Arriving at a Fixed Destination

Hank Stuever is all about fixed destinations.

His words from last evening’s New Mexico Press Women’s 60th anniversary Conference and Communications Awards Banquet have reached their fixed destination on this blog. I hope it’s a fitting destination.

Hank, an award-winning pop culture writer for the Washington Post’s Style section and a former newspaper reporter from Albuquerque noted that books, newspapers and movies at the theater are all fixed destinations and that these are “the things we are on the precipice of losing.”

He regaled the audience with stories from his early career in Albuquerque, fondly recalling chain link fences and cinder blocks. “I don’t know why I ever left,” he said drawing laughter from the audience.

But for him, “The more faded it gets the more beautiful it gets.”

He shared his love for storytelling and his need to share the stories of life, many of which are captured in his books, Off Ramp and Tinsel. “That’s the most important thing we do as media professionals – we tell one another’s stories,” he said.

And that’s the problem with new media, Hank says. “Now we’re too busy telling ‘my’ story.”

He recalled a time at a campground where he and a photographer stayed for three days. Some Europeans asked him in a broken accent, “Who it is you are all the time with cameras writing down things.”

It was an apt question for a man who has a need to observe and get it down on paper.

And while Hank might bemoan the loss of record stores, newspapers or going to the movies, he’s not writing off new media. “We’re undergoing a Renaissance,” he said. “And we need to stop taking the Renaissance so personally.”

His advice for the new media? Leave a fresco – “some really lovely painting, some really good work.”

What will your fresco be?

Building NFPW’s Future

NFPW board members today were video stars, fashionistas and architects. They’re probably a bit tired, too, but that’s not going to stop any of them.

We took time to create a short video to welcome everyone to the 2010 NFPW Communications Conference in Chicago. Details, including speakers, pre-tours, post-tours and other highlights will be posted to the NFPW Web site.

A few members modeled NFPW logo wear – a great way to say, “I’m a proud NFPW member.” I’m writing my blog wearing my purple NFPW polo shirt.

And we drew the blueprints for the future of NFPW. What does that future look like? Here are some highlights:

1)       Retention: We have many members who have not renewed. We don’t know if it’s the economy or if they are like many of us – they are so busy they forgot to do so. So each board member will be calling a group in the next week. If you haven’t renewed, please do so. We don’t want to lose you. And if there is something we can do to improve membership, let us know.

2)      Web site: We’ve got a great start to the site, but there is so much more we can do. We’re going to improve the navigability of it. We’re going to only use photos of our members and professionals who have spoken to us – no more stock photography. We’ll make it easy to connect by including links to our Facebook and Linkedin pages.  We’re adding an online calendar. We’ll include links to all affiliate Web sites. Our goal is to unveil a new and improved Web site in September.

3)      Social media: We’re going to create a Facebook Fan page so it will be easier for all of us to share and keep the messages under the NFPW umbrella. We’ve changed Linkedin so that only members can join our group – no more postings from individuals trying to sell you something.

4)      Members Directory: We’re exploring how to enhance the directory. For a nominal fee, members will be able to post URLs to their Web sites, blogs, Linkedin profiles. They’ll be able to include a PDF of their resume or a photo of themselves of their book cover. It’s all about personal branding. This is under development and we expect to be able to unveil it by conference.

5)      Contest Review: We’ve taken a look at the categories. In some areas, we streamlined. We also added categories to reflect the changing communications landscape.

I can’t begin to cover everything we achieved these past two days so I touched on the highlights. I’ll continue to share snippets in upcoming blogs and through the monthly e-letter.

I’d like to take this moment and thank each board member for their active participation and for building NFPW’s future.