A QUESTION AND ANSWER
WITH CONVENTION DIRECTOR HILLARY WARREN
Why should someone attend the College Media Association in New York City this spring?
This year’s convention is more interactive, more immersive, more hands-on than ever. Students will cover the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden as part of the New York Sports Workshop. The always-popular Shoot-Out is back. And more than 100 students will compete to see who is the Iron Reporter in our first convention-based reporting competition.
If you had to pick one session that you’d really like to attend, what would it be?
I’m looking forward to Holly Johnson’s double-session reporting challenge. I plan to steal every last one of her ideas.
If you had to pick one speaker that you’d really like to hear, who would it be?
That will get me in trouble. Joanne Lipman and Lynn Walsh were terrific last year and are so on topic with #metoo that we had to have them back. I’ve been following Lauren Duca since the 2016 campaign and am thrilled that she will join us Saturday. But, I think I’m most looking forward to Stephen Totilo because I don’t know anything about video games, but I admire what he has built.
What other highlights will students and advisers find at the convention?
I’m so proud that the Michigan State News staff are coming to talk about their coverage of Larry Nassar. They are truly inspirational. I also hope that students and advisers will get to know the Student Press Law Center staff who will all be on hand this year to meet with students and lead sessions.
I also hope that students and advisers will take advantage of time for one-on-one support in critiques, resume review and roundtables. The roundtables are bigger and more prominent because students specifically asked for more time to meet with students with similar interests and challenges.
This year, the convention is at the Marriott Marquis on Times Square, right in the middle of all the action in the city that never sleeps. What benefits will this offer attendees?
Of course, the Media Tours are packed and that’s always a featured activity. And there’s Times Square and museums and the 9/11 memorial. I always encourage my students to ride the subway and see how New Yorkers live. I want them to get out of the tourist areas. For me, I haunt the news stands to buy all of the magazines and newspapers I can’t get in Ohio. Those are a source of creative inspiration that will last all year.
In addition to hearing great speakers and winning some awards, students and instructors also get the opportunity to meet people from other schools. What benefits does this offer attendees?
The best professional community I have ever found is in student media. We are usually the only ones on our campus and no one really gets what we do or gets how important it is. I am the least popular person in any meeting on my campus; it is nice to be in a place where someone will sit next to me.
This isn’t your first time taking charge of the convention. What do you enjoy about this task?
I have loved working on the convention for the last two years. I learned so much from David Simpson last year and I’ve been honored to work with Michael Koretzy and Geoff Carr this year. All of them have strengths in areas that I don’t and I’ve been inspired by them. The Kellen staff, Meredith Taylor and Nora Keller, and CMA leadership, Kelley Callaway and Chris Evans, were unfailingly supportive and patient.
The best part of the gig is getting to see an idea come to life; that is how the Big East opportunity and the Iron Reporter came to be. I wanted to see it and I was able to make it happen. I hope the next convention coordinator enjoys this as much as I have.
But organizing a convention also offers challenges. What are some of the challenges?
My family is getting really sick of the daily CMANYC18 update and my department chair is wondering when I’m going to finish the assessment report.
Hillary Warren has been a student media adviser at Otterbein University since 2002, where she has advised the Tan & Cardinal newspaper, co-advised two magazines and now advises T & C Media. Her students have been recognized with the 2015 SPJ Sunshine Award for contributions to open government, 2014 SPJ Region 4 Dick Goehler First Amendment Award, the 2012 Holland Award for Excellence in College Journalism and numerous local and regional awards for headlines, photography and reporting. Warren has been recognized by CMA with a Distinguished Adviser Award, a Board of Directors Citation and the 2007 Honor Roll Four-Year Newspaper Adviser Award. Warren earned her doctorate in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin in 1998. Prior to attending graduate school, she worked as a reporter in commercial and public radio in California.