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What I look forward to in Indy and why you should go

July 17, 2009

It’s Bethany Jaeger here. Here’s why I think you should consider going to the annual Capitolbeat conference Aug. 20-22 in downtown Indianapolis:

I had a front-row seat to the impeachment and ouster of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. I watched and reported about David Ellis, Illinois House counsel who prosecuted the governor and convinced all 59 state senators to convict Blagojevich and bar him from serving in Illinois again. It was a surreal series of events, which I can’t wait to share with other journalists. You’ll be able to listen to David Ellis at Capitolbeat, where he’ll sit on a panel about Illinois’ impeachment proceedings and whether they set precedent for other states.

I’m also looking forward to an Indy panel about redistricting. Experts will talk about the process, as well as the politics and the potential for shifts in power or some shenanigans.

And I’ll have a hard time deciding between other panels such as privatizing assets, gaming expansions, gaps in health care and how the heck social services are supposed to recover from the recession.

But not all topics are that heavy. We’ll also have sessions about utilizing Twitter, posting audio files, blogging, even writing resumes.

And if that doesn’t peak your interest, check out this recent testimony by Ray Long, longtime Chicago Tribune reporter:

Capitolbeat came together in the late 1990s because statehouse reporters from across the country saw a need for practical training, not theoretic baloney, but real insight into how we can do our jobs better. I sat on the board many moons ago and don’t now, but I am proud and impressed that the conferences keep getting better. They address real needs and give you a chance to pick up tips that you cannot get at other journalism conferences. That’s because Capitolbeat’s state government reporters put together panels that deal with state government, the best beat on the planet. You will miss out on a chance to get better if you skip this conference, and you’ll miss out on a good time too. If you are leaning toward going but not sure if it is worth it, you should take the leap. Today, too, is a chance to get a break on the price.

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