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The 24th Annual Society of Environmental Journalism Conference

Success story with Whova

SEJ Conference Speaker Session Whova

About SEJ

The Society of Environmental Journalists is a North American association of professional journalists devoted to providing educational, public service journalism about environment related issues of all natures. Their annual environmental journalism conference provides an opportunity for environmental journalists to gather with scientists, government officials, advocacy leaders, and other environmental enthusiasts to meet with each other, attend writing training and debates, and explore the many facets of environmentalism.

The 24th Annual SEJ Conference

The 24th Annual SEJ Conference happened on September 3rd, 2014 and lasted for five days. Its mission was to improve the reach and quality of environmental journalism and to provide an opportunity for journalists to train, be briefed on the latest environmental issues, and meet other journalists.

For this purpose, the SEJ event organizers wanted three things for their conference: a community discussion forum, to provide their attendees easy access to information regarding their event, and supplementary material to make their stay in New Orleans easy and enjoyable.

Building an Engaged and Active Event Community

Before the conference began, Whova generated an individualized professional profile for each of the 623 SEJ attendees by referencing their affiliations, professional industries, educations, etc. from sources publicly available on the internet. All attendees present at the event had the option of downloading the mobile conference app, reviewing and editing their professional profiles, viewing the conference attendee list and other attendee profiles, and doing research on the conference agenda, networking options, and logistics even before the conference began.


Achievement

Total In-app Actions

Total Networking Actions

For the conference, 77% of all attendee actively engaged Whova’s app during the conference. Besides this, there was a total of 11,439 in-app actions and 6,575 networking actions.

In addition, Whova’s group feature made it easy for SEJ to provide a communication forum for their attendees. To date, the SEJ 2014 Conference Discussions holds the record for the most discussion participation as attendees actively shared articles and opened many discussion threads on a wide range of topics.

Working in Harmony

The SEJ 2014 represents a case in which organizers and attendees worked in perfect harmony with their supporting event app. In order to fulfill the organizer’s wish of making a pleasant New Orleans trip for all the attendees, Whova provided a wide variety of additional information in the Logistics feature.

At the organizers’ request, in addition to the basic address, lodging, and map, Whova also included in the Logistics section: transportation information, indoor maps to the Hilton Hotel, a travel guide, as well as the pricing and location details to some of the best breakfast and dinner places New Orleans has to offer.

In addition to this, both organizers and attendees contributed to an active Slide/Album section on the App. The Slide/Album feature allows both the attendee and organizer to upload additional event information, session slides, supplementary material, and photos related to the conference.

To make sufficient use of this feature, SEJ organizers uploaded tip sheets, Mentor Program information, handouts, and other supplementary material for the conference and attendees shared photos of their experiences at the SEJ and in various locations in New Orleans.

SEJ Conference Attendees

The Aftermath

In the conference’s aftermath, event organizer, Beth Parke, thought SEJ’s Whova to be a success. For the future, she writes hoping to continue working with Whova for her events.

I wanted to write and say thanks to the whole Whova team for great design, service and support for our amazing volunteer project leader Lana, and for customizing the app for SEJ. You made sure it was a great fit for our meeting, and helpful to attendees. Well done and many thanks.

I hope we can work with you next year. Budget pressures are always terrible here, but we will try and find a media company sponsor. I look forward to staying in touch.

Beth Parke

Executive Director, Society of Environmental Journalism

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