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Bragg to be featured at National Communications Conference planned for Sept. 7-9

Special to the Tribune

Most people are familiar with the classic jazz song, “Stars Fell On Alabama,” which was inspired by a real meteor shower that lit up Alabama skies in 1833.

Pulitzer Prize winning writer Rick Bragg will be featured at the National Communications Conference planned for Sept. 7-9 in Birmingham.

Alabama Media Professionals is using that same theme to host the 2017 National Federation of Press Women (NFPW) Communications Conference September 7-9 at Birmingham’s DoubleTree Hotel.

Media “stars” such as author and Pulitzer-Prize winner Rick Bragg, blogger Javacia Harris Bowser, broadcasters Ryan Fowler and Donna Francavilla, public relations professionals Ike Pigott and Cynthia Price (from Virginia), political commentator Natalie Davis, travel writer Annette Thompson, and copyright attorney India Vincent will conduct workshops for media professionals from around the U.S.

In addition, retired Circuit Court Judge Helen Shores Lee, former policewoman-turned-writer T.K. Thorne and veteran reporter Tom Gordon will reflect on covering racially charged events, while Nashville novelist Stuart Englert and Birmingham-based journalist Carolanne Griffith Roberts, watchdog journalist Virginia Martin and grant writer Herb Patterson will offer professional tips in their respective fields.

This is the first time AMP has hosted the national conference, which is held in a different location each year.

It is open to NFPW members and non-members alike.

“In addition to our impressive roster of speakers, we are celebrating the national organization’s 80th anniversary,”conference co-director Elaine Hobson Miller said. “The celebration will be laced throughout our days together in Birmingham.”

Options include a pre-conference trip to Huntsville’s space and rocket center, FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals and the birthplace of W.C. Handy; a literary-themed post-trip to sites associated with Harper Lee, Truman Capote, Fannie Flagg, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hank Williams, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and more; and half-day tours of the Birmingham Civil Rights District and the University of Alabama’s digital media center.

An optional evening tour will take participants on a beer-tasting pub crawl through Birmingham’s four microbreweries.

Founded in 1937 for women newspaper reporters, the National Federation of Press Women now has many men in the organization as well. NFPW has members in almost all 50 states — journalists, editors, book authors, broadcasters, mass communications professors, high school journalism teachers, public relations directors and more. The original and ongoing goal of NFPW is to provide a network for communicators active in professional journalistic or literary service.

For more information, contact Elaine Hobson Miller, event co-director, at 205-410-5020. She can be emailed at

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