Friday, March 30, 2007

SPJ Region 3 Conference- Welcome to The Sun!


GAINESVILLE, Fla.-- Community journalism in a college town is what we're seeing this weekend as we attend the Southeastern regional conference for the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).

Technically, It's called Region 3. SPJ members, mostly college chapter members from the states of South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Alabama are gathered here in the home of Florida Gators.

This afternoon we had a chance to see the inside of The Gainesville Sun, a 50,000 circ. paper that is part of the New York Times Regional Group. It's actually kind of exciting to be here as the Florida Gators-- an SEC rival nonetheless, are playing in the Final Four in Atlanta. So you can feel the excitement.

Yes, I told the rental agent at the Gainesville Airport today--- "you gotta support the conference!" Love 'em or hate 'em, the Gators represent the Southeastern Conference and it would be nice to see them win two NCAA basketball titles in a row.

More interesting for this gathering of journalists is the role the outcome of tomorrow's game will have for The Gainesville Sun.

As editors held their afternoon meeting today, we were reminded how much revenue the paper generates based on this story. Apparently the morning after the Gators beat Ohio State for the Football National Title game, people were lined up outside the Sun's office to buy a commemorative copy of the newspaper. The paper sold other paraphernalia with the story on it as well.

Hey, The Sun's sister paper, The Tuscaloosa News, would do the same thing as would any newspaper.

But, it's interesting to hear that nonetheless.

More from Gainesville tomorrow as a full day of sessions on a wide range of journalism topics is scheduled.

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