The Status of the NABJ-NAHJ Convention
NABJ Announces ESPN’s Michael Wilbon as Honorary 2020 Convention Chair04/13/2020
What To Do If You’re Laid Off During the COVID-19 Pandemic04/15/2020
Dear NABJ Members,
We hope that you, your family and colleagues stay safe as we all navigate through the
We know you have questions so below are some answers concerning the joint NABJ-
NAHJ Convention scheduled for July 8-12, 2020 in Washington, D.C.
Are NABJ and NAHJ still planning for a convention?
YES, but what form it takes is yet to be determined. The health and well-being of our
members and partners is of utmost importance to NABJ and NAHJ.That is why we are
revealing alternatives below that are under consideration.
Have we tried rescheduling the dates for the convention?
OF COURSE. Here’s the problem: We’re a big convention and there are no dates
available at the designated host hotel. Discussions continue with the Marriott Wardman
regarding contractual issues that need to be resolved.We cannot go into specifics
because of sensitive issues that could have serious negative ramifications for both
organizations if prematurely disclosed during negotiations.
What if members are uncomfortable attending the convention even if the local, state and
federal government says it is OK in July?
We get it. We encourage members to simply do what they believe is in their best
Are NABJ and NAHJ considering alternatives if an in-person convention cannot
Since early March, we have been quietly exploring three paths.An “in-person”
convention as scheduled, a “virtual convention,” and a “hybrid in-person/virtual
convention” are all being planned.We will proceed down one of the three paths above,
hoping the in-person gathering works out.Which path we choose will be dictated by
COVID-19 conditions in mid-May. There are many factors to consider including local,
state and federal government restrictions, the local COVID-19 environment and at the
top of the list is prospective attendee comfort with health concerns.
How would the three options work?
In a virtual convention environment, workshops/panels/training sessions will be similar
to webinar or Zoom interactive environments.However, unless security concerns are
addressed with the Zoom platform, we will not be using it. We will likely use a product
that we are currently exploring that offers us tremendous flexibility for the plethora of
creative ideas we have for a positive and memorable experience.Our final choice will
not require you to purchase anything but rather just be a registrant, go to a website and
click on a link.Each registrant would have a unique code allowing access from one
portal and one unique IP address.
Here’s how it would “likely” work pending final discussions with our online vendor:
- The virtual exhibit hall hours would be 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. ET so that other time
zones are accommodated.
- Each convention registrant would choose the companies with which they
want to have a live video discussion in private one-on-one sessions.
- Live video chats include reviewing/critiquing portfolios of video, print and
online content while talking about current or future opportunities or just
feedback in- general.
- Registrants would be required to make appointments in 15-minute
increments.Registrants would also be required to upload their resumes,
samples, reels ahead of time so that exhibitors could easily access their
materials prior to or during the video chat.
- Panels, workshops, training sessions, etc., will also have their own
designated video “rooms/portals” and will be scheduled throughout the
convention dates as normal.
There are several virtual enhancements under consideration, i.e. 3-D environments to
further improve attendee experience on multiple platforms.Keep in mind we are still
working on details for the full virtual option. As we decide on more details, we will let you
Member Benefits for a Virtual Convention:
- Significant savings on airfare, hotel rooms, parking/ground transportation
and possibly food
- Opportunity for advance scheduling with all companies/organizations in the
- Allows members that register to participate in the convention if they still
have reservations about participating in in-person group settings, even
when government and health industry guidelines are strictly followed
In a “hybrid in-person/virtual conference” scenario, some sessions would be “in-person”
if the created environment in D.C. allows for responsible social distancing and
observance of required or recommended government and health industry guidelines.
Additionally, some sessions would be “virtual” for engagement/viewing from the comfort
of an attendee’s home.
- Again, to participate, attendees would have to be convention registrants.
PLEASE AGAIN NOTE:
We are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. An “in-person conference” is our
preference but we will continue to travel down the three parallel paths.Per contracts,WE
ARE NOT LIKELY TO PROACTIVELY CANCEL OUR CONVENTION.Again, we hope
to have more definitive plans by mid-May.
We are also well down the road on some exciting virtual interactive models for some of
our meal events as well!Yes, of course, attendees will get REAL FOOD for these virtual
events.Stay tuned for more information on how this aspect of the convention would
We are even working on exciting contingencies for our social networking events.One
example is the premiere social networking event at NABJ conventions, the Sports Task
Force Jam.You won’t be disappointed. STAY TUNED!!!!!!!
There will be a lot more details on the horizon.Hang in there and be safe!