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Journalism Education Committee Chair

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 and
Region 12 Spring Conference

April 16, 2016  |  New Orleans

Schedule  |  Meet the Trainers
Buy MOE Lunch Ticket Only


When: Saturday, April 16

Where: Sheraton New Orleans
500 Canal St.
New Orleans, La., 70130

Registration: The program is sold out. Limited tickets are still available for the Mark of Excellence Awards Luncheon. Tickets can be purchased by using this form.

Registration will take place on the 4th floor in the Bayside Foyer. The luncheon takes place in the Gallery room on the 1st floor.

Hotel parking
– 0-2 hours: $12
– 2-9 hours: $24
– Overnight: $44

Funded by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation and the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism at Ohio State University.

In New Orleans, SPJ combines its traveling skills program, JournCamp, with the annual regional conference to give you a day of in-depth training and networking to help your career.

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


Overall general schedule: 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (including evening reception). Detailed schedule and training session information coming soon!

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

Continental breakfast available.

9 a.m.: Welcome and Introduction to JournCamp and Regional Conference

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

The Complete Journalist’s Digital Dirty Dozen

It debuted in SoCal to a standing room only audience, filled a venue off Broadway, captivated them in Kansas City and had them spellbound in Saratoga Springs. Now, the Digital Dirty Dozen comes to the Crescent City. It’s hard to keep up with the fast paced changes to digital media, but the good news is our trainers have been busy sorting, testing and comparing dozens of options to give their seal of approval to these 12 mobile applications that will make you the complete digital reporter. Like a good gumbo, we’ve kept the best and added new flavors.

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)

Making Google Tools Work for You

This session is part of a training partnership with SPJ, Google News Lab and Poynter.

Think you know it all when it comes to using Google tools? Guess what: There are many features and tools you may have never seen or realize how they’re useful for journalists. In this hands-on session you'll take a deeper dive into tools and workflows that can help you produce better stories, generate ideas for your beat, and more. Come with your laptop and leave with some new skills.

NOTE: Participants should have a free Google/Gmail account set up in advance.

Trainer: Michelle Johnson (@mijohn), professor of journalism practice, Boston University, SPJ-Google News Lab trainer

Smarter Reporting with Smartphones

Backpack Journalism in 2016 means running and gunning with smaller, better, faster, cheaper gear and workflow than ever before in the age of digital storytelling. During this interactive workshop, you’ll learn how to produce video content using the 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 — therefore beating the pants off fellow journos using more traditional approaches.

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 mobile editing app Videolicious for iOS (or Kinemaster for Android) prior to the workshop. Bring a charged smartphone, ear buds and loads of attitude and imagination.

Trainer: Victor Hernandez (@tothevictor), director of media innovation, Banjo

12:30-2 p.m.: Mark of Excellence Awards Luncheon/Presentation and Keynote Speaker

Keynote by Mark Schleifstein (@MSchleifstein), environmental reporter, The Times-Picayune/ and Pulitzer winner. Learn more about Mark below!

2:15-4:15 p.m.: Breakout Sessions

(Choose one to attend per time slot on site)

Data Reporting for All Journalists

Come learn about best practices and strategies for data reporting on the web, no matter your media or job role. From handling data requested from government sources to writing about data and using free web tools to create embeddable interactive graphics, journalists working at all levels in all type of newsrooms will benefit from this session — including students, freelancers and newsroom managers. After this training you'll be familiar with a popular core workflow for data reporting.

NOTE: Attendees should bring their own laptops (no tablets) and have a free Google/Gmail account set up.

Trainer: Frank Bi (@frankiebi), editorial engineer, The Verge/Vox Media

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

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: Lane DeGregory (@lanedegregory), Tampa Bay Times reporter and 2009 Pulitzer winner for feature writing

4:30-5:30 p.m.: Closing Panel Session

What's Next? Life after Layoffs

Curious about the overall state of journalism in this New Orleans and surrounding region? Learn firsthand the behind-the-scenes decisions that lead to layoffs and buyouts. Prepare financially for a challenging economic climate, and learn the nuts and bolts of what it takes to be a freelancer. Whether you’re a longtime journalist or just starting your career, you’ll walk away with insight into the industry in the region, and how to better equip yourself to make financial decisions if your planned career in the newsroom takes an unexpected turn.

Trainer: Dan Shea, president and chief operating officer, The Advocate; Kevin Allman, editor, The Gambit; Iris Mack, PhD/MBA, finance professor, Tulane University

5:30-6:30 p.m.: Reception

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

Bios coming soon!

Mark of Excellence Awards Luncheon Keynote Speaker
Mark Schleifstein, Environmental Reporter, The Times-Picayune/

Hurricane and environment reporter Mark Schleifstein (@MSchleifstein) is co-author of The Times-Picayune's 2002 series, "Washing Away," which warned that much of New Orleans could be flooded by hurricane storm surge because the area's levees were too low and subject to overtopping. The series, which won awards from the National Hurricane Conference and the American Society of Civil Engineers, received international attention after Hurricane Katrina, because it had foretold the disaster lying in wait for the city. Schleifstein's reporting on Katrina was among the newspaper's stories honored with 2006 Pulitzer Prizes for Public Service and Breaking News Reporting and the George Polk Award for Metropolitan Reporting. He's also the co-author with John McQuaid of the book "Path of Destruction: The Devastation of New Orleans and the Coming Age of Superstorms." Stories he wrote on coastal science issues were honored in 2006 with a special award from the American Geophysical Union. He also was co-author of the 1996 series, "Oceans of Trouble: Are the World's Fisheries Doomed?", which won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. He is a member of the board of directors of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

Frank Bi, Editorial Engineer, The Verge

Frank Bi (@frankiebi), a Minnesota native, is an editorial engineer at Vox Media’s The Verge. He was previously a reporter at Forbes magazine in New York covering data, drones and tech. Before that he built interactive stories for PBS NewsHour and Bi is an SPJ member, trainer for SPJ’s Google News Lab partnership, and a member of the Asian American Journalists Association.

Lane DeGregory, Tampa Bay Times reporter and 2009 Pulitzer winner for feature writing

Lane DeGregory (@lanedegregory) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning Tampa Bay Times feature writer who prefers writing about people in the shadows. She sweated with a mailman who was mowing strangers' lawns; hung out with a mother who was giving up custody of her adopted son; followed the guy who carries the "THE" flag in a rodeo. For 10 years, she wrote news and feature stories for the Virginian-Pilot. Her stories have appeared in the Best Newspaper Writing editions of 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2008. She has been a speaker at the Nieman Narrative Conference at Harvard University and has won more than a dozen national awards, including the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing.

Victor Hernandez, Director of Media Innovation, Banjo, and Reynolds Journalism Institute Fellow

Victor Hernandez (@tothevictor) is director of media innovation for news app Banjo, a news futurist and journalism innovator, previously with CNN. In this role Hernandez was charged with shaping critical vision and strategies around emerging technologies against CNN’s journalistic endeavors. He previously served as CNN’s Director of National Coverage where he oversaw domestic newsgathering operations including the handling of strategic response to breaking news and in-depth coverage. He was a distinguished member of Poynter Ethics Fellows 2008-09, and is associated with the Society of Professional Journalists, Online News Association and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Hernandez was recently named to SPJ’s 20 Journalists/Industry Thinkers You Should Know list, 50 People in Media You Should Subscribe to on Facebook and Poynter’s 35 most influential people in social media.

Michelle Johnson, Journalism Professor of Practice, Boston University

Michelle Johnson (@mijohn), is associate professor of the practice, multimedia journalism at Boston University. She is a former editor for the Boston Globe and For more than 20 years she has conducted multimedia training workshops for student and professional journalists for a variety of organizations including the Online News Association, the Maynard Institute, the National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Johnson oversees Boston University News Service, a showcase for work produced by BU Journalism students. In 2014 BU News Service was named top online student news site by the Associated Press, Massachusetts/Rhode Island, and the Society of Professional Journalists, Region I. BU News Service coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing was nationally recognized by the Online News Association with awards in both student and professional categories in 2013. She was named 2013 Educator of the Year by the National Association of Black 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.

Kevin Allman, Editor, The Gambit

Kevin Allman (@KevinAllman) has been the editor of Gambit, New Orleans’ alt-weekly, since 2008. He covered the “digital transition” at The Times-Picayune extensively in 2012 and 2013. His work also has appeared in The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Toronto Globe & Mail and many other outlets. He is the author of two novels, one of which was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America.

Iris Mack, PhD, Finance Professor, Tulane University

Iris Mack earned a Harvard doctorate in Applied Mathematics and a London Business School Sloan Fellow MBA. She is a former MIT professor and Derivatives Quant/Trader who has worked in financial institutions in the U.S., London, and Asia. She has also spent some of her professional career at NASA, Boeing, and AT&T Bell Laboratories — where she obtained a patent for research on optical fibers. Mack lectures and consults on energy derivatives, quantitative finance, and high-frequency trading. Mack founded Phat Math Inc. and The Global Energy Post in Miami, Florida. She and her colleagues at Phat Math launched their prototype mathematics edutainment social network Students in grades K-12 and college have access to free 24/7 online math homework help on — named one of the Top 50 Social Sites for Educators and Academics and 25 Useful Networking Sites for Grad Students.

Dan Shea, President and Chief Operating Officer, The Advocate

In his role, Dan Shea leads all departments of The Advocate newspaper and

Prior to joining The Advocate, Shea served as the managing editor/news for The Times-Picayune for 19 years. He supervised newsroom operations, technology, copyediting, presentation and photography. During his tenure, his team won scores of awards for photography, graphics and design from the Society for News Design and the National Press Photographers Association.

Shea played a key role in continuing publication of the paper in print and online in the harrowing days after Katrina. He led a small team to Houma when rising floodwaters forced the paper to evacuate its newsroom and kept the operation going while a larger news operation was being assembled in Baton Rouge. For its efforts, the TP won the Gold Medal for Public Service and the Breaking News Award of the 2006 Pulitzer Prizes. The TP also won two more Pulitzer Prizes during his tenure. He also created The TP Store, an online source for TP photos, books and page reproductions.

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