Almost every single newspaper in the state of Alabama was represented last week at the 2021 Alabama Press Association Conference, held in Orange Beach, Alabama. The Perdido Beach Resort has been their go-to meeting spot for years, but this year provided a special treat, with all new renovations and upgrades in the property, thanks in part to three different hurricanes last year.
I was thrilled to be asked to be one of the speakers. Talking to a roomful of people in the industry about newspapers? Tough crowd! Why in the world would they want to listen to me? Yikes! I shouldn't have worried, everyone was absolutely lovely and welcoming. They laughed at all the right places and gasped when appropriate ("on the arms of their cousins.").
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey made an appearance and thanked us for covering the news in the state. I'm sure politicians have a love/hate relationship with the press, but as usual, she was gracious and showered praise and congratulatory wishes on us for celebrating 150 years. Then . . . she made a quick exit back home to Montgomery and missed my presentation the next day. I'm sure she'll want a copy! Ha!
I basically talked about how newspapers connect people. Through my stories, I hear from people every single week who share their thoughts with me about their families, homes and cities. They share stories they read with others by forwarding them from our web site, or the old fashioned way I still love . . . taking the scissors and cutting them out, placing them in an envelope and mailing them to someone they know.
People want to know they are linked to others and getting the full, real story — not just a quick click-bait teaser like some online sites give you.
Newspapers bring all views to the table, whether you like them or not. You can always turn the page and find another opinion waiting.
Then . . . I read them my story about putting a pig on the football field. They loved it. Oink! Oink!
This is the area where I grew up and is the perfect blend of Northwest Florida and South Alabama, the area on the Gulf I love so much. — The area of the WORLD I love so much! It was the best location to get some work done, meet new people in the industry and celebrate the great newspapers in the beautiful state of Alabama.
Many of you reading this blog have been with me for years when I first started working with the newspapers, and now, here I am speaking at their statewide convention. I'm humbled and blessed that you've stuck with me while I've seen God's hand at work. You are all a big part of this plan and I love getting your feedback and emails. And now . . . stay tuned for more storytelling news yet to come!