WASHINGTON, D.C. — Why were we here, besides for our writer friends and some sightseeing? To get better. Speakers at the 2014 conference of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists discussed politics, government and history, but the focus was on development of our skills. Hence, two wrap-up pieces.
I tried to live-tweet a lot except when called away on conference business. (Nature called at times, too.) Rather than paragraphing these notes, the following comprises headings then the top quotes of speakers, annotated as needed. Other conferees posted live as well, and I borrow from them. For various reasons, some sections are longer.
“Industry Changes and Strategies for Success” — Connie Schultz, Creators Syndicate columnist and winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary
“There is a skill and a craft to column writing that is abetted by age and experience.” “I don’t know a columnist who doesn’t spend a lot of time talking. Use some of that time on Facebook.” “Being on social media as a columnist helps you control what is said about you in other media.” “We are the gatekeepers for our own image.” “Don’t create envy in people,” so downplay or avoid references to your relative affluence. “If I were any more transparent I’d be plastic wrap,” on disclosing her marriage to Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. “They will always accuse you of bias. That doesn’t mean it exists.”