Awesome, folks! SPJ Region 1 rocked

John Ensslin, New Jersey chapter president, and Rebecca Baker, national president at this year’s regional conference.

We had an awesome two-day spring regional conference in Philadelphia this past weekend that lived up to our theme of “For the Love of Journalism.”

The conference was a sold-out event that attracted more than 130 people to Temple University where they heard 20 sessions and 32 speakers. We had members from almost every state in the region and one person from as far away as Denver, Colo.

An event of this magnitude requires many people to make it a reality.

Today, I’d like to offer a thank you to those folks

Let’s start with Regional Director Jane Primerano and Keystone SPJ President Pat Trosky, who were wonderful partners during the nine-month process that included many meetings to plan, design and execute the conference.

Next, a big thank you to New York Deadline Club President and NJ SPJ board member Claire Regan who designed a beautiful book that helped people navigate the conference and who crafted a conference flyer and logo.

A special thanks to Deadline Club volunteer Melissa Heule who helped run our conference website.

Thanks to Keystone board members Susan Schwartz and Carol Crane, who did everything from setting out chairs to editing the stories of a group of 14 Temple University journalism student volunteers.

A special thanks to NJ SPJ Vice President Miriam Ascarelli, for coordinating those volunteer students, serving as their editor and helping organize a very successful pizza party/newspaper swap for student journalists graciously hosted by the staff of Temple News.

14 students helped out

We were fortunate to have those 14 student volunteers who did everything from reporting, writing and recording the conference session to helping with registration and cleaning up afterwards.

Thanks to New Jersey chapter Treasurer Elizabeth Oguss for tracking our finances and to chapter Secretary Emily Kratzer for overseeing registration and sending out the emails that helped build our audience.

A big thank you to NJ SPJ board member Robert Bugai for soliciting, collecting and assembling our conference “goody bags.”

Thanks to NJ SPJ board members David Levitt, Ron Miskoff and Nick Hirshon for introducing some of our sessions.

Thank you to SPJ National President Rebecca Baker for moderating one of our sessions and helping present our Mark of Excellence winners.

Thanks to incoming SPJ national President Alex Tarquino for introducing one of our sessions.

Thanks to deputy Regional Director Chris Vacarro who helped with the MOE brunch and to New England chapter President Jordan Frias who helped guide students to the brunch.

Thanks to all our speakers who gave up a lovely spring weekend to lead sessions that demonstrated our love for journalism – especially our hackathoners, who spent more than six hours over two days crafting a document on newsroom diversity (more on that later).

And an extra thanks to Nick Hirshon and his students from the newly approved William Paterson University chapter for organizing and narrating a very successful walking tour of historic sites in journalism in downtown Philadelphia. I believe his nine-member student chapter delegation was the largest to attend the conference.

Thanks to our social media coordinator Lanette Espy, for promoting the conference on our Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Thanks to the Pen and Pencil Club for opening early to host our chapter leadership meeting.

Thanks, Temple U, Philadelphia Media Network and!

We are thankful to our three conference major sponsors: Temple University, The Philadelphia Media Network and

And particular thanks to Jim Macmillan of Temple and Alexis Bressler of the Philadelphia Media Network.

And last but not least, my very patient wife Denise, who crafted all the conference badges, helped check people in during the conference and kept me focused.

Apologies in advance to anyone that I’ve overlooked. As you can see, it takes a village to build a conference and we did.

Now it’s on to Baltimore for our National Convention on Sept. 27-29.

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