By Amanda Beam
Fabulous views are everywhere in Los Angeles. Travel to The Getty and you glimpse the spikes of Downtown L.A. skyscrapers in the distance. A trip to Will Rogers State Park will allow you to see the Pacific Ocean through the haze.
But atop the Angeleno Hotel just north of Santa Monica Beach, different kinds of views were being shared. Oh sure, the vista from the 17th floor meeting room offered the 2016 NSNC conference goers gathered there a breathtaking panorama of L.A. Yet the conversations inside the penthouse rivaled any of these brilliant sites.
Each of us- the speakers, the panelists, the attendees- had a different view of journalism and blogging, and that’s amazing.
Writers from different political persuasions, ages and categories spoke to us session after incredible session. Conservative columnist and two-time Pulitzer-Winning editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez kicked off the conference with both advice and an insight into his work. Another Pulitzer winner, Steve Lopez with the L.A. Times followed.
In all, attendees were able to rub elbows with three different Pulitzer winners including Leonard Pitts, Jr., our Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award winner. Each was available for photos, autographs and just general question taking after speaking. Talk about a crazy view!
For those of us wanting to extend our writing in other fields, screenwriters and self-publishing gurus were brought in to advise on the best ways to expand.
To push the limits of our own writing, NSNC members Stu Bykofsky, Suzette Martinez Standring, and Dave Lieber gave helpful tips. Former NSNC President Jerry Zezima provided the laughs.
Great writers were also honored and a slew of awards given to the best in our field, their stories full of inspiration and perseverance.
Then there were the fellow attendees who you just wanted to sit around and get to know. Writers from across the nation flocked to the event, and they shared their wisdom and even doubts with their new friends. It was nice to be with another writer who gets it, all the worry and stress and wonder and awe.
As first-time conference goer Jill Brehm Enders said, “The most meaningful thing I learned was just what a great tribe of kind, funny, smart, warm and compassionate people I had discovered. It was bittersweet to hear speaker after speaker bemoan the declining newspaper industry but in the same breath say, ‘but we will find a way because it’s what we do and we are the lucky ones to love what we do’.”
And at the end of the day, looking into the future with hope and friendship was maybe, just maybe, the best view of all.