A familiar place for communication

The Resort has hosted the NWCA annualconference since 1986

Nick Backus, professor for the communications studies department of Western Oregon University, takes a phone call between seminars of the 36th annual Northwest Communication Association conference Friday at the Coeur d'Alene Resort.

COEUR d'ALENE - Back in 1986 when The Coeur d'Alene Resort opened the first group to meet there was the Northwest Communication Association.

NWCA, a group that includes college professors and students in the field of communication, hasn't stopped coming back.

The group, even though conference members come from across the northwest, doesn't move its conference to different cities each year. It could be held in Portland, Seattle, Boise, Spokane, Missoula, or elsewhere.

"Most academic conferences rotate cities," said Michael Hazel, NWCA president. He's a communication and speech professor at Gonzaga University.

For NWCA, it's always in Coeur d'Alene.

"It does speak to the place - the laid back, welcoming nature of the town and the resort," Hazel said. Hagadone Corp. owns both The Resort and The Press.

Between 150 and 200 students and professors, mostly students, are attending the conference this year. The conference started Thursday and runs through Saturday.

Why Coeur d'Alene year after year?

Hazel pointed to the area's natural beauty, the laid back vibe of the city, the good relations the group has with The Resort, and the boat cruises.

"The small size of the town keeps people focused," he said.

He added, "The people that are the sustaining members always want to come back here."

The conference will include the typical panel discussions, workshops and presentations.

The conference also provides students with an opportunity to learn about life working as an academic, Hazel said.

Attendees can catch up on the latest developments in the field of communications and enjoy the company of those studying and working in the same academic field.

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