AAJA Convention Guide: Annalisa Burgos, Freelance Multimedia Journalist

I’ve been to nearly all the AAJA conventions since 1999 at different stages of my career: as a student, cub reporter, hiring editor, AAJA national board member. This year, I’ll be attending as a freelance journalist and job seeker, so the career fair will be especially important for me.

My goal is not just to find the right opportunity. I’m hoping to get outside of my comfort zone and build my arsenal of skills, one of which is coding, so I signed up for the pre-convention workshop, “Beginning HTML & CSS for Journalists,” on Wednesday.

Journalists don’t code, you say. Maybe not, but as a digital journalist, I work with front-end developers and designers to bring my content to life, and being able to speak their language is priceless.

Thursday will be a busy day, because there are so many sessions I’d like to attend. As an aspiring TV anchor, I hope to get advice on how to take my career to the next level from the “How to Make It to the Network” panel.

I’ve always been interested in data journalism and I’m excited to see so many workshops focused on building those skills. I use data to track content performance and develop strategy, but I’m still learning how to find and tell great stories with data and create compelling infographics, so I’ve added “Telling Stories with Data Visualization” to my list. Depending on how I feel, I may pop in on the “Webscraping 101” session out of pure curiosity.

On Friday, I’ve got a couple of sessions in mind, including “New Media Startups: Blowing Up The Business Model” and Big-Time Blogging: Careers In New Media.” I’ve worked at newspapers, websites and cable TV networks – all established media companies. I’m curious about how new media startups are making money (if they are) and if I can succeed in that type of environment.

Of course, the most memorable moments of a convention don’t necessarily happen during a panel or workshop. I met two of my role models, Ann Curry and Connie Chung, at prior conventions. I’ve built meaningful friendships that span the globe. I look forward to reuniting with my ELP class and friends I haven’t seen in years. I’m ready to be in an AAJA state of mind.

Bio: For the past 13 years, Annalisa Burgos has covered everything from Wall Street to restaurants for major media companies, including HGTV, Food Network, Forbes and CNBC. She writes about food on Foodcations.com and hosts videos at youtube.com/foodcations. Follow her at @annalisaburgos.