I have especially fond memories of SEJ 2006 in Burlington, Vermont. In part this is because I was one of the lucky Environmental Journalism Boot Campers that year, but also, there was a magically never-empty bowl of Champlain Chocolates out in the exhibitor's area all week.
In Missoula, though, I'll embark on several personal firsts. First time in Montana. first time running for the SEJ board, and first time speaking on an SEJ panel: I'll be subbing in for my OnEarth.org colleague Ben Jervey on Friday's "Working with Citizen Journalists and Community Contributors."
In addition to being a journalist for a cumulative 8-10 years, I've worked in social media for about 15 years, across several generations of net lingo, technology, concepts, and corporate eras: BBS, newsgroups, IRC; Greennet, Usenet, Econet, Netscape, Yahoo!Groups; IRC, Ping, Talk, AOLIM; online community, user-generated content, sticky content, portals, crowdsourcing; Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr.
The other panelists have equally meaty new media chops, including moderator Amy Gahran, Jule Banville of NewWest.net Peggy Kuhr, dean of the University of Montana School of Journalism and Dan Gunderson of Minnesota Public Radio.
So I figure on learning a few things, and hope to contribute to making this an illuminating session for fellow panelists and attendees alike.
Being a panelist also means I won't have to choose between the other fine sessions happening at the same time on Friday, such as Dave Poulsen's workshop on using Google maps as part of your journalism; or the discussion Steve Curwood will be moderating on how environmental issues are playing into the mid-term elections; or Grist editor extraordinaire Mary Bruno's session on humor writing.
Now all I have to wish for is a bottomless bowl of fine Montana chocolate.
Image via icanhazcheezburger.com