Going to an MRS conference as a reporter is a little different than going as a researcher. You have to attend a wider variety of symposia, some on which you might not know anything about (read anything I wrote about quantum electrodynamics for an example of this), and you have to do it all pretty fast. Here is Strasbourg we had the benefit of being a day and 6 hours ahead of when the Meeting Scene updates would be released, so there was a little bit of breathing room. However, planning is essential to having a reasonable day. It is entirely worth your while to sit down the day before and plan out a schedule of what seems to be the best talks. These tend to be the invited talks, but sometimes if you can catch the organizers they'll give you a heads up to other interesting talks. I also found it very easy to set up Word files ahead of time that had the symposium, time, speaker, title and abstract so all I had to do was sit and write afterwards (E-MRS distributed all the abstracts on a usb key so this was a snap). If possible, I liked to schedule the talk I would attend with at least a half hour so that I could get most of the write up done as soon as I walked out. This isn't always possible, but it helps to not get backlogged. For me personally, snapping photos was one of the more awkward activities. My camera was not great enough to get good shots during a talk so I would have to stalk them afterwards either during coffee breaks or poster sessions. You can get by without having a laptop, but it would make the process much slower and a little more difficult. Lastly, get a notebook you like. My personal fave is the unruled, softcover, Moleskine
; which, coincidentally, is the perfect size--I started with a fresh one and have one page left.
Another observation I would offer to presenters is that many of the talks that are highlighted are picked nearly at random. Don't be upset if your talk was not highlighted. There were 3 of us covering 17 symposia and it is impossible to sit down through an entire session to pick the best talks without missing many others. I suppose there could be a good argument for capturing one symposium really well, but I think the variety method produces the most interesting results. Actually, probably the thing to do is to lure a graduate student who is spending a lot time in one symposium to pick one or two talks to write up every day.
I think I am beginning to wander, so I'll wrap it up here. I had a great week and I hope you enjoyed reading.