Pre-Conference Workshops

Additional Training Opportunities

Breakout Sessions
Video and Career Profile Critiques

Additional fee applies. Registration is required in advance, and space for each workshop is limited.

Thursday, 9 a.m.-Noon

Data Journalism 101 | $25 | Register

Sponsored by the Reynolds Center for Business Journalism

Please note: This workshop is now full.

Poke behind the winners of most major investigative awards, including the Pulitzers, and you’ll usually find a database. Yet number phobia has kept many of us from fully exploiting databases as a tool in our reporting skill set. Fear no more! In this session for those with no previous database experience, Pulitzer winner Michael J. Berens of The Seattle Times demystifies data and shows you how to find and mine databases for unique enterprise stories. You’ll learn how to obtain public databases, import data from the Web, create your own databases and analyze data using basic spreadsheet commands. In addition, you’ll learn how to find the names behind the numbers that will bring your story to life. With your new database skills, you’ll be able to break stories that other media outlets don’t have, while better serving our mission to the public.

Trainer: Michael J. Berens, The Seattle Times

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Michael J. Berens, The Seattle Times
Michael J. Berens, 51, is an investigative reporter for The Seattle Times, where he has worked since 2004. He previously worked for seven years on the investigative team at the Chicago Tribune and for 13 years at The Columbus Dispatch. He began his newspaper career as a copy boy in 1981 — at age 22 — while attending Ohio State University.

He has won dozens of regional and national awards and twice has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Recent awards include Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE); Clark Mollenhoff for Investigative Reporting; Edgar A. Poe Memorial Award, White House Correspondents Association; Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

Berens’ investigative projects at The Times include “Culture of Resistance,” an examination of the unchecked growth of the antibiotic-resistant germ MRSA; “Miracle Machines,” which tracked deadly and unsafe medical devices; and “License to Harm,” which exposed how state regulators ignored or excused sexual misconduct among health-care practitioners. Other works examined how young, mentally ill wards were illegally warehoused in geriatric nursing homes; unsanitary hospital conditions responsible for breeding deadly germs; and a discarded military vaccine that resulted in the death of soldiers.

Berens is a former adjunct professor for Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism graduate program, where he taught analytical journalism techniques. He has been a trainer and panelist for a variety of journalism groups, including IRE and the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism.

Narrative Storytelling for All Media and Beats: 10 Writing Tips I Wish I'd Learned 10 Years Sooner | $25 | Register

Sponsored by the Taishoff Fund

Please note: This workshop is now full.

It took Boyd Huppert 12 years as a reporter to earn his first National Edward R. Murrow Award. Ten of them now sit on his shelf, along with multiple national Sigma Delta Chi Awards for television feature reporting. What did Boyd learn mid-career that's helped him produce consistently compelling stories, both long-form and on daily deadlines? In this three-hour workshop, Boyd will share 10 powerful writing tools that can help transform any reporter from gatherer of facts to narrative storyteller. No matter if you primarily write for an online or print outlet, or if you're a beat reporter turning daily stories for the 6 p.m. newscast, this workshop will motivate, inspire and help you be a better, more story-focused journalist. Students, too, will learn what it takes to get a leg up in the competitive job market and better understand how to structure compelling narratives. In short, every journalist working in all media and any point in their career will benefit from this can't-miss training.

Trainer: Boyd Huppert (@boydhuppert), reporter, KARE-TV

The Taishoff Fund was created by a bequest from the estate of Sal Taishoff, SPJ President 1956-57, and founder and editor of Broadcast Magazine. The Taishoff Fund supports professional development for broadcast journalists.

Download handouts [PDFs, zipped]

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Boyd Huppert, reporter, KARE-TV
Boyd Huppert has earned a national reputation as a both a practitioner and teacher of visual storytelling.

As a reporter at KARE-TV in Minneapolis, Boyd's work has been honored with some of journalism's top honors, including ten national Edward R. Murrow Awards and multiple Sigma Delta Chi, Gabriel and National Headliner awards. In 2014 Boyd received the Scripps Howard Award for local TV reporting. He's also the recipient of the 2006 national Emmy for feature reporting.

As a teacher and trainer, Boyd has presented more than 100 visual storytelling sessions at venues including Poynter Institute, TV-New Zealand, DR & TV2 in Denmark and NRK in Norway. He is a long-time member of the faculty at the Advanced Storytelling Workshop sponsored by the National Press Photographers Association and held each spring at Texas State University.

Boyd grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and received his journalism degree at University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Prior to his arrival at KARE in 1996, Boyd spent time at WSAW-TV in Wausau, KETV in Omaha and WITI-TV in Milwaukee.

Thursday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

News Management Master Class | $50 | Register

How do you keep today’s newsroom staff motivated, innovative, collaborative and competitive — across all platforms? It takes both management and leadership skills, things they didn’t teach you in journalism school. In this fun and interactive session, we’ll focus on performance management: how to get the best out of your teams, how to manage during times of change, how to handle conflict, and how great leadership translates into quality journalism and winning teams. You’ll leave with practical tools you can put to work immediately and a certificate of completion to recognize your hard work. Lunch not included.

Trainers: Jill Geisler (@JillGeisler), Senior Faculty – Leadership and Management, The Poynter Institute; Scott Libin (@smlibin), Hubbard Senior Fellow, University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communications

Download handouts [PDFs, zipped]

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Jill Geisler, senior faculty, Leadership & Management, The Poynter Institute
Jill Geisler teaches and coaches news leaders in all media, across the globe. She’s been inducted into multiple journalism halls of fame. She was among the country’s first female TV news directors, joining the Poynter Institute in 1998 after 26 years in broadcast journalism. Jill's top-rated “What Great Bosses Know” podcasts on iTunes U have had over 12 million downloads. Her book, “Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know” has become a leadership manual for managers in all professions. She holds a masters degree in leadership studies from Duquesne University and a bachelors in journalism from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, where she was the first woman president of the campus SPJ chapter — after women were allowed to join. Her management mantra is: “Life’s too short to work with jerks."

Scott Libin, Hubbard Senior Fellow, University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communications
Scott Libin is the Hubbard Senior Fellow at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He has three decades of experience as a journalist, including jobs on camera and behind the scenes, as a news director and as an educator. He is a consultant, coach and communications professional, specializing in broadcast and digital journalism.

Scott was Vice President of News and Content at Internet Broadcasting 2011-2014. He previously led newsrooms at WCCO-TV and KSTP-TV in the Twin Cities, and WGHP-TV in the Greensboro, 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. Scott began his career as a congressional press secretary and as a bureau reporter in Washington, D.C. He was a reporter and weekend anchor in North Carolina before entering management.

Scott is a member of the Radio Television Digital News Association Board of Directors, representing eight states in RTDNA Regions 4 and 5, and is chair of the RTDNA Ethics Committee. He also serves on the ThreeSixty Journalism Board of Advisers. ThreeSixty is a teen outreach program of the University of St. Thomas.

Keeping the Story on Track: From Breaking News to Enterprise Coverage | $100 | Register

Sponsored by PRNDI

A train derails. Are you ready to cover the scene? For air, digital and social media? At once? How about a week later when your staffers are feeling derailed themselves? Join PRNDI trainers Matt Shafer Powell, Julianne Welby and Jim Hill as they workshop stories that could break in any of our markets, exposing our journalistic strengths and weaknesses. This six-hour, interactive workshop — for news managers and those who report to them — will offer strategies that help guide and inspire you to create multi-platform journalism that serves the audience. You will learn to do stories that sing, from effective live reporting and sound-rich storytelling, to sharp writing and ambitious enterprise angles. Lunch not included.

Trainers: Julianne Welby, senior editor of news, WNYC; Jim Hill, digital media manager, KUNC; Matt Shafer Powell, director of news content, WUOT

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Matt Shafer Powell, director of news content, WUOT
Matt Shafer Powell is the Director of News Content for WUOT in Knoxville, TN. Matt is also a member of the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI) Board of Directors and a Lecturer in the Journalism and Electronic Media program at the University of Tennessee. Prior to coming to WUOT, he was West Michigan Bureau Chief for Michigan Radio. His career includes stops as a recording engineer and a writer/producer of radio commercials.

Julianne Welby, senior editor of news, WNYC
Julianne Welby is a senior editor of news at WNYC in New York. She has also been news director at WFUV in the Bronx, where she was co-host and managing editor of the morning program, and a trainer to award-winning Fordham University students. Welby has also worked in the newsrooms at NPR affiliates WAMU in Washington, D.C. and WSCL in Salisbury, Maryland. And she has been an Adjunct Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Editing Bootcamp (It’s Not Just for Copy Nerds) | Register [ACES]
$95 for SPJ, RTDNA, or ACES members or $150 for non-members

Presented by the American Copy Editors Society

If you’re an editor or edit as part of your job, in any media or type of outlet, the American Copy Editors Society has a daylong workshop just for you.

Register for this workshop to learn more about:

– Why editing is important (and how to convince your bosses)
– Grammar and punctuation basics
– Commonly confused and misused words
– Elements of proofreading
– Clarity: smoothing out dense or garbled prose and streamlining copy
– Accuracy: checking facts and sources, ensuring charts/graphics are correct, identifying and filling in missing information
– Headlines: writing clear, informative display type in print and online (including SEO)
– Style: why you need a style guide.

Please note: The American Copy Editors Society is handling registration for this workshop. To register, please use this form. To complete your registration for the full Excellence in Journalism conference, please go here.

Trainers: David Sullivan, assistant managing editor, The Philadelphia Inquirer; Brady Jones (@modernangelo), features designer, Omaha World-Herald; Teresa Schmedding, president, ACES

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David Sullivan, assistant managing editor, The Philadelphia Inquirer
David Sullivan is assistant managing editor, editing, standards, and operations, of The Philadelphia Inquirer and the vice president of the American Copy Editors Society. He is a past SPJ chapter president and a graduate of Ball State University, where he became a member of SDX in 1973.

Brady Jones, features designer, Omaha World-Herald
Brady Jones is the features designer at the Omaha World-Herald. He is currently the ACES secretary and has been involved with the organization since college. He graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2011.

Teresa Schmedding, president, ACES
Teresa Schmedding is the president of the American Copy Editors Society and the deputy managing editor of digital operations for the Daily Herald Media Group in suburban Chicago. She has a bachelors in journalism and a masters in media management from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Thursday, 12:30-3:30 p.m.

Introduction to Coding, JavaScript, CSS and All the "Web Stuff" You Should Know But Don't | $25 | Register

Please note: This workshop is now full.

The Internet is hard. Making the Internet is even harder. Andy Boyle has some quick and easy ways to make your work appear awesome without having to deal with the super hard Internet parts. He'll show you how to use basic HTML and CSS using Bootstrap to make your projects look pretty, as well as cover Internet styling and programming fundamentals. You’ll also get a quick refresher on how the Internet works, too, and why that’s important for all journalists to know.

Trainer: Andy Boyle (@andymboyle), developer, Chicago Tribune

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Andy Boyle, developer, Chicago Tribune
Andy Boyle is a News Applications Developer for the Chicago Tribune, where he's built projects for the 2012 and 2014 elections, created tools for user-generated content and regularly works on visualizing data, from high school sports to crime. Previously, Andy has worked at the Boston Globe, the St. Petersburg Times and The New York Times Regional Media Group, where his work was cited in the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News. When not speaking at colleges and conferences, Andy is usually writing and telling jokes. His mom would be so proud.

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