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Organizers hope for more innovation, less uncertainty at 2010 convention

By The EIJ News

After a convention spent discussing the uncertainties of their profession, some SPJ members may leave Indianapolis today still in the dark, said newly installed SPJ President Kevin Z. Smith.

Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas will be the site of the next SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference, to be held Oct. 3-6, 2010.
Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas will be the site of the next SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference, to be held Oct. 3-6, 2010.

In Las Vegas next year, Smith hopes for answers.

Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas will be the site of the next SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference, to be held Oct. 3-6, 2010.

“I hope that a year from now we’ll have a better handle on the question of where this profession is going,” he said. “And I hope that the programming will reflect that answer.”

The 2010 SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference will be Oct. 3-6 at Planet Hollywood, formerly the Aladdin Hotel & Casino, where the 2005 convention was held.

Standard room rates will be $129.

Interim co-executive director Chris Vachon said SPJ wanted to do another convention in Las Vegas before combining conventions with the Radio-Television News Directors Association in 2011. The 2011 location has yet to be determined.

SPJ will begin planning programming and other details of the 2010 convention in coming months.

Vachon said it would be nice to have more recruiters coming to conventions, but getting them to attend has always been a struggle, even in good times.

Vachon said she hopes to continue recent additions to the convention, such as newsroom tours, a career center and Jail-N-Bail, the Legal Defense Fund fundraiser that puts journalists behind bars for an hour or until they raise $100.

Molly McDonough, 2009 convention programming chair, said she liked that this year’s sessions focused on forward-thinking principles.

“Last year, there were many that didn’t even know what Twitter was,” she said. “It’s nice that we don’t have to be bogged down by that anymore.”

McDonough said she’s looking forward to potentially seeing more sessions with innovative journalists.

“I want to see people who have new models for making journalism work,” she said.