The best pens (yes, pens) at CBF’s assembly

I’m just going to get right to the point: one of the best things about this CBF General Assembly, my first, has been the pens given away by the vendors.

I knew coming into Fort Worth that this would be a chance for me not only to meet a lot of the people I’ve interviewed since joining ABP in March, but also to stock up on pens for many months to come.

This is huge.  As a journalist, I go through a lot of pens. Some run out. Some break. Some the cat takes. So stockpiling huge quantities is key my professional success. But so is quality.  Does it glide effortlessly across the page? Does the ink get all globby on the page? How smooth is the action of the clicker? These are factors that can make or break an interview or career.

When I haven’t been attending workshops or helping staff the ABP table in the convention hall, I’ve been bouncing from vendor to vendor snatching pens.

I decided to write this blog so I could justify the numbers I’ve taken. Grabbing pens is now research and reporting.

My investigation has revealed some interesting facts. One is that I am not the only one here who obsesses about stockpiling free pens at assemblies and such.

“We have people who come back every year to get our pens,” said Kelly Jorgenson, director of admissions at Campbell  University Divinity School.

Campbell offers an alluring spread of purple clicker pens with a gel ink that doesn’t get globby on the page.  I uttered an audible “ahhh” when I tried it out on my note pad and declared it my possible favorite of the 2012 assembly.

“Don’t judge too early,” countered Julie Sorrels of the Baptist Standard, handing me one of the blue and transparent clicker pens offered at her table.

Sorrels, the Standard’s sales and marketing associate, said pens are a popular giveaway because they are small, useful and almost always needed. Stick your logo on there, she said, and it’s a way to keep your divinity school, newspaper or publishing house in people’s consciousness.

“We’ve had people call us after conventions to let us know they like our pens,” Sorrels said.

So which were the top three pens of this year’s CBF General Assembly?

Tied for second place were the Standard and the Baptist Joint Committee (the latter could have tied for first, but theirs has a cap, and I lose those on assignments).

And in first place it is Campbell University Divinity School. I’ve scored several  (the exact number is classified). I would go for a few more, but Jorgenson keeps shooting me this “don’t even think about it, mister,” look when she sees me lurking nearby.

Well, there’s always next year.



Jeff Brumley

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Jeff Brumley is the assistant editor of Associated Baptist Press

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  • Aaron Carr

    As someone who has accrued a LOT of seminary swag in the past year and a half, I can indeed vouch that Campbell has the absolute best normal give away pens in the business.

  • Danny Chisholm

    I used one of those campbell pens today, and agree with you.

  • Amber Inscore Essick

    Sitting within arm’s reach as I read this article is a collection of such pens, gathered at various assemblies in the past couple years.  I’m with you.  If you give away pens and they are bad, you actually give people a bad taste about the organization when they try to use a gloppy or dry pen. 

    I’d also add a shout out to CBFNC, whose pen I have handy at the desk (though it does have a cap–I like those), and Georgetown College of Georgetown, KY, whose clicker pens last a long time and write very smoothly.

  • chris aho

    I now wish Jeff had been around for the BaylorDisplay conversations on Twitter. This is exactly the kind of investigative reporting we needed last year. 

    Well done Jeff.