RTNDA's second chance


The tragedy that canceled the Radio-Television News Directors Association's convention in Nashville last September has become the theme of the rescheduled conference this week in Las Vegas.

In addition to the general session—in which the state of local news will be addressed broadly, likely focusing on the troubled economy—the combined NAB-RTNDA conference will have a second session on journalism following the events of Sept. 11 and other sessions on crisis reporting, covering hoaxes and the battle over the post-9/11 grounding of news choppers.

Attendance is expected to be down from the 2,500 to 2,800 typical of recent RTNDA conventions. Association President Barbara Cochran said advance registration has exceeded expectations, although she would not say what those expectations were.

The 2001 conference was scheduled to begin last Sept. 12 in Nashville but was canceled. In January, RTNDA merged its show with the NAB show, which meant also canceling the RTNDA conference this September. NAB and RTNDA will combine for at least five annual conventions.

The stars will come out. Among them will be NBC's Tom Brokaw, who will receive this year's Paul White Award; CBS's Steve Kroft; NBC's John Siegenthaler; PBS's Gwen Ifill; and ABC's John Cochran (who is married to the RTNDA president).