Effective March 13, 2020 the 2020 ASJA Annual Conference will not be held as scheduled. An FAQ page will be created as soon as possible responding to the many questions that members and attendees may have. Please see the full announcement, below.
March 13, 2020
The Board of Directors of the American Society of Journalists and Authors voted today not to hold the organization's popular annual conference scheduled for April 19-20, 2020, in New York City.
"This was a difficult decision for the Board members, many of whom were looking forward to attending the conference for education and networking, but it was a necessary one due to the risks associated with the Coronavirus pandemic," said ASJA President Milton C. Toby. "The health and welfare of our members, speakers, panelists, other conference attendees, and staff are always essential elements of our conference planning, and this year was no exception. The rapid spread of the virus and the uncertainty about how it is transmitted, along with a growing number of official restrictions on travel and meeting size, made continuing with the conference as planned an unreasonable risk."
Although there are no plans to shift the physical conference to another date later in 2020, ASJA's leadership and staff are investigating expanded virtual options for delivering many of the scheduled educational sessions. Virtual Client Connections and Virtual Pitch Slams already are established as successful ASJA-branded activities and the Board of Directors anticipate more additional virtual opportunities for learning and networking in the coming months.
Details about registration and hotel refunds are in the works and will be available as soon as possible. Announcements naming the winners of ASJA's annual freelance writing awards and other conference-related details are coming. Finally, for more information, an FAQ about this decision will be posted on the ASJA website early next week.
"Deciding not to hold the conference was a disappointment for everyone," Toby added, "and the members of the Board appreciate the support we've received as we faced a situation new to us all. The decision not to hold this year's conference does not affect next year's event, scheduled for April 18-19, 2021. We hope to see everyone in New York City next spring."
March 6, 2020
ASJA leadership and staff are continually monitoring the situation surrounding the current Coronavirus outbreak. It is ASJA’s position at this time to continue with the Annual Conference, scheduled for April 19 - 20, 2020 in New York, NY. This may change, however. There is much that health authorities still do not know about how this novel strain of Coronavirus (designated Covid-19) is transmitted from person to person. As a result, it is very difficult to make an accurate assessment of the risks associated with attending any conference at this time.
We anticipate that both the scope of the outbreak and any risk to those attending the conference will become more clear in the coming weeks. Waiting for additional information will allow ASJA to make an informed judgment about the conference that will be in the best interest of everyone and to that end we plan to announce a final decision about conference status on April 2, 2020. Keeping in mind that some attendees may decide not to attend the conference due to personal health concerns regarding travel at this time, even if the event is not canceled, we also are reviewing our standard policy for cancellation and refund of registration fees to accommodate these individuals as much as possible. At this time potential attendees are encouraged to register for the conference and plan to attend while we modify our cancellation policy.
We are coordinating with the Downtown Marriott, the conference hotel, to ensure that added precautions will be in place for the protection of everyone attending the conference. We are confident that everything that can reasonably be done to ensure a safe event, will be done. Updates about these plans and other measures that will be in place during the conference will be provided as they are finalized. We appreciate your patience as we deal with a very difficult decision. This is a time for caution, but not a time for panic. Milt Toby, ASJA President