Professional Development


Keynote Address

Digital Storytelling: How to Adapt, Pivot and Take Your Storytelling to the Next Level

Skye Mayring, aka Joan Jetsetter

Skye Mayring’s extensive background in journalism and keen understanding of social media allows her to craft viral videos, integrated social campaigns and media-rich blog posts that entertain and effortlessly inform. She’ll tell us how she does it and how we—whether we are freelancers, editors, or public relations practitioners—can  enrich our own travel product through digital storytelling.

The session will focus on how to create social content that resonates on specific platforms over others and will address the following topics:

  • Video and photography best practices for travel journalists and PR professionals
  • Travel essentials—What’s in your kit? What do you need in order to stay relevant in the ever-changing digital landscape?
  • Growth hacks—how to manage your time while growing your brand
  • How associates can improve relationships with influencers, vloggers, bloggers and filmmakers


Skye Mayring (known by her nom de nomade Joan Jetsetter) is an award-winning travel journalist and producer on a mission to inspire millennials and the young at heart to get out of their comfort zones, appreciate different cultures, and travel to new and exciting places around the globe. With 3.9 million views on her YouTube channel and a combined social following of 70K+, she encourages her audience to get curious, take risks and go places they’ve never been before. Her strategic partnerships include YouTube, BuzzFeed, Food Network, Verizon, Thrillist, Culture Trip, Singapore Airlines, GoPro, Crystal Cruises, TripIt, Matador Network, Costco Travel and Samsung, among others. She is currently a Travel Producer at global entertainment company, Tastemade.

A few of her accolades include:

  • Silver Lowell Thomas Award – Travel Journalist of the Year
  • Google VR Creator Lab Fellowship
  • Two Gold Magellan Awards From Travel Weekly for Excellence in Promotional Video and Marketing Campaigns
  •  Gold Award for Best Use of Social Media from Azbee Awards/American Society of Business Press Editors (ASBPE)
  • Seven Gold Awards from the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and the North American Travel Journalists Association
  • More than a dozen other awards from Lowell Thomas, SATW and NATJA
  • Named Travel’s Top Social Capital Seeker by Amadeus
  • Called “The Next Anthony Bourdain” by The Huffington Post
  • named one of TripIt’s Must-Read Travel Blogs


Editors Panel

Straight from the editors’ mouths: what they cover in their publications, how they work with freelancers and PR folks, and what’s new with their publications and the travel media business in general. Then we’ll open it up for questions.

Al Bonowitz has worked for the Automobile Club of Southern California since 2007. He is editor in chief of AAA Hawai‘i and Northern New England Journey, its magazines for Auto Club members in Hawai‘i and Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, respectively. Al is also a features editor for Westways, the magazine for Southern California AAA members. Al’s Westways articles include stories about Tahiti, spring training in Arizona, New Zealand, aviation museums, New Orleans, Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and the Legendary Blues Cruise to Mexico.

Prior to joining AAA, Al was travel editor at the Santa Barbara News-Press from 2000 to 2006. His section won several Lowell Thomas Awards from the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), including gold for best newspaper travel section (circulation under 200,000) in 2005.

Theresa Gawlas Medoff is editor of the award-winning AAA World, a travel-focused bimonthly magazine with seven different regional versions that is sent to 2.6 million AAA member households in 13 states and the District of Columbia. AAA World appears online as well, with supplemental editorial content, videos and slideshows. Theresa also edits a second AAA travel magazine, AAA Traveler Worldwise, which focuses more extensively on international travel; it has a circulation of 160,000 frequent travelers.

Before joining AAA full time in 2014, Theresa was a long-time freelance writer, and she continues to write regularly for AAA publications. Her recent writing honors have included Silver and Gold Awards from the North American Travel Journalists Association and First Place Awards in the National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest.


Reid Tuvim is Travel Editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he has filled editing and production roles across several departments since August 1982, including in Sports as both Olympics Editor and Deputy Editor and in Features as Deputy News Editor (a production role).

As Travel Editor, he selects and edits freelance and wire-service stories, writes stories, chooses and edits photographs, and designs pages. During his time in the Sports Department, the Associated Press named The Inquirer as having top Daily, Sunday, and Special sections.

Reid graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he majored in journalism and watched basketball. He worked on the five-day-a-week student newspaper all four years, including serving as Sports Editor as a senior.

Breakout Sessions

Speaking to Different Audiences

The Greater Palm Springs CVB seeks to attract a wide range of audiences to their destination. A panel from the CVB will tell us how they tailor their messages to different audiences—for example, those interested in Coachella, art, architecture, golf, Rat Pack history, etc. They’ll address how their messages and ways of communicating have evolved and discuss what tools they use to convey the right message to the right audiences.


Improving Your Location Photography

Whether you’re a writer on assignment, a PR professional snapping your client’s destination or product, or a photographer on a shoot, everyone feels the pressure of capturing compelling photos in a limited time that meet the needs of your editors and clients.

In this session we’ll look at ways to reduce that pressure and replace it with a plan that will increase your number of “keeper” photos. We’ll cover:

  • Preparing ahead of time for your trip, assignment, or photo shoot
  • Shooting a location with limited time (such as press trips, FAM tours, etc.)
  • Photographing a place when you’re also writing a story
  • Increasing your number of useable shots
  • Working with models
  • Shooting with your editor or client in mind
  • Improving your overall on-location photography

As part of this PD session, Eric will lead an optional walking photo shoot on Tuesday morning from 6:15 – 7:30 am before the meeting. Participants will photograph the hotel and nearby El Paseo District. The goal is to practice creating a portfolio of images in a limited timeframe that represent the destination and illustrate your story or meet the needs of your client. We will return in time for breakfast.

As time allows during the PD session, we will share and critique some participant photos from the morning shoot.

Eric will send a brief information sheet with tips and suggestions for the morning photo shoot to all participants prior to the meeting.

Eric Lindberg photographs and writes on a variety of subjects ranging from foreign rail journeys and wilderness river expeditions to American road trips and cultural hotspots. He provides destination imagery for tourism offices, visitor bureaus, and adventure travel companies across the U.S., Canada, and Europe, working closely with clients to create compelling photos that reflect their promotional vision and to help them achieve their publicity goals.

Eric has twice been named SATW Photographer of the Year, and his portfolios have been awarded one of the top three prizes for six of the last eight years. Through his photography, Eric strives to convey the depth and soul of a place, its people and culture, and the authentic travel experiences found there. To see his work visit