Texas BBQ warm up for ONA 18

I’ve arrived in Austin and I’m pumped to get started with this year’s conference and my new role within it.

But before getting to work, I met up with an old colleague who has brought his considerable talents to the Texas government. He took time to show me around the growing city and to a delicious Texas BBQ joint!

Brian and I talked a bit about the “good old days,” but also shared passionate stories about our new roles. It was great to hear him talk about using his media skills to make a difference for the people of his adopted state.

After an early morning wake up for travel, the protein infusion and lively conversation recharged my batteries — along with the sugar in some very sweet, sweet tea.

With that upgraded energy, I paid an early visit to the student newsroom. There I met several of the team leaders and sat in on a discussion about the various categories of stories we will use for the students work. I was excited to see room set aside for many of the serious industry reports but also for the fun events that punctuate the conference.

Earlier, I briefly met two of 20 students, who were boarding the same flight at Logan Airport. They were chatting about people they knew who were involved and I couldn’t help but introduce myself.

I guess I am excited too. This newsroom mentoring promises to change entirely my view of this annual conference. We the topics of past years have sometimes blended together, I am certain now that this one will be even more potent experience for me. I plan to lean in to my shifts with the students and embrace the opportunity to teach them what I know but also learn how to best reach them.

As usual, I’ll increase my blog activity during this conference as I log my notes and activities. This year I don’t have a separate blog with teammates for notes from sessions — instead the proof of my efforts will be here and in the students’ content.