Excellence in Journalism 2015 — a joint effort between the Society of Professional Journalists, the Radio Television Digital News Association and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists — was an incredible success. If you attended, spoke, exhibited, performed, volunteered or followed along online, thank you for being part of the big event.

If you couldn't join us, this collection of recaps, photos, session replays (free to all SPJ members) and student news teams coverage is the next best thing to being there.


Session Replays: WDBJ Shooting | Lesley Stahl/Pierre Thomas | Breakout Sessions

Coverage and More: EIJ News | RTDNA Newsroom | NAHJ Latino Reporter | Storify Recaps
Connect: EIJ on Facebook | #EIJ15 | @spj_tweets | @eij_news


Session Replays

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

Description: 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

Listen to or download audio

Additional coverage [eijnews.org]


Breakout Session Audio
Celebrating Excellence in Journalism: Q&A with Lesley Stahl and Pierre Thomas

Description: Join RTDNA’s 2015 Paul White Award winner Lesley Stahl of CBS’ "60 Minutes" and John Hogan Award winner Pierre Thomas of ABC News in a lead up to the Saturday night awards ceremony. Stahl and Thomas will discuss their careers in journalism, the big stories they’ve covered, and how the world of journalism has changed over the course of their careers. They will also discuss their approach to journalism, what makes a journalist great, and the highs and lows of their exemplary careers. Plus, what advice do they have for young journalists? Journalists of all career levels won’t want to miss this informative and insightful session.

Moderators: Amy Tardif, RTDNA Chair; Chris Carl, RTDNF Chair

Panelists: Lesley Stahl, Correspondent, "60 Minutes"; Pierre Thomas, Senior Justice Correspondent, ABC News

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Additional coverage [eijnews.org]


Breakout Session Audio
Covering Ferguson, Baltimore and Beyond: Rights and Responsibilities as a Journalist

Description: Reporting on protests is no easy job — just ask the journalists who covered events related to the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.; Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Md.; and Eric Garner, in New York. All came after the tense time in the Orlando area following the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and trial of George Zimmerman. Amid clashes between protesters and police, journalists sometimes went places where they weren't supposed to go, and they did things they weren't supposed to do. Or so said the police. Those stories and others in recent months put important questions of press freedom into play: What rights do reporters have to gather news? Do they need credentials? How should they behave in order to avoid physical harm to themselves or their subjects? Do reporters, and all people, have the right to record police activity in public places? If a police officer interferes with a reporter gathering the news, can the reporter sue the officer? In this session, research experts and news professionals on the front lines of protest coverage will examine the rights and responsibilities of journalists in the heat of hot stories.

Moderator: Patricia Gallager Newberry (@pattinewberry), senior lecturer in journalism, Miami University

Speakers: Wesley Lowery (@wesleylowery), reporter, Washington Post; Jonathan Peters (@jonathanwpeters), assistant professor, University of Kansas and press freedom correspondent, Columbia Journalism Review; Gilbert Bailon, editor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Mike Lafferty (@mikelafferty), breaking news editor, Orlando Sentinel

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Breakout Session Audio

To Comment or Not to Comment

Description: One of the most interesting topics in the journalism industry today is the discussion over what to do about comment sections. Almost every news site has one, but many still have questions about how to handle them. How do we keep them civil? Should we moderate them? Push the conversation over to social media? Prohibit comments on certain stories? Hear how some journalists wrangle online discussion around their content and use it to build audience and community, as well as why some news organizations have chosen to end commenting completely. We also will share research-based techniques for improving comment sections.

Trainers: Marie K. Shanahan, assistant professor of journalism, University of Connecticut; Natalie Jomini Stroud, associate professor of communication studies, University of Texas at Austin and director, Engaging News Project

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Additional coverage [eijnews.org]


Breakout Session Audio
Drone on

Description: Hear the latest in the fight to use drones for journalism. Where is it legal, who is using it for news coverage, who's been in trouble, and what are the legal and ethical concerns that may prevent full use of the technology?

Moderator: Dave Sirak, WFTV, Cox Media Group drone committee

Speakers: Kathleen Kirby, legal counsel, RTDNA; Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel, National Press Photographers Association; Henry Quintana, director of solutions, TVU

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Additional coverage [eijnews.org]


Breakout Session Audio

Unethical by Omission

Description: Journalists increasingly turn to the Internet for sources and perspectives, but that often excludes a number of important voices. In this session, journalists will learn why including a diverse range of voices is crucial to understanding any story. Additionally, they will learn how to find sources from a variety of backgrounds, races, ethnicities and generations.

Trainer: Andrew Seaman, chair, SPJ Ethics Committee and Reuters health reporter

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Breakout Session Audio

15 Jaw-Droppingly Cool Online Tools You Will LOVE and USE

Description: Come find out how easy it is to build a 360 interactive photo, drop interactive tags on your online photos or use metadata and search tools to find, enrich and verify stories. See how Twitter and Facebook can be a powerful search engine. See one big tool that hackers use that may just keep you up at night. This high-energy interactive romp will make you say WOW!

Trainer: Al Tompkins, senior faculty for broadcasting and online, The Poynter Institute

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Additional coverage [eijnews.org]


Breakout Session Audio

Nervous As Hell: Mock (or Maybe Real) Job Interviews For New Grads

Description: About to graduate from j-school? Your first job will most likely be the smallest position at a big media outlet or a big one at a small outlet. Either way, your job interview will contain peculiarities you won't find by Googling, "journalism job interview." Learn how to think like a low-rent hiring editor by sitting across from one. Michael Koretzky has been mired in middle management at a Top 50 newspaper and been EIC of media outlets you've never heard of - which means he's hired new grads most of his life. In front of everyone, do you have the guts to endure a mock (?) interview? Bring your resume to this interactive session or just learn from the carnage you'll witness. Because most new grads suck at job interviews.

Trainer: Michael Koretzky (@koretzky), editor, Debt.com

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Additional coverage [eijnews.org]


Breakout Session Audio

New Economic Data You Can Use in 2015 and Beyond

Description: Program participants will learn how to create original reporting on earnings, spending and investments using new economic data being released in 2015 by the Bureau of Economic Analysis — the U.S. Government's leading economic statistical agency — on health care, state economic activity, consumer spending at the state level, spending and employment in the arts and culture and international investments. Participants will also learn how to use these new data sets to better cover existing economic events.

Trainers: Jeannine Aversa, chief of public affairs and outreach, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis; Thomas Dail, public affairs specialist, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis; Steve Geimann (@sgeimann), editor, Bloomberg News

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Breakout Session Audio

News Content: What Works, What’s Next?

Description: Technology has changed the way consumers get their news. Technology has changed the way we gather the news. And journalists have also changed their ways of reporting the news to an audience that has toppled traditional methods of sharing information. Learn what works with today's audiences on-air and online. News consumers are finding what they need at different times, on different platforms and different sources. What you need to know about consumer habits and how to plan for their needs tomorrow.

Trainers: Andrew Finlayson, senior vice president Digital Media Strategies, SmithGeiger; Dan Shelley, senior vice president, Local and Studios Interactive One, Radio One Inc.

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Breakout Session Audio

‘A Rape on Campus’: Ethics, an Autopsy and Aftermath

Description: From its publication in December 2014 and continuing today, Rolling Stone’s “A Rape on Campus” has seemingly been as controversial and condemned as the crime of rape. That is especially true in U.S. newsrooms, where journalists have dissected how and why Rolling Stone covered allegations from a student dubbed “Jackie” that members of a fraternity at the University of Virginia gang-raped her on campus. In the wake of the controversy, Steve Coll, Dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, authored an extensive independent report for Columbia Journalism Review that dissected what happened and what when wrong in the reporting process. Coll will explain how the story came to be, where it got off track, and what the story and Rolling Stone’s retraction of it mean for coverage of the ever-volatile subject of sexual assault — all based on Columbia’s review of the piece at Rolling Stone’s behest. Caitlin Flanagan will walk Coll through his review in a Q&A format discussion.

Moderator: Caitlin Flanagan, contributing editor, The Atlantic and author, "Girl Land" and "To Hell with All That"

Speaker: Steve Coll (@stevecollny), dean, Columbia University School of Journalism

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Breakout Session Audio

Sports Beat Reporting: Develop Unique Ideas and Tell Great Multi-Platform Stories

Description: Sports beat reporters are being asked to do more than ever for their publications, displaying a unique mix of skills that make them invaluable for any newsroom. During this session we'll discuss the top five keys to success for aspiring beat reporters and those already holding those rolls. We'll cover the top five tools of the trade that can help reporters succeed: time management, source development, story development, multimedia storytelling and social media skills.

Trainer: Iliana Limón Romero, college sports editor and pro soccer editor, Orlando Sentinel and Sun Sentinel

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Additional coverage [eijnews.org]


Breakout Session Audio

Reporting and Suicide

Description: In December 2012, Leonora LaPeter Anton published lengthy profile in the Tampa Bay Times of Gretchen Molannen, a Tampa woman diagnosed with a rare condition called Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder. The condition left Molannen unemployed, in constant pain, and frequently depressed. Anton told Molannen’s story with her full and largely enthusiastic support. Despite that, Gretchen Molannen took her own life in the hours before the story was published. A year later, Anton revisited the story and Molannen’s death, asking what role, if any, she played in her source’s suicide. In this session, Anton and Naseem Miller discuss how to report on highly sensitive topics, how to deal with vulnerable sources, and how to report on a topic traditionally considered taboo in journalism.

Moderator: Patricia Gallagher Newberry (@pattinewberry), senior lecturer, Miami University

Speakers: Leonora LaPeter Anton (@writerleonora), reporter, Tampa Bay Times; Naseem Miller (@naseemmiller), senior health reporter, Orlando Sentinel

Listen to or download audio


Breakout Session Audio

Be the Ultimate MMJ

Description: Technology and the voracious demand for news on all platforms has journalists constantly scrambling to keep up not just on the stories they covering but getting the information published quickly and on every platform. How you do get it all done, on time, and during one shift? Learn what new tools are on the market today the newest tips of the trade that will make your job as a journalist easier.

Moderator: Richard Hart, adjunct professor, Academy of Art University, San Francisco

Speaker: Simon Perez (@simonperez1), digital journalsit and professor of broadcast and digital journalism, Syracuse University; Jon Busdeker, multimedia Journalist, Orlando Sentinel; Emily Davies, multimedia journalist/producer/anchor, WSAW-TV

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Breakout Session Audio

Viral Video, Social Media and High Stakes Ethics Questions

Description: Your newsroom acquires video of a major newsmaker appearing impaired at a public event in your community. In an era when everyone carries a camera phone and content can spread via social media at the speed of light, how do you handle it? Work through a real-world case study with a twist or two and an ending you might not expect.

Trainers: Andrew Seaman @andrewmseaman, chairman, SPJ Ethics Committee, and health reporter, Reuters; Scott Libin, RTDNA Ethics Committee, and journalism teaching fellow, University of Minnesota

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Breakout Session Audio
Emmett & Erling: Lessons From a Viral News Video

Description: The story of the friendship between a three-year-old boy and the WWII veteran next door has been viewed tens of millions of times online. But what can it teach us about the future of visual journalism, where success is measured not just by ratings, but by online views and social media interaction? This session will explore strategies for bringing viewers into the tent through social media engagement, while providing them with something worth sharing when they get there.

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

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#EIJ15 in Pictures

>> See more photos


Coverage and more

EIJ News stories

>> Complete 2015 archive


RTDNA Newsroom

See all stories [RTDNA.org]


NAHJ Latino Reporter


Storify Recaps

See more: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

See more: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3


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