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ASJA Washington Conference a Great Success

from ASJA

A big shout-out to all the organizers, speakers, editors and attendees who made ASJA’s Writers Conference in D.C. on Nov. 8 a great success. More than 140 people attended the event at Trinity Washington University —more when you count the 16 editors who participated in Client Connections. Some fun facts about the participants:
  • About 75 attendees were from the local areas — split about evenly from D.C., Maryland and Virginia
  • Another 65 traveled from other parts of the country and beyond — including California, Texas, Illinois, Utah, Wisconsin, Canada and the UK.
  • 86 attendees were ASJA members (including six brand new members) and 34 were nonmembers (not-yet members?)
The day started out with an inspiring keynote from Dorothy Butler Gilliam, the first black female reporter to work at the Washington Post. She spoke about the challenges she faced while on assignment in segregated America — and the challenges that continue to face our country today.

“We are on the precipice of change in America, and it’s not going to get easier, it’s going to get harder,” she said. She called on attendees to “continue your craft with courage,” and to speak up to editors about the importance of representing all communities. “That’s how we’ll get to the truth of this complex nation.”

After the keynote, attendees headed to sessions in three different tracks: the business of freelancing, the craft of writing, and D.C.-based resources and opportunities (Capital Connections). Sessions covered essays, podcasts, grants and fellowships, the art of the interview and more. Judging from the flurry of tweets with the hashtag #asjadc2019 (which was trending in the D.C. area on Twitter by lunchtime), attendees gleaned plenty of useful nuggets from the panels. More than 60 members and 16 editors participated in Client Connections in the afternoon. By Tuesday, one member had already scored an assignment!

Additions this year were the onsite bookstore (books supplied by local independent bookstore Politics and Prose) and headshot photographer, Suz Redfearn. Book signings offered the opportunity to meet authors. Kellen staff Tim Bennett and James Brannigan kept the day running smoothly.

If you were one of the attendees, look for the evaluation survey in your inbox, complete it and return as soon as possible. We can’t wait to do it all again in New York in April!

Special thanks to the committee and key volunteers:
Conference Co-Chairs: Emily Paulsen and Christy Lyons
Client Connections D.C. Coordinator: Lisa Rabasca Roepe
Craft Track Chairs: Laura Laing and Tam Harbert
Business Track Chair: Melanie Padgett Powers
Capital Connections Track Chair: Chuck McCutcheon
Client Networking Chair: Wendy Helfenbaum
Committee Members/Session Moderators: Katherine Reynolds Lewis and Lottie Joiner
Bookstore Manager: Jill Weschler more

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