Many of the estimated 150 majors in Auburn University's journalism program sat in on one or more of the 10 sessions held in the campus student center. Having only been to Alabama twice before – both times in Birmingham, once for a NABJ regional conference, the other for a wedding – I'm grateful that the program's director, Jennifer Wood Adams, invited me to sit on two panels and to attend its advisory council's meeting and luncheon.
A key component of Auburn Journalism Day: several panelists were Auburn alumni. Indeed, those who joined me on the multimedia storytelling panel – Julie Clark McKinney and Wes Sinor, both of al.com (the Web hub for the Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times and Mobile's Press-Register), and Maxwell Newfield, a production assistant at CNN Documentaries, have all graduated from Auburn within the past few years. "When you're doing broadcast, silence does just as much as talking does," Newfield told the audience while discussing interviewing.
McKinney – who admirably says she considers the live chats that her website does "my baby" – also joined me on the social media reporting panel, as did Anthony Cook, also of al.com, and Bill Barrow of The Associated Press. I loved hearing her share these wise words with the students: "If you are a journalist, you should be reading other journalists" and "you don't want to put anything out there that can come back to bite you. Just keep it professional."
Journalism Day ended with several professionals and alumni meeting with Editor Robert Lee and other staffers in the newsroom of The Auburn Plainsman. The pros spent an hour offering critiques and tips for the young journalists as Austin Phillips and Judy Riedl, the adviser and general manager, respectively, looked on happily. Congratulations to Dr. Adams and everyone else who helped produce the day's events. By all accounts, it was very worthwhile.