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Give me a reason to finally pack my bags for Austin next March

SXSW PanelPicker proposal link 2012For many years SXSW was that place some of my classmates at SCAD went to during spring break. They came back talking about some really cool new film or information about the latest and greatest piece of technology. I’ve long wondered what it would be like to go to Austin and see what all the excitement’s about.

As I became more immersed in emerging technologies and digital journalism, it became more apparent that I should eventually try to attend. I even tried to win a pass from Media Temple back in 2010 (almost pulled it off too – thanks again to those who voted).

This year I figured it would make a go of it and finally submit to SXSW Interactive. At least I eventually submitted an idea to SXSW Interactive as a result of posting the following question to Google+ a few weeks ago:

I got a couple of responses from that note (and a similar one one Twitter), including ones from Joy Mayer, recently dubbed journalism’s new “minister of engagement” who happens to work at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, and Kim Bui, KPCC‘s social media strategist and community editor (as well as #wjchat co-founder).

After we crafted the original idea, Joy was able to entice James Janega, manager of the Chicago Tribune‘s Trib Nation blog to join the proposed panel.

The topic: How to talk to your audience again.

While the description included in our PanelPicker submission is quite sexy, I figured I’d try to put it in my own words too.

The focus on online engagement is necessary in the world of journalism, but so is the long-held practice of offline engagement and what gets crafted on laptops, smartphones and printed pages because of it. We want to discuss best practices for all aspects of engagement and conversations beneficial to journalism in this day and age. After all, to quote Chris Amico:

[blackbirdpie url=”!/eyeseast/status/60370995852218369″]

So, why submit to the PanelPicker?

I get to work with some great minds

If the panel gets chosen, the team gets to spend some time over the next few months via email, phone and video (perhaps even Google+) to make sure it’s the best possible panel discussion it can be. It also gives us a chance to get some new ideas for the projects we’re currently working on.

We get feedback

I’m interested in seeing how much interaction we’re able to get just by suggesting this as a potential topic. There are plenty of opportunities to get feedback via the submission and this blog post, leading to a great conversation before the conference (though I’ve got a feeling that other things could be

I want to go to SXSW

SXSWi logo 2012Let’s be serious here – being able to speak at SXSW is one of the best ways to justify going to the conference. Even though “it may not be the way it used to be,” I’ve never been so I won’t really know. I figured it was time to try to take a step and see if I could add to a meaningful conversation about where I am currently while picking up valuable advice from others along the way.

If you’re interesting in adding your voice to the masses that make up 30% of the SXSW selection process, I ask that you head over to the SXSW PanelPicker, create an account and vote the panel proposal up. By registering, you can also comment on the proposal and help us make it as great as it can be. You can also comment below if you just want to offer your two cents.

I’ll probably put a few more tweets out in the coming weeks, but there’s a chance I may not. I know how insane this process gets every year from watching requests fly by on in my Twitter timeline. This being my first time taking part in it & I know that if more folks don’t know it’s out there, the odds of making the decision makers aware of it’s existence is slim. I’m also aware though that maybe I’ve got to let it sink or swim based on its merits and not via yelling at the top of my voice. It’s a great panel and the topic can be delved into quite deeply.

Here’s to hoping I get a chance to dig into it.


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