Along with five other longtime CPW members, I recently attended the National Federation of Press Women’s conference in Greenville, South Carolina. I cheered our CPW Communicator of Achievement Sandy Graham and our 50-year NFPW member Glennys McPhilimy as they were recognized by the national conference participants. I attended numerous enlightening workshops as well as many meetings as the national secretary and as your president, and I participated in the grand post-tour bus trip to Charleston.
Our hosts, the Media Women of South Carolina, crafted the conference so sessions were long enough to provide enough information to be relevant and repeated several popular sessions at different times, so attendees didn’t have to make the hard choice between two good learning opportunities. That also meant my overlapping meeting schedule didn’t prevent me from picking up some interesting tips about fact-checking, blogging and public relations. (Be sure to read the next NFPW Agenda to learn more about the individual sessions).
Much of the meeting discussions, including the affiliate presidents’ meeting and the NFPW board meetings, focused on the common struggle to maintain relevance and attract members. We decided it’s important to identify what really sets NFPW apart from other media membership organizations and how it benefits members. Some key points of discussion:
- NFPW has always been a strong advocate for the First Amendment and the rights of journalists, and the organization needs to elevate its profile on these issues. The NFPW First Amendment Network (FAN) is a grassroots e-mail alert system that notifies FAN members about actions needed and is encouraging affiliates to appoint a FAN chair to coordinate local issues. CPW is fortunate that our own Ruth Anna is very active in the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, and she would be the first to encourage all of us to get involved.
- The communications contests, both for professionals and high school students, are now online and provide a way for freelance writers, nonprofit organization communicators, and many other media professionals to earn state and national recognition for their work. Now that the first year of online submission has been completed, the contest should be less problematic and should be a lot more inviting, particularly for tech-savvy entrants. Not many organizations have both state and national contests.
- NFPW offers low-cost liability insurance for members. This program can protect communicators from such legal claims as defamation, invasion of privacy, copyright infringement, trademark infringement, misappropriation, and errors and omissions.
CPW is continuing to strengthen our relationships with other affiliates, and we have been invited to participate in New Mexico’s annual conference April 25-26, 2015, at the legendary Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center in Abiquiu, New Mexico. I’ve already got it on my calendar and I hope many of you will also plan to attend. More information will be available early next year.