geri in LA-hyatt-tree

We’re just back from sunny Los Angeles and the Online News Association’s annual 3-day conference where 2,000 journalists met with tech companies to discuss better ways of attracting audiences in a media landscape that is as crowded as the 405 – the highway a few miles from the event.

It was a week of ‘firsts.’

LA with HH geriI finally met the woman who has been my assistant editor since April but we had never been in the same room. I flew her out from New York City so we could cover more action-packed sessions and meet more people.

As a writer and former publicist, she brought along some fun perks. (More about that later.)

A lot of cool journalism tools were demonstrated for us at the conference, but one seemed to be such a perfect fit for our small operation that I installed it on the website–on the spot.

icopyright logo smYou might have noticed their logo on some of our stories – it’s called iCopyright. It allows us to reprint news articles from top media outlets like Newsweek, the LA Times, and Chicago Tribune. It also allows other people to reprint our stories for free. Please let us know what your experience is; if you have any questions or trouble using the small buttons at the top of most of our stories. A lot of people write to us about reprinting our material and this might be a good way to speed up partnerships with us.

Google had a large booth at the #ONA15 so I went over for the second year in a row to talk about the fact that Good News Network had been rejected twice when applying to Google News as a publisher. I spoke with a lovely young woman named Natalie and she promised she would look into it. I was pleasantly surprised a few days later when indeed she replied and said that I had been accepted. I am thrilled by this ‘first’!

Click on any photos to enlarge

Now let’s get to those perks!

It was the first time in decades that I traveled with my luggage in the overhead compartment, meaning I packed a small suitcase and couldn’t bring things on hangers. I had to find a dress that could travel well while scrunched up in a suitcase. My assistant editor, Helaina, talked to someone she knew and sent me this snazzy black and white wrap dress from Leota in New York. It fit like a glove and proved that it really could withstand being packed in a ball for most of the day. It was likely the first time I’ve ever worn any designer clothes that were handcrafted. Very nice.


The food in L.A – especially in Beverly Hills where we dined nearby – was fantastic. Helaina happens to be a food writer, so she set up appointments in several wonderful restaurants like Wally’s, where I was destined to enjoy my first taste of truffles.

The beautiful French chef David Féau brought the divine earthy tuber to our table, baked with delicious cheese inside a pastry. Also his yellowtail poke with crispy red quinoa was out of this world.

chef wallys David Féau-beverly hillsThe other restaurants were also extraordinary: Breeze, at the Hyatt Century Plaza where we stayed (pictured top, tableside) was my favorite; Caulfield’s with their amazing sweet kale salad; and Culina at the Four Seasons. We saw John Cleese after his appearance on Bill Maher eating at Culina’s–where they serve amazing things on pizza dough which is fried, then baked in a wood fire oven.

One final perk I’d like to mention… Although her suitcase was already going to be stuffed on the trip, HH–as I like to call her in GNN group chats–brought me a hoodie. It turned out to be my favorite perk of all.

I cuddled inside it on the long, cold, flight home. It has the longest sleeves of any top I’ve ever worn, with holes Aviator-hoodiefor your thumbs-great for people like me who tend to have icy wrists. I highly recommend this zipped sweatshirt–it even has pockets on the inside and outside, and the cuffs can be turned down to actually become mittens. Made in L.A., I learned later, and it costs a LOT… $145. Grateful.

Thanks for reading, and supporting Good News Network. See you on Google News!


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