I’m a big believer in journalism conferences. Attending one forces you to focus on your craft for a few days and is an incredible opportunity to talk to people who are smarter than you and can help you in your career (I guess that’s what they call networking, but I just hate that word).
That said, the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference is one of the best, in my opinion. I love technology and gadgets and doodads just as much as the next millennial, but it’s nice sometimes to forget about apps, tablets and wearables for a second and hone in on the extremely basic yet oh-so-difficult craft of writing. Not to mention, it’s much less stressful than SXSW, which will matter to you if you’re not a crowds person.
Anyway, the Mayborn, sponsored by the Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The conference’s theme this year is “Narratives on the cutting edge: writing about science, technology, medicine and innovation,” and the program boasts an impressive list of accomplished writers.
This conference is not for people who are extremely concerned with a “digital-first” mindset or for writers who live for breaking news and intense deadlines. No, the Mayborn is about slowing down, gathering your thoughts, choosing the right angle, crafting a compelling story and writing from your soul. There is also a strong emphasis on investigative reporting echoing throughout the conference. If you like learning from experienced writers and reporters how they went about finding and telling a story, you will enjoy the Mayborn.
I’m especially excited about the roster of acclaimed female writers who have earned their accolades through reporting on the environment, the medical field and national security, since we all know we can’t have enough awesome women reporters in the world.
If you can make the trip Grapevine, Texas the weekend of July 18-20, 2014, I’d highly encourage it. Otherwise, follow @MaybornConf for updates as the event gets closer, as well as #mayborn. Click here for the full schedule of speakers and here to register for the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference. (It’s pricy; you were warned).
What’s your favorite journalism conference or gathering?