by Heather McDorman
St. Charles Community College
Upon reaching Bend, Oregon, locale for the NCMPR District 7 Conference, the town is lovely … it’s small, but mighty.
The Oxford Hotel, the property selected for the conference, is a boutique hotel with a strong commitment to doing things “green.” Its size is modest, but its impact is mighty.
After meeting up with Janet Paulson, NCMPR District 7 Director, and her membership on Thursday morning, she characterizes the group as “small, but mighty.”
I was somewhat apprehensive about my trip to this conference. I’m an OK “traveler,” but I will be honest … I was not looking forward to boarding a “puddle-jumper” to get to Bend. But the flight there (and back) was easy-breezy. So when I arrived (very late) on Wednesday, I was tired, but relieved. Relief soon turned into wonder and joy when I entered my beautiful suite at The Oxford. (Nice choice, D7 — gorgeous property that included an incredible amount of care in its design and services that I may actually write an online review!).
The general sessions included some great presentations on weighty issues like public opinion, controlling the news cycle and the current state of journalism in the U.S. Al Stavistsky, senior associate dean at the School of Journalism at the University of Oregon, provided some sobering statistics on the changing face of the field, its causes for the change, and how higher ed might cope with the changes. Gabriel Nagmay, from Portland Community College, offered a new twist on how to use existing Web resources to support a college’s online PR efforts. (Hey, thanks for sharing our Tweets through a back channel, Gabe!) Other presentations included visual communications, the value of internal communications and a tag-team presentation on re-branding by conference coordinator Ron Paradis (Central Oregon Community College) and Greg Harris (Chemeketa Community College). Can you tell that this small, but mighty conference was jam-packed with content? Whew!
Throw in a quaint Medallion Awards Dinner at a neighboring restaurant, and this district conference had it all. I commend the event planners, the attendees, and especially, Janet Paulson (Clackamas Community College), who led her first district conference with a great deal of thought, care and quality.
Stop number five of the “tour of districts” was MIGHTY good!