Monday, November 07, 2005

SW Symposium Wraps Up

The 28th Annual Southwest Symposium is history! I'm busy compiling all that I've learned. This photo was taken at Saturday night's dinner at The Stanley in Estes Park, Colo.

Later today, I hope to produce some audio clips from some of the sessions and post-conference interviews conducted.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Journey to the Rocky Mountains

The photos are forthcoming from today's journey to Rocky Mountain National Park. While some clouds obscurred the sun, we were able to spend the last few hours of daylight in the higher elevations of the Rocky Mountains where elk roam and the snow lingers.

Yes, at least an inch of snow is on the ground up there. It's been years since I stepped foot into an inch of snow.

After our journey to the Rocky Mountain National Park, we came back down the mountain to Estes Park where we were treated to a fabulous lake trout dinner and tour of the historic Stanley hotel, which we learned tonight was the FIRST hotel in the nation to have electricity.

I'm worn out-- more later.

Lillie and I Present

The highlight of the weekend --- our presentation(smile) is now over Here you see a post-presentation two-shot of Dr. Lillie Fears and me. Lillie is one of the people who makes me look REALLY short.

A researcher on political proganda, race and gender, Dr. Fears is currently the Vice Chair for the Minorities and Communication Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

We had some snow flurries this morning here at the University campus. But the sun is out and it's clearing up nicely now. More later from Colorado.

Friday, November 04, 2005

SW Symposium Begins

After a morning of seeing downtown Greeley and chatting with the editor of the Greeley Tribune, the OFFICIAL business of the 2005 Southwest Symposium begins.

Minutes from now, the first panel of the symposium will begin here in the University Center of the University of Northern Colorado.

In the photo, you see members of the University of Northern Colorado faculty and staff assisting conference registrants as they pick up their badges.

The Southwest Education Council for Journalism and Mass Communication started in the state of Texas. But, today the organization includes those from journalism/mass communication programs in Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Wyoming and I know I'm forgetting some of the states.

As a co-author of a paper from a colleague from Arkansas, I am ALSO participating in this meeting.

More to come later on what emerges from the sessions.

Visiting Downtown Greeley

What a GREAT time I had this morning with Mr. Randy Bangert, the Managing Editor of the Greeley Tribune.

I also got a chance to spend an hour walking the streets of Downtown Greeley. I stopped by the Weld County/Greeley Chamber of Commerce and picked up some very good background info. .. even had an informal interview with someone about the recent tax vote in Colorado. More on that later as well.

I spent about an hour with Mr. Bangert talking about some of the things happening at his newspaper in a town that is growing and changing by leaps and bounds.

My thanks to his editor, Chris Colber, who's on a Nieman fellowship this year, who paved the way for my visit today.

Randy not only talked about some of history of this town, which is part of Weld County, named recently as one of the fastest growing counties in that nation.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

First Impressions of Colorado

My first few hours in Colorado have been rather uneventful. . a nice way to ease into a working weekend that begins in earnest tomorrow.

It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since the new DIA-- Denver International Airport opened. I vividly remember writing multiple updates on the FAILED baggage system at DIA in 1995.

Coming into the airport today-- on a DIRECT flight from Atlanta, I was relieved to pick up my bag without incident.

The shuttle ride from DIA to Greeley (about an hour's drive north) took nearly 90 minutes as there were TWO LEGS to the trip. The shuttle ride required me to transfer to second van in Loveland, Colorado. Along the way, I got a chance to see some of the commercial ventures from the WEST that we don't have (or used to have)" back East."

Besides, the Western U.S. version of Hardees-- called Carl's Jr, there are others..

The first of these is the SEARS GRAND store, which is the retailer's answer to the Wal-Mart SuperCenter and the Super-Target. We didn't stop at the store just northeast of the airport. But, it's been reported that the Sears Grand concept started here in the Western U.S. with the first store opening in Salt Lake City.

Another blast from the past--- Safeway Supermarkets (which used to operate in my home state of Virginia and in Washington, DC) STILL operate here in Colorado. It was great to see the old Safeway.

The big story here today is the aftermath of several referenda on the ballot across the state--one of which legalized marijuana in city of Denver. Police say since most arrests are made under state law, don't expect much to change. Still, the Denver vote is NATIONAL news as it joins Oakland, Calif. and Seattle, which also took votes on this issue.

The Post, which publishes a PM edition of the paper on its website, focuses on what Colorado legislators are doing. What a delight to come to a two-newspaper town (at least for now) as the Scripps (which recently shutdown its afternoon paper in Birmingham) publishes The Rocky Mountain News.

The Rocky Mountain News today reports that the weather guy at CBS affiliate, KCNC, is retired to guess where? Alabama. How's that for a connection back home.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Geared Up for Greeley

In just 36 hours, I will be making my first trip to the Centennial State. I've read about, heard about happenings in the State of Colorado. But, this week, I'll see it with my own eyes.

While I'll be flying into Denver, my trip takes me north of the state capital to the city of Greeley, home of the The University of Northern Colorado.

The occasion for my visit, the Southwest Symposium, which is sponsored by the Southwest Education Council in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Dr. Lillie Fears, who teaches journalism at Arkansas State University, and I will present our paper entitled "So What Can You Do?: Perceived Entry-Level Journalism Skills of Mass Communication Students."

The conference concludes with a visit to Rocky Mountain National Park and a closing dinner at the historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, a mountain town in Colorado.