Breakout Sessions

There's something for everyone in this year's schedule. Check out a growing list of the breakout sessions we're offering in New Orleans, and check back frequently as many more programs are announced and more details become available!

Jump to category:
Digital/Social Media
Educators or Students
Freedom of Information
Hot Topics and Current Events
Indian Country Issues
News Leadership and Management
Tech and Tools
The Craft


Money Matters: Excellence in Personal Finance Reporting

Featuring the RTDNA/NEFE Excellence in Personal Finance Reporting Awards winners, the Money Matters session will highlight the best in television, radio and online personal finance journalism. Panelists will break down their award-winning submissions, sharing the key reporting tools and best practices they used to add depth to their reporting. Learn tips and techniques to empower news consumers to consistently make healthy, educated financial decisions. You'll walk away with new ways to creatively approach financial reporting and make comprehensive topics more digestible to viewers and listeners.

Speakers: TBA

Career Coach: What You Need To Be A Top Teacher

Come get concrete advice to those who want to prepare themselves for a future in journalism education or who want to "give back" by teaching while they remain in newsroom jobs. Or if you've already made the switch, learn how to advance your career and stay relevant in the classroom.

Trainers: Debora Wenger (@dhwenger), director of undergraduate journalism program, University of Mississippi; Hagit Limor (@hlimor) associate professor, University of Cincinnati; Rocky Dailey (@DaileyDoc), associate professor, South Dakota State

Newsroom Internships Deep Dive

Today’s students are armed with the latest tools and techniques for almost any newsroom assignment. Are newsrooms using them to their best advantage? Are journalism educators preparing students for new newsroom challenges? Are student journalists bringing their A-game? Join newsroom professionals, journalism educators, former interns and students in a deep dive discussion of internship do's and don'ts.

Speakers: TBA

Generation J: What We Swear By

Journalists well into their first job (or onto their second) share their secrets of succeeding in a new and challenging workplace, as well as how to maintain a personal life. A must attend for college students on the verge of undertaking a journalism career.

Trainers: Mike Brannen (@mikebrannen), AM Executive Producer, KOB-TV

Your Images Are Your Legacy

Copyright violations, as innocent as they sometimes are, cost photographers money. And it’s all too easy to grab an image and publish it “courtesy of Google.” Discuss the issues surrounding copyright, DMCA takedown notices, small claims and fair use for producers and consumers of visual journalism online and in print.

Trainer: Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel, National Press Photographers Association

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Follow Money in Politics, Beyond Election Day

As we head into the 2016 elections, journalists can be overwhelmed trying to follow all of the money in state and federal races. We'll show you how to follow the money trails using cutting-edge data tools that are useful not just going into the elections, but also once the legislatures convene and pass bills.

Trainer: Edwin Bender, executive director, National Institute on Money in State Politics

Finding the Truth in Big Data

Publically available data can be a gold mine for journalists who want to uncover information that's not available at first look. This panel will reveal what kind of information can be uncovered, where to find such data, and what tools can be used by journalists to find the facts buried in data.

Trainers: Wayne Rash (@wrash), Washington bureau chief and senior columnist, eWEEK; Pam Baker (@bakercom1), editor, FierceBigData; David Waldrop (TK) CEO ICG Solutions

From Data to Impact: Finding and Using Health Disparities Data

"Increasing coverage of the persistence of racial and ethnic health disparities in America has brought a new dimension to the discussion about the health of our nation, and has become an important part of the national conversation about race. This session will provide journalists, freelance writers, content producers and bloggers covering health, race, policy, government and related topics with an in-depth review of how to find and use the most up-to-date federal health disparities data for reporting and development of compelling digital content. Participants will learn how to find the latest federal health disparities data on a variety of topics and how to use this data in reporting and production of content, such as infographics, and hear experiences of a professional journalist about using these resources in everyday reporting. Additionally, participants will discover the myriad of free resources available from the Office of Minority Health Resource Center (OMHRC) ̶ the largest collection of minority health and health disparities research, data and publications in the nation ̶ including minority population health profiles, statistics by disease and customized searches conducted by research professionals, as well as instruction on how to use the OMHRC library database."

Trainers: Faye Williams, library manager, Knowledge Center; Jacki Flowers, communications manager, Office of Minority Health Resource Center; Levi Rickert, editor, Native News Online

Crunching the Campus

Are flagship public universities being priced out of the average family's income? Do rising tuition costs promote racial inequity on campus? Are students being overcharged to prop up money-losing athletic programs? Publicly accessible data can fuel compelling stories about schools and colleges, if you know where to look and how to overcome legal roadblocks. Experts from The Hechinger Report and the Student Press Law Center will share how-to's from recent examples of successful data-journalism projects and help you work through questions about getting and using data to shed light on trends in your own campus community.

Trainers: Frank LoMonte (@franklomonte), executive director, Student Press Law Center; Sarah Carr (@sarah_e_carr), contributing editor, The Hechinger Report

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Digital/Social Media

10 Top Multimedia and Mobile Tools and How to Use Them

Come see and learn 10 easy-to-use online tools and platforms for journalists. Attendees will learn how these tools can enhance storytelling and how to get started using them. Sponsored by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State University.

Trainer: Mike Reilley (@journtoolbox), founder of SPJ’s Journalist’s Toolbox

Fitting in the News: Creating Personalized Interactives

Learn how to navigate the growing and developing art of creating news interactives that deliver personalized and helpful decision-making information by guiding users through a series of questions/choices. We’ll look at examples, including “Living a Like a Refugee” — a Q&A-driven interactive produced at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism that shows users the tough financial choices facing Syrian refugees in the U.S. We’ll also look at how to conceive and execute personalized interactives that show people where they fit into the news — led by the trainers, who are working on a tool that would allow news organizations without coders to get in the game.

Trainers: Sandeep Junnarkar (@sandeep_NYC), director of interactive journalism, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism; Jere Hester (@jere_hester), director of news products and projects, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

The Internet is Not Forever: Deep-Diving Through the Web's Unsearchable Digital Past

"While the issue of ""web erosion"" has recently garnered some mainstream media attention, few archiving strategies have been put into place. Deciding whether it’s worth resurfacing those digital remnants — words that will otherwise be forever relegated to Page Not Found status — is still largely left to individuals. In this session, journalists interested in researching and preserving digital content will learn best practices for using Internet Archive resources, and also several sustainable approaches for ""curating"" the digital past and creating historical narratives from social media ephemera."

Speakers: TBA

Benefits (And Perils) of Live Streaming Your Newsroom

From Periscope to Meerkat to Facebook Live, social media platforms are providing your audience unprecedented access to your news staff. What's the best approach for your newsroom? Do you stream or not? This session will cover the basics of these platforms. It will also allow journalists to discuss best strategies when using these streaming venues.

Trainer: Mike Brannen (@mikebrannen), AM Executive Producer, KOB-TV

Catfish, Con Artists & Other Bottom Feeders: Avoiding The Pitfalls Of Social Media Reporting

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms have opened up an entirely new dimension for intrepid reporters on the hunt for their next big story. But how can you avoid falling hook, line and sinker for a catfish or otherwise shady source? The editors of will walk participants through several major catfish scandals involving celebrities and the people who report on them, pointing out typical red flags, and explaining the latest methods of vetting social media sources.

Trainers: Dylan Howard, VP/chief content officer, American Media/Radar Online; Melissa Cronin, managing editor of content, American Media/Radar Online; Eli Lippman, audience development director, American Media/Radar Online

Everything You Know About Multimedia Storytelling Is Wrong

Reset everything you think you know about multimedia journalism with a fresh look at trends, tools and best practices. Come learn the latest trends and best practices when creating and publishing multimedia projects on the web and more importantly to a mobile audience. As a leader in multimedia production and mobile photography, with over 250,000 social media followers, I'll send you home with the latest trends in mobile photography, video production, growing your audience on Instagram and new tools in order to create stunning projects and build audience.

Trainer: Richard Koci Hernandez (@koci), assistant professor of new media, UC Berkeley

Multiply Your Reach and Engagement on Social Media

Almost every journalist uses social media every day, but few succeed at using these platforms to grow their audience and influence. This session will teach journalists skills to multiply their fans, followers and friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Trainer: Chip Mahaney (@chipmahaney), national director of news recruitment, E. W. Scripps Company

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Educators or Students

Collegiate Student Journalists Under Fire

The acceleration of incidents on college and university campuses has been remarkable in 2015 and 2016 — from attempts to block or prevent access to news coverage to the strangling of funds for student newspapers to the firing of college and university newspaper advisers . Student media serve as training grounds for future professional journalists. How can professional journalists and their news organizations provide advocacy and support for journalism education?

Speakers: Loni Smith McKown, professional practice faculty, Butler University; Frank LoMonte, executive director, Student Press Law Center; Jacob Buckland, Fairmount State University, former editor in chief, The Columns; Elisabetta Zengaro, Delta State University, former editor in chief The Statement

Journalism Teaching Marathon

If you're involved in journalism education, this is the session for you. A panel of journalism educators will share their favorite, most innovative or most exciting activities designed to teach journalism students new skills, excite them about the profession, or encourage critical media consumption. Come pick up some specific, actionable ideas you can implement into your journalism education curriculum.

Moderator: Brandon Szuminsky (@Szuminsky), Instructor, Waynesburg University

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How Well Does the Media Cover Mass Murders?

Mass shootings are increasing at a rapid rate, which means the media coverage of them is growing exponentially. This panel will discuss how the media covers these events — the good, the bad, and the ugly — as well as how the media can improve in accuracy, ethics and responsibility.

Speakers: Tom Teves (@NoNotoriety), co-founder, No Notoriety; Andrew Seaman (@andrewmseaman), SPJ Ethics Chair and medical reporter, Reuters

RTDNA Coverage Guidelines: A Developing Story

In 2015, RTDNA introduced its new Code of Ethics. This year, the association is reviewing and revising its more specific Coverage Guidelines, comprising such topics as live reporting, graphic content, privacy issues and conflicts of interest. Find out what's new and be part of the process. Help RTDNA make its Coverage Guidelines even more relevant and valuable.

Trainer: Scott Libin (@smlibin), Hubbard Senior Fellow, University of Minnesota

Reporting on Disability: Best Practices and Missing Stories

Covering disability issues is too often mired in old fashioned and sometimes downright offensive patterns. As journalists, we must do much better. This session will combine brief presentations on the latest thinking about disability rights and culture, discussion of stories that aren't getting covered, and pragmatic skills building for not offending the very group you want to cover.

Trainers: David Perry (@lollardfish), freelance, Dominican University; Lawrence Carter-Long (@LCarterLong), public affairs, National Council on Disability

Transparency: Practices, Potential and Ethical Boundaries

The most noticeable 2014 change to the Society of Professional Journalists's Code of Ethics was the addition of transparency as a core tenet. Transparency is tied to journalism excellence as a way of building credibility, explaining journalism practices and inviting greater citizen participation. Technological advances provide journalists additional transparency tools, and practices that support transparency as an ethical value are still emerging. A 2016 national study by researchers at University of Oklahoma reveals how more than 500 journalists perceive transparency as a professional ethical value and set of practices. Join members of the SPJ ethics committee and OU researchers for a how-to session in being more transparent and a presentation of the research that shows how professional journalists understand journalism transparency and practice it.

Trainers: Andrew M. Seaman (@AndrewMSeaman), ethics committee chair, Society of Professional Journalists; senior medical journalist, Reuters Health; Peter Gade, Gaylord Family Endowed Chair, University of Oklahoma; Lynn Walsh (@LWalsh), president-elect, SPJ; investigative executive producer, NBC 7 San Diego

Drones: Ethical Dos and Don'ts

Drones are flying off the shelves at stores around the country, and newsrooms are anxious to send them into action. However, what are the ethical concerns of drones use? And, what should newsrooms do to make sure they are responsibly using the new technology? This session will review best practices for aerojournalism and give journalists tools to create their own newsroom guidelines about drones.

Trainer: Andrew Seaman (@AndrewMSeaman), ethics committee chair, Society of Professional Journalists; senior medical journalist, Reuters Health

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Freedom of Information

Police Body Cam Video: Getting the Footage and Moving the Story Forward

As more police are equipped with body cameras, how do you get the footage and what do you do with it when you get it? Can you even get it in the first place? Learn the depth of body cam issues, get pointers on making sure you can have legal access to the footage, and hear best practices for using it once you have it.

Trainer: Carolyn Carlson (@ccarls10), associate professor of journalism, Kennesaw State University and SPJ FOI Committee member; Robert Becker, lawyer, SPJ D.C. pro chapter FOI/First Amendment chair; Sheryl Worsley (@sherylrockin), KSL Newsradio News Director and RTDNA Region 3 Director

Pro Se Power: Get Public Records By Taking Agencies to Court — Yourself!

Sometimes public agencies flagrantly and illegally deny a legitimate public records request, and your only recourse is to sue. But if your employer doesn’t want to litigate, or you are a freelancer, what do you do? Don’t take the law into your own hands, take them to court. Pro se. This session will guide you through the steps to sue a public agency on your own. It’s not as daunting as it seems, and there are resources to cover court costs and minimal legal assistance. You can do it!

Trainer: David Cuillier (@DavidCuillier), director, University of Arizona School of Journalism and co-author, "The Art of Access: Strategies for Acquiring Public Records"

Turned Down for What?

Too often journalists find themselves on the wrong end of FOIAs. Given the reluctance of government agencies to release public information it's vital that journalists understand when, why and how to turn to FOIA requests. Part of that is knowing why you will get your requests rejected. This session will go over the most common FOIA mistakes and show you how to get right before you get records.

Trainer: Charles Davis (@GradyDeanUGA) dean, Grady School of Journalism, University of Georgia

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Five Things No One Tells You About Freelancing (But You Need to Know)

When most journalists imagine becoming a freelancer, they expect they'll be pitching ideas to publications and getting stories published. They imagine they'll be writing for large, national publications in time, and being paid well for their work. While that's certainly possible, there's a lot involved in getting and maintaining freelance work. We'll tell you the five secrets every freelancer needs to know. We'll discuss what pays well (and what doesn't), what to do about taxes (besides pay them), how to be every editor's favorite writer — the skills you need today (well beyond great writing and reporting) and how to tell if you'd be successful on your own.

Trainers: Robyn Davis Sekula (@itsRobynwithay), freelance writer and consultant; Dana Neuts (@spjdana), freelance writer and consultant, past SPJ national president

Stepping Through the Freelance Ethics Minefield

As freelance journalists take on more corporate communications assignments to maintain a steady cash flow, they often struggle with challenging questions about whether this work might create a conflict of interest with their journalism assignments. For example, should a personal finance reporter produce a profile of a source for use on the source’s firm’s website? Can a health care reporter write news stories on medical research results for an insurance company’s health plan membership newsletter? In this session, the SPJ Freelance Community presents real-life scenarios independent journalists face as they juggle news and features assignments with their need to make a living through other kinds of work.

Trainers: Hazel Becker, freelance journalist, SPJ Freelance Community board member; Andrew Seaman (@andrewmseaman), medical journalist, Thomson Reuters and SPJ Ethics Committee chair; Michael Fitzgerald, articles editor, Boston Globe Magazine

Business Skills for Freelance Journalists

Freelance journalism isn’t just about the journalism. Freelancers must learn to run a business. We all know pitching equals sales and social media is part of our marketing strategy, and the product is our work, in whatever form it takes. But if that’s the only part of the business you think about, you won’t freelance for long. This session will go through tips and tricks for running your freelance business. And it will feature a breakout section on how to negotiate better contracts and better rates for your work, as well as the ongoing requests that happen during an assignment. Learn how to prosper as a freelancer or build better skills.

Trainers: Michael Fitzgerald (@riparian), longtime freelancer, current articles editor, Boston Globe Magazine; Amy Richart (@aritchart), professor of communications, Austin Peay University

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Hot Topics and Current Events

Race, Religion and Politics: Avoiding Stereotypes and Leading Community Conversation

Presented by The Kneeland Project. Race and religion continue to stoke the fires of political rhetoric and polarize the relationship between minority communities, law enforcement and political parties around the country. Well-meaning journalists unintentionally contribute to negative stereotypes because they do not recognize their own bias and lack diverse perspectives from people not represented in the newsroom. Learn from real news examples and get solutions for leading a reasoned community conversation on the most difficult of topics.

Trainers: Kevin Benz (@kbenztx), training faculty, The Kneeland Project; i-Media Strategies; Rashad Robinson (@rashadrobinson, @ColorOfChange), executive director,

Look. Up in the Sky: It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s A (legal) ... Drone!

Congress mandated that the FAA safely integrate the use of drones into the National Air Space by 2015. The FAA has stated that no one may use drones commercially without applying for and receiving a special exemption, then it rushed through a rule that required all drones to be registered. Many states and local governments have enacted regulations regarding drone use. Aside from safety, privacy and ethics issues abound. Come learn the history of drone use for newsgathering along with updating and explaining the latest rules, regulations and incidents involving drones. You'll get practical advice regarding the best ways to deal with these issues and concerns.

Trainer: Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel, National Press Photographers Association

New Orleans News and the New Role of the Press in the Digital Age

A look at the changes wrought after the 137-year-old hometown paper switched its emphasis to "Digital First"--including a modern news war, initiated by the development of a new daily, The New Orleans Advocate, as well as collaborations between legacy media (print and broadcast) with new online publications--leads to an exciting discussion of the new role of the press as these changes take place nationwide in the digital age.

Moderator: Steve Buttry (@stevebuttry), editor blog on digital media The Buttry Diary and director student media, LSU Manship School of Mass Communication
Speakers: Rebecca Theim, journalist & author Hell and High Water: The Battle to Save the New Orleans Times-Picayune; S.L. Alexander, lead author, “The Times-Picayune in a Changing Media World: The Transformation of an American Newspaper”; Andrea Miller, co-editor “News Evolution or Revolution: The Future of Print Journalism in the Digital Age” and associate dean, LSU Manship School Mass Communication; Steve Beatty, longtime journalist & editor online newsroom The Lens

Covering Islam

Islam is in the local and national headlines every day. It's no longer just something foreign correspondents need to know about. The presidential election underlines that. General assignment reporters in the smallest markets can just as easily find themselves tackling the topic. It's a political story, a national security story and a local community story. And it’s a lightning rod for controversy. Two veteran reporters who have covered Islam for decades and co-edited the free e-book Islam for Journalists, along with three leading figures in American Muslim community, provide insights, tips and leads that will help veterans and those new to covering Islam hit the ground running.

Trainers: Lawrence Pintak, former CBS News Middle East correspondent and founding dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. Co-editor, "Islam for Journalists"; Shaheen Pasha (@ProfPasha), journalism professor, Umass Amherst and former Islamic finance correspondent, Thomson Reuters; Stephen Franklin, former Chicago Tribune Middle East correspondent and co-editor of "Islam for Journalists"; Salam Al-Maryati, president, Muslim Public Affairs Council; Jihad Turk, founding president, Bayan Claremont Islamic graduate school in Southern California

Immigration: Bridging Ethnic Divides

The immigration controversy has turned a spotlight on ethnic communities, often defined—and divided—by language and culture. What are they talking about? What do these smaller conversations mean for our broader democracy? How can we listen in to each other? Meet representatives from several joint academic-newsroom projects that are sharing stories across languages, cultures, and the U.S. border. Panelists will talk about the rewards and lessons learned from their work and will offer advice for newsrooms interested in trying similar experiments.

Speakers: Zita Arocha, Borderzine director, University of Texas at El Paso; Karen Pennar, Center for Community and Ethnic Media, City University of NY Graduate School of Journalism; Vanessa Vancour, Noticiero Movíl, Reynolds School of Journalism, University of Nevada-Reno

Making A Murderer — And Covering Him

Netflix may have brought Steven Avery into American living rooms with its late 2015 megahit “Making A Murderer.” But the reporters who covered the original charges against Avery — convicted of a sexual assault in 1985 and exonerated and released 18 years later; convicted of a murder in 2007 and now appealing that conviction — know the most and most-newsworthy aspects of Avery’s cases. Hear what the key journalists involed in the original reporting learned in the process — and what Netflix left out or got wrong.

Speakers: TBA

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Indian Country Issues

Shield and Other Laws Up in Indian Country

Too few mainstream journalists cover Indian Country because it is "too confusing." They don't understand why people will not talk with them or take so long to get records/information. What they generally do not understand is each Native nation has its own constitution and laws about news reporting that can differ significantly from state and federal law. Although a few tribes have implemented press freedom acts and FOIA, as a general rule, these do not exist on tribal lands. Come learn how to navigate these waters to expand coverage opportunities.

Trainers: Bryan Pollard (@cherokee_editor), former executive editor, The Cherokee Phoenix; current tribal relations director, University of Arkansas; Kevin Kemper (@kevinrkemper), Native American Studies faculty, University of Oklahoma; Rebecca Tallent (@RebeccaTallent1), Associate Professor of Journalism, University of Idaho.

Covering Domestic Violence Against Native Women

"Native women suffer from violence at a rate two and a half times greater than that of any other population in the United States. One in three Native women will be raped in her lifetime; four in five will be victims of a violent assault. Join the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) and a panel of Native journalists covering domestic violence for a discussion on the legal and ethical ramifications for journalists covering this topic. Includes: shared practices, common challenges and perspectives on why it’s important for both Native and non-Native media to report on this topic (for example: non-Native offenders commit an estimated 88% of these crimes). Learn how restoring safety to Native women and children upholds the sovereignty of Indian and Alaska Native tribes by delving into the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and how VAWA is applied in actual cases from tribal courts to the US Supreme Court. This program provides resources to aid in covering dv issues in your community, information on tackling legal jargon for the general public and space to share your experience covering sensitive tribal specific issues. "

Speakers: TBA

Native America and the Environment: Past, Present and Future

Indigenous organizations, grassroots groups and individuals have vital perspectives on environmental issues. From the Keystone XL pipeline to Oak Flat to climate change, Native populations are speaking out and bringing about change. Hear from journalists and tribal leaders about the layers of work it takes at the local, state, national and even international levels to address Indigenous environmental issues and generate ideas for your reporting.

Speakers: Antonia Gonzales (@antoniajen14), host and producer, National Native News; Tara Gatewood (@taran8v), host and producer, Native America Calling

Lessons From Indian Country: Collaboration Trumps Branding in Nonprofit Journalism

With the proprietary, independent nature of mainstream journalism — where getting the scoop first is a primary goal — collaboration across organizations and newsrooms can be difficult. What’s missing is a culture and history for creating relationships across brands. However, the collectivistic nature of Native culture allows for more holistic, collaborative approaches to journalism. Learn how Native Health News Alliance leveraged culture and mainstream journalism practices for successful partnerships with funders and other media.

Trainers: Teresa Trumbly Lamsam (@tlamsam) executive editor, Native Health News Alliance; Rebecca Landsberry (@beccalandsberry), managing editor, Native Health News Alliance; Gina Davis (@GinaMarieDavis), senior communications associate, Annie E. Casey Foundation

Politics in Indian Country

Montana's Native Americans are physically far removed from Washington D.C. However, the next U.S. president can have a tremendous effect on Montana's tribes in many ways. Students in the Montana Native News Project covered the political discourse in the state's seven reservations and will present their processes and findings.

Moderator: Jason Begay (@jasonbegay), associate professor, University of Montana School of Journalism

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News Leadership and Management

No More A**holes in the Newsroom

Presented by the The Kneeland Project. Bullying and bad behavior is too often accepted in the newsroom due to misconceptions about how competitive, high-achieving staff are expected to act. In reality, the outcome of managers accepting bad behavior leads to the opposite outcome — negative newsroom culture, low motivation and real financial costs due to employee churn. We'll discuss how to build a positive newsroom culture by identifying a**holes and responding to bad behavior.

Trainer: Kevin Benz (@kbenztx), training faculty, The Kneeland Project; i-Media Strategies

Online Harassment: Personal and Organizational Strategies to Combat Trolls

"Online harassment has been in the news because of several high-profile cases that have brought international attention to the issue this past year. However, newsrooms and other media organizations are woefully unprepared to deal with the issues of individual journalists — particularly women-- who are subjected to much of the online attacks. How can individuals help protect themselves online? What can media organizations do to support their employees and freelancers? This panel will address strategies and policies to protect journalists worldwide. "

Trainers: Michelle Ferrier (@yoursosteam), professor, E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and founder of TrollBusters: Fighting Cyberharassment with Loves; Tracie Powell (@TMPowell), founder, All; Shireen Mitchell (@digitalsista), project Stopping Online Violence Against Women; founder of Digital Sisters/Sistas Inc.; Soraya Chemaly (@schemaly), Speech Project, Women's Media Center; Curtis Franklin Jr. (@kg4gwa), executive editor for technical content, InformationWeek

Operational Security for Journalists

Every citizen concerned with privacy worries about mass surveillance. Journalists, as they increasingly see state and private aggressors follow their activities, have the additional threat of targeted surveillance. To work safely, journalists cannot rely only on mass surveillance counter-measures. They need long-term security plans based in military intelligence. This session will cover the most important intelligence principles for operational security, as applied to reporting and human rights work. Contrary to Hollywood and amateurs in the Privacy Movement, security demands that we change our behaviors, not just our equipment, so leave behind your phone, computer, and digital encryption tools for this one.

Speakers: TBA

Profs and Pros: Building Partnerships Between the News Industry and Academics One Project at a Time

There has been an increased interest in forming partnerships between news organizations and journalism programs ever since the major funders of journalism education, such as the Knight Foundation, urged academics to adopt a teaching hospital model. Little attention, though, has been given to single projects that are mutually beneficial to both and take less effort than a total redesign of a curriculum. Panelists will discuss projects undertaken at Gaylord College in partnership with major news organizations such as Sinclair Broadcast Group and covering the Iowa caucuses for the Huffington Post. The unintentional benefits and unseen pitfalls projects like this can create for both professionals and professors will be discussed.

Trainers: Julie Jones, (@joneszz), associate professor, University of Oklahoma; Stan Heist, (@stanheist), director of news training & development, Sinclair Broadcast Group; John Schmeltzer (@jschmeltz), Engleman/Livermore professor, University of Oklahoma

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Tech and Tools

Drone Journalism: Fly Before You Buy

Maybe you’ve read stories about the confusing laws that (might) let you use a drone in your work. Maybe you’ve even attended a drone workshop and listened to experts run through some scenarios. But have you ever flown the damn thing? Seen what it can do? Learn the latest drone law, discover which assignments a drone can excel at, and then take to the skies to record your own HD footage — which we’ll send you after the session. Even better, borrow a Phantom 3 Pro through SPJ Florida’s “Loan-a-Drone" program and get right to work.

Trainers: Brandon Ballenger (@btballenger), associate editor,; Michael Koretzky (@koretzky), SPJ Region 3 director

Free Newsroom Tools for Taming the Real-Time Internet

Speed of discovery and speed to broadcast are essential in today’s ever-evolving world of media. What if you could turn your laptop into a virtual drone — obtaining immediate “eyes in the sky” capabilities for precise areas of interest? A capacity achieved within seconds and through a few keystrokes and clicks. In this high-tech/high-powered session, attendees will be exposed to cutting-edge applications and techniques for: 1) discovery of breaking news seconds into an event; 2) connecting with sources on scene; verifying and validating developing stories; 3) accessing user generated content into news coverage; 4) easily publishing to their broadcast and digital audiences. Join for a fast-moving presentation highlighting the latest available resources for tackling social signals, multimedia content, and complex data points to reach audiences faster via the real-time web.

Trainer: Victor Hernandez (@ToTheVictor), Director of Media Innovation, Banjo

Emergence, Excitement & Ethics of Virtual Reality Video

News organizations from the New York Times to Frontline to Fusion are using virtual reality video to tell stories in amazing ways. If you haven’t looked through a Google Cardboard or an Oculus Rift just think back to your childhood View Master, which was introduced back in 1939. Though those were still shots they might be the closest thing you can imagine. But a virtual reality news story or documentary will blow your mind. People step out in front of your eyes to talk to you. You can turn around to see the scene 360 degrees around you, above and below. Graphics and images are used in new ways. Storytelling has changed forever. But what does it take to shoot VR video? How does the videographer not get in the shot? And how does the editing work, including using spacial sound? This session brings together people using the technology to answer these questions and more. They’ll demonstrate the technology. And we’ll talk about the ethical implications VR video in journalism poses including whether photojournalists can influence the scenes they record, and whether the visceral nature requires new ethical guidelines.

Moderator: Amy Tardif (@AmyTardif), FM station manager & news director, WGCU Public Media
Trainers: Robert Hernandez (@webjournalist / @VRJournalism), digital journalism professor, USC Annenberg & co-creator of JoVRnalism; Thomas Kent (@tjrkent), standards editor, Associated Press; journalism instructor, Columbia University; Clàudia Prat (@webDOCC), VR producer, Fusion; adviser, Master in Gender and Communication, University Autònoma of Barcelona

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The Craft

Unleash Your Inner Broadcaster

"In today's media landscape, ""broadcasting"" isn't just for radio and television people. More and more print journalists and those new to broadcasting are now required to use their voices for podcasts and other online content. However, finding your voice isn't always easy. Learn techniques so you can deliver copy in a clear, conversational manner and more effectively communicate with your audience. We'll have scripts to help you unleash your inner broadcaster. NOTE: While this session is a great way for print journalists to develop stronger vocal ability, it's also an excellent session for radio and television broadcasters to fine-tune their skills and sound better on the air. It is also a great way for newsroom managers to learn new techniques for coaching their own staffs. "

Trainers: George Bodarky (@georgebodarky), news director, WFUV; trainer, Public Radio News Directors Inc.; Amy Tardif (@AmyTardif), FM station manager & news director WGCU; chair RTDNF; trainer, Public Radio News Directors Inc.

Will It Podcast? Audio Content Development for All

"In this session you will develop an audio podcast concept and create a production plan for it. Whether your background is in print, online or broadcast, you'll learn to think like a podcaster and take your idea forward.The top podcasts on iTunes all have their origins in public radio. The wild popularity of ""Serial"" has all sorts of media outlets eager to tap new digital audiences for audio. Standout podcasts require thoughtful development, beyond the early days of ""a guy/girl and a mic in the garage."" But strong podcasts don't necessarily take an army of producers and seasoned broadcasters. "

Trainers: Eve Troeh (@evetroeh), news director, WWNO-FM; Tina Antolini (@tinaantolini), Gravy Podcast

Audio: It Doesn't Have To Be Hard

As more organizations turn their attention toward the creation of audio — and podcasts in particular — the basic skills of gathering, creating and editing sound are more and more valuable. In a session that will be useful for audio beginners and experienced pros alike, Charlie Meyerson explains how easily (and cheaply!) much of it can be done — beginning with the smartphone already in your pocket.

Trainer: Charlie Meyerson (@Meyerson), VP/editorial, Rivet Radio

How to Investigate Potentially Wrongful Convictions and Other Criminal Justice Issues

Since 1999, The Medill Justice Project ( has investigated potentially wrongful convictions and conducted groundbreaking research, uncovering revelatory information that has impacted people’s lives and the criminal justice system across the United States. Learn how a journalism justice project obtains records, tracks down sources and publishes investigations. In the pursuit of the truth in one case, a federal judge cited The Medill Justice Project’s findings when he ruled no reasonable jury would find the defendant guilty and ordered the prisoner’s release. In another case, just days after The Medill Justice Project published its investigation, prosecutors dismissed all the serious charges against the defendant, eliminating more than 30 years of a potential prison sentence. In addition, learn about the Journalism Justice Network (, an international coalition The Medill Justice Project launched that connects journalists who research, report and publish their findings about wrongdoings in the criminal justice system.

Trainer: Alec Klein, director, Medill Justice Project

Listening Is A Revolutionary Act

Audience engagement is no longer an afterthought; it’s necessary for business survival. But how do newsrooms design engagement that’s meaningful and truly influences reporting? Two journalists have been researching and developing civic-minded approaches and tools. In this hands-on skill-building session, you'll learn about the projects, and the lessons learned. We'll invite participants to brainstorm new outreach ideas for their own communities. This hands-on workshop will focus on how listening to and engaging with audiences creates more original stories, diverse sources, higher performing content, and generates leads for a newsroom’s bottom line.

Trainers: Jesse Hardman (@jesseahardman), founder, Listening Post; Jennifer Brandel, founder, Hearken; founder of WBEZ's Curious City

Keep Calm and Communicate: New Ways to Engage With Your Audience During a Crisis

Local reporting during a crisis has become incredibly nuanced and challenging. Social media and the constant stream of information online has created an overabundance of information, much of which is unverified and untrusted. At the same time, underserved, isolated populations who do not have access are often left out of the conversation. When your audience and your community is rife with rumors and misinformation, how are you going to find a way to be the trusted, sought out destination? Join us as we hear from four people who have come up with dynamic solutions to this challenge in their communities around the world. They’re ready to share new audience engagement tools, rumor trackers, and innovative partnership solutions but also want to hear from you, so bring experiences and ideas with you!

Speakers: TBA

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