How many times have you been at a conference and thought “I have an idea for a panel.” Well if you have one, now is the time to propose that idea to the Unity 2012 organizers. The deadline is November 18.
Unity got more than 700 panel proposals for the conference in 2008. I took part in a workshop put on by the Poynter Institute and was also part of a panel on “TV Live Shots.”
I’ve been fortunate enough to lead or be part of a panel at every Unity conference since they started. So how can you get your panel or workshop idea chosen” How can you be selected to be on a panel?
TIPS IN CHOOSING PANEL TOPICS AND SPEAKERS
Here are some tips on how to make your idea stand out.
Panel Topic: Come up with a topic idea that would be of interest to all journalists of different experience levels and media platforms. For example reporters for newspapers, online, radio and television news can all learn from the following panels: Finding Stories and Sources, Covering Breaking News, Doing Two Jobs: Journalist & Blogger, Owning a Beat, Freelance Work: Making the Connections.
Specific Panel Topics: Unity is also looking for specific topics for each platform. Do you have a fresh idea for television, radio, online or print journalism? Techy topics are very popular; it’s also good to stick to the basics: Doing better live shots, Writing for the web, (Radio) Telling Stories with Sound, Using Twitter on the Job. Unity is also looking for panels to be done in Spanish.
Panelists: Choose panelists who are good public speakers—dynamic, interesting with lots of know-how. Remember in some cases your audience will be more than 100 people. A good panelist will keep them interested and off their smartphones.
Show and Tell: Do you plan to show samples of work on video? Are you planning to pull up a website to get your point across? Members love to see examples of work on the big screen: video or audio reports. You can even pull up a website that is a good source of information.
Choose Panelist Now: Start calling your friends to see if they’re planning to go to Unity. It helps organizers know that you already have some names to go with your panel. Also try to find panelists from each of the organizations participating in Unity: NAHJ, NAJA, AAJA, NLGJA .
GET ON A PANEL
Let the Unity organizers and NAHJ board members know that you’re interested in being on a panel. List your areas of expertise. Register for the conference. That shows you’re committed in going. Toot your horn!
SUBMIT YOUR PANEL PROPOSAL TODAY
I think my ideas for a panel have been chosen in the past, because of the interesting topic and because I also make sure it’s not going to cost Unity a cent. I find people who are already planning to go to the conference.
If I can offer my knowledge and save Unity money—that’s fine with me. In the end, it’s about paying it forward.
Let’s start sharing. Now get your proposals in by November 18th.
Rebecca Aguilar is the NAHJ Officer-At Large. She’s also a board member with the Society of Professional Journalists/ Fort Worth Chapter and a member of the National SPJ Diversity Committee. Currently, she’s a freelance digital journalist based in Dallas, TX.