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Journcamp: Past Programs

– Nashville, January 2014: Recap | Program
– Minneapolis, November 2013: Recap | Program
– Washington, D.C., June 2013: Recap | Program
– Chicago, January 2012: Recap | Program

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Butler Cain
Assistant Professor/Mass Communication
West Texas A&M University
Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex, Room 269
Canyon, TX
Bio (click to expand) Butler Cain is an Assistant Professor of Mass Communication at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. He received a Ph.D. in Media History from the University of Alabama, where he also received degrees in Journalism. He spent a decade as news director of Alabama Public Radio in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, before moving to South Korea to teach English language skills to Korean students.

Butler has been a member of SPJ since 1997. He is a founding member of the Texas Panhandle Pro SPJ chapter in Amarillo, Texas, and has served on the Journalism Education Committee and the International Journalism Committee. Butler blogs about travel and journalism at

June Nicholson, vice chair
Director of Graduate Studies
School of Mass Communications
Virginia Commonwealth University
901 W. Main Street
Room 1108 Temple Building
Richmond, VA 23284-2034
(804) 827-0251 (office)
Fax: (804) 828-9175
Bio (click to expand) picture June O. Nicholson, a professor of journalism in the School of Media and Culture at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., chaired national SPJ’s Journalism Education Committee from 2000-2007. She is former chair of the SPJ's International Journalism Committee and has been a member of other national SPJ committees over the past several decades. She is co-developer of the SPJ newsroom training module on covering diverse communities. Nicholson also is a former president of the Virginia professional chapter of SPJ.

Nicholson is the 2014 recipient of the Outstanding Woman in Journalism and Mass Communications Education Award from Commission on the Status of Women of the Association of Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. In 2008, she was recipient of the Robert Knight Multicultural Award for promoting diversity in America's newsrooms, given by AEJMC's Scholastic Journalism Division. She was recipient of the Distinguished Service Award of VCU's College of Humanities in 2007 for contributions to VCU and the journalism profession. She is serving a second term as president of the University Faculty Senate through August 2015.

Nicholson teaches senior-level capstone undergraduate government, enterprise and project reporting courses and coverage of specialized areas such as science, health, education, urban affairs and the environment. She also teaches a graduate course on International Journalism in the M.S. program in Mass Communications with a specialization in multimedia journalism. Before joining the VCU faculty, she was a reporter and editor for more than a dozen years in North Carolina and Virginia. She holds a master’s degree in public affairs journalism from The American University in Washington, D.C., and a B.A. degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Home > Journalism Training > SPJ JournCamp

SPJ JournCamp
June 13, 2015 | New York City

Register online | Schedule | Meet the Trainers

SPJ is committed to bringing you training and tools in all areas of journalism.

In this daylong workshop, you'll get practical, skills-based professional development that will help you be a better journalist.


8:15-9 a.m.: Registration
and check-in

Location: Metro Ballroom Foyer

Coffee and pastries available.

9 a.m.: Welcome and Introduction to JournCamp

Location: Metro 1

9:15-10:15 a.m.: Opening General Session

The Complete Reporter's Digital Dirty Dozen

Location: Metro 1

Every year is a chore to keep up with new programs and applications designed to make your journalism life simpler. The bad news is that's not going to stop. The good news is our trainers have sorted, tested and have given their seal of approval to these 12 applications that will make you the complete digital reporter. From mobile reporting to data mining to creating mind maps for your stories, they're simple, free and just waiting for you to take them to the next step in your newsroom.

Trainer: Kevin Z. Smith (@ethicsmith), Deputy Director, Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Reporting at Ohio State University

10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Breakout Sessions

(Choose one to attend per time slot on site)

Narrative Storytelling: Dump the Inverted Pyramid, No Matter Your Medium of Choice

Location: Metro 1

Step out of the inverted pyramid, just-the-facts model that drives so much daily reporting and into the world of narrative storytelling. You'll learn what narrative storytelling is and how to do it well. You'll discover how to choose a story that's ripe for a narrative approach, and how to get it done on deadline. The goal of this session is to provide strategies and resources to help journalists promote narrative storytelling within their individual newsrooms — changing the way you and your colleagues think about, report and tell stories. Journalists working in all media — broadcast, online, print and everything in between — will benefit from thinking about crafting compelling stories.

Trainer: Tom Hallman Jr. (@thallmanjr), reporter, The Oregonian, and Pulitzer winner in feature writing

Data Visualization For The Web (Made Easy and Non-Scary)

Location: Metro 3

Have you ever written or produced a story that could be improved with a chart or a graphic? Wanted to visualize data but didn't know how or thought it was just for the “data geeks” in your newsroom? Come learn to identify the right type of visualization for a dataset you might come across in your daily journalism work, use popular web tools to create embeddable web graphics; and publish them online. After this session, you'll understand web basics and be able to make visually compelling charts to accompany your stories on any platform.

Trainers: Hilary Fung (@hil_fung), visual and data journalist, Huffington Post; Frank Bi (@frankiebi), Editorial Engineer, The Verge

12:30-1:15 p.m.: Lunch (provided)

Location: Metro 2

1:30-3:30 p.m.: Breakout Sessions

(Choose one to attend per time slot on site)

Smarter Video News Packages with Smartphones

Location: Metro 1

Move over, backpack journalism. Make way for back-pocket journalism. During this interactive workshop, you’ll learn how to produce a video news package using your smartphone. Participants will be exposed to basic techniques on gathering quality sound bites and shooting compelling B-roll and "selfie stand-ups." You will learn to edit those assets into a short video package that can easily and immediately be shared online — beating journos using big rigs. If you have a tripod and mount adapter for your smartphone, bring it. Ditto if you have MiFi or another mobile WiFi device.

NOTE: Participants should download the free iPhone app Videolicious prior to the workshop. (It also works on iPads.) Android users should download YouTube Capture and follow along. Bring a charged smartphone, ear buds and loads of attitude and imagination.

Trainer: Cindy E. Rodríguez (@cindyerodriguez), senior journalist in residence, Emerson College

It’s A Hard-Knock Life (But Doesn’t Have To Be): Building Your Freelance Business

Location: Metro 3

Whether you write a little “on the side,” earn your daily bread as an independent journalist, or are considering making the switch from full-time staff to freelance, this workshop will teach you proven strategies to promote your work. Learn how to brand yourself as a subject matter specialist, make your pitches sing, and keep track of the business side of your venture. In the first half of this two-hour session, you’ll hear tips from a writer and editor who has made a living as an independent journalist in the competitive New York City market. In the second half, we will break up into groups to practice our “elevator pitches.” Come prepared to describe what makes your brand of independent journalism stand out.

Trainer: J. Alex Tarquinio (@alextarquinio), senior digital editor, Time Inc., and longtime New York City freelancer

3:45-5 p.m.: Closing General Session

Social Media Deep Dive: Tools and Tips for All Journalists

Location: Metro 1

The focus of this engaging and interactive presentation will be on getting the best use out of your time online (and on your phones), how to build more fans and followers and how to do all this in a smart, strategic, sustainable manner. Get a little social media help from your friends and colleagues in a collaborative, informal, anything goes review and critique session. Join Sree Sreenivasan and your fellow JournCamp participants for a no-judgment, help-you-better-yourself social media profile critique. How are you using Twitter as a journalistic tool? What does your LinkedIn profile say about you? Can you better use Facebook to engage and interact with your audience? Come ready to give feedback and, if you’re willing, bring up your social media accounts on the “big screen” to share and get critiqued.

– How to deepen your connection with your audience via social media
– New tools you must absolutely know and use
– Building your personal brand
– How to find, on deadline, specific types of people you need for work
– How to get the "right" followers, fans, and connections
– Metrics: why you need to understand them and how you can do just that
– Sustainable social media — how to keep from drowning in information and make time to participate efficiently

Trainer: Sree Sreenivasan (@sree), Chief Digital Officer, The Met, and longtime Columbia University journalism professor and social media trainer

5:15-6 p.m.: Reception

Location: Metro 2

Relax, have a drink, swap more training tips (and business cards/Twitter handles) and unwind after a long day cramming your head with new information.

Meet the Trainers

Frank Bi, Editorial Engineer, The Verge

Frank Bi (@frankiebi), a Minnesota native, is a new editorial engineer with The Verge. He most recently was a reporter at Forbes magazine in New York covering data, drones, and tech. He previously built interactive stories for PBS NewsHour and

Hilary Fung, Visual and Data Journalist, Huffington Post

Hilary Fung (@hil_fung) is a visual journalist on the Huffington Post data team, where she has worked on live data visualization dashboards for the U.S. elections and the World Cup. Previously, she built interactive graphics for the Washington Post and Boston Globe.

Tom Hallman Jr., Reporter, The Oregonian

Tom Hallman (@thallmanjr) is a senior reporter at The Oregonian, where he's worked for 33 years. He's written numerous stories for Reader’s Digest, and won every major feature writing award, some multiple times. He was twice a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing. But he's also worked at a car wash, a grocery store and a greyhound race track. He once had a stint as a bartender for one week, and was once an answer to a question on "Jeopardy." He coaches journalists on narrative storytelling and writes a regular column for SPJ's magazine, Quill, about incorporating storytelling into daily reporting.

Cindy Rodriguez, Senior Journalist in Residence, Emerson College

Cindy Rodríguez (@cindyerodriguez) is a Senior Journalist in Residence at Emerson College in Boston. She is a web 2.0 journalist, meaning she knows how to shoot high-definition video, edit on Final Cut Pro, create podcasts using several software programs (she prefers sticking to open-source programs), and how to create audio slideshows. In January 2011, the International Center for Journalists selected Cindy as an international reporting fellow. She traveled to Israel for her multimedia reporting project. Prior to immersing herself in all things digital, Cindy worked in the world of print as a reporter and columnist. During her lengthy career, she parachuted into stories throughout the country, working on big breaking news stories, including covering the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and its aftermath, writing nuanced stories about how the attacks profoundly shaped American thinking and immigration policy. She covered race relations and cultural affairs for The Detroit News, and was the lead writer on an award-winning series on the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit riots. At The Boston Globe, she worked her way up from general assignment reporter to immigration and demographics reporter, a beat that took her to all parts of the U.S. She served as vice president-print of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists 2006-2008 and in 2007-2008 served as a board member of Unity: Journalists of Color, Inc. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and Society of Professional Journalists.

Kevin Z. Smith, Deputy Director, Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Reporting

Kevin Z. Smith (@ethicsmith) brings more than 20 years of newsroom and journalism teaching experience to his role as deputy director of the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism at Ohio State University. In addition, he has been a longtime leader in SPJ, serving as national president in 2009-10. He has served as chairman of the national group's Ethics Committee and as a board member of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation since 2008. In the 2012-13 academic year, he worked as a journalism lecturer at the University of Dayton. Previously, he was a visiting journalism instructor at James Madison University in Virginia. He also served as journalism program director at Fairmont State University in West Virginia and at Miami University in Ohio.

Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer, The Met

Sree Sreenivasan (@sree) is the first Chief Digital Officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the latest step in what he calls "a three-decade, one-way love affair with one of the world's great museums." At the Met, he leads a team of 70 working on topics he loves: digital, social, mobile, video, data, email apps and more. He joined the Met after 20 years at Columbia University as a member of the faculty of the Columbia Journalism School and a year as the university's first Chief Digital Officer. In 2009, he was named one of AdAge's 25 media people to follow on Twitter and in 2010 was named one of Poynter's the 35 most influential people in social media; in 2014, he was named the most influential CDO in the U.S.

J. Alex Tarquinio, Senior Digital Editor, Time Inc.

Alex Tarquinio (@alextarquinio) currently serves as a national board member of the Society of Professional Journalists and as Chairwoman of The Deadline Club, SPJ’s New York City chapter. She has two decades of experience as a writer and editor, both on staff and freelance. She is a Senior Digital Editor at Time Inc., and was previously on staff at Smart Money Magazine and Forbes, among other media companies. As an independent journalist, she has contributed to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The International Herald Tribune, Barron’s, and Reader’s Digest, among others. She received a German Marshall Fund fellowship to finance a reporting residency in Cyprus. She is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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