About the UNITY Convention…

I Twittered today from the Unity journalism convention and lots of people asked me, “What is this and how can I go?”

Unity is a conference that happens every four years. It is all about helping the media increase diversity coverage by increasing the number of journalists of color in the newsroom. The ratio is way off. This convention helps match people with jobs. It’s awesome because all the major media companies have booths where editors sit and conduct interviews with attendees.

As a member of NAHJ, I’ve always gone to these conventions to take workshops to become a better reporter, to promote my craft column in The Arizona Republic, and for the author’s carousel for my books. This time I’m here in Chicago for one day to pass out press kits about the new product line.

Remember, I started Crafty Chica as an offshoot of my newspaper craft column! I wanted to reach people who did not subscribe to the paper. I love to share my goofy story to inspire other reporters and columnists to see how far and wide their work can go. No matter how much glitter I sprinkle, I will always consider myself a reporter and journalist. I worked very hard at that job and am very proud to have been on staff.

Anyway, today was very intimidating, but well worth every second.

Every booth has a line of people holding their resume and a stack of clips. They nervously wait their turn to sit down with an editor/producer and share their work. The editor then conducts a mini-interview/audition. Each person has anywhere from one to 10 minutes depending on how interested the editor is.

I came from a different angle, because I was pitching a story idea, rather than looking for a job. I had about 15 seconds to sell my angle before seeing if I could continue. Every one was really cool and once they realized exactly what I was saying (craft columnist scores liscensing deal!), and the possibilites, they either got excited about covering it, or they took my kit to pass along to a colleague.

I first visited all the booths of media in the cities where my products will be sold, and where I’ll be doing appearances. I finished and sat down. I sighed, glad it was overwith. I looked up and saw the Harpo Productions booth!! I walked over, excited to get an Oprah pen. I took one, looked up and saw badge that said “Senior Producer, The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

I gulped.

How often in one’s life do you get to stand face to face with a SENIOR PRODUCER from Oprah?? Not only that, she commented on how she liked my purse. “I made it!!,” I said. I “felt” that opening, know what I mean? So I went for it.

With my heart pounding practically out of my chest, I delivered my 15-second spiel, smiled, held my breath and waited to see her reaction.

“You are so cute! I love your story!” she said. She gave me her name, introduced herself and handed over a card. She asked me to send her a press kit with all the details. She said to send it soon, while she still remembers me.

That’s all I heard, I was on cloud nine!! It was only while I was walking away in what felt like slow-mo – that I realized she also told me about a Harpo party tonight. DUH! I totally missed that info because I was so elated.

That’s why someday in my lifetime, or when my daughter gets a little older, I need someone to go with me and handle all that stuff. I could have been sipping champagne at an Oprah party tonight. Instead, I almost choked to death on my buffalo chicken salad in my hotel room. My throat and chest are still sore 🙁 tmi, sorry…

I also worked up the nerve to hit People Magazine too. I sat down , chatted with two staff writers, and dropped off my kit. No, I did not get their cards (kick me please!).

Many of you think I have my act all together, um, no. I get flustered when I get excited, like when I ask strangers if they make shoes. It’s a flaw that I need to work on before it gets the better of me. There is nothing to prepare for, it is just about staying calm and having good listening skills.

Pretend you have 10-15 seconds to relay the ultimate story pitch on yourself/product/website, etc. What would it be? Think about what makes you, and what you do, amazing. Why should someone write about you? If it is easier, make a list. Try to nail it down a couple sentences.

Reporters and editors are looking for an intriguing hook. Something that has relevance and is different. And newsworthy and timely.

I also wanted to catch the interest of reporting attending the conference. I wore a purse I made. Every time someone commented on it, I handed them a card. If they asked for more info, I gave them a press kit.

Now what happens if you don’t go to a conference? Easy, you write up a press release of your fabulous news, make a fun press kit and send it to editors. Read the paper or magazines and jot down the names of writers who report on topics like yours.

There’s so much more to go into and I promise to share it another time!

I’m heading to bed, happy to go home be back with my family tomorrow!

Love & light,


5 Responses

  1. Wow Cathy, my heart was beating fast *for* you as I read your post.

    You know I get all nervous like that too. My husband still teases me about thing first thing I said to him when he walked in for our first date…”I’m going to take my shoes off now.” And then I did! *LOL* I have no idea why, I was just so nervous!

    So glad I found you on twitter so I could be reminded to read your blog and hear about all your exciting crafty adventures!

    ♥ Melissa~
    Pink Paper Peppermints

  2. It sounds like you did just awesome, you are not only selling what you have to offer but you are also selling yourself!! And dosen’t just everyone love to see cute little housewives making it? 🙂
    Don’t try and change who you are, I know it’s awful because I get the same thing wen I am rushed, you want to cram so much into such a little time and not miss anything that you become flustered, but I think thats part of the charm 😉

  3. Kathy, you never cease to inspire me. Thank you so much for sharing your stories, “flaws” and all. Showing your real self makes us all hope for the best in ourselves, instead of thinking that we should give up because everyone else is so much more perfect than us. You keep going no matter what. And look where you’re at! It’s obvious that this is still just the beginning for your talented self. Can’t wait to see where your journey continues to take you, and we’ll all be there cheering you on!
    Besitos and hugs!
    Carol B.

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Kathy Cano-Murillo

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Hi, I’m Kathy, The Crafty Chica! My specialty is creative motivation. I’m an artist, author, and speaker and this is where I share my craft tutorials, artwork, articles, books, product lines, and workshops!

Let’s work together! Check out my services page HERE.

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