our organization is known for (in and out of any hotel’s hospitality suite). There will also be some free time for people to explore Washington on their own.
On a more sobering note, we will remember late NSNC board member Joel Brinkley (1952-2014), the immensely talented (and congenial) Pulitzer Prize winner and former New York Times reporter and columnist. Until his death in March, he was organizing the June conference along with Heyl, NSNC Executive Director Luenna Kim and others. Joel would have served as host of the conference.