I promised to report back with some of the tips and lessons I picked up at last week’s annual convention of the Society of Professional Journalists (which I wrote about previously here, here and here).

Later this week, I’ll provide a few videos (or at least links to them) that made an impression in Vegas. And maybe I’ll report on what the Las Vegas Sun is, and why you should pay attention to what they do and how they do it.

Once I wrote the list, I decided it was too long to foist on readers in one post. So I’ll give you my remaining observations another day.

So in no particular order, here we go with my highlights and observations:

  • In a workshop dedicated to social media, I should not have been surprised that there was no handout containing all the links mentioned and discussed. We were told they would be available online on the SPJ site afterward. Understood and agreed. But am I the only disorganized busy correspondent who finds it hard to remember to go excavating online when he returns to the office? Gimme a list.
  • Freelancers may have their own difficulties, but they do not have to beseech anyone above to try a new tool or to download a new free application. Lucky.
  • “Citizen journalist” is a term that irks many trained journalists. If you don’t know why, consider submitting your car to the meanderings of a “citizen mechanic,” or your body to the probing of a “citizen doctor.” Ouch. (Of course, I live in Phoenix, where rickety home construction makes me believe we have quite a few “citizen architects” scrawling about.)
  • The iPad was a great laptop replacement for conference lugging. But the delicate nature of the AT&T 3G network was maddening. It makes the device untrustworthy to carry to a story that I absolutely have to get.
  • Best overall tool for a journalist? King (or Queen) Google.
  • Was the presenter joking? Is Bing an acronym for Bing Is Not Google? (Don’t know. Must Google that when I get back to the office.)
  • My sympathy goes to conference organizers who promised conference-wide wifi, only to see it collapse numerous times. Take a breath. Pour a drink. Repeat.
  • Cool aggregator of mondo seach engines: Addictomatic
  • The next big story source: Census data, which will include a million stories waiting to be extracted.
  • News gear may be new and cool, but it’s about the journalism, not the technology.
  • But as long as we’re talking about technology, you’ve got to go to http://newsgear.info/.
  • In a session titled “Re-Imagining News,” Rob Curley of the Las Vegas Sun demonstrated that paper’s remarkable use of new media.
  • He mentioned something he used to say about his paper’s website, which we all might want to try for our own site: Can you imagine anyone saying about your site, “Wow, I can’t believe I was on your site for four hours last night.” Unlikely? Then it probably needs improvement.
  • Rob Curley: Every day give your readers a gift, something they weren’t expecting.
  • Also by Rob Curley: Online comments by readers are like an old bitter lover; they ruin my day, but I still love them.
  • Rob Curley, on the movement away from anonymity on the Internet: “Being who you are on the Internet is the new black.”

I warned you these would be random. See you tomorrow.