No one can attend every presentation, of course, given the simultaneous breakout sessions, but among those I sat in on, here are a few that stood out:
— Brian Doyle’s impassioned opening session on storytelling. Emotional presentations are chancy—lots of people find them either an acquired taste or a bit hard to bear—but there’s no questioning Doyle’s commitment to fine writing and even if you don’t respond to his emoting, you must admit he tells a hilarious Dalai Lama story.
— Morven Knowles discussion of how CAM remade itself. There was Knowles’ plummy accent, of course, which every Yank in the room secretly coveted. But there was also interesting commentary on what it’s like to not just redesign your periodical, but rethink it as well.
— Tyler Stableford’s excellent photography session. Shutterbugs like me loved it for Stableford’s photos and his clear explanations of how he got the shots. But editors gleaned a lot about what makes one photo better than another, which sometimes is obvious but other times is more subtle and murky. Also interesting was him talking about how he prefers more rather than less instruction from the art director, and how helpful it is to have read a draft of the story.
— The captions-callouts-headlines presentation by Matt Jennings spoke to a lot of us. These are often the rushed, last-minute items that don’t get our full attention, and Jennings noted how that can be a real mistake.
— The Friday morning panel on sticky political situations as experienced by editors and communications professionals at Johns Hopkins, Stanford, and North Carolina State, who did a fine job of sharing the stage and articulating the problems we all encounter while trying to negotiate the politics of our institutions.
— I did not attend Robert Richards’ presentation on copyright and other legal issues, but my boss, Catherine Pierre, did and reports that it was excellent. This has become an ever-bigger issue as we deal with questions of consent, copyright on the Internet, and fair use. (Arianna Huffington, lawyers from The New York Times are on line 3.)
Finally, there were a couple of comic highlights. One was Vicki Glembocki’s reenactment of how she was driving with two sleeping kids in the back seat when she desperately needed to void her bladder. Those of us who have known Glembocki for a long time were not surprised to hear that her solution was to somehow position a diaper so that she could relieve herself while continuing to roll down the highway. Never have I seen such a thing at an Editors Forum. Priceless.
Then there was that dorkboy who confused the cover photo of Michelle Obama for a cover photo of Condi Rice. I’d reveal his identity, but we try not to ridicule people on the blog, and besides, judging by the looks of delight on the faces of all his friends, he’s in for plenty of ridicule as it stands.
Thanks to Betsy Robertson, Maureen Harmon, and the CASE crew, especially Emily DeYoung, for all their work. See y’all in Atlanta, where we all will be invited to a barbecue at Paige Parvin’s house. She promised. Sometime after the fourth beer.