NASH 81: Flawed

Monique Gendron | Production Coordinator

The best experience I ever had with NASH was my very first; NASH 79 Assemble!, which was held three years ago in Toronto. The speakers they had lined up spoke with such passion and vigour that one could not help being enthralled by the prospect of entering journalism as a career. The topics were varied, the panels informative, and everyone came away having learned something new. This year, the overwhelming feeling I got from the conference was disillusionment. The speakers lacked the enthusiasm that had so captured me in previous years, and I found myself struggling to maintain my focus during the presentations. That isn’t to say I did not learn anything – it simply did not have the same appeal as before. I attended a few panels on videography, perhaps with the intention to implement it when I returned to Prince George, but I had to say I learned more from a brief internship at the GOAT than I did sitting in that darkened room, staring at the PowerPoint slides that clicked past. The rest of the panels and speakers passed by me in a darkened blur, uneventful and nearly forgotten except for the few scrambled notes on my tablet. There were two highlights to this conference, however. I got to meet with Jason Chiu, the deputy head of Visual Journalism at the Globe and Mail. Despite not having an appointment, he was still gracious enough to allow me some of his time to improve on my layout design for Over the Edge. I learned many new things from him and readers will see these improvements in the paper over time, I hope. The second highlight was Suzanne Craig. She is an investigative reporter at The New York Times and she held the final keynote speech of the conference. I must say, she was a redeeming quality of this entire event. Her tales of investigation into the Donald Trump tax evasion scam were enough to keep my attention away from my hunger as she cracked jokes and explained part of the nature of investigative journalism, stressing that her line of work was more research than writing. Her tales were enlightening, and though I do not intend to enter the investigative field of journalism, the knowledge she imparted is still applicable to many aspects of both a student’s life and a journalist. All in all, this NASH conference wasn’t entirely a lost cause. It nearly came close, but a few exceptional moments, at least for me, prevented it from ending in disaster and disappointment. I hope next year, whoever becomes the host for this long-standing gathering of budding journalists, can learn from this and will deliver a conference as yet unseen by the likes of me.