From Judith Horstman, BATW President

 Times change – and many of us can use some help updating our skills as well as our outlooks. This year, the BATW Board has your back.

The BATW’s stated mission, since it was founded in 1984, is “to provide members with professional development and networking opportunities, access to fascinating venues and press trips, and the opportunity to meet and form lasting friendships . . .”

We’ve been doing a terrific job with fascinating venues, trips and lasting friendships. This year, we’re going to pump up that other mandate and bring a tighter focus to professional development — to programs that give or hone tools travel writers need, especially in today’s rapidly changing and competitive market of dwindling publication outlets and digital media.

We’re excited about our March 17 meeting at BAMPFA – the first of several in 2018 aimed at professional development.

The March program – “Does Your Travel Journalism Website Need a Refresh?” – offers practical advice on updating every working writer’s basic tool. It’s headed by Lee Foster with input from a professional web designer and Board members Lee Daley and John Sundsmo.

In April, David Laws takes us on a tour of tech today, tomorrow and yesterday, with a visit to the new Apple “Spaceship” headquarters in Cupertino as well as the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. In September, we’ll visit the Lodge at the Presidio, where Karen Misuraca will lead a panel on setting up and maximizing your blog.

In the works: a session on Shameless Self-Promotion: How to promote yourself and your work; a hands-on program on using the omnipresent social media tools from hashtags to tweets and beyond; a panel of area editors telling us what they really want; and more.

We’ll have help with our programs this year, thanks to Erin Caslavka Deinzer. She’s volunteered to be Program Coordinator, an advisory post supporting Board members with the many details and deadlines involved in creating content-rich programs and locating terrific venues.

What do you think? The Board wants to know. Tell us what you want to see in a meeting or program. Email president@batw.org with your opinions and ideas.

Onward!