3 Reasons to Join NFPW

I sometimes use Yammer, the free private social network for companies, at work. It recently sent out an email touting reasons to use it. As I read the reasons, I realized they are the reasons to be a member of NFPW and your state affiliate. They include:

  1. Connect with colleagues
  2. Collaborate more effectively
  3. Share your knowledge

Connect with colleagues: Through NFPW you can find experts and tap into their knowledge. The key, of course, is reaching out to other members and getting to know them. During the 2011 conference we hosted a POWER Networking session where members had two minutes to share their professional stories. Members came away with information about each other and a stack of business cards for follow-up. We hope to do the same during the 2012 conference.

State affiliates also hold meetings and workshops. In Virginia we also have district meetings, which allow us to connect with a smaller group of members, providing opportunities for more in-depth conversations.

Collaborate more effectively: While Yammer was referring to online collaboration, NFPW also provides such opportunities. NFPW is active on Facebook and LinkedIn, which allow for quick and easy discussions. A recent discussion focused on whether bloggers should be considered journalists. We also share job openings and recently  members reached out to others asking for “likes” on their Facebook pages for their books or magazines. If someone is looking for information quickly, our social sharing sites are an ideal spot to get the information.

Share your knowledge: Again, Yammer was referencing sharing online through Yammer, but NFPW offers several ways to share knowledge. Members post on Facebook and LinkedIn. Members also share stories through a quarterly newsletter and the website. Not only are members sharing their expertise, they are being recognized for their contributions. During last year’s conference NFPW conference several members, including Ruth Brown of Nebraska Press Women and Jill Miller of Wichita Professional Communicators, shared their expertise during workshops.

What do you get from your membership and how can we leverage that with potential members?

Let the Sun Shine In

March 14-20 is Sunshine Week. After this winter, we could all use a week of sunshine, but that’s not what this week is about. It’s about openness in government and letting the light in.

Journalists are the only profession protected by the U.S. Constitution and so they carry a heavy burden – most are happy to do so. When citizens don’t want to sit through a mind numbing four-hour council meeting, reporters do. When we don’t want to wade through thousands of documents to discover the truth, journalists do.

Sunshine Week is an initiative spearheaded by the American Society of News Editors to educate the public about the importance of open government and the dangers of excessive and unnecessary secrecy. It coincides with James Madison’s birthday and National Freedom of Information Day on March 16.

The initiative is working as people are playing more of a role in the actions of their communities, according to the Sunshine Week Web site. They are learning what kinds of information they have a right to see, where to get it, how to get it and what to do if someone tries to keep it from them.

NFPW supports such openness year round through its First Amendment Network. You can join any time (no charge!) through the NFPW Web site or during the NFPW Communications Conference in Chicago, Aug. 26-28.

Nebraska Press Women member Diane Wetzel wrote an article for The North Platte Telegraph pointing out a major contribution that Nebraska made to the legal interpretation of the First Amendment. Visit the NFPW  Web site to read the entire article.

Keep the light shining!