Advice from a pro: Covering an event

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One of the speakers I wish I could have gotten in this week is Suzanne Gamboa, who covers Latinos, politics and news for NBCNews.com.

Before going to NBC News, she was a long time reporter for the Associated Press out of Washington D.C. (And she’s pretty tough. I’ve seen her in action. Yowza!)

She’ll be in town this week covering the state Democratic Convention in Dallas. Due to prepping for that coverage, she’s not able to do a training session with us but Suzanne sent along some advice for covering the convention. The same advice could be applied to covering any event, from council meetings to events on campus. (Pay special attention to the digital advice part).

If you’re one of the ones going to the convention this week, say hello to Suzanne. Here’s the advice she sent along:

SuzanneConferences are not just about covering panels. If you have to turn around daily assignments you certainly want to report on the good speeches or panels, but the real way to cover a conference is to think large, big picture.

You have a gathering of numerous Latino lawmakers and policy shapers going on here. How do you make the most of that? Story wise you could write about how Latinos are faring in elected office and talk to some about what are some of the difficulties they see for Latinos trying to serve and get elected. Or you can take in themes based on what is happening politically i.e., how difficult is it for those who support Obama to continue backing him when their community is demanding action on deportations.

Don’t let their schedule define your story agenda, you set it.

In addition, make sure you have a whole box of business cards and carry as many with you as possible. Hand them out to everyone and get theirs. I plan to make use of the CamCard App. You take a picture of the card and the app auto fills everything (sometimes you have to make fixes) but that reduces losing cards and puts them quickly in your contacts.

Something new I’ll be doing because I now work in the digital realm. I’ll shoot a photo and send in a few paragraphs. For example: so and so was at NALEO promoting a new system for registering voters, NALEO Prez Arturo Vargas. Consider yourself well-behaved political paparazzi. I’ll look for bright and serious moments. Quotes to tweet and even more story ideas.

 

Want to check out her coverage on social? She’s going to hit Twitter hard on this one so you guys should take notes on how she does it.

 

 

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