As the temperature drops and the leaves follow suit, the time of year has approached to reflect on the many things for which we are thankful.

Federal information technology journalists have plenty to be thankful for as the world of technology grows ever larger, and the policies we report on become ever more impactful for national security, privacy and liberty, the Federal workforce, and much more.

Please allow us to part the veil and offer readers insight into what an IT journalist does – and why you see us floating around at government and industry conferences every week. Here are some of the things we are thankful to the Federal IT community for:

  1. When Federal workers express their curiosity about what we’re reporting on.

Firstly, we do enjoy when IT employees – Federal employees especially – take interest in what we’re reporting on that day. As journalists, we’re sometimes just flies on the wall or buried in our devices communicating with our newsrooms on events of the day. Having smart people around to discuss what we are doing can help determine the direction of our work, and it’s always nice to get a good quote too!

  1. Events that have great breakfast.

If you’ve been to a tech conference – or any work-related conference for that matter – that starts early in the morning, this item is key. A solid breakfast is the foundation to a great day and a “hangry” audience is a disengaged one.

  1. Coffee that’s available after 9:00 a.m.

Speaking of breakfast, a reliable and long-lasting source of caffeine is always helpful. Whether it’s coffee or tea, it helps to be alert on the beat and if a conference is in a lower level of a hotel, it helps shake the lack of vitamin D from the glorious sunlight. Reporters are always thankful when a warm cup of morning fuel is available to charge our batteries.

  1. Collecting business cards.

Conferences can be hectic events, and it’s nice to make a quick exchange so that we might be able to seek information from one another at a later time.  We’re always thankful for the quick meet-and-greet.

  1. Inspectors General.

Reporters are also very thankful for the Inspectors General in the Federal government doing oversight and ensuring accountability – and publishing their findings publicly. Without these often unsung heroes, the pathway to modernization would not be as brightly lit. A tip of the hat to all the watch dogs.

  1. Wifi.

WiFi helps at events for a variety of reasons, and it’s especially helpful when the password is readily available in the event space. Having access to the internet while at an all-day conference is a great way to keep us within the walls of the event space and publish news and updates as quickly as possible! Thank you to the event organizers that keep us connected.

  1. Vendor Swag.

Vendor swag – particularly good pens and phone chargers – are great little bonuses to get while at tech events. They’re essentially the stocking stuffers of IT events.

  1. Leg room.

Lastly, every conference goer can be thankful for a little extra leg space and room to function at these events. We understand the more, the merrier, but comfort is key and we appreciate when an event space is built for functionality. (This is the editor’s choice, representing six-footers everywhere.)

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.