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Campus Welcomes National Society of Newspaper Columnists for Three-Day Conference

Campus Welcomes National Society of Newspaper Columnists for Three-Day Conference

Posted: June 19, 2019

Approximately 100 newspaper columnists, journalists, and bloggers from across the country will descend upon Buffalo State June 20–23 for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC) Conference.

A nonprofit organization that promotes professionalism and camaraderie among columnists and other writers of the serial essay, NSNC advocates for journalists and free-press issues. The 42nd annual conference is open to all writers, but is primarily geared toward columnists and bloggers, said Suzette Martinez Standring, NSNC executive director. She is a Boston, Massachusetts-based columnist and author of The Art of Column Writing and The Art of Opinion Writing.  

John Avlon, author, columnist, and CNN commentator, will deliver the keynote address on June 21 at 7:00 p.m. in the LoRusso Alumni and Visitor Center for the NSNC’s Will Rogers Humanitarian Award. Former editor-in-chief and managing director of the news and pop culture website the Daily Beast, Avlon won the NSNC award for best online column in 2012. He also authored the books Independent Nation, Wingnuts, and Washington’s Farewell. Columnist and chaplain Norris Burkes of Sacramento, California, will receive the award for his work in building student libraries in Honduras.

Margaret Sullivan, former Buffalo News executive editor and current media columnist for the Washington Post, is one of the featured speakers. Sullivan, who left Buffalo in 2012 to serve as the public editor of the New York Times, will speak on “The Vital Role of a Columnist” at 1:00 p.m. on June 22.

Nationally syndicated columnist Kathleen Park, who joined the Washington Post Writers Group in 2006, will receive the 2019 Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award during the NSNC Column Writing Contest Awards on June 22 at 7:00 p.m. in the Alumni Center.

Other speakers and presenters include David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and leading expert in economics and tax issues; Jim Azevedo, marketing director for Smashwords, an e-book-distribution platform; Mary Curtis, award-winning journalist and political columnist with Roll Call; and Dave Lieber, Dallas Morning News watchdog reporter, author, and public speaker.

“We’re one of the last specialty journalism organizations still standing,” Standring said. “So many speakers who participate in our conference believe in our mission and speak for free.”

The talks will be held in the Bulger Communication Center. Speakers and conference participants will stay in the Hotel Henry Urban Resort Conference Center and the Student Apartment Complex. 

Buffalo State was chosen as the site because NSNC President Christopher Carosa lives in Western New York and suggested the group hold the conference in Buffalo. The campus space is perfect, and the college offers comfortable and unique accommodations, Standring said.

“We’re looking forward to touring the hotel and the Richardson Complex,” she said.

NSNC is one of several organizations holding conferences at Buffalo State this summer. Others include the Master Teachers STANYS/ADI Workshop and the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Celebration.

“We’ve never partnered with a college before,” Standring said. “It’s been such a great experience that we may use other colleges as host sites in the future.”  

Registration for NSNC is officially closed, but those interested in attending some or all of the conference can contact Standring at Admission ranges from $80 for the Saturday banquet only to $425 for non-NSNC members for the entire conference.

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