The Academic Conference

Tuesday, 14 August 2012
As a graduate student, trying to earn a PhD, your life revolves around research. Here's the process:

1. Think up a research idea that adds knowledge to the field
2. Design research project
3. Conduct research
4. Write really long and boring paper about the research findings
5. Submit paper to conferences
6. If paper is rejected, see #1 and start over. If paper is accepted, continue...
6. Get feedback from conference reviewers
7. Revise paper
7. Send paper to academic journals for publications
8. Get rejected
9. Begin entire process again
10. Drink heavily (joking)

In the Windy City on Michigan Street

I recently returned from the AEJMC conference in Chicago. My university sent a van from Knoxville to Chicago for a few colleagues but I was in Columbus, Ohio so I drove myself. Even though the drive up was annoyingly eventful (see For Whom the Cash Tolls), I felt my time there was incredibly rewarding.

Colleague Nate presents his poster

Dr. Amber Roessner (University of Tennessee) and I researched and wrote a paper that was accepted for a scholar to scholar session on Saturday. While there, several of our esteemed colleagues came by to see our work (Dr. Erin Whiteside, Dr. Jim Stovall, and Dean Michael Wirth and his wife, Alice.) After the presentation, I was invited to breakfast by University of Tennessee College of Communication of Information and Science Assistant Dean Catherine Luther. She talked with me for more than an hour about how to form a successful dissertation committee and research. Dr. Luther is certainly one of my idols. The time with her was worth more than gold.

Another highlight of the trip was my new involvement with AEJMC's Electronic News Division as an officer. I was recruited as a Graduate Liaison and will be serving on the leadership committee for possibly four years in different positions. In the meetings, I was surrounded by some of the most successful scholars in my field. The great part? Most of them are former TV news journalists and we had quite a bit to talk about. I look forward to our next convention and meetings between now and then. One of my contributions was to start a AEJMC Electronic News Division Twitter account @AEJMC_END that will help our 263 members communicate and stay in touch.

AEJMC Electronic News Division member meeting

For me, life is best when one works hard and plays hard. Playing hard for me equals spending time to seek out good food. On a student budget, that is not always possible but I was pleasantly surprised by Eleven City Diner on Wabash near my hotel on South Michigan. 

Eleven City Diner

Brad Rubin owns the restaurant. He's from Chicago and was raised in Jewish delicatessens and old school diners. I tried the sour tomato and pickle plate for a starter. 

Sour tomato and pickle plate

The presentation is rather dull but the pickles were fresh, crisp and a delicious combination of dill and spice. For my main dish, I was very bad. The mac and cheese with bacon just called out to me. I couldn't help it. 

Bacon mac and cheese

Truly, the best part of the conference for me was spending time with friends who are in academia but are with another university. I was able to spend time with my friend Jessalynn who is at Xavier in Cincinnati and my long-time friend Glenn Hubbard (now in Texas) who worked for Clear Channel Radio in Cincinnati when I was with WKRC.

With Glenn and his wife Holly

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