More than 100 people from 29 states poured into Birmingham September 7-9 for the 2017 National Federation of Press Women Communications Conference and 80th Anniversary Celebration hosted by Alabama Media Professionals, which was appropriately labeled "Stars Fell on Alabama," a reference to the media and writing stars our state has produced and those who visited our state for the conference.
An Opportunity to Learn History, Writing and Other Communications Skills
Attendees laughed as Rick Bragg described getting himself stuck to a wall he was repairing in his home. They participated in a mock survey with political commentator Natalie Davis. They listened in silence as Judge Helen Shores Lee and her sister, Barbara S. Shores, described the fear and destruction that accompanied the KKK bombings of their childhood home in Smithfield during the early 1960s.
They also clapped when AMP’s Elaine Hobson Miller was named runner-up for the NFPW Communicator of Achievement and Olivia Grider walked away with a check for $150 as the 2017 Communications Contest sweepstakes second-place winner. See more about the national communications awards brought home by AMP members.
Conference attendees had a choice of 15 workshops on a broad range of topics designed to help them freshen their writing skills and promote their blogs, books and brands.
Co-directors Elaine Hobson Miller and Jane Falany, along with tour guide and director Verna Gates, heard nothing but positive comments during the conference and its pre-, post- and day-tours. Praises continue to pour into their inboxes and mail boxes from around the country, praises for AMP as hosts, Birmingham as host city and for Sweet Home Alabama.
Lori Potter, a newspaper reporter from Nebraska and a former NFPW president, said in an email, “The speakers and workshops were a very good mix for our members' different professional communications needs, or at least suited my professional and personal interests.”
Meg Hunt, another former NFPW president and a South Carolina resident, had this to say: “The programming and keynote speakers certainly had a timeliness that our members were able to connect with and learn from.”
Delaware’s Katherine Ward called the conference “notable for excellent speakers – what could have been better than a session and then a luncheon address by the eloquent Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg – and many timely topics.”
Oregon’s Katherine Keniston quoted Rick Bragg in her comments about the conference: “‘It was a good moment,’ Rick Bragg has said, ‘the kind you would like to press between the pages of a book, or hide in your sock drawer, so you could touch it again.’ Rick’s presentations were just some of the memorable moments that made up one of the best NFPW conferences I’ve attended.”
An Opportunity to Experience Alabama and Have Fun
The tours included the Birmingham Beer Crawl, Birmingham Civil Rights District, and The Alabama Literary Tour. The Rockin' Rockets Tour included the Huntsville Space Camp, Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, and the birthplaces of W.C. Handy and Helen Keller.
But we couldn't invite people to Alabama without showing them our white-sand coastline. In our Gulf Coast tour, Jim Smigie of Delaware took one look at Orange Beach and declared, “Who needs the Bahamas!”
AMP tips its hat to its sponsors, which included the Alabama Tourism Department, Alabama Power, the Alabama Press Association, the Alabama Broadcasters Association, PRSA-Alabama and Partners By Design. In-kind sponsors contributing to the swag bags were the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Bud’s Best Cookies, Children’s of Alabama, Jim ’N Nick’s Bar-B-Q, Little Professor Book Center, Reed Books and the Museum of Fond Memories, Renasant Bank, Southern Foodways Alliance, Southern LINC wireless, WBHM-FM, WVTM-13, WBRC, and WIAT-CBS 42. In addition, Frios Gourmet Pops provided treats for a Saturday-afternoon break, and Alabama Goods put together bags for presenter gifts at a discount.
A special thanks goes to the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau, which provided a volunteer for the conference registration desk and an information desk that handed out Birmingham brochures and reporters’ notebooks made especially for the conference.
Thank you again to our financial sponsors: