NFPW Communications Conference Hosted by AMP in Birmingham, Alabama
In November 1833, stars fell on Alabama during a spectacular meteor shower. In 1934, that meteor shower inspired a classic jazz song recorded by the Guy Lombardo Orchestra, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and many more.
September 7-9, 2017, Alabama Media Professionals was host to another shower of stars descending on Alabama. This time, it’s media stars: members of the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW) and workshop presenters. They came to the Heart of Dixie for the NFPW Communications Conference.
Many made comments of praise about Alabama and the conference.
Hotel: Accommodations were at the DoubleTree Hotel near the University of Alabama in Birmingham amid a plethora of eateries and just a 25-cent bus ride from Birmingham's newest nightlife district, Uptown.
Speakers: Keynote speakers were Rick Bragg, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of "All Over But the Shoutin’," "Ava’s Man," and "The Price of Frogtown"; and retired Judge Helen Shores Lee, whose father was a pioneering Alabama civil rights attorney whose home was bombed during the tumultuous Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. Bragg conducted a workshop on writing with color, and Judge Lee will was part of a panel, along with author T.K. Thorne, that discussed maintaining objectivity while covering racially charged events.
Topics: Other workshops taught how to talk about your book on television, how to avoid copyright and trademark pitfalls, building your blog or brand, how to tighten your writing for busy readers, the future of journalism, travel writing, how to write a page-turning book, watchdog journalism, the fractured channels of social media, using Twitter in public relations, writing grant proposals, how to elicit information from difficult interview subjects, and politics, the media and American democracy.
Cost: The cost of the conference was $445 for members, $545 for non-members. Student and one-day rates were also available. The registration price included one breakfast, two lunches and two dinners, including the Communicator of Achievement Banquet, the NFPW Communications Contest Awards Dinner.
Tours: In addition, there was a three-day pre-tour that included experiencing weightlessness at the US Rocket and Space Center in Huntsville, a visit to the birthplaces of W.C. Handy and Helen Keller, and a tour of Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals.
Pre-conference tours included the Birmingham Civil Rights District and a pub crawl through the city's four microbreweries.Another post-conference tour was title the Alabama Literary Tour, which included visits to cities and towns where famous authors, such as Hank Williams, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Fanny Flagg, Mark Childress, Harper Lee, and biologist E.O. Wilson, lived and wrote.
In all these tours, visitors from around the country got a taste of the local culture, a taste of our local writing legends, and a taste of our down-south cooking at local restaurants.