Conference Highlights

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Events happening throughout the conference


Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Sneak Peek

Thursday, Sept. 17, 7-9:30 p.m. | Free

Walt Disney World invites pre-registered EIJ15 attendees to an exclusive sneak peek highlighting 20 delicious years of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

Fine print:
– Only those registered for the conference by the registration deadline of Thursday, Sept. 3 will be able to attend the festival.
– Attendees may not bring guests to the event.
– Attendees must take the provided transportation from the conference hotel to Epcot, no one may arrive on their own (shuttle times are TBA).
– Attendees under the age of 21 are welcome and proof of age will be required by all.


Opening Night Reception

Sponsored by CNNewsource
Friday, Sept. 18, 6:30-8 p.m.

Come out for a night of fun with your friends, colleagues and new connections at B.B. King’s Blues Club. Enjoy live music from the B.B. King’s Blues Club All-Star Band who will have you dancing to music inspired by the King of Blues, Queen of Motown and Soul of Funk. Save room for a variety of the South’s most delicious comfort food influenced by flavors from New Orleans all the way to the Mississippi Delta. Transportation will be provided.

Wild Florida Airboat Tour

Friday, Sept. 18, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. | $45 | Purchase tickets

Travel deep into the protected swamps, marshes and rivers that make up the Central Florida Everglades. Get an in-depth look at the gators, birds, eagles, trees and plants as you glide through over 100,000 acres of beautiful wetlands. After the airboat tour, explore the wildlife park full of zebras, watusi, deer, emu, wild boar, lemurs, sloths, monster alligators and much more. With over 100 native and exotic animals, birds and alligators, we promise an adventure you won't forget! Transportation and boxed lunch provided.


Super Session: WDBJ Shooting: A Tragedy Unfolds In Real Time

Saturday, Sept. 19, 8-9:15 a.m.

NOTE: This session was added to the conference schedule late due to the timing of the events in question. The early morning time slot is the best time for those involved and for required adjustments to the overall conference schedule. The program will begin promptly at 8 a.m. Please plan ahead. It may be early, but will be worth a morning wake-up call.

The world watched in horror as WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward were murdered on live TV. The scene unfolded over and over as news outlets made critical decisions in the minutes and hours that followed. Do we show the graphic footage again? What of the video the shooter himself took and uploaded? The scene touched off an age-old debate in journalism about how to report on graphic violence within ethical boundaries. Outlets like the New York Daily News took still images of the shooter’s video and put them on their cover, sparking pushback. In an age of instant publishing and easy social sharing, it’s not just news outlets making these tough and scrutinized decisions. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube took actions to censor material and accounts connected to the shooting. How do we, as not just journalists but moral and ethical people, go forward in a time when issues like these aren’t just a one-time anomaly, but seemingly an everyday occurrence?

Moderator: Brian Stelter (@brianstelter), host, CNN's “Reliable Sources”
Speakers: Kelly Zuber, WDBJ news director; Mark Luckie, former manager of journalism and news at Twitter; Scott Libin, RTDNA ethics committee chairman

Click for speaker information
Brian Stelter, host, CNN’s “Reliable Sources”
Brian Stelter is the host of CNN’s "Reliable Sources," which examines the week's top media stories every Sunday, and the senior media correspondent for CNN Worldwide. Prior to joining CNN in November 2013, Stelter was a media reporter at The New York Times. Starting in 2007, he covered television and digital media for the Business Day and Arts section of the Times. He was also a lead contributor to the "Media Decoder" blog. In January 2004, while he was still a freshman in college, Stelter created TV Newser, a blog dedicated to coverage of the television news industry. He sold it to in July 2004, but continued to edit and write for the blog during the next three years until he graduated college and joined The New York Times. Stelter published The New York Times best-selling book, “Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV,” about the competitive world of morning news shows. He was featured in the 2011 documentary, "Page One: Inside the New York Times.” He has been named to Forbes Magazine's "30 Under 30: Media" lists for the past three years.

Kelly Zuber, news director, WDBJ
Kelly Zuber has been WDBJ news director since 2013. She has 33 years experience at the station, having held previous roles of reporter, photojournalist, assignment editor, director of public affairs and director of promotion and marketing, and director of digital services.

Scott Libin, RTDNA ethics committee chairman
Scott Libin has three decades of experience as a journalist, including jobs on camera and behind the scenes, as a news director and as an educator. Libin joined the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication from Internet Broadcasting, where he had been Vice President of News and Content since 2011. At IB, he led a newsroom serving top television stations from Boston to Honolulu with breaking news and enterprise content that engaged audiences and increased traffic to desktop, mobile and social platforms. He has led newsrooms at WCCO-TV and KSTP-TV in the Twin Cities, and WGHP-TV in the Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem, N.C., market. He has twice been a full-time member of the resident faculty at The Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., and has trained journalists from Newfoundland to South Africa to China. Libin is a member of the RTDNA Board of Directors, representing eight states in RTDNA Regions 4 and 5, and is chair of the RTDNA Ethics Committee.

Mark S. Luckie, digital journalist, author, former manager of journalism and news at Twitter
Mark S. Luckie is a career journalist and author of “The Digital Journalist's Handbook” and “DO U.,” his newest novel. He has lead digital initiatives for the Washington Post, the Center for Investigative Reporting, The L.A. Times and Entertainment Weekly and is the former Manager of Journalism and News at Twitter. Luckie is a GLAAD Media Award nominee and a part of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize finalist team for Local Reporting. He was named by The Root as one of the most influential African-Americans of 2013 and 2014.

Honoring a Lifetime of Excellence in Journalism, featuring Lesley Stahl and Pierre Thomas

Open to all attendees

Join us for a very special session as CBS News Correspondent Lesley Stahl receives RTDNA’s prestigious Paul White Award. Hear directly from Stahl as she remarks on her 24-years at “60 Minutes” and illustrious career in broadcast journalism. The Paul White Award is RTDNA’s highest honor and recognizes an individual’s lifetime contributions to electronic journalism.

In addition, you won’t want to miss the presentation of the John F. Hogan Award to ABC News Senior Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas. This award is named for the founder and first president of RTDNA, recognizes an individual’s contributions to the journalism profession and freedom of the press.

RTDNA Paul White & John F. Hogan Awards Reception

Sponsored by ABC News, National Association of Broadcasters, National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation and CBS News
Saturday, Sept. 19, 6:30-7:30 p.m. | $45
Purchase tickets

Come celebrate the outstanding achievements of this year’s Paul White Award recipient, CBS News Correspondent Lesley Stahl, and our John F. Hogan Award recipient, ABC News Senior Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas. Let’s toast to their extraordinary contributions to journalism. Enjoy refreshments and a chance to connect with friends and colleagues on the Falls Function Lawn, located outside near the Falls Pool. Gentlemen, leave your jackets behind!

Free Movie Screening:
“Kingdom of Shadows”

Saturday, Sept. 19, 7-9 p.m.

In “Kingdom of Shadows,” Bernardo Ruiz takes an unflinching look at the hard choices and destructive consequences of the U.S.-Mexico “drug war,” weaving together the stories of a U.S. drug enforcement agent on the border, an activist nun in violence-scarred Monterrey, Mexico, and a former Texas smuggler, to reveal the human side of an often misunderstood conflict that has resulted in a growing human-rights crisis that only recently has made international headlines. Director/screenwriter Bernardo Ruiz will discuss the film after the screening with film consultants Alfredo Corchado (Mexico City Bureau Chief, The Dallas Morning News) and Angela Kocherga (Border Bureau Chief, Gannett).

Watch the trailer: English | Spanish

Download press materials here.

If you are interested in seeing the film but cannot attend the screening, please contact Ivette Rodriguez at 310-614-9674 or via email.

Click for speaker information
Bernardo Ruiz (@bernardoruizcom), Filmmaker, Founder, Quiet Pictures
Bernardo Ruiz is the founder of Quiet Pictures, an independent documentary production company. Ruiz was born in Guanajuato, Mexico, and grew up in Brooklyn. His first documentary, "Reportero," focused on a group of journalists working at an embattled Tijuana newsweekly. The film was nominated for an Emmy Award (Outstanding Informational Programming—Long Form). Before airing on PBS in 2013, it premiered at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and screened at IDFA in Europe and Ambulante in Mexico. Ruiz's most recent documentary, "Kingdom of Shadows" (LO QUE REINA EN LAS SOMBRAS), premiered at SXSW in 2015 and has gone on to screen at Full Frame and Ambulante.

Alfredo Corchado (@ajcorchado), Mexico Bureau Chief, Dallas Morning News
Alfredo Corchado, Mexico bureau chief for the Dallas Morning News, is a noted expert on immigration, drug violence, and foreign policy between the U.S. and Mexico. He has reported on everything from the disappearance of women in Juarez to the exodus of Mexico’s middle class to the United States. Over the years, he has exposed government corruption and the reach of Mexican drug traffickers into U.S. communities. He has described the perils that journalists face and the disturbing result: an increasingly silent Mexican press. Born in Durango, Mexico, Mr. Corchado grew up in California and Texas. He worked as a farm worker alongside his parents, who were members of the United Farm Workers, the union led by Cesar Chavez. Corchado’s father was a Bracero, part of a generation of Mexican workers who helped transform the United States and Mexico. As a reporter for U.S. newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, he has written about the plight of immigrants and their perilous journey to the United States. As a result of his reporting on the drug violence, Corchado has received numerous death threats that have forced him to leave Mexico for periods of time. He is a 1984 graduate of El Paso Community College and a 1987 graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso. Mr. Corchado has reported from Mexico, the United States and Cuba and has lived on both sides of the border, in El Paso, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and Cambridge. He currently resides in Mexico City, but calls the border home. A 2009 Nieman Fellow at Harvard and a 2010 Rockefeller Fellow and Woodrow Wilson Scholar, Corchado won the Maria Moors Cabot award from Columbia Journalism School in 2007 for extraordinary bravery and enterprise. In 2010 he was awarded Colby College’s Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for courageous journalism. He is the author of the book, Midnight in Mexico.

Angela Kocherga (@AKochergaBorder), Border Bureau Chief, Gannett
Angela Kocherga a journalist who covers the southwest border and Mexico on air and online. She has extensive experience reporting on the impact of the drug war on families on both sides of the border, immigration, trade and binational health issues. She has served as Border Bureau Chief for KHOU-TV and 45 other television stations owned by Tegna (formerly Gannett Broadcasting). Kocherga began her journalism career in public radio and local television in El Paso before moving to Dallas to work for WFAA TV. She later opened the Mexico City bureau for KHOU-TV and other Belo stations in Texas. She has earned several journalism awards including two Emmys for her drug war reporting from Ciudad Juarez. She’s a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.


EIJ15 Dance / El Gran Baile

Sunday, Sept. 20, 10 p.m.

Spend some time winding down from the fast-paced conference schedule while you enjoy the last hoorah for EIJ15! No ticket or advanced dancing skills required.

Events happening throughout the conference


Video Critiques
Friday, Sept. 18: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 19: 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 20: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

News directors and other professionals will be available to provide helpful suggestions about how to improve your clips and as a result, improve your journalistic skills.

Career Profile Critiques
Saturday, Sept. 19: 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 20: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Whether a Twitter profile or Facebook page used for a blend of work and life, or the digital (or paper) resume you're shopping around to employers, all of these digital profiles say something important about you. Get helpful, honest feedback on any number of career-related presentations you'd like to have reviewed — all in one spot.

The Doctor is In

Saturday, Sept. 19, 2-3 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 20, 10-11 a.m.

Need some one-on-one or small-group feedback? Do you find it difficult to get that at such a large conference? Drop in to The Doctor Is In for a few minutes or the full time. Settle up to one table or make the rounds by visiting them all.

At The Doctor Is In you can talk to experts about your areas of passion, interest and needed improvement. This is your time to get customized, individualized feedback on key topics of interest to you, your beat and your career.

Even though roundtable topics will be designated prior to EIJ15, others will be suggested on-site from attendee feedback. Send suggestions to #EIJDR on Twitter. To see a complete list, check out EIJ15 on Twitter (#EIJ15) and the conference mobile app prior to the program to see all of the topics. Scheduled topics include personal branding, working with data, Web coding, FOI, ethics, diversifying news sources, journalists' rights, narrative storytelling, freelancing and more.

J-Expo Passport Challenge

Play fair and play nice! Remember that hundreds of your peers in the industry will see your comments and posts. Journey through the J-Expo & Career Fair. Stop and chat with exhibitors and recruiters to see what careers, products and services they have to offer. Scan the QR code in the booth and post a status update using the pencil icon at the top right of the app. After you’ve visited FIVE exhibitors and posted status updates to each, you’ll get the Passport Badge, which enters you into the drawing for great prizes. The game closes at 2 p.m. each day. At that time, attendees who have earned a Passport Badge will be entered into a drawing for a prize. Get excited, you may be a winner!

Instagram Contest: EIJ15 Through Your Lens

Get a behind-the-scenes look at EIJ15 by connecting with SPJ, RTDNA and NAHJ on Instagram! Then, share your best EIJ15 moments with us for a chance to win a 2016 conference registration. Entering is easy—upload your Instagram photos with the hashtag #EIJ15 between 8 a.m. Friday and midnight Sunday. The photo with the most likes will win!

Charging Lounge

Sponsored by ESPN | J-Expo, Crystal Ballroom

Too much tweeting, texting and taking notes got you running low on juice? Come charge your mobile device on the J-Expo floor. Look for the Hi-Top charging station across from the ESPN booth.

EIJ Headshot Studio

Sponsored by Fox News & Fox News Latino | J-Expo, Crystal Ballroom

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, don’t miss the chance to boost your portfolio with a FREE professional photo. Photographers will be on hand to take complimentary professional headshots of attendees. You will be able to download your images at the end of each day. If you like what you see, you will have an opportunity to order professionally retouched or printed versions of your headshot for a small fee.

EIJ Salon

Sponsored by JCPenney | J-Expo, Crystal Ballroom

Show up ready to make the right impression and perfect your on-camera look! Guests at the conference will be able to enjoy mini-salon services, a braid bar and hair consultations with our experienced salon stylists. Pass by the JCPenney booth; you will receive complimentary hair touch-ups and mini-makeovers provided by JCPenney.

Register by September 3rd, go to Disney World on us!

Walt Disney World Resort is generously providing two (2) one-day Park Hopper passes for each pre-registered EIJ15 attendee (registered for conference by Thursday, Sept 3).

Important: Passes must be requested by Thursday, Sept. 3 from Walt Disney World by sending an email to WDW.EIJ.CONF.TICKET.REQUESTS@DISNEY.COM. Please include your name, the email address you are using for the convention registration, the name of your news organization/school, and your title in the email.

Fine print:
– The passes will be valid from September 14-21, 2015.
– Each EIJ15 pre-registered attendee must pick up their own passes from any of the Disney parks’ guest relations windows.
– Confirmation emails will be sent to those requesting passes approximately one week before the conference.
– The confirmation email and a photo ID are required when picking up passes at a park's guest relations window.

© 2016 Society of Professional Journalists, Radio Television Digital News Association and Native American Journalism Association. All rights reserved.