Conference Highlights

Opening Night Reception: A night of Texas-sized fun!

Thursday, Sept. 5, 8-10 p.m.
The LDR/Grotto at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center (connected to Grand Hyatt)

Sponsored by CNN Newsource

To kick off journalism’s premiere conference of the year, the Opening Night Reception is a chance to reunite with colleagues, clients and friends, as well as make new connections. Located right on the famous San Antonio River Walk, the LDR/Grotto is just steps away from the Grand Hyatt. Join us as we officially commence the conference in style. We’ll be serving up drinks, music and more! Open to all registered attendees with an EIJ19 badge.

To get to the LDR/Grotto: Take the hotel escalators down to the River Level and exit the Grand Hyatt by Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Exit left out of the doors and proceed to the LDR/Grotto ahead. Dress casual and light — venue is partially outdoors.


Terry Anderson, Jamal Khashoggi, Maria Ressa and Nick Ut to be honored as SPJ Fellows of the Society at EIJ19

The Society of Professional Journalists recognizes Terry Anderson, Maria Ressa, Nick Ut and, posthumously, Jamal Khashoggi, as Fellows of the Society, the highest professional honor awarded by SPJ, for extraordinary contribution to the profession of journalism.

All four will be honored as Fellows of the Society at the President’s Installation Banquet, where national leaders for the Society take office and the Society's highest awards are presented, on Saturday, September 7 at 7:30 p.m.

Earlier on Saturday, at 4:30 p.m., Anderson, Ressa and Ut will participate in the session “Fine Fellows, Future Focus: SPJ Fellows ponder what’s next for journalism.”


San Antonio natives Scott Pelley and John Quiñones to receive RTDNA awards at EIJ19

RTDNA is pleased to award Scott Pelley (above, left) with the 2019 Paul White Award, which recognizes a lifetime of achievement and service to the profession of broadcast and digital journalism. Pelley has been a correspondent on the CBS News program “60 Minutes” since 1999. He served as anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News from 2011-2017 and is the author of a new memoir, "Truth Worth Telling."

RTDNA will also honor ABC News Anchor John Quiñones (above, right) with the 2019 John F. Hogan Award. Named for the founder and first president of RTDNA, the award recognizes an individual’s contributions to the journalism profession and freedom of the press.

They will be presented with these awards on Friday, September 6th during a super session. A reception will follow the presentation and tickets can be purchased for $45.

Scott Pelley is among the most experienced reporters in American journalism. He has been a correspondent for 60 Minutes since 1999. From 2011 to 2017, Pelley also served as Anchor and Managing Editor of The CBS Evening News. In almost 30 years at CBS News, Pelley has covered the major stories of our times and interviewed the news makers who have changed our world.

In 2016, in accepting the Walter Cronkite Award, Pelley said, “I receive too much credit for the work of others. I have never accomplished anything in journalism without photographers, producers and editors. Hundreds of people at CBS News have given me my career, but one person has given me a life, my lovely wife, Jane.”

The Pelleys have been married 36 years and have a son, Reece, and daughter, Blair.

John Quiñones is the anchor of the thought-provoking, topical and insightful, "What Would You Do?" and during his 35 year tenure at ABC News, he has reported extensively for all programs and platforms and served as anchor of "Primetime." He has won seven Emmy Awards, a World Hunger Media Award and a Robert F. Kennedy Prize.

While Quiñones was covering the Chilean miners' disaster in 2010, he was the first journalist out of thousands to get an exclusive interview with the first survivor (Mario Sepulveda). Quiñones has extensively covered a religious sect in Northern Arizona that forces its young female members to take part in polygamous marriages.

Quiñones joined ABC News in June 1982 after serving as a reporter with WBBM-TV, a news editor at KTRH radio and an anchor-reporter for KPRC-TV.


Super Session: 889 Pages Later ... the Impact of Local Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico

Thursday, Sept. 5, Noon-1 p.m.

Moderator María Elena Salinas joins Carla Minet and Oscar Serrano from Centro de Periodismo Investigativo for an enticing dialogue around their team’s investigative work in Puerto Rico and uncovering 'Las 889 páginas de Telegram'. Work so powerful in fact, the world watched as hundreds of thousands of people so moved by journalism, flooded the capital of Puerto Rico. However Centro de Periodismo Investigativo isn’t new to the scene. The nonprofit has been doing important work for more than a decade ranging from corruption and political campaigns to environmental issues and government affairs. As journalists, what can we learn from the CPI team on reporting locally during 2020 Elections and Census? Listen as Minet and Serrano explain their vision of the local news landscape and address how local news informs communities to help mobilize democratic participation.

Speakers: Carla Minet, Executive Director, Center for Investigative Journalism; Oscar J. Serrano, co-founder, Center for Investigative Journalism; Maria Elena Salinas, contributor, CBS News

Click for speaker information


Carla Minet, Executive Director, Center for Investigative Journalism
Carla Minet is a journalist, editor and is the executive director of the Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico. Her investigative work ranges from corruption and political campaigns to environmental issues and government affairs. For the past 17 years she worked as a reporter, researcher, editor and producer for radio, television and online, in traditional and independent media outlets such as Channel 6 Public Television, Radio Universidad, El Nuevo Día, Univision, NotiCel and Diálogo. For six years, she was the executive director of Prensa Comunitaria, a non profit that worked with underserved communities to develop their own media outlets.

At the Center for Investigative Journalism, she was first a freelance reporter and then Editor in Chief, before being appointed as the Executive Director. She has been a contributor to The New York Times, NPR and El Nuevo Herald, among other US media, and is a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

She graduated from the Public Communication School at the University of Puerto Rico, and her master's in journalism is a joint degree between the University of Barcelona and Columbia University in New York. Also, has been a speaker at different conferences and forums, media trainer, and professor at the University of Puerto Rico.

Oscar J. Serrano, co-founder, Center for Investigative Journalism
He is an investigative journalist with 20 years of experience and lawyer, co-founder of the Center for Investigative Journalism and Coordinator of his Transparency Program. Has worked in radio, Internet, television and was part of the founding teams of El Nuevo Día Interactivo, Primera Hora newspaper, Red 96 radio station, and the digital newspaper NotiCel, which he cofounded. His works, particularly public corruption and courts, has earned him the recognition of Puerto Rican journalistic organizations. At present, he works as Editor in Chief of NotiCel and is a professor in the Universidad Interamericana Law School. He was president of the Puerto Rico Journalists Association.

Maria Elena Salinas, contributor, CBS News
Peabody award-winning anchor, María Elena Salinas, who is described as the “Voice of Hispanic America” by the New York Times is one of the most recognized and influential journalists in the United States. She is currently a contributor with CBS News across all platforms.

After over three decades as co-anchor and correspondent of Noticiero Univision and co-host of news magazine “Aquí y Ahora” Salinas began a new chapter in her career as an independent journalist and producer and principal of MES Multi-Media LLC. In one of her first projects she hosted and executive produced “The Real Story with Maria Elena Salinas” on the Investigation Discovery network.

Salinas was most recently recognized for her work by the National Association of Broadcasters and inducted into their Hall of Fame. In 2016 Salinas was awarded two honorary doctorate degrees from American University School of Communications and California State University, Fullerton. She also was honored with the Mickey Leland Humanitarian award.

Focused on her mission to inform, inspire and empower the Latino community, for decades she has worked with several civic organizations encouraging immigrants to become citizens, register to vote and participate in the political process. Most recently teaming up with “Mi Familia Vota” in their voter registration campaign. For these efforts and more, Salinas is a recipient of the coveted Intrepid Award from NOW, the National Organization for Women, and has been honored by organizations including the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, among others.

As part of her philanthropic work Salinas serves on the board of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and has herself been awarding scholarships to journalism students for over two decades through the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. She is also on the advisory committee of She Works and a member of the Smithsonian’s American Women’s Initiative Advisory committee.


Immigration Impact: Beyond a One Dimensional Narrative

Thursday, Sept. 5, 4:15-5:15 p.m.

From varied mediums, different regions and even backgrounds, four industry leaders on immigration coverage take the stage at #EIJ19 in San Antonio, Texas. Listen to a discussion on their approach in shaping story lines and the dedicated work it takes to dive beyond a one dimensional narrative. Learn how humanized, in-depth coverage, results in accurate representation of migrant families, refugees, and factual evaluations on the impact that immigration has beyond the border.


Super Session: Countdown to 2020

Saturday, Sept. 7, 12:30-1:30 p.m.

The 2020 election is more than a year away, but the race is on. A panel of political journalists will be dissecting election coverage strategies. What lessons from 2016 and 2018 will they apply in approaching 2020 races? What role does journalism play in putting political stories in context, and what challenges will journalists face this election cycle? Leave with a roadmap to an election coverage strategy for your newsroom.

Moderator: Todd Gillman (@toddgillman), Washington Bureau Chief, Dallas Morning News

Speakers: Susan Page (@susanpage), DC Bureau Chief, USA Today; Ed O'Keefe (@edokeefe), Political Corresondent, CBS News; María Peña (@mariauxpen), Digital Reporter, Telemundo

Click for speaker information


Todd Gillman, White House Bureau Chief, Dallas Morning News
Todd J. Gillman has been Washington Bureau Chief of The Dallas Morning News since 2009, covering politics, the White House and Texas issues. He's covered presidential campaigns since 1996. He serves on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association, after winning a second term in 2017. He has also been president of the Regional Reporters Association in Washington, and of SPJ's sister foundation, then called Sigma Delta Chi. He joined The News as an intern in 1989 and after four years chasing plane crashes and hurricanes, he moved on to City Hall, local politics and national issues, heading to Washington to cover Congress after the 2002 elections. He holds a master in public policy degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a BA in international studies from Johns Hopkins. His wife runs a high school special education department. They have two kids in college and a third in the Peace Corps, and a dog named FLOTUS.

Susan Page, DC Bureau Chief, USA Today
Susan Page is the Washington Bureau chief of USA Today, where she writes about the White House and national politics. She is the author of The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty, a bestselling book published in 2019. She is now working on a biography of Nancy Pelosi titled Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Arc of Power.

Susan has covered six White House administrations and in 2020 is covering her eleventh presidential election. She has interviewed the past nine presidents (three after they left office) and reported from six continents and dozens of foreign countries. She has served as president of the White House Correspondents Association and of the Gridiron Club, and she has won every journalism award given specifically for coverage of the presidency.

A native of Wichita, Kansas, she received a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern and a master’s degree from Columbia. She and husband Carl Leubsdorf have two sons.

Ed O'Keefe, Political Corresondent, CBS News
Ed O'Keefe is a CBS News political correspondent based in Washington, D.C., reporting for all CBS News broadcasts and platforms.

O'Keefe has reported on congressional and presidential politics for The Washington Post since 2008. He joined CBS News as a contributor in 2017.

Since 2008, O'Keefe has covered or contributed reporting on the presidential campaigns of Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump, as well as dozens of key House and Senate races. On Capitol Hill, he has reported extensively on debates over gun control, immigration policy, health-care reform and federal spending. He covered the "fiscal cliff" showdown of late 2012; the 2013 government shutdown and recent shutdowns; the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch; and dozens of contentious congressional hearings, including former FBI Director James Comey's dramatic testimony last year.

Over the course of nearly 13 years at The Washington Post, O'Keefe has covered federal agencies, federal employees and a range of policy issues, from the repeal of the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy to the decline of the U.S. Postal Service and cases of questionable government spending. He also briefly covered the war in Iraq.

O'Keefe is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. He is a graduate of American University and was born and raised in Delmar, N.Y.

María Peña, Digital Reporter, Telemundo
Nicaraguan-born María Peña has worked as a bilingual journalist in Washington for close to 30 years, covering the growth of the Hispanic community, its progress and challenges.

Throughout her career she has interviewed numerous celebrities as well as local, state, national and world leaders, including president Barack Obama, both as a candidate in 2008 and just prior to his reelection in 2012.

Among her highlights covering world events, she traveled to Israel in 2018 to cover the move of the US and Guatemalan embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and traveled to Rome for the canonization ceremony of Mons. Oscar A. Romero.

In the spring of 2016, she covered President Obama’s historic visit to Cuba, and later that year, she covered a world summit of mayors and regional leaders in Bogotá, Colombia.

She’s currently the Digital Reporter for Telemundo, where she covers all issues affecting Hispanics, including immigration, trade, education, housing, voting, political empowerment, foreign policy, and, most recently, domestic terrorism at the border.

Ms. Peña has interviewed several top Trump Administration officials, and she recently traveled with DHS Secretary, Kevin McAleenan, to Panama, for an overview of the regional migration crisis.

Prior to her current post, she was the Washington Senior Political Correspondent for La Opinion/Impremedia, also covering ethnic issues.

As part of her work, she has chronicled the deployment of the “Minutemen” at the border, the ongoing congressional gridlock on immigration reform, the plight of undocumented workers and, currently, the impact of President Donald Trump’s policies.

In the past, she also worked for EFE, UPI, NBC Canal de Noticias, and Univision.

Over the years, Ms. Peña has been a panelist at prestigious TV talk shows, including Voice of America, Univision’s "Al Punto", CGTN America, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), CNN’s “Choque de Opiniones”, and Colombian NTN24’s “Club de Prensa”.

She participates in workshops, panels, media roundtables, and briefings organized by congressional committees, universities, NGOs, think tanks, and government entities.

Ms. Peña is currently pursuing a book project on the immigrant experience.

She is an active member of the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA), and a former VP for Print of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), and regularly mentors young audiences in academic settings.

Her work has gotten national recognition from the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP), and in 2017, she was named among El Tiempo Latino’s “100 Influential Latinos” in the nation’s capital.

She holds a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French from the American University, where she has done some graduate work in human rights and conflict resolution.


EIJ19 Critiques & Coaching

Thursday, Sept. 5, 10 a.m.–Noon and 1–3 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 6, 9-11 a.m. and 1–3 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 7, 9 a.m.–Noon and 1–3 p.m.

Sponsored by Lilly Broadcasting

You have a demo reel, but is it making an impact? Do you have 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 profiles and bodies of work say something important about you. Before you hit the J-Expo and Career Fair, get helpful, honest feedback on any number of career-related presentations you’d like to have reviewed — all in one spot. Bring your laptop, tablet or paper resume with you to our critiques and coaching room and sign up for a 20-minute one-on-one session with a seasoned professional.

A sign-up sheet will be located at the door.


SAG-AFTRA Office Hours

Thursday, Sept. 5, 8 a.m.-Noon Register
Friday, Sept. 6, 1-5 p.m. Register

SAG-AFTRA invites you to a free consultation with their expert staff — from the News & Broadcast and EEO & Diversity departments — during their office hours at EIJ19. Ask employment and/or contract related questions, and find out how SAG-AFTRA can help you at different stages of your career.

You must sign up in advance and be registered for the conference to participate in office hours. Follow these links to reserve your spot on Thursday or Friday.


Military 101 Excursion

Friday, Sept. 6, 7:30-11:30 a.m.

Enhance your military acumen and expand your network of expert resources by attending a “Military 101 Excursion” presented by USAA. This exciting, half-day event, which takes place at Lackland Air Force Base, is specifically designed for attendees of the Excellence in Journalism Conference and will include:

– Attendance at Basic Military Training Graduation
– A tour of Air Force trainee dorms
– A crash course in all things military from a USAA Military Affairs expert

Transportation from the Grand Hyatt Hotel will be provided by USAA.

Space is limited to 40 participants. To reserve your spot today, email us at [email protected]


EIJ Pub Trivia

Friday, Sept. 6, 8-10 p.m.

Lou Harry, author or co-author of more than 40 books including “The Biggest Trivia Book Ever” and “The Little Book of Misquotations,” hosts a fun-filled competition pitting teams of four against each other in eight rounds of eight questions each, all (sometimes tangentially) connected to journalism. Come with a team or come alone and we’ll find one for you. And, don’t worry, you won’t be put on the spot (you can always blame your teammates for wrong answers). Top prize: Registration for next year’s EIJ!

Speaker: Lou Harry (@LouHarry), Quill Editor, Society of Professional Journalists

Click for speaker information


Lou Harry, Quill Editor, Society of Professional Journalists
Lou Harry’s journalism career includes editing stints at Philadelphia magazine, Indianapolis Monthly and the Indianapolis Business Journal along with freelance work for more than 50 publications and websites. The winner of multiple SPJ awards, Harry has taught writing classes at Temple University, the University of Indianapolis and the Midwest Writers Workshop. He has served as emcee for many fundraisers, has organized conferences and once took a pie in the face from Soupy Sales. During downtime, he enjoys writing plays and trying new board games with friends, family and strangers.


San Antonio Boat Tour

Thursday, Sept. 5, 10 a.m. • $5   Purchase tickets on EIJ registration form

GO RIO’s San Antonio Riverwalk boat tour connects you to the city’s timeless charm! Our enthusiastic, knowledgeable boat captains will share fascinating stories about the city’s culture, history and architecture during your 35-minute tour along the San Antonio River.


Alamo Tour

Thursday, Sept. 5, 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. • $20   Purchase tickets on EIJ registration form

In its 300 years, the Alamo has shaped the city of San Antonio, ignited the battle for Texas independence, and influenced American history.

Guided by Alamo History Interpreters, this 1-hour guided tour explores the heroes and events that have made the story of the Alamo captivating for generations of Texans and visitors. The tour takes you through the area that was the original footprint of the Spanish mission complex, today Alamo Plaza, describing the events leading up to and including the Battle of the Alamo. The tour then concludes inside the Alamo Church.


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