How We "Do" Annual Conference

Posted Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 10:30

ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition can be quite a production, especially in Las Vegas. For the Ameri­can Libraries team, this past conference involved four editors reporting, blogging, tweeting, and posting on Face­book, with five freelance librarian writers reporting. Two edi­tors hung back in the Chicago office to accept our on-the-spot work, editing for style, resizing photos, writing headlines, and generally cleaning up our late-night posting mistakes.

We are supported by a professional video and photography team. Our formal assignment list totaled almost 90 events this year, and we cap­tured serendipitous moments, too. Conference highlights are on pages 20–31, and at AmericanLibrariesMagazine.org/alaac14.

Of course, all this hectic activity means we sometimes slip up—miss a photo, respond a bit too quickly to social media, let autocorrect mess up, or even type the wrong quote. Yikes! Yes, all this happened this year, and we are reviewing our coverage procedures to ensure that we uphold the same journalistic standards for breaking news online that we have for the print magazine.

It may mean we just have to slow down the media cycle, even as we strive to report “live” from programs and events. As always, please let me know at lborman@ala.org if there’s an error or omission, and we’ll get it fixed as soon as we can. We care, and you help keep us accurate.

Our editors’ coverage onsite is always focused on news, not on analy­sis or editorializing. This year, American Libraries was questioned on­line about why we reported comedian B. J. Novak’s opening joke, which some considered a violation of the ALA Code of Conduct. It’s important that members share their concerns about speakers, and I thank those of you who reached out to us to see why we reported the presentation that way. Your feedback—both positive and negative—is valuable. In this case, our onsite conference coverage was reported in a typical straight­forward manner, chronologically. The opening paragraph was part of Novak’s opening remarks. So we stand by our blog post.

On the other question about how a speaker is involved with the Code of Conduct, the code states: “Speakers are asked to frame discussions as openly and inclusively as possible and to be aware of how language or images may be perceived by others. Participants may—and do—exer­cise the ‘law of two feet.’” Code of Conduct violations are taken seri­ously by ALA, and anyone who feels harassed or threatened is encouraged to report offenses to the Conference Services office, where it will be dealt with confidentially.

Thanks to all of you who have tweeted, retweeted, blogged, and emailed us about Annual Conference. We hope you found as many great things about the Las Vegas event as we did, and that it inspired you, en­couraged you, and helped you in your professional life.