If you can’t say something nice about Anne Garrels, then?

NPR’s Anne Garrels gives opening address to AEJMC Attendees on Wednesday, but hits the skids in the final minutes of her talk.

DENVER– The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication is winding down, only one more day of presentations.  

Between meetings, events, presentations and off-site events, it’s been hard to find time to write anything here on my blog.

But, thinking back over the last three days, I have to say the biggest disappointment was the keynote by NPR’s Anne Garrels.    While she provided some great insights about how her reporting experience has changed in the digital media world,  the end of her speech was not very outstanding.

Maybe it’s because we had higher expectations than we should have of someone who is not a frequent public speaker.

She talked about the technological shifts that she has had to make.

“I’m a neanderthal” were the first words of her keynote address, which was easily the most well-attended events at his convention that draws thousands of journalism educators like myself from around the world.

At least one blogger posted a good summary of her main points.

She explained how “sound has become truly important again”  referencing her work as a correspondent for National Public Radio.

Speaking of sound, I have an audio recording of her address, which I will listen to  listen to and cull for a later, more substantive posting.

Things went downhill

Despite all the great advice she gave at the top of her address, Garrels took a turn about 15 minutes into her address and never seemed to recover.  She started making points, but not finishing them.

Finally after several attempts to re-start, she just admitted that she had lost her place in her prepared remarks.  And, quickly brought things to an end.

Even though we’d like to think we are, all broadcast journalists are not great speakers.

Garrels may have been a tad bit uncomfortable addressing an audience of fellow journalists, now journalism professors.

She may have just been working through some of her ideas in her mind before getting up to speak.

I don’t know.  But, I couldn’t resist pointing out this lowpoint of the AEJMC Conference.

Still, thanks to former CNN Correspondent  Charles Bierbauer (now dean at University of South Carolina) who helped secure Garrels to be our opening speaker, we were exposed to a less stellar side of a stellar international correspondent.

I want to write more about what she did say– perhaps in a day or so after the hectic days of the conference are behind me.

Advice to faculty: Encourage your students to build their brand

Andy Koen from KOAA-TV in Colorado Springs gives attendees at AEJMC 2010 reality check on the life of a TV reporters in 2010.

DENVER– Journalism professors need to encourage their students to work on building their personal brand.

That’s the first piece of advice coming out of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Annual Conference here in the ‘Mile High’ City.

This morning’s panel “Preparing Students for What’s Next in Student Media” featured a couple of academics (journalism professors who work with students every day) and a full-time video journalist from KOAA-TV in Colorado Springs.

It was Andy Koen from KOAA-TV who gave the advice about personal branding, a reality he faces as he also shoots and edits his own television stories.

Andy talked about the challenges of having time to add things to his blog while doing the other things that television news reporters have to do.

Koen also showed off some of his videography  on his YouTube channel.

In one example, he explained how a posting of his news package from the Air Force Academy  graduation has had hundreds of views.

Meeting Andy and seeing his work, getting his advice for my students is the reason we make the trip to Colorado for AEJMC each year.

Going Behind the PR Curtain at Focus on the Family

Gary Schneeberger talks with journalism professors attending the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Comunication Annual Conference.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo–  What an experience to not only visit the worldwide headquarters of Focus on the Family, but also to talk with the man who fields all the media inquiries about this organization that is known for its sometimes controversial political stances.

The so-called “Protestant Vatican,” a nickname for Colorado Springs is about an hour south of Denver and worth the drive just to see the campus of Focus on the Family.

Gary Schneeberger, vice president of ministry of communications, addresses AEJMC attendees at a session at Focus on the Family headquarters in Colorado Springs.

Gary Schneeberger, vice president for ministry communications, was quite forthcoming about some of the media strategies that his organization is using to educate the public about the family founded by Dr. James Dobson.

Schneeberger talked about a recent controversy over an advertisement Focus on the Family placed during the Super Bowl earlier this year.

He also admitted that Focus on the Family, like many other organizations,  has had to play catch-up when it comes to embracing social media.   But, they’re catching up pretty well with a growing audience on Facebook

There’s a lot more about which to write from this visit here to Colorado Springs.