Breakouts & Workshops


Note: For last-minute changes in the schedule, use the SPJ21 web app, available here.


Thursday, September 2

10 a.m.-1 p.m. ET

Digital and Mobile Apps for Journalists

Get your latest and greatest digital and mobile reporting and editing tools in this highly interactive and fast paced session. The three-hour, hands-on workshop will feature presentations, exercises and several handouts and guides.

Presenters:
– Mike Reilley (@journtoolbox), Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
– Victor Hernandez (@tothevictor), Chief Content Officer, WBUR

View presenter bios


Victor Hernandez, Chief Content Officer, WBUR

Victor Hernandez is responsible for overseeing all aspects of editorial at WBUR including local news and programming, national programs, podcasting and CitySpace.

As the organization's first-ever Chief Content Officer, Hernandez is charged with helping to identify how to grow WBUR's audience. Before joining WBUR in March 2021, Hernandez was executive editor at Cascade Public Media, a nonprofit media institution created through the merger of Seattle's PBS TV station, KCTS 9 and digital news outlet Crosscut.

Mike Reilley, Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago

Mike Reilley is a senior lecturer at UIC in Chicago. He teaches data and digital journalism. Mike also is an SPJ trainer in the Google News Initiative program and is a trainer/consultant for Gannett.


10-11:30 a.m. ET

Google News Initiative: Google Tools Overview

Access to information is more important than ever. And Google tools provide valuable, inventive and often unexpected ways for journalists to access and process information for the betterment of their stories and the benefit of their readers. SPJ and the Google News Initiative teamed up in 2015 and since have continued to provide free training to journalists around the U.S. looking to apply these tools in their news gathering, reporting and storytelling. Sharpen your skills and gain new tools for your own professional development.

Presenter:
– Frank Bi (@frankbi), SPJ Google trainer

View presenter bios


Frank Bi, SPJ Google trainer

Frank Bi is a journalist, developer, designer and educator based in New York City. He is the senior editorial engineer at Vox Media where he works to create unique storytelling projects for SB Nation. Frank is also an adjunct professor at Fordham University where he teaches data literacy and visualization to students in the graduate Public Media program. Frank is the president of the Asian American Journalists Association’s New York chapter.


11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. ET

Facebook Journalism Project

Providing tools and training for journalists is a key pillar of the SPJ Facebook Journalism Project. The SPJ trainer will share products and tools — including Live, Groups and CrowdTangle — that help journalists leverage Facebook and Instagram for news gathering, storytelling and connecting with their followers. SPJ and Facebook are committed to creating opportunities for journalists everywhere to learn about the ways Facebook tools can help create and share incredible works of journalism, as well as engaging the public in the stories about their communities.

Presenter:
– Giovanna Drpic, Freelance Producer, Fox News

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Giovanna Drpic, Freelance Producer, Fox News

Giovanna Drpic is a correspondent/producer specializing in politics and business. She has done work for Fox News, France's TF1 network, CBS Newspath, CBSN and local affiliates around the U.S. She is a proud Latina, an Emmy winner and has a Master's degree in economics and a Bachelor's degree in communications.


2-4 p.m. ET Apply for program (applications due August 17)

NBCU Academy

Are you interested in learning more from America’s leading news organization? We are a team of best-in-class journalists that produce for network, cable, and streaming and write for digital news. NBCU Academy convenes our best and brightest to give you a window into how we produce for network news, cable, digital, streaming and local. We are looking for innovative, energetic, and intensely curious journalists and producers interested in taking their craft to the next level. Both students and professionals are welcome! NBCU Academy 2021 is a selective program that will take admitted applicants on a journey — from story concept to creation.

Completed Application is due by August 25th. The workshop will be hosted on Zoom.

NBCU Academy is the premiere journalism training and development program from NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC and Telemundo News.


2-3 p.m. ET

How to Amplify and Diversify the Voices in Your Journalism

Amplifying other people's voices has never been more important. The good news is it's what journalism was designed to do. The bad news is we need to do a much better job of it. Here's how we can. Innovative newsroom leaders will discuss how to find and include new voices in newspapers and news programming, how to reach underrepresented communities who may be skeptical of your outlet and of journalism in general, and how to turn critics into allies. This forum will feature but transcend opinion journalism and offer takeaways for all journalists intent on diversifying and growing their audiences.

Presenters:
– Matthew T. Hall (@SDuncovered), SPJ president, editorial and opinion director, The San Diego Union-Tribune
– Sewell Chan (@sewellchan), editorial page editor, Los Angeles Times
– Allen H. Johnson (@AllenJohnsonNR), executive editorial page editor, News & Record of Greensboro and the Winston-Salem Journal
– Nancy Preyor-Johnson (@nancypjohnson), editorial board associate editor, San Antonio-Express News
– Bina Venkataraman (@binajv), editorial page editor, The Boston Globe

View presenter bios


Matthew T. Hall, SPJ president, editorial and opinion director, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Matthew T. Hall is the national president of the Society of Professional Journalists and an award-winning editorial and opinion director at The San Diego Union-Tribune, where he has worked since 2001. He writes and edits editorials, and also oversees editorial cartoons, commentaries, letters to the editor and two podcasts. Before that, he was a reporter, a metro columnist and a social media manager.

Sewell Chan, editorial page editor, Los Angeles Times

As the editorial page editor, Sewell Chan oversees the editorial board and the Op-Ed and Sunday Opinion pages of the Los Angeles Times. He was named to the position in April 2020, having previously served as a deputy managing editor. Before joining The Times in September 2018, Chan worked for 14 years at the New York Times, where he was a metro reporter, Washington correspondent, deputy Op-Ed editor and international news editor. Chan began his career in July 2000 as a reporter at the Washington Post, reporting on local government, education and social services.

Allen Johnson, executive editorial page editor of the News & Record of Greensboro and the Winston-Salem Journal

Allen H. Johnson is executive editorial page editor of the News & Record of Greensboro and the Winston-Salem Journal. Allen is an alumnus of UNCChapel Hill. He has taught part time at a variety of area colleges, and in 1996, he taught a short course in management for newsroom executives in the south central African nation of Zambia (formerly known as Northern Rhodesia). He is an avid jogger who will run as long as his knees let him. He is a diehard Green Bay Packers fan who has seen a game in person at Lambeau Field. And never having totally grown up, he builds model railroads in his spare time.

Nancy Preyor-Johnson, editorial board associate editor, San Antonio-Express News

Nancy M. Preyor-Johnson is the editorial board associate editor at the San Antonio Express-News. An award-winning teacher and journalist, she worked as a reporter at various publications, including the San Antonio Express-News, where she wrote about social welfare issues and education. Preyor-Johnson holds a master's degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio in Educational Leadership & Policy. She grew up in South Texas.

Bina Venkataraman, editorial page editor, The Boston Globe

Bina Venkataraman is the Editorial Page Editor of The Boston Globe. She formerly served as Senior Advisor for Climate Change Innovation in the Obama White House, and taught in the program on science, technology, and society at MIT. She is the author of The Optimist’s Telescope: Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age, named a top business book by The Financial Times and a best book of 2019 by Amazon, Science Friday, and National Public Radio.


2-3 p.m. ET

Be Safe: Be Prepared for the Unexpected

During the various rallies, marches and protests around the country we saw reporters and photographers becoming the victims of violence, often attacked by police. How do you deal with police who may become hostile? Today more than ever we must be alert and prepared for the unexpected. Develop situational awareness, always aware of your surroundings. You’ll leave this session with safety tips and tools for self-protection.

Presenters:
– Chris Post (@ChrisMPost), TV News Photojournalist, WFMZ-TV
– Moni Basu (@TheMoniBasu), Michael and Linda Connelly Lecturer in Narrative Nonfiction, University of Florida

View presenter bio


Chris Post, TV News Photojournalist, WFMZ-TV

Chris Post is an Emmy-nominated photojournalist, as well as a media safety educator and security advocate, with a background of over 20 years in the emergency services sector. Chris has worked in positions ranging from Captain of the fire department at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, to EMT at a regional level, to disaster emergency response with FEMA.

Chris transitioned to the field of journalism in 2009 picking up the camera he always loved since learning analog photography in the 1980’s. Chris is the 2020 recipient of the National Press Photographers Association’s second highest award for his work on advancing journalist safety and security initiatives. Chris’s recent work includes the creation and delivery of a Domestic Hostile Environment first aid course for journalists, guest lecturing at multiple universities on media safety, chairing a national committee on press safety & security and participating in panel discussions related to domestic newsgathering in the United States.

As a photojournalist Chris has covered large events including the last two inaugurations, multiple political convention cycles, and the Papal visit of 201, major disasters including earthquakes in Puerto Rico, hurricanes in the Gulf states, and the politically turbulent protests of 2020.

Having a deep background in public safety and journalism allows Chris to assess, plan and manage risks for newsgathering assignments. Whether providing safety trainings ahead of events or being embedded as part of a team for high-risk assignments, Chris enhances safety, security and guidance for news organizations. Chris has worked as a safety adviser for major motion picture and television network projects.

Moni Basu, Michael and Linda Connelly Lecturer in Narrative Nonfiction, University of Florida

Before teaching, Moni was a reporter and editor at CNN, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other newspapers. She still writes as a freelancer and her recent work has been published in the Bitter Southerner and Flamingo magazine. She is also a distinguished professor of practice in the narrative media MFA program at the University of Georgia. Her 2012 e-book, Chaplain Turner’s War grew from a series of stories on an Army chaplain in Iraq. A platoon sergeant named her “Evil Reporter Chick” and she was featured once as a war reporter in a Marvel comics series. Moni’s work has won national and international accolades but she is most proud of her latest award: the 2020 University of Florida Teacher of the Year.


2-3 p.m. ET

Freelancing 101: Establishing Yourself as a Freelance Journalist

Many journalists today are exploring the freelance model for a variety of reasons. Whether you’re just dabbling or want to make a go of it full-time, this session will help you find your way to success as an independent journalist. The overview of the essential elements of establishing yourself as a freelance journalist will include building a unique brand and making yourself known, connecting with freelance colleagues and resources, and so much more. This introductory session sets the stage for subsequent freelance-oriented sessions that dive deeper into the elements of freelancing.

Presenter:
– Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, Freelance Writer, Editor, Proofreader and Desktop Publisher

View presenter bio


Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, Freelance Writer, Editor, Proofreader and Desktop Publisher

Ruth E. Thaler-Carter has been a freelance writer, editor, proofreader and desktop publisher since 1984. She is the author/publisher of “Get Paid to Write! Getting Started as a Freelance Writer,” author of “Freelancing 101: Launching Your Editorial Business,” contributor to the SPJ Freelancers Guide, and creator/host of Communication Central’s annual Be a Better Freelancer.® She is a member of the SPJ, board member of the SPJ’s Freelance Community and active in several other professional organizations.


2-3 p.m. ET

Prioritizing Your Mental Health: Invest in Your Own Mental Health

Did you breathe a sigh of relief when you turned your calendar to 2021? Never before has fear for our safety and attacks on our professional credibility been this intense. This session will provide you with warning signs that you're way beyond being stressed and overworked. Recognize the red flags and be prepared to take care of yourself. Find relief from some specific dos and don'ts and work to invest in your own mental health.

Presenters:
– Jerry McCormick (@jerrymccormick), Jerry McCormick, Sr. Public Information Officer, City of San Diego
– Tammy McCoy-Arballo (@realmccoydrtam), Licensed Clinical Forensic Psychologist

View presenter bios


Tammy McCoy-Arballo, Licensed Clinical Forensic Psychologist

Dr. Tammy McCoy-Arballo is a former newspaper reporter turned clinical forensic psychologist in California who treats first responders and journalists.



Jerry McCormick, Jerry McCormick, Sr. Public Information Officer, City of San Diego

Jerry McCormick currently works as the senior public information officer for the City of San Diego. He is also a committed volunteer with SPJ, serving the board as a director at-large.


3:15-4:15 p.m. ET

How to Find Sources and Stories

Every journalist, sometime in their career, struggles with finding stories and sources. Sometimes stories fall into your lap, especially with breaking news, but often there is what we know as a “slow news day.” These veteran journalists have become a success because they decided a long time ago not to become spoon-fed reporters. Instead, they know how to find stories everywhere and anywhere. Along the way, they have built a diverse pool of sources. At this session, the audience will learn — and leave with — the tools they need to have their own mobile assignment desk.

Presenters:
– Ken Lemon (@kenlemonWSOC9), Reporter, WSOC-TV
– Blanca Torres (@BlancaWrites), Producer, KQED Radio Producer
– Dave Zahniser (@DavidZahniser), Reporter, Los Angeles Times
– Francine Compton (@FrancineCompton), Assignment Producer, CBC Indigenous

View presenter bios


Blanca Torres, Producer, KQED Radio Producer

Blanca Torres is a producer for Forum, KQED’s daily news and public affairs analysis show. She joined KQED in January of 2020 after 16 years of working as a newspaper reporter most recently at the San Francisco Business Times, where she covered real estate and economic development. In the past, she covered a variety of beats including crime, education, retail, workplace, the economy, consumer issues, and small business for the Contra Costa Times, Baltimore Sun and The Seattle Times. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Blanca earned her bachelor's degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville and a master's in fine arts in creative writing at Mills College.

Ken Lemon, Reporter, WSOC-TV

Ken Lemon is the VP of Broadcast for the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). He has been a broadcast journalist for 28 years and spent the last 22 years working for WSOC TV in Charlotte, NC. Ken has earned an Edward R. Murrow Award, 3 Emmy Awards, 2 AP Awards and a RTDNA Award.

Francine Compton, Assignment Producer, CBC Indigenous

Francine Compton is the Assignment Producer for CBC Indigenous. She is Anishinaabe from the Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation in Manitoba, Canada. Before joining CBC she was the executive producer of national news at APTN. Francine is the current president of the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA).

Dave Zahniser, Reporter, Los Angeles Times

David Zahniser covers Los Angeles City Hall for the City-County bureau. He joined the Los Angeles Times in 2007 and previously wrote on local government for the Claremont Courier, Pasadena Star-News, the Daily Breeze, the L.A. Weekly and the San Diego Union-Tribune. He is a graduate of Pomona College and lives in Los Angeles.


3:15-4:15 p.m. ET

Trauma Exposure to Local Broadcast Journalists

Journalists of all job titles and descriptions working in local broadcast newsrooms are faced with being routinely assigned stories that involve death, destruction, victims of crime and/or scenes of violence. Training in college and university programs rarely touches on how to prepare for such traumatic events, yet journalists are expected to tell stories on a daily basis that are objective and factual with few resources for them to address how such stories have a personal impact. This session will review what recent research reveals about trauma exposure to journalists and will offer resources on how to develop coping mechanisms while covering a potentially traumatic story and after coverage has ended.

Presenters:
– Carla Judah, News Producer, KOIN-TV
– Susan Roesgen, Anchor and Reporter, WGNO

View presenter bio


Carla Judah, News Producer, KOIN-TV

Carla Judah is a three-time Regional Emmy award winning news producer currently working in Portland, Oregon. She is a native Oregonian and has been working professionally in the Pacific Northwest since 2006. Carla completed her undergrad as Pacific Lutheran University and completed her Master's of Science in Television Management at Drexel University.

Susan Roesgen, News Anchor/Reporter, WGNO-TV

An anchor and reporter with national and international experience, Susan Roesgen has gone on assignment with the U.S. Army in Haiti, bartered for a camel in Cairo, and sailed on the Sea of Galilee in Israel.

After several years in local television, Susan became the co-host of “National Geographic Today,” a news and cultural affairs television program broadcast internationally from National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. in 2001. Her reporting included a multi-part series in Egypt featuring Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass, a report on the raising of a Civil War submarine in Charleston, and in-depth interviews with Bob Ballard, who discovered the Titanic, and Jane Goodall, world-renowned conservationist.

Returning to New Orleans in 2002, Susan joined public radio station WWNO and became a freelance reporter for NPR’s “All Things Considered,” “Morning Edition,” and other NPR programs. In 2003, she also started reporting and anchoring part-time for WGNO-TV.

Susan’s reporting for NPR and WGNO during Hurricane Katrina led CNN to hire her as the first Correspondent for the network’s Gulf Coast Bureau, which debuted in New Orleans in 2005. After two years covering the recovery effort along the Gulf, Susan became a CNN Correspondent based in Chicago in 2007. Her coverage of stories for CNN included daily live shots for “Anderson Cooper 360,” “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer,” and all other CNN programs. Her stories included the impeachment of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the raid on a polygamist sect in Texas, and the death of Michael Jackson in Los Angeles– plus multiple hurricanes, tornadoes, snowstorms, and floods.

After leaving CNN in 2009, Susan enrolled at Loyola University in New Orleans to pursue a Master’s degree in counseling. She also began part-time anchoring and reporting again for WGNO, and she was named co-host of the 5, 6, and 10 pm broadcasts in 2020.

Susan is also a certified teacher of English as a Second Language (ESL) and volunteers as an English teacher for the local immigrant community.


3:15-4:15 p.m. ET

Empowering all Students in College Newsrooms

Join us as we have an open discussion about how we’ve improved the culture in our student newsrooms and the many challenges we still face. We will share how Annenberg Media developed an equity board and the specific challenges and steps we’ve taken to shift culture in the student newsroom. We will share case studies about tracking sources and launching verticals that support diverse coverage in our communities.

Presenters:
– Amara Aguilar, Digital Journalism Associate Professor, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California
– Steven Vargas, Multimedia Journalist, Dancer and Actor
– Miki Turner, Head of the ARM (Annenberg Resources and Mentoring), University of Southern California

View presenter bios


Amara Aguilar, Digital Journalism Associate Professor, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California

Amara Aguilar is a digital journalism associate professor at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She teaches journalism for mobile/emerging platforms, social media, visual journalism, and interactive design, among other courses. She is currently leading a collaborative community engagement project with USC and the hyperlocal news organization, L.A. TACO focused on community zines and social media engagement.

Miki Turner, Head of the ARM (Annenberg Resources and Mentoring), University of Southern California

Award-winning photojournalist, producer and author Miki Turner has been working in the communications industry for over 30 years specializing in print, television, radio and multimedia. Turner has held positions at the NFL Network, Jet magazine, ESPN, MSNBC.com, AOL.com, BET, and several newspapers. She is head of the undergraduate mentoring program, ARM (Annenberg Resources and Mentoring); founder of the Annenberg Cross-Cultural Student Association; adviser to the USC Photography Club; serves on USC Annenberg graduate admissions, DIEA and sports curriculum committees; and is on the honorary degrees and Fisher Museum advisory committees.

Steven Vargas, Multimedia Journalist, Dancer and Actor

Steven Vargas (he/him) is a multimedia journalist, dancer and actor based in Los Angeles whose work focuses on the intersections of media, social justice, and performance. He is a current graduate student from USC Annenberg pursuing an MA in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) and previously graduated from USC with a BA in Theatre and Journalism with a minor in Dance, earning the Order of Laurel and Palm. He is originally from Texas where he studied engineering and technology in high school. It wasn’t until he got to LA that he started pursuing his passion for media and the arts. He is a current member of the Equity Board, a new initiative at Annenberg Media dedicated to diversifying sourcing and promoting inclusive coverage across the publication.


3:15-4:15 p.m. ET

Freelancer-Editor Meet & Greet: Connecting Freelance Journalists and the Editors Who Hire Them

Media outlets are always looking for effective, reliable freelance journalists, and nearly all freelance journalists want to expand their client base. News outlets often have difficulty finding professional, dependable freelancers. Freelancers often have difficulty figuring out how to pitch story ideas and to whom. This session will bridge the gap. Attendees will leave with specific pitching guidelines and contacts for more than 300 media outlets and editors.

Presenters:
– Stacie Overton-Johnson, Freelance Journalist and SPJ Freelance Community Vice Chair
– Martha Carr (@marthacarr), Managing Editor, The Times-Picayune
– Jordan LaHaye Fontenot (@CountryRoadsMag), Managing Editor, Country Roads magazine
– Jourdan Bennett-Begaye (@jourdanbb), Managing editor, Indian Country Today
– Milvionne Chery, Supervising Producer, Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc.
– Erin Z. Bass (@deepsouthmag), Editor/Publisher, Deep South Magazine
– Margaret Downing, Editor-in-Chief, Houston Press
– Tristan Ahtone (@TexasObserver), Editor In Chief, The Texas Observer

View presenter bios


Stacie Overton-Johnson, Freelance Journalist and SPJ Freelance Community Vice Chair

Stacie Overton Johnson is an award-winning broadcast and print journalist and the vice chair of SPJ’s Freelance Community. She has been a freelance producer/writer for HGTV, E! Entertainment, Ivanhoe Broadcast News, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Goodtaste, and several corporate clients. She was also the food editor at The National, an English-language daily in Abu Dhabi/Dubai from 2013 to 2017. She now lives in upstate New York, producing and writing for the TV show Goodtaste.

Martha Carr, Managing Editor, The Times-Picayune

Martha Carr is a New Orleans native who has spent most of her journalism career reporting on the struggles and triumphs of her hometown. After working for 16 years at the Times-Picayune, she joined The New Orleans Advocate as managing editor in 2013 to lead the effort to bring back a strong, civic-minded, daily paper to the New Orleans area. Carr has been part of two Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial teams.

Jordan LaHaye Fontenot, Managing Editor, Country Roads magazine

Jordan LaHaye Fontenot has worked as a writer and editor in South Louisiana since 2015, capturing portraits of the area’s rich cultural tapestry. Her work has appeared in regional and international publications including inRegister, Gastro Obscura, and the Delta literary journal at Louisiana State University, where she was awarded the 2018 Sarah Sue Goldsmith Award for Nonfiction. Her work has been published most extensively in Country Roads magazine, where she serves as Managing Editor.

Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Managing editor, Indian Country Today

Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Diné, is the deputy managing editor for Indian Country Today in Washington, D.C. She is also a board member of the Native American Journalists Association. Bennett-Begaye received her master's degree in magazine, newspaper and online journalism through the Newhouse Minorities Fellowship at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Milvionne Chery, Supervising Producer, Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc.

Milvionne Chery is a supervising producer at Ivanhoe Broadcast News in Orlando, FL, traveling the country interviewing prominent experts in their fields. Chery received a broadcast journalism degree from Florida International University and a graduate degree from Syracuse University. Ivanhoe produces four television series: Medical Breakthroughs, Family Health, Smart Living, and Positive Parenting. The reports air on 150 network affiliates around the country with many produced by Ivanhoe’s national network of freelancers.

Erin Z. Bass, Editor/Publisher, Deep South Magazine

Erin Z. Bass received her journalism degree from Louisiana State University and has been writing for 20 years. Bass has been a staff writer for The Times of Acadiana and Independent Weekly in Lafayette, House and Home magazine in Baton Rouge, Macy’s West communications department in San Francisco and been published in Coastal Living magazine, The Times Picayune, Southern Breeze magazine and The Current. She is the founder and editor of Deep South Magazine.

Margaret Downing, Editor-in-Chief, Houston Press

Margaret Downing has been editor-in-chief of the award-winning Houston Press for more than 23 years. Prior to that, she was managing editor of The [Jackson, MS] Clarion-Ledger and before that she was managing editor of The Houston Post. She interned at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and was a reporter and editor at the Dallas Times Herald. The Houston Press, now an on-line publication, is looking for talented freelancers in news, food, arts, and music

Tristan Ahtone, Editor In Chief, The Texas Observer

Tristan Ahtone is a member of the Kiowa Tribe and editor-in-chief at the Texas Observer. He previously served as Indigenous Affairs editor at High Country News. An award-winning journalist, Ahtone has reported for Al Jazeera America, PBS NewsHour, National Native News, NPR, and National Geographic. A past president of the Native American Journalists Association, Ahtone is a 2017 Nieman Fellow and director of the Muckrock Foundation


3:15-4:45 p.m. ET

Women in Management: Breaking Through the Boys’ Club

The moderator and panelists will discuss the journeys they took to get into management in television news, at the local and network level and at a major US newspaper. They will provide tips on moving strategically to a management position in the newsroom. They will empower attendees to find their voice in the news business.

Presenters:
– Eleanore Vega (@mseleanorevega), Former West Coast Bureau Chief, CBS News, Los Angeles
– Sally Ramirez (@SallyRamirez), Executive Producer, CNBC The News with Shepard Smith
– Valerie Butler Guyton (@ValerieBGuyton), Assistant News Director, KSAX-TV
– Nora Lopez (@nlopez10), Executive Editor, San Antonio Express-News

View presenter bios


Eleanore Vega, Former West Coast Bureau Chief, CBS News, Los Angeles

Eleanore Vega is a member of the SPJ Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She's a freelance journalist. For 21 years, she worked at CBS News and was the West Coast Bureau Chief for 14 years. She led the coverage of numerous breaking news stories on the West Coast: Kobe Bryant's fatal helicopter crash, Paradise Fires, San Bernardino Mass Shooting, Las Vegas Shooting Massacre, Hawaii Volcano Eruptions, Whitney Houston Death, Michael Jackson death, numerous California Wildfires, mudslides and floods, Napa Earthquake, Thousand Oaks Mass Shooting, and Los Angeles Dodgers and Lakers championships.

Sally Ramirez, Executive Producer, CNBC The News with Shepard Smith

Sally Ramirez is a respected journalist and the executive producer of the cable news broadcast on CNBC “The News With Shepard Smith.”

Ramirez is a veteran local news journalist who comes to CNBC from CBS affiliate KHOU in Houston, Texas, where she was Executive News Director. While there, she led a team of more than 100 journalists in one of the most active breaking news and diverse cities in the country. Under her direction, the KHOU team won several prominent journalism awards including the Alfred I. duPont, Edward R. Murrow and The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Emmy). Prior to that, Ramirez spent 17 years at KGW in Portland, Oregon, most recently serving as Assistant News Director. She began her career as a producer at NBC affiliate KTSM in El Paso, Texas, before moving on to positions at KVOA in Tucson, Arizona, and WRC in Washington, D.C. Ramirez also worked as an executive news producer at WGN in Chicago, Illinois, and as a special projects producer at KCRA in Sacramento, California. She received her bachelor’s degree from DePaul University.

Valerie Butler Guyton, Assistant News Director, KSAX-TV

Valerie Butler Guyton is a highly energetic and experienced news leader with 27 years in TV and cable news. She’s passionate about telling great stories on multiple platforms that effect the everyday lives of the viewers. Valerie believes in innovation and telling news stories in unique and creative ways. She is also a firm believer that covering news doesn’t have to be dull, boring and tragic. It can be fun and fulfilling as well as life-changing for those she manages as well as viewers.

Currently, Valerie is the assistant news director at KXAS NBC 5 and helps oversee a multi-platform newsroom of about 75 people, including anchors, reporters and producers. NBC 5 services the North Texas area which is comprised of about 7 million people. Valerie is from Dallas, Texas and an honored member of the National Association of Black Journalists, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. & Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

Nora Lopez, Executive Editor, San Antonio Express News

Nora Lopez is Executive Editor at the San Antonio Express-News. Prior to that, she was the Metro Editor, a position she held for eight years at the same newspaper where she began her professional journalism career as an intern. A 34-year news veteran, Lopez oversees a team of talented editors and award-winning reporters who produce content for both print and digital publications. In between her stints at the Express-News, first in 1987 and again in 2000, Lopez worked as a reporter at The Dallas Morning News and the now defunct San Antonio Light. After transitioning from reporter to editor, directing criminal justice coverage at the Express-News, Lopez rose through the newspaper’s ranks. As State Editor, Lopez oversaw half a dozen bureaus in Mexico, the Texas-Mexico Border, the state capitol and Washington, D.C., before being promoted to Deputy Metro Editor and then Metro Editor.

Lopez is the president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. She has long been active with both the San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists, serving as its immediate past president from 2019-2020, and the San Antonio Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, serving as its vice president for programming and as a producer of the group’s annual scholarship fundraiser, the Gridiron show. She has helped raise more than $100,000 in scholarships to support journalism students through her work with both SAAHJ and SPJ-SA, and sought to help local area college students build their portfolios by giving them their first shot at work with weekend general assignments.

The daughter of farmworkers, Lopez was born in Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. as a child. She became a U.S. citizen in 2008. She grew up in Edinburg, Texas, about 30 miles from the Texas-Mexico border, and home to Pan American University, now the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where Lopez graduated with a BA in communications.


3:15-4:45 p.m. ET

Tips to Stay Safe as a Reporter in Both the Physical and Virtual World

In this session, learn how to examine the ways in which technologies are used by journalists and journalists are targeted through technologies. Discuss online and physical threats against journalists and current threats on press freedoms around the world. Understand the impact on individual journalists and the chilling effect on news and learn how to conduct a risk assessment of personal and professional vulnerabilities.

Presenter:
– Michelle Ferrier, Founder, TrollBusters

View presenter bios


Michelle Ferrier, Founder, TrollBusters

Dr. Michelle Ferrier, founder of TrollBusters and a professor in journalism, educates educators and journalists on the digital environment and coordinated threats against journalists. The workshop includes examples from the U.S. and globally and strategies for developing a professional identity online.


Friday, September 3

10:30-11:30 a.m. ET

Phoning it In: Video Storytelling with Your Smartphone

Today’s reporters are shooting breaking news and feature stories with their phones. Mike Castellucci, a 26-time Emmy Award-winning journalist, will share his best tips on how to use your phone to tell the best story. The session will include techniques like "Layers of Perception," and a show-and-tell of the best gear for the job.

Presenter:
– Mike Castellucci (@MikeCastellucci), Creator, Phoning It In

View presenter bio


Mike Castellucci, Creator, Phoning It In

He’s called a pioneer in “phonography”. His work breaks the mold of traditional journalism and so demands a new way of thinking.

Mike creates broadcast firsts by airing half hour specials shot entirely on his iPhone. The specials and daily news stories are called “Phoning it in” and air in the 5th largest television market in the country. Mike has been described as disrupting an industry as many pieces air coast to coast.

He’s shattered the glass ceiling of storytelling with a phone. A top tier research institution in the Big Ten hired Mike to teach the next generation of storyteller who isn’t intimidated by using a phone. His storytelling with phones course is now part of the accredited journalism major at Michigan State University.


10:30-11:30 a.m. ET

Covering the White House Beat

It has been an interesting time at the White House and these journalists will share their experiences during President Trump’s term and so far during President Biden’s term. They were there during days when the press briefings were occasional, and sometimes they were in a tug-of-war with the press secretary. Also, some were there when the insurrection happened at the Capitol. The session will cover a variety topics involving the White House, including the journey that got them there.

Presenters:
– Taheshah Moise (@Taheshah), Morning News Anchor, KCEN Greensboro, N.C.
– Francesca Chambers (@fran_chambers), White House Correspondent, McClatchy
– Fin Gómez (@Finnygo), White House News Producer, CBS News
– Cristina Londoño Rooney (@Christilondono), Senior Washington DC Correspondent, Telemundo Network
– Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim), White House Correspondent, The Washington Post

View presenter bios


Taheshah Moise, Morning News Anchor, KCEN Greensboro, N.C.

Taheshah Moise is a weekday morning anchor at KCEN in Temple, Texas.

Prior to working there, she served as an evening anchor at WFMY News 2 in Greensboro.

Several of her stories went viral and was featured on TV stations across the country, USA Today, and the national talk show “The Talk.” Taheshah's story on a woman’s nightmare pedicure led to changes on the state level on the wording used to describe tools allowed in salons.

In 2018, Taheshah was a part of the team that produced award-winning coverage celebrating the life of the Rev. Billy Graham. The coverage won the team an NC Association of Broadcasters award for breaking news coverage. TEGNA Pinnacle Awards also named the coverage a finalist for Breaking News/Big Story Coverage. It garnered an EMMY nomination as well.

In Greensboro, Taheshah also helped start a new afternoon conversational newscast called the Four 2 Five. It was unlike any other newscast in the market. It streamed live on Facebook and YouTube. The anchors interacted with the viewers live during the newscast on social media.

Taheshah started her journalism career at KXXV in Waco in 2014. She worked as the morning and midday anchor until 2017.

Francesca Chambers, White House Correspondent, McClatchy

Francesca Chambers is a White House Correspondent for McClatchy. She previously held the position of Senior White House Correspondent at DailyMail.com and its Emmy-winning, syndicated newsmagazine DailyMailTV. She has covered the White House since late 2014 across two administrations Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump — and reported on the presidential campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in 2016.

She is a proud graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas, from which she also has a BA in political science. She is a native of Kansas and a resident of Washington.

Fin Gómez, White House News Producer, CBS News

Fin Gómez is a White House Producer for CBS News. He has covered three presidential campaign cycles from the campaign trail. In 2016, he was named one of the most influential in news by Mediaite for his work covering the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Formerly based in Miami for Fox, Fin traveled extensively across Latin America covering various stories including the Narco wars in Mexico, the Venezuelan crisis, and violent crime in Brazilian favelas. He is a proud member of the National Association of Hispanic journalists, and the first Latino journalist to serve on the WHCA Board in its 105 year history. He is also an outdoor enthusiast who has competed in CrossFit and powerlifting competitions, and raced in ultramarathons. An avid traveler, Fin has been to nearly 60 countries.

Cristina Londoño Rooney, Senior Washington DC Correspondent, Telemundo Network

Cristina Londoño is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of experience covering the U.S. Latino community. Prior to her current position as senior correspondent for Noticias Telemundo’s Washington, D.C. bureau, she served as the network’s correspondent in California (2008-2019) and Miami (2000-2008). Before joining Noticias Telemundo, she was an editorial director and producer for CBS Telenoticias, and a producer and writer at Noticias Univision.

Seung Min Kim, White House Correspondent, The Washington Post

Seung Min Kim is a White House reporter for The Washington Post, covering the Trump administration through the lens of Capitol Hill. Before joining The Washington Post in 2018, she spent more than eight years at Politico, primarily covering the Senate and immigration policy. Kim is also a political analyst for CNN.


10:30-11:30 a.m. ET

Cybersecurity 101 for Journalists

Journalists are vulnerable to online and in-person attacks by trolls and bad actors, but they can take steps to minimize the damage to their careers, reputation and personal lives. This session is a starter course to teach you how to protect your personal information, identify various types of trolls and defend yourself. We'll also talk about password and personal information security and newsroom support systems to help you devise plans to neutralize the harm.

Presenter:
– Kevin Smith, Executive Director, Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism, Ohio University

View presenter bio


Kevin Smith, Executive Director, Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism, Ohio University

Kevin Z. Smith is the executive director of the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism at Ohio University. As director he has been working the last eight years to fulfill Kiplinger's mission of training professional journalists worldwide on a variety of topics. Cybersecurity and fighting trolls has recently emerged as a growing concern among journalists. Smith used part of his pandemic downtime to enroll in an international, multi-week online certification program on cybersecurity and trolls. He's a former SPJ president and ethics chair.


10:30-11:30 a.m. ET

Talking to Strangers: How to Get the Eager, the Reluctant and Even the Haters to Give a Good Interview

Interviewing is the single most important way journalists get information. Yet sometimes the perfect interview feels more like luck than skill. But great interviews aren't the result of serendipity and intuition. They're the result of careful planning and good journalistic habits. This session will give you the tools you'll need to get people to talk to you, and to get worthwhile information from them.

Presenter:
– Dean Nelson, Director, Journalism Program, Point Loma Nazarene University

View presenter bio


Dean Nelson, Director, Journalism Program, Point Loma Nazarene University

Dean Nelson is the founder and director of the journalism program at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. He is also the founder and host of the annual Writer's Symposium By The Sea, where he interviews top writers from all genres. He has been a frequent contributor to the New York Times and Boston Globe, along with many national magazines and websites. His most recent book is Talk To Me: How To Ask Better Questions, Get Better Answers, and Interview Anyone Like a Pro, published by HarperCollins.


10:30-11:30 a.m. ET

Press for the First: Learn How to Advocate for a Free Press

Press for the First is based on an obvious principle: Journalists know journalism, not lobbying. But we’re fast learners. In this session, you’ll learn from the best how to advocate for a free press both in Washington and in your state capitol. This session will make you better informed the next time you report on lobbying, and even teach you how to do it yourself to ensure the future of the free press and the First Amendment.

Presenters:
– Haisten Willis, Freelance Journalist, SPJ FOI Committee Chair
– Lynn Walsh, former SPJ president, member of the FOI Committee, and Assistant Director, TrustNews.org
– Joe Cohn, Legislative and Policy Director, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

View presenter bios


Haisten Willis, Freelance Journalist, SPJ FOI Committee Chair

Haisten Willis is a freelance journalist who recently relocated from Atlanta to Washington, D.C. He's been an independent journalist since 2016 after beginning his career as a reporter and editor for news outlets in the Atlanta area. Haisten is a regular contributor to news outlets including The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and SPJ's in-house magazine, Quill. He writes on a wide range of topics, but is especially interested in business, politics, real estate and, of course, journalism.

Haisten serves as chair of SPJ's national Freedom of Information committee, which is the society's watchdog of press freedoms across the nation. He was also the 2018 president of the SPJ Georgia Pro Chapter.

Lynn Walsh, former SPJ president, member of the FOI Committee, and Assistant Director, TrustNews.org

Lynn Walsh is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has worked in investigative journalism at the national level and locally in California, Ohio, Texas and Florida. She is the current Ethics Chair for the Society of Professional Journalists and a past national president for the organization. Based in San Diego, Lynn is also an adjunct professor and freelance journalist..

Joe Cohn, Legislative and Policy Director, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

Joe Cohn is the legislative and policy director for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). He's a 2004 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Fels Institute of Government Administration, where he earned his Juris Doctor and master's in Government Administration. A former staff attorney for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and law clerk in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, his work has earned accolades from The Legal Intelligencer and Pennsylvania Law Weekly. Prior to joining FIRE, Joe served as the interim legal director for ACLU affiliates in Nevada and Utah.


4:15-5:20 p.m. ET

Data Journalism in a Day, a Week and a Semester, Part 1

In the first of two sessions, educators and students will share tips on how to tackle data stories in the time available, whether it is months or hours. This session features projects that took anywhere from a day to a couple of months. Presenters will discuss projects based on Facebook comments about a legislative election in Virginia, federal crime statistics at Missouri colleges and universities, hunger among school-age children in western North Carolina, and public records involving apartment complexes in a Texas college town.

Presenters:
– Kym Fox, Professor of Practice and Journalism Program Coordinator, Texas State University
– Carrington Tatum (@chiefcarrington), Reporter, MLK50-Memphis
– Katerina Spaskovska, associate professor at the Department of Communication, Western Carolina University
– Neil Ralston, Teacher and Publications Adviser, Lindenwood University
– Jeff South, Associate Professor Emeritus, Virginia Commonwealth University
– Daniel Carter (@danielWcarter), assistant professor, Texas State University
– Sara Stanley (@sarastanley22), senior, Western Carolina University
– Patrick Clemons (@1PatrickClemons), graduate, Western Carolina University.

View presenter bios


Kym Fox, Professor of Practice and Journalism Program Coordinator, Texas State University

Kym Fox is a professor of practice and the journalism program coordinator at Texas State University. She teaches a variety of courses, including data journalism. Before the switch to academia, Fox spent 23 years as a reporter and editor for newspapers in Arizona and Texas. She serves on the SPJ education committee and lives in the Texas Hill Country.

Carrington Tatum, Reporter, MLK50-Memphis

Carrington is a Report for America Corps member working as a general assignment reporter for MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, a non-profit newsroom in Memphis, Tennessee focused on poverty, power and policy. He graduated with a journalism degree from Texas State University during the pandemic and before he arrived in Memphis, he worked as an intern covering southern Dallas for the Dallas Morning News as well as state policy and politics for the Texas Tribune.

Katerina Spaskovska, associate professor at the Department of Communication, Western Carolina University

Katerina Spasovska is associate professor at the Department of Communication at Western Carolina University. She teaches reporting/writing classes. Prior her academic career she worked as a reporter and editor in North Macedonia and coordinator for the investigative network SCOOP. She serves on the SPJ education committee.

Neil Ralston, Teacher and Publications Adviser, Lindenwood University

Dr. Neil Ralston is a teacher and publications adviser at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. He spent more than 10 years as a reporter, photographer and editor at several publications before he began teaching journalism in 1989. Since then he has taught at colleges in Missouri, Louisiana and Kentucky. A member of SPJ for more than 30 years, Ralston served on the Society’s national board of directors from 2003 to 2013.

Jeff South, Associate Professor Emeritus, Virginia Commonwealth University

Jeff South is an associate professor emeritus at Virginia Commonwealth University. During his 23 years as a teacher, he directed VCU’s Capital News Service, and his students won more than 65 awards for data journalism, political reporting and other coverage. Before moving into academia, South was a newspaper reporter and editor for 20 years in Texas, Arizona and Virginia.

Sara Stanley, senior, Western Carolina University

Sara Stanley is a senior student at Western Carolina University. She is a communication major with a double concentration in journalism and broadcasting. Currently, she is the editor-in-chief of The Western Carolinian, WCU’s student-run newspaper. She also serves as the president of SPJ at WCU.

Patrick Clemons, graduate, Western Carolina University

Patrick Clemons is a graduate of Western Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Communication with a concentration in journalism. He was the Editor-in-Chief of The Western Carolinian, WCU’s student-run newspaper. He has also interned with The Gaston Gazette and The Sylva Herald.

Daniel Carter, assistant professor, Texas State University

Daniel Carter is an assistant professor of digital media. He has over 10 years of experience in web design and development and currently teaches courses focused on coding and data. Carter’s research focuses on how people adapt technologies in order to meet their distinct needs. He is especially interested in how we can build technologies and educate students in ways the support creative, personally meaningful use.


4:15-5:15 p.m. ET

Know Your Legal Rights as a Journalist

2020 was a year when we saw several journalists attacked and arrested while covering a story. Today, some reporters still face their day in court for just being on assignment and doing their job. Panelists will cover basic legal tips that journalists need to know when they are out in the field covering everything from a protest to a breaking news story. Do they need a lawyer on speed dial or is there something they can do to avoid being arrested? Get the answers from the experts.

Presenters:
– Israel Balderas (@jisraelbalderas), Assistant Professor of Journalism, Elon University
– Sterling Cosper (@CosperSterling), President, SPJ Oklahoma Pro
– David S. Bralow, Legal Director, Press Freedom Defense Fund
– Sarah Matthews, Senior Staff Attorney, Reporters Committee for Freedom

View presenter bios


Israel Balderas, Assistant Professor of Journalism, Elon University

Israel Balderas is an assistant professor of journalism at Elon University in the School of Communications. His teaching and research agenda focuses on freedom of speech and press. Prior to transitioning to academia, Balderas worked as a TV news anchor/reporter at stations in West Palm Beach, Florida, Charlotte, North Carolina and El Paso, Texas. He also worked in Washington, D.C. as a producer at Fox News, Reuters and the Associated Press TV, covering Latin America.

A graduate of Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America, Balderas is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Freedom of Information Committee. Recently, he did pro bono work representing migrant children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexican border, as well as helping nonprofits apply for financial aid through the Paycheck Protection Program funded by the U.S Small Business Administration under the CARES Act. He’s worked at the Federal Communications Commission as a media advisor and clerked as a student intern for The Honorable Senior Judge Royce C. Lamberth. Balderas is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Freedom of Information Committee.

Prior to his academic appointment at Elon, Balderas served as an assistant professor of journalism at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Based on his work as a college media advisor to PBA's student publication The Beacon Today, Balderas was selected by the Solutions Journalism Network as a 2019-2020 LEDE Fellow. His entrepreneurial journalism project involved student journalists engaging the South Florida community with stories that informed, disseminated solutions stories and elevated untold stories and unheard voices.

David S. Bralow, Legal Director, Press Freedom Defense Fund

As Legal Director of the Press Freedom Defense Fund, David S. Bralow brings a wealth of experience in media law including First Amendment expertise, national security issues, FOIA prosecutions and appeals, defamation, and privacy. Prior to joining First Look Media, Bralow was of counsel in the Media, Communication and Entertainment Practice Group of Pepper Hamilton LLP.

He also served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Digital First Media, a multi-platform media company with the second largest newspaper circulation in the United States; and as Assistant General Counsel for 13 years at the Tribune Company, where he provided legal advice to their newspapers, websites and television stations.

Sarah Matthews, Senior Staff Attorney, Reporters Committee for Freedom

Sarah Matthews is a senior staff attorney with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, where she litigates cases, drafts amicus briefs, leads our pre-publication/pre-broadcast review practice, and oversees the publication of and updates to the Reporters Committee's legal guides. She also supervises the Reporters Committee's hotline for journalists and serves on the advisory boards of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker and the Red Press Initiative.

In addition, Sarah provides intake support to First Look Media's Press Freedom Defense Fund. She served as senior advisor for Freedom House’s Freedom in the World 2021 U.S. report and has taught communications law to college students at American University.

Sterling Cosper, President, SPJ Oklahoma Pro

Muscogee (Creek) citizen Sterling Cosper is Membership Manager for the Native American Journalists Association. He was formerly a board member and has been with the Society of Professional Journalists, Oklahoma Chapter since June 2017. He was manager of Mvskoke Media at Muscogee (Creek) Nation and resigned in November 2018 due to the tribal government's repeal of the original MCN free press law


4:15-5:15 p.m. ET

Engaging Communities is More Important Than Ever, Here’s How You Can

From community listening to engagement projects, we’ll discuss practical ways to build engagement into the classroom so your student’s reporting better reflects communities. We will share best practices and resources as well as lessons learned.

Presenters:
– Amara Aguilar, digital journalism associate professor, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California
– Sarah Bennett, Professor, Santa Ana College

View presenter bios


Amara Aguilar, digital journalism associate professor, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California

Amara Aguilar is a digital journalism associate professor at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She teaches journalism for mobile/emerging platforms, social media, visual journalism, and interactive design, among other courses. She is currently leading a collaborative community engagement project with USC and the hyperlocal news organization, L.A. TACO focused on community zines and social media engagement.

Sarah Bennett, Professor, Santa Ana College

Sarah Bennett is a professor at Santa Ana College and has been a professional journalist, editor and designer for over a decade covering news, music, food, art and hidden cultural communities both in print and web for a variety of hyperlocal, regional and national publications. She began her career at Santa Ana College, writing and editing for the award-winning el Don student newspaper and started freelancing for her local alternative weekly while still a student. After transferring from Santa Ana College, she attended the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication where she earned a BA in Communications and a master’s degree in Specialized Journalism with an emphasis on arts and music criticism, all while editing local magazines and maintaining bylines in the L.A. Weekly, OC Weekly, L.A. Record and more.

After graduation, she became the executive editor of the Long Beach Post, where she implemented new digital strategies that turned the former political blog into one of the city's most respected online news outlets. Sarah is also the former food editor of the L.A. Weekly.


4:15-5:15 p.m. ET

60 Minutes with 60 Minutes Correspondent Bill Whitaker

Bill Whitaker's rich career began in local news in San Francisco, Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina. He then became the CBS News Tokyo correspondent before moving to Los Angeles and becoming a CBC News Correspondent there. He’s seen a lot over his career and has a lot of big and favorite stories to share with SPJ members. During his time at CBS, Whitaker has covered many large events and disasters. Some include the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the 2010 Haiti earthquake and war in Kabul, Afghanistan. He also has covered many race-related issues such as policing in cities such as Chicago, Cleveland and Tulsa, Oklahoma. In Tulsa, Whitaker had a notable first interview with Betty Jo Shelby, the former police officer accused of shooting and killing Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man. In March 2014, Whitaker was made a correspondent for the CBS news program 60 Minutes, for which he began reporting in the fall season.

Presenters:
– Rebecca Aguilar (@RebeccaAguilar), Freelance Reporter, SPJ President-Elect
– Bill Whitaker (@billwhitakercbs), Correspondent, 60 Minutes, CBS News

View presenter bios


Bill Whitaker, Correspondent, 60 Minutes, CBS News

Bill Whitaker has covered major news stories domestically and across the globe for CBS News over four decades. He is the 2018 winner of the RTDNA's highest honor, the Paul White Award for career achievement. He was named a 60 Minutes correspondent in March 2014; the 2020-21 season is his seventh on the broadcast.

His recent investigation into "ghost guns" highlighted the legal purchases of gun parts that criminals are using to make deadly weapons and avoid licenses and background checks. He reported on the race for a vaccine and drugs to combat the coronavirus and the use of artificial intelligence to track the contagion. In 2019, Whitaker got the first television interview with sex assault victim Chanel Miller and earlier that year was the first to report on the evidence states were using to sue the makers of generic drugs in what state's attorneys general described as a massive collusion and price-fixing scheme that cost consumers billions.

Whitaker's investigation with the Washington Post rinto the origins of the opioid crisis has won more awards than any other 60 Minutes work. The first report in the two-part series revealed how the DEA's efforts to curb the epidemic were hampered by a law pushed by drug industry lobbyists. The report was credited with forcing the law's chief sponsor, a congressman, to withdraw his nomination for the Trump Administration's drug czar. The next installment told how the biggest opioid case in U.S. history against one of the world's largest drug distribution companies was settled by the government in a deal that shocked DEA agents. Among the eight awards the reporting won are the DuPont-Columbia University award, the Peabody, an Emmy, and an RTDNA Murrow award.

Whitaker's 60 Minutes reporting has taken him to Asia, Africa, Europe, Mexico and the Middle East in his four seasons, including a timely investigation of the vetting process Syrian refugees undergo before coming to the U.S. and an interview with the highest-ranking North Korean official to defect in decades. His investigation of the H-1B visa program's loopholeWhitaker frequently reported from overseas as well, covering the funeral of Nelson Mandela from South Africa. He also did pieces from Japan on the Fukushima nuclear disaster and from Haiti after the tragic earthquake there. He reported from Kabul during the early stages of the War in Afghanistan.

Domestically, his stories have provided keen insights into the hot-button issue of race and policing in America with his reports from Cleveland, Chicago and most recently, Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he got the news-making first interview with the city police officer accused of manslaughter for shooting an unarmed black man. His stories have also drawn attention to death penalty issues in the U.S. and America's heroin epidemic. Whitaker has chronicled the epic battle to capture and hold Mexico's infamous drug lord Joaquin "el Chapo" Guzman, gaining rare access to investigations on both sides of the border.

Before joining 60 Minutes, Whitaker covered virtually all of the major news stories in the West since he was posted to Los Angeles in 1992, reporting regularly for the CBS Evening News and other CBS News broadcasts. He also has worked for Sunday Morning, turning out feature stories and thoughtful profiles, including on Barbra Streisand, Norman Lear and Gladys Knight. One of his most memorable Sunday Morning profiles was of ex-boxer Mike Tyson. He has interviewed First Lady Michelle Obama and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Whitaker frequently reported from overseas as well, covering the funeral of Nelson Mandela from South Africa. He also did pieces from Japan on the Fukushima nuclear disaster and from Haiti after the tragic earthquake there. He reported from Kabul during the early stages of the war in Afghanistan.

In 2008, he covered Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. He was CBS News' lead reporter on the 2000 presidential campaign of George W. Bush.

Prior to his assignment to Los Angeles, Whitaker served as CBS News' Tokyo correspondent (1989-92). There, he covered stories throughout Asia, including the pro-democracy uprising in Tiananmen Square, military coup attempts in the Philippines and the enthronement of Japan's Emperor Akihito. He was in Baghdad for the build-up to Desert Storm.

Before that, Whitaker was based in Atlanta (1985-88), where he won an Emmy for his reports on the collapse of Jim and Tammy Bakker's television ministry and covered the 1988 presidential campaign of Michael Dukakis. Whitaker joined CBS News as a reporter in November 1984.

Previously, Whitaker was a correspondent for WBTV-TV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, N.C. He began his broadcast journalism career at KQED-TV in San Francisco, where he was a producer, associate producer and researcher/writer.

Whitaker was born in Philadelphia on August, 26, 1951; he was graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a B.A. degree in American history and from Boston University with a master's degree in African-American studies. Whitaker also holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 1997. allowing companies to replace Americans with foreign workers won a Sigma Delta Chi award; another report on the biggest data leak in Swiss banking history won an Emmy.

Rebecca Aguilar, Freelance Reporter, SPJ President-Elect

Rebecca Aguilar is a freelance reporter based in Dallas, Texas. She worked almost three decades in television news. She has been recognized with 50 awards and nominations for her journalism work. Rebecca is the first Latina and woman of color to become SPJ's President-elect in the organization's 112-year history. She is also the founder of Latinas in Journalism, a virtual networking group for Latina journalists on Facebook and Linkedin.


4:15-5:15 p.m. ET

Networked Conspiracy: Adversarial Media After Trump

Journalists have serious competition for the minds of Americans from groups and individuals intentionally trying to misinform them through disinformation campaigns and conspiracy theories, and journalists are losing. Dr. Joan Donovan, a leading expert in online extremism and disinformation, leads a discussion on the threat and what can be done to combat it.

Presenters:
– Rod Hicks, Director of Ethics and Diversity, Society of Professional Journalists
– Dr. Joan Donovan, Research Director, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Director of the Technology and Social Change Project (TaSC), Lecturer, Harvard Kennedy School

View presenter bios


Dr. Joan Donovan, Research Director, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Director of the Technology and Social Change Project (TaSC), Lecturer, Harvard Kennedy School

Dr. Donovan is a leading public scholar and disinformation researcher, specializing in media manipulation, political movements, critical internet studies, and online extremism. She is the Research Director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy and the Director of the Technology and Social Change project (TaSC). Through TaSC, Dr. Donovan explores how media manipulation is a means to control public conversation, derail democracy, and disrupt society. TaSC conducts research, develops methods, and facilitates workshops for journalists, policymakers, technologists, and civil society organizations on how to detect, document, and debunk media manipulation campaigns.

Dr. Donovan is co-founder of Harvard Kennedy School’s Misinformation Review. Her research can be found in academic peer-reviewed journals such as Social Media + Society, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Information, Communication & Society, and Social Studies of Science. She is a columnist at MIT Technology Review, a regular contributor to the New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, and PBS, and is quoted often on radio and in print.

Dr. Donovan has laid out the philosophical frameworks for how to research, report on, and understand this moment in internet history and American politics. Her conceptualizations of strategic silence, meme wars, and media manipulation campaigns provide crucial frameworks for understanding how the US got to this point. She coined many of the terms that the disinformation research field and mainstream media use to understand technology's impact on society.

Dr. Donovan is the co-creator of the beaver emoji.

Rod Hicks, Director of Ethics and Diversity, Society of Professional Journalists

Rod Hicks, director of ethics and diversity at the Society of Professional Journalists, has experience at numerous news organizations across the country. Most recently, he was an editor for The Associated Press at its Philadelphia-based East Regional Desk. In this role, he worked on several major stories, including the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut and the Boston Marathon bombing. Hicks previously held editing positions at newspapers in New Jersey, Alabama, Michigan and Missouri.


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

Everyone’s Right to Know: Public Records for Justice

This session will lay out public records to help you examine racial justice in your community, and how to acquire them. From police abuse, to red lining, to census, to Title IX, this session will provide you a list of records to request when you get home to expose inequities and make the world a little better.

Presenters:
– David Cuillier, President, National Freedom of Information Coalition and Associate Professor, University of Arizona School of Journalism
– Erika Benton, External Partnership Coordinator, National Freedom of Information Coalition

View presenter bios


David Cuillier, President, National Freedom of Information Coalition and Associate Professor, University of Arizona School of Journalism

David Cuillier is president of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, former president of SPJ, and an associate professor at the University of Arizona School of Journalism. He was a reporter and editor in the Pacific Northwest and is co-author, with Charles N. Davis, of “The Art of Access: Strategies for Acquiring Public Records.”

Erika Benton, External Partnership Coordinator, National Freedom of Information Coalition

Erika Benton is the external partnership coordinator for the National Freedom of Information Coalition. Erika focuses on media and communication and its role to help public interest and democracy. She has extensive knowledge of social media campaigns, marketing strategies, and public policy research. An adjunct professor at Tallahassee Community College, Erika is also the marketing manager for the Florida First Amendment Foundation.


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

Data Journalism in a Day, a Week and a Semester, Part 2: You Can Do This

In the second of two sessions, attendees are invited to take a deep dive into three data journalism projects that were produced in college classrooms but can easily be replicated in newsrooms. Project teams will share how they produced each project, including data sources, tools and tutorials. They will answer questions and provide tips to help participants get started on their own projects.

Presenters:
– Kym Fox, Professor of Practice and Journalism Program Coordinator, Texas State University
– Carrington Tatum (@chiefcarrington), Reporter, MLK50-Memphis
– Katerina Spaskovska, associate professor at the Department of Communication, Western Carolina University
– Neil Ralston, Teacher and Publications Adviser, Lindenwood University
– Jeff South, Associate Professor Emeritus, Virginia Commonwealth University
– Daniel Carter (@danielWcarter), assistant professor, Texas State University
– Sara Stanley (@sarastanley22), senior, Western Carolina University
– Patrick Clemons (@1PatrickClemons), graduate, Western Carolina University.

View presenter bios


Kym Fox, Professor of Practice and Journalism Program Coordinator, Texas State University

Kym Fox is a professor of practice and the journalism program coordinator at Texas State University. She teaches a variety of courses, including data journalism. Before the switch to academia, Fox spent 23 years as a reporter and editor for newspapers in Arizona and Texas. She serves on the SPJ education committee and lives in the Texas Hill Country.

Carrington Tatum, Reporter, MLK50-Memphis

Carrington is a Report for America Corps member working as a general assignment reporter for MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, a non-profit newsroom in Memphis, Tennessee focused on poverty, power and policy. He graduated with a journalism degree from Texas State University during the pandemic and before he arrived in Memphis, he worked as an intern covering southern Dallas for the Dallas Morning News as well as state policy and politics for the Texas Tribune.

Katerina Spaskovska, associate professor at the Department of Communication, Western Carolina University

Katerina Spasovska is associate professor at the Department of Communication at Western Carolina University. She teaches reporting/writing classes. Prior her academic career she worked as a reporter and editor in North Macedonia and coordinator for the investigative network SCOOP. She serves on the SPJ education committee.

Neil Ralston, Teacher and Publications Adviser, Lindenwood University

Dr. Neil Ralston is a teacher and publications adviser at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. He spent more than 10 years as a reporter, photographer and editor at several publications before he began teaching journalism in 1989. Since then he has taught at colleges in Missouri, Louisiana and Kentucky. A member of SPJ for more than 30 years, Ralston served on the Society’s national board of directors from 2003 to 2013.

Jeff South, Associate Professor Emeritus, Virginia Commonwealth University

Jeff South is an associate professor emeritus at Virginia Commonwealth University. During his 23 years as a teacher, he directed VCU’s Capital News Service, and his students won more than 65 awards for data journalism, political reporting and other coverage. Before moving into academia, South was a newspaper reporter and editor for 20 years in Texas, Arizona and Virginia.

Sara Stanley, senior, Western Carolina University

Sara Stanley is a senior student at Western Carolina University. She is a communication major with a double concentration in journalism and broadcasting. Currently, she is the editor-in-chief of The Western Carolinian, WCU’s student-run newspaper. She also serves as the president of SPJ at WCU.

Patrick Clemons, graduate, Western Carolina University

Patrick Clemons is a graduate of Western Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Communication with a concentration in journalism. He was the Editor-in-Chief of The Western Carolinian, WCU’s student-run newspaper. He has also interned with The Gaston Gazette and The Sylva Herald.

Daniel Carter, assistant professor, Texas State University

Daniel Carter is an assistant professor of digital media. He has over 10 years of experience in web design and development and currently teaches courses focused on coding and data. Carter’s research focuses on how people adapt technologies in order to meet their distinct needs. He is especially interested in how we can build technologies and educate students in ways the support creative, personally meaningful use.


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

Editorial Cartooning in an Age of Cancel Culture and Death Threats

Three Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonists and a Pulitzer Prize finalist discuss generating ideas, feedback and, yes, death threats in a divisive age when controversy is always at the door. Expect an offbeat, in-depth look at how they report the news in an industry where a picture is worth 1,000 words but a funny cartoon is worth at least 1,001. They'll discuss deadlines, news diets, reader interaction, ethical obligations, community feedback and comedy in an entertaining, illuminating conversation that will help everyone in the business, even those who can't draw, be better journalists.

Presenters:
– Matthew T. Hall (@SDuncovered), SPJ national president, editorial and opinion director, The San Diego Union-Tribune
– Darrin Bell (@DarrinBellArt), Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, King Features Syndicate
– Steve Breen (@sdutBreen), Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, The San Diego Union-Tribune
– Ann Telnaes (@AnnTelnaes), Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, The Washington Post
– Marty Two Bulls Sr. (@M2Bulls), Pulitzer Prize finalist and freelance cartoonist

View presenter bios


Matthew T. Hall, SPJ national president, editorial and opinion director, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Matthew T. Hall is the national president of the Society of Professional Journalists and an award-winning editorial and opinion director at The San Diego Union-Tribune, where he has worked since 2001. He writes and edits editorials, and also oversees editorial cartoons, commentaries, letters to the editor and two podcasts. Before that, he was a reporter, a metro columnist and a social media manager.

Darrin Bell, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, King Features Syndicate

Darrin Bell is a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist for King Features Syndicate, creator of the syndicated comic strip "Candorville," and an occasional contributing cartoonist to the New Yorker. He's also the author of two upcoming graphical memoirs for Holt Publishing: "The Talk," and "Come Back Around to You." He lives with his wife and three children in California.

Steve Breen, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Steve Breen was born in Los Angeles in 1970 and graduated from the University of California at Riverside with a degree in political science. Steve got his start in newspapers at the Asbury Park Press in 1994. He has been with The San Diego Union-Tribune since 2001. Steve is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning (1998, 2009). Steve lives in San Diego with his wife and kids and enjoys reading, running, playing the guitar and watching old movies.

Ann Telnaes, Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, The Washington Post

Ann Telnaes creates editorial cartoons in various mediums- animation, visual essays, live sketches, and traditional print- for the Washington Post. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for her print cartoons and the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year in 2017.

Marty Two Bulls Sr., Pulitzer Prize finalist and freelance cartoonist

Marty Two Bulls Sr., an Oglala Lakota, is a multi-disciplined artist with a 39-year career in painting, sculpture, television, commercial printing and newspapers. His life’s work has focused on Native American people who have been historically persecuted by the dominant culture, reducing them to a minority in their own country. Reaching a growing readership of non-Natives through new technologies and political cartooning is another way to express a Lakota man’s worldview.


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

30 Tools to Boost Your Freelance Productivity

Newsrooms keep their journalists connected to reliable tools for efficiency. Freelancers rely on each other to stay current with the best techniques and newest technology. This session will present 30 tools to help freelancers increase productivity and success — from document verification and finding sources to writing efficiently, tracking your time for invoicing and more. Learn how to stay up to date in your specialty fields, maximize the value of your work time and increase income streams. Tech-savvy freelancers will introduce 30 tools in 30 minutes, followed by questions, suggestions and discussion.

Presenters:
– Hazel Becker, Mostly Retired Journalist
– Samantha Sunne, Freelance Journalist, Publisher of Tools for Reporters
– Donnell Suggs (@suggswriter), Freelance Contributor and Commercial Real Estate Reporter, Atlanta Business Chronicle

View presenter bios


Hazel Becker, Mostly Retired Journalist

Hazel Becker is a mostly retired journalist with freelancing stints book-ending her career. A techie at heart, she has been a self-trained super-user in a full gamut of technology and publishing tools throughout her career, and has trained staff and freelance journalists using tools since 1986. She has been actively involved in creating SPJ’s databases of freelance opportunities and media outlets’ pitching guidelines for three years.

Samantha Sunne, Freelance Journalist, Publisher of Tools for Reporters

Samantha Sunne is a New Orleans-based freelance journalist and the publisher of Tools for Reporters, a biweekly newsletter for busy journalists. She teaches at conferences, universities and newsrooms around the world, and her work has been published by the Washington Post, NPR and Reuters, as well as recommended by the Poynter Institute and the Harvard Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

Donnell Suggs, Freelance Contributor and Commercial Real Estate Reporter, Atlanta Business Chronicle

Donnell Suggs is a commercial real estate reporter for The Atlanta Business Chronicle and a frequent freelance contributor to The Current (Ga.), Savannah Morning News, Atlanta Voice and Do Savannah. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Donnell began a sports writing career in Atlanta in 2007 and has since written for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Magazine, ESPN’s The Undefeated, Houston Home Journal, Eatonton Messenger, Lake Oconee News, Newnan Times-Herald, and Atlanta Daily World.


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

Why Don't We Know: Launching a Campus-Based Investigative Podcast

Our session will discuss both the process and the substance of the "Why Don't We Know" investigative podcast, which takes a deep dive into America's most persistent government secrecy problems — what we call "data deserts." The project is the collaborative work of a rotating cast of dozens of college journalism students headed by a veteran CNN investigative reporter, Sara Ganim. In this session, we'll explore how the project came together and "lessons learned" from working with a team of student reporters in the campus setting, and share story ideas for how other journalists can localize and build on the findings from the podcast's inaugural season, which focuses on secrecy in K-12 and higher education.

Presenters:
– Frank LoMonte, Director, University of Florida Brechner Center, University of Florida
– Sara Ganim, Director and Host, Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, University of Florida
– Gabriella Paul, Data Reporter, Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, University of Florida

View presenter bios


Frank LoMonte, Director, University of Florida Brechner Center, University of Florida

Frank LoMonte is a media lawyer and professor at the University of Florida, where he teaches media law and runs the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, a think-tank dedicated to producing practical research about the law of access to civically essential information. At the Brechner Center, he serves as publisher of The Journal of Civic Information, a quarterly journal of practical scholarship, and as executive producer of "Why Don't We Know," a podcast focusing on secrecy in government. He previously worked for nine years as executive director of the Student Press Law Center in Washington, D.C.

Sara Ganim, Director and Host, Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, University of Florida

Sara Ganim is a Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist, with 15 years of experience in print and television. In June 2019, she was named the University of Florida’s first Hearst Journalism Fellow at the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information. She started her career as a newspaper reporter and won a Pulitzer Prize at age 24 for breaking and covering the investigation into former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of young boys. Ganim spent seven years at CNN, where in 2015, she won a Sigma Delta Chi award from the SPJ for her reporting on the low reading levels of some college athletes. In 2020, she made her first independent film, No Defense, about hazardous contamination linked to military firefighting chemicals.

Gabriella Paul, Data Reporter, Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, University of Florida

Gabriella Paul graduated in May of 2020 from the University of Florida with a degree in journalism and history. A data journalism specialist, she has spent the past year as an investigative reporting fellow with the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information. As of September 2021, she is joining the faculty of the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida as an adjunct lecturer of digital production and the Supervisor Editor of Digital Content for the Innovation News Center at WUFT News.


Saturday, September 4

10-11 a.m. ET

Investigative Reporting: Finding the Story, Sources, Documents and Getting Results

Three veteran investigative reporters will give away their tips on how to get to the goods that lead to a great investigation. Whether reporters are given a few days or months, these three presenters know how to get through the maze of tips, documents and reluctant sources to put together a powerful investigative story that gets results.

Presenters:
– Brian Collister (@BrianCollister), Founder, The Investigative Network
– Lisa Guerrero (@4lisaguerrero), Chief Investigative Correspondent, Inside Edition
– Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens), Editor-at-Large, Philadelphia Magazine
– Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi (@clahchischiligi), Staff Writer, Searchlight New Mexico

View presenter bios


Lisa Guerrero, Chief Investigative Correspondent, Inside Edition

Lisa Guerrero is the Chief Investigative Correspondent for Inside Edition, America’s top-rated syndicated newsmagazine show. Lisa reports have helped solved dozens of crimes and put criminals behind bars, they’ve changed legislation and company policies across the country and helped to shine a light on human sex trafficking, child abuse and cold case murders. She has also revealed to the public hundreds of scams, artists, dirty politicians, cheaters and crooks. Lisa has been recognized with multiple awards including most recently three Clarion Awards by the Association for Women in Communications.

Ernest Owens, Editor-at-Large, Philadelphia Magazine

Ernest Owens is an award-winning journalist and CEO of Ernest Media Empire, LLC. He is the Editor at Large for Philadelphia Magazine and President of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists. He is also the host of the hit podcast "Ernestly Speaking!" As an openly Black gay journalist, he has made headlines for speaking frankly about intersectional issues in society regarding race, LGBTQ, and pop culture. He's also a two-time Sigma Delta Chi Award winner.

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi, Staff Writer, Searchlight New Mexico

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi is a staff writer at Searchlight New Mexico, a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization dedicated to investigative and public service journalism in New Mexico.

Sunnie is an award-winning Diné journalist from Teec Nos Pos, Ariz. She was the sportswriter for the Navajo Times for over 10 years. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, the Salt Lake Tribune, and other publications. She has a master's degree from Northern Arizona University in rhetoric, writing, and digital media studies. She is also a Ph.D. student in rhetoric and writing at the University of New Mexico and a core writing instructor. She is a fifth-generation Navajo rug weaver.

Brian Collister, Founder, The Investigative Network

Brian Collister is an award-winning investigative reporter and creator of the Investigative Network. Brian worked as the senior reporter in the investigative team for KXAN, the NBC affiliate television station in Austin, Texas. He specialized in uncovering fraud, corruption and government waste.


10-11 a.m. ET

How to Break into National Media as a Freelancer

You’ve written for local news, regional publications, trade magazines and more. You’re ready for a bigger stage, but how do you break into national media as a freelancer? Step one: check your insecurity at the door. In this session, you’ll learn how to develop story ideas that appeal to a national audience, how to find the editors to whom you should be pitching, and how to become the kind of freelancer that national editors want to hire again and again.

Presenter:
– Stacie Overton-Johnson, Freelance Journalist and SPJ Freelance Community Vice Chair
– Haisten Willis, Freelance Journalist
– Patricia Guadalupe (@PatriciagDC), Multimedia Journalist

View presenter bios


Stacie Overton-Johnson, Freelance Journalist and SPJ Freelance Community Vice Chair

Stacie Overton Johnson is an award-winning broadcast and print journalist and the vice chair of SPJ’s Freelance Community. She has been a freelance producer/writer for HGTV, E! Entertainment, Ivanhoe Broadcast News, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Goodtaste, and several corporate clients. She was also the food editor at The National, an English-language daily in Abu Dhabi/Dubai from 2013 to 2017. She now lives in upstate New York, producing and writing for the TV show Goodtaste.

Patricia Guadalupe, Multimedia Journalist

Raised in Puerto Rico, Patricia Guadalupe is an award-winning bilingual multimedia journalist based in Washington, D.C., covering the capital for English and Spanish-language media outlets, including NBC Latino and Latino Magazine. She was previously with CBS Newsradio affiliate WTOP News in DC and was the Washington correspondent for WKAQ Radio in Puerto Rico. Patricia was NPR's Latino USA's first-ever Washington correspondent. She has written and reported for publications in the United States and Mexico.

Haisten Willis, Freelance Journalist

Haisten Willis has been a full-time freelancer by choice since 2016, with bylines in The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report and SPJ's own Quill magazine. Haisten chairs the SPJ Freedom of Information Committee and is a past president of SPJ Georgia.


10-11 a.m. ET

Solutions Journalism: How Research Can Improve Journalism

In this first of two sessions on the value and impact of solutions journalism, get topline takeaways from the first of its kind national study contrasting the typical "problem" style of reporting that the majority of journalists practice against the same story told in a "solutions" style. As news avoidance and distrust grow, solutions journalism has rapidly grown from an “extra” to a must-have for newsrooms building or repairing relationships with their communities. This session will lay out research that explores the critical factors that solutions journalism creates that significantly improve the perception and impact of the stories being told. It will show how solutions journalism can help reduce the frustration that many news consumers have with news stories today and explore how this approach could be particularly appealing to younger news consumers. And it will demonstrate how innovation in journalism can have a greater chance of success if we apply thoughtful research practices to examine if we are on the right path and truly connecting with the public.

Presenters:
– Andrew Finlayson, Executive Vice President of Digital and Social Media Strategies, SmithGeiger
– Carolyn Robinson, Director of Broadcast Partnerships, Solutions Journalism Network
– Michael Davis, Multiplatform Journalist, Executive Producer, Educator and Author

View presenter bios


Andrew Finlayson, Executive Vice President of Digital and Social Media Strategies, SmithGeiger

Andrew Finlayson is the Executive Vice President of Digital and Social Media Strategies at SmithGeiger where he works with leading media companies on strategies for broadcast, digital, streaming, and content monetization. He joined SmithGeiger after being a John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University. He is the recipient of numerous local Emmy and Edward R Murrow regional awards, has reported from Asia, Latin America, Europe, Russia and across the US, and before Covid-19, regularly spoke at industry conferences regarding audience trends. He is also the author of the business book, “Questions That Work” (Harper Collins) that has been translated into five languages.

Carolyn Robinson, Director of Broadcast Partnerships, Solutions Journalism Network

Carolyn Robinson is the director of broadcast partnerships at Solutions Journalism Network. She began her TV news career at CNN, producing half a dozen live shows a day for the original Headline News round-the-clock format, and then with CNN’s medical news unit where she produced daily news, series, specials and the weekend show for five years, before relocating overseas to work with global TV networks and local stations in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa. She has received multiple journalism fellowships and awards, and has trained hundreds of TV journalists in almost two dozen countries around the world.

Michael Davis, Multiplatform Journalist, Executive Producer, Educator and Author

Multiplatform journalist, executive producer, educator and author Michael Davis has assumed an array of top editorial leadership and creative roles at digital news sites, magazines, newspapers and broadcasting outlets in New York, Chicago and Baltimore.

He write the 2009 New York Times Best Seller “Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street and was co-executive producer of the feature-length documentary adapted from his book.

Since 2018 he has trained newsrooms in 11 southern states as a region manager for Solutions Journalism Network. Prior to that he was content strategist, executive editor and Sunday Op-Ed columnist at Oregon’s capital city news organization, Statesman Journal Media.

During the 1986-87 academic year, Davis was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, one of 12 American journalists chosen for the open-ended sabbatical year of reflection and study.


10-11 a.m. ET

Censorship by PIO: Tactics, Ethics, Legalities

Censorship by public information officer (PIO) has reached a crisis point in American journalism. A recent, egregious example was the inability of journalists to speak directly with CDC experts during the pandemic. Many lives were undoubtedly lost as a result. Blocking journalists from communicating with employees without permission and/or a minder is not new, but has happened gradually over 25 to 30 years. A legal analysis has determined this practice is unconstitutional when used by public agencies. We will look at history and ethical quagmires for journalists, then suggest ways to gain access and provide a roadmap to legal action.

Presenters:
– Kathryn Foxhall, Freelance Reporter
– Frank LoMonte, Director, University of Florida Brechner Center, University of Florida

View presenter bios


Kathryn Foxhall, Freelance Reporter

Kathryn Foxhall inadvertently became a reporter on a newspaper in her hometown of Selma, Alabama.

She reported in Washington for 40 years, including heading the American Public Health Association’s newspaper.

After years of dynamic education from sources in Congress and agencies, she became alarmed when staff gradually was prohibited from talking to journalists without oversight of public information offices—heavy censorship from people in power. These restrictions have become entrenched in U.S. culture.

Frank LoMonte, Director, University of Florida Brechner Center, University of Florida

Frank LoMonte is a professor at the University of Florida, where he teaches media law and runs the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, a thinktank focused on the public’s right of access to civically valuable documents and data. He formerly practiced law with Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, clerked on the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, and was the executive director of the nonprofit Student Press Law Center in Washington, D.C.


10-11 a.m. ET

Non-Profit News: The Model for the Future

With the consolidation of news outlets, an emphasis on breaking news and a shrinking focus on local stories, there remains a gaping hole of information that needs to be filled. Who will cover topics that remain essential to the public? Non-profit news organizations are the answer. In this session you will learn what it takes to launch your own non-profit. You will discover whether this is a self-sustaining model for the future. Is there money to be made with non-profits and perhaps most importantly, are they hiring?

Presenters:
– Sergy Odiduro, Freelance Reporter; SPJ Louisiana Pro Chapter President
– Jiquanda Johnson, Publisher/Founder, FlintBeat
– Christiaan Mader, Founder/Executive Editor, The Current
– Jerry Mitchell, Founder, Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting
– Charles Maldonado, Editor, The Lens

View presenter bios


Sergy Odiduro, Freelance Reporter; SPJ Louisiana Pro Chapter President

Sergy Odiduro is a freelance journalist and producer. She is the president and founder of SPJ’s first Louisiana statewide chapter. The Brooklyn, New York native, and former resident of New Orleans, now lives in North Louisiana. Most recently, she was a production assistant for Haiti Journal, a Miami-based public affairs program on WPBT Channel 2. Prior to this, she was a community news reporter for Forum Publishing Group, a subsidiary of the Sun Sentinel. She was also a broadcast journalist at Radio Soleil D’Haiti In New York. Sergy has been an active member of SPJ for over a decade, serving in several South Florida-based board positions. She also served with the South Florida Black Journalists Association in various board capacities.

Jiquanda Johnson, Publisher/Founder, FlintBeat

Jiquanda Johnson is an Emmy-winning producer and founder and publisher of Flint Beat, a hyperlocal media outlet covering Flint, Mich. She is a Flint-area native with more than 20 years of experience in journalism including print, television and digital media. She has worked for The Detroit News, NBC25, Fox and MLive Media Group/The Flint Journal, where she covered the city of Flint. As a reporter covering Flint for MLive, Jiquanda discovered that the community needed a news publication focused only on Flint. Flint Beat was launched on March 13, 2017, to fill that need.

She recently partnered with Facebook to launch a project focused on Black culture in America where she will be traveling the country developing multimedia series “Black Like Us” that aims to show the diversity of Black culture that defies stereotypes.

Her efforts in Flint, also include launching a youth journalism program, News Movement, teaching Flint-area youth various newsroom skills, including writing, graphic design, photography, and videography.

Johnson serves as publisher of Flint Beat. In addition, her work has appeared in the Guardian, FRONTLINE, Belt Magazine, National Geographic, and Spotlight on Poverty. She sits on several boards and has served on panels for many events and organizations including The Aspen Institute, LION Publishers, Solutions Journalism Network, the National Association of Black Journalists, Online News Association, ONA Local, the John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford’s journalism series, the Chautauqua Institute, and the Society of Environmental Journalists.

Christiaan Mader, Founder/Executive Editor of The Current

Christiaan is the founder and executive editor of The Current. An award-winning investigative and culture journalist, Christiaan’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Vice, Offbeat, Gambit, the USA Today Network and The Advocate. He is a Lafayette native, a recovering musician and serves on the programming committee for Leadership Lafayette. He is also a member of The Current’s board of directors.

Jerry Mitchell, Founder, Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting

The stories of investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped lead to convictions of Klansmen guilty some of the nation’s most notorious crimes — the 1963 assassination of Mississippi NAACP Medgar Evers, the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church that killed four girls and the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers. For more than thirty years, his stories have exposed injustices, corruption, and abuse of power.

Charles Maldonado, Editor, The Lens

Charles Maldonado is the editor of The Lens. He previously worked as The Lens' government accountability reporter, covering local politics and criminal justice. Prior to joining The Lens, he worked for Gambit, New Orleans’ alternative newsweekly, where he covered city hall, criminal justice and public health. Before moving to New Orleans, he covered state and local government for weekly papers in Nashville and Knoxville, Tenn. In Knoxville, Tenn., Maldonado received numerous awards for his reporting of a billion-gallon coal ash spill at a Tennessee Valley Authority power plant.


10-11 a.m. ET

Journalism In Film: Reality Versus Drama

Documentary filmmaking is journalism and storytelling that reveals more about the human condition. In the last year, press freedom and journalism were central themes explored by filmmakers. Join a panel of directors whose documentaries expose the current state of press freedom and listen to them discuss their process and findings. They will explore the global fight for free and independent journalism as seen through the lens of filmmakers.

Presenters:
– Beth Mendelson, Executive Producer, “Turkey: Breaking the Silence”
– Ramona Diaz, Director, “A Thousand Cuts”
– Mia Galuppo, Film Writer, The Hollywood Reporter

View presenter bios


Beth Mendelson, Executive Producer, “Turkey: Breaking the Silence”

Beth Mendelson is an award-winning documentary filmmaker focused on issue-oriented programming. Her current documentary, Turkey Breaking the Silence reveals the deep divisions in Turkish society and the evolution of autocratic power against a free press. Other projects for VOA include After Parkland, a series on the aftermath of the school shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. Beth’s prior work for Voice of America includes the news series Boko Haram: Terror Unmasked, based on 18 hours of original video from Boko Haram, and the documentaries A Single Step, a look at global women leaders hosted by actress Sally Field; AIDS: Living in the Shadows, an unvarnished look at overcoming the stigma of AIDS in communities around the world, hosted by Sir Elton John; John F. Kennedy: A Legacy Remembered, exploring the legacy of the late U.S. president 50 years after his assassination; and Fateful Harvest, that investigated Afghanistan’s opium trade and its challenge to the country’s stability. Her communication career spans 30 years across non-profit organizations, broadcast media, and the U.S. government. She has been an Executive Producer for major American and European networks, including PBS, CNN, ITN, ARD, and MSNBC. She holds a BA in Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

Ramona Diaz, Director, “A Thousand Cuts”

Ramona S. Diaz is an award-winning Asian American filmmaker whose films have screened at Sundance, the Berlinale, Tribeca, the Viennale, IDFA, and many other top-tier film festivals. All of Ramona's feature-length films—Imelda (2004), The Learning (2011), Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey (2012) and her latest film, Motherland (2017)—have been broadcast on PBS, on either the POV or Independent Lens series. Motherland won an award at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and had its international premiere at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival. It was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary, a Peabody Award, and a Gaward Urian Award from the Filipino Film Critics.

Mia Galuppo, Film Writer, The Hollywood Reporter”

Mia Galuppo is a film writer at The Hollywood Reporter, where she covers the business of moviemaking with an emphasis on independent film. Her writing has also appeared in GQ, InStyle, Vice, and California Sunday Magazine.


1:30-2:30 p.m. ET

Turning a News Story into a Book

Nowadays you'll often see a news story turn into a book. Mindy Marques Gonzalez, vice president/executive editor with Simon & Schuster, will share advice that can help journalists pitch a book idea and get published. How competitive is the book publishing business and what are publishers looking for in a book today? Find out the answers you need at this session.

Presenters:
– Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins (@AshantiBlaize), Associate Professor of Journalism, Santa Monica College
– Mindy Marquez Gonzalez (@MindyMarques), VP/Executive Editor, Simon & Schuster

View presenter bios


Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins, Associate Professor of Journalism, Santa Monica College

Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins is a full-time journalism professor at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, CA and an Emmy Award-winning journalist, producer and public relations expert and author. She has worked as a television news anchor, reporter and producer for local FOX, CBS and NBC stations in Florida, Texas and Nevada. She has also produced branded video content and strategic PR and marketing plans for several national companies. Before coming to SMC as an Associate Professor, she was the Assistant Director of Student Media at Loyola Marymount University, also having taught journalism courses at LMU, UCLA Extension, USC and Richland College, as an adjunct professor. Ashanti has been a member of the SPJ/LA Board since 2017 and she currently serves as the board’s Vice President and chair of the Distinguished Journalists Awards Committee.

Mindy Marquez Gonzalez, VP/Executive Editor, Simon & Schuster

Aminda “Mindy” Marqués González, is Vice President/Executive Editor at Simon & Schuster. She is the former senior v-p of news and executive editor of the Miami Herald Media Company. Marques became the Herald's first Hispanic editor in 2010. She currently serves as co-chair on the Pulitzer Prize Board, and is the first Latina to serve in that capacity.


1:30-2:30 p.m. ET

Solutions Journalism: Value and Impact

In this second of two sessions on solutions journalism, see how early career journalists are making waves and creating impact with reporting that holds power to account by shining a light on both problems and effective responses. Journalism programs from Medill to ASU Cronkite to CUNY to a wide range of HBCUs and HSIs are incorporating solutions journalism into their core offerings, equipping a new generation of journalists to bring this approach to your newsroom. Learn how this approach appeals to younger journalists by activating them to be powerful players in a participatory democracy with an approach that moves away from a deficit-framed view of the world to one that balances reporting on what’s wrong with rigorously reported, evidence-based information on what’s working.

Presenters:
– Francine Huff, Director of Journalism School Partnerships, Solutions Journalism Network
– Dr. Shearon Roberts, Assistant Professor of Mass Communication and Affiliate Faculty of African American and Diaspora Studies, Xavier University of Louisiana

View presenter bios


Francine Huff, Director of Journalism School Partnerships, Solutions Journalism Network

Francine L. Huff is the director of journalism school partnerships for the Solutions Journalism Network. Previously she was Knight Chair for Student Achievement at Florida A&M University (FAMU) and director of the Dow Jones News Fund HBCU Digital Media Institute. She also is a 2021 HBCU Solutions Journalism Educator Academy Fellow and has been a Scripps Howard Journalism Entrepreneurship Institute Fellow. Prior to academia she worked at The Wall Street Journal as spot news bureau chief, a news editor and a copy editor and at the Boston Globe, Pittsburgh Press and Valley News Dispatch. She was founder and editorial director of Super Savvy Publishing and is the author of “The 25-Day Money Makeover for Women.”

Dr. Shearon Roberts, Assistant Professor of Mass Communication and Affiliate Faculty of African American and Diaspora Studies, Xavier University of Louisiana

Dr. Shearon Roberts is an assistant professor of Mass Communication and affiliate faculty of African American and Diaspora Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana, a historically Black university in New Orleans. She teaches the Converged Media writing and production sequence, digital storytelling, and editing. She participated in the inaugural Solutions Journalism Educators Academy in 2018 and first began teaching solutions journalism in her courses that fall, in partnership with African American newspapers in New Orleans.


1:30-2:30 p.m. ET

From the Newsroom to the Classroom: How to Make the Transition

This panel is aimed at journalists in mid-career levels who want to teach as full-time professors or adjuncts. Panelists will give their best advice on how to go from the newsroom to the classroom. Whether you want to become an adjunct or study in a journalism/mass communications program, this panel will help guide you through the steps to achieve your teaching goals.

Presenters:
– Jessica Retis (@jretis), Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Affiliated Faculty, Center for Latin American Studies, The University of Arizona
– Claire Regan (@clairemariereg1), Assistant Professor of Journalism, Wagner College
– Cheryl Smith (@penonfire), Reporter, Texas Metro News and The Garland Journal

View presenter bios


Jessica Retis, Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Affiliated Faculty, Center for Latin American Studies, The University of Arizona

Ph.D., is Associate Professor in the School of Journalism, Director of the Master’s in Bilingual Journalism and Affiliated Faculty with the Center for Latin American Studies and the Human Rights Practice Program at the University of Arizona. Dr. Retis joined UArizona in 2019 to help launch and lead the Bilingual Journalism Program. She holds a Major in Communications (University of Lima, Peru), a Masters in Latin American Studies (National Autonomous University of Mexico) and a PhD in Contemporary Latin America (Complutense University of Madrid, Spain). She has almost three decades of teaching experience in several universities in the United States, Spain and Mexico. Before joining the University of Arizona, she taught bilingual journalism for a decade at California State University Northridge (CSUN).

Claire Regan, Assistant Professor of Journalism, Wagner College

Claire Regan, a passionate journalist with more than 30 years of newsroom experience, is an assistant professor of journalism and faculty adviser to the student newspaper at Wagner College in New York City. Ms. Regan’s editing and design work for the Staten Island Advance, her hometown newspaper, has been honored by the Associated Press, the Society for News Design, the New York City Deadline Club and the New York Press Club. She served three consecutive years as president of the Deadline Club, SPJ’s New York chapter, and was elected to a two-year term as at-large director on SPJ’s national board. Ms. Regan completed a yearlong fellowship in journalism ethics at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies and received the Charles O’Malley Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.

Cheryl Smith, Reporter, Texas Metro News and The Garland Journal

Cheryl Smith is the Publisher of I Messenger News Group, which includes the publications: Texas Metro News, Garland Journal and I Messenger. With over 40 years in the industry, Smith has excelled in all areas as an award-winning journalist.

Smith is a current adjunct at Dallas College, the Dallas community college system. She is also a current board member of the National Association of Black Journalists. She has also served as the president of the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists.


1:30-2:30 p.m. ET

Mental Health Matters: A Session for Educators

In normal times, journalists face job-related trauma and struggle with mental health, substance abuse and burnout. Student journalists and mass media instructors are no exception. As COVID-19 lockdowns end, we must have candid discussions about self-care in the journalism classroom. In this session we gather to share our challenges and triumphs during virtual learning. We offer tips for well-being, mental health and what’s next — both for educators and students.

Presenters:
– Chelsea Reynolds, Professor, Department of Communications and Sexual Communication, Department of Human Communication Studies, California State University, Fullerton
– Taylor Arrey, Editor in Chief, The Daily Titan, California State University, Fullerton

View presenter bios


Chelsea Reynolds, Professor, Department of Communications and Sexual Communication, Department of Human Communication

Chelsea Reynolds is an associate professor of Communications at California State University, Fullerton and advisor to Tusk magazine. She has offered workshops on trauma-informed pedagogy to the Arthur W. Page Society, the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication, the University of Virginia, and the CSU Faculty Development Center.

Taylor Arrey, Editor in Chief, The Daily Titan, California State University, Fullerton

Taylor Arrey is Editor in Chief of The Daily Titan newspaper at California State University, Fullerton. She is currently conducting research about trauma and mental health among student journalists across the United States.


1:30-2:30 p.m. ET

Beyond ‘Fake News’: What Local Journalists Learned Talking to Conservatives in Their Communities

When pressed for details, what do conservatives think about how local journalists cover their communities? What do they think journalists get wrong about people like them, and what do they think doesn’t get enough coverage? What do they misassume about the wire or partner content journalists run? As part of a research project with Trusting News and the Center for Media Engagement, about 30 local newsrooms found themselves frustrated, confused, enlightened and energized by what they learned talking one-on-one to conservatives in their communities. Hear from some of them about which of their assumptions were challenged, what they learned and what they plan to do about it. They’ll also talk honestly about how they felt before, during and after the interactions, and what they recommend for other journalists considering similar outreach.

Presenters:
– Lynn Walsh, Assistant Director, TrustingNews.org
– Joy Mayer, Founder, Trusting News

View presenter bios


Lynn Walsh, Assistant Director, TrustingNews.org

Lynn Walsh is the assistant director of Trusting News. An Emmy award-winning journalist, Lynn has worked in investigative journalism at the national level and locally in California, Ohio, Texas and Florida. She is the former Ethics Chair for the Society of Professional Journalists and a past national president for the organization. Based in San Diego, Lynn is also an adjunct professor and freelance journalist.

Joy Mayer, Founder, Trusting News

Joy Mayer founded Trusting News in 2016 after a 20-year career in newsrooms and teaching. She spent 12 years at the Missouri School of Journalism, where she created an audience engagement curriculum and a community outreach team in the newsroom of the Columbia Missourian and also taught web design and print design. In addition to Trusting News work, she is an adjunct faculty member at The Poynter Institute. She lives in Sarasota, Florida.


1:30-2:30 p.m. ET

Pitch Clinic: Fine Tuning Your Pitch

Whether you’re a freelance or staff journalist, pitching is a key skill. For freelancers, botching the pitch means not only missing out on getting paid, but also leaving worthwhile stories untold. This session will feature editors who will offer feedback on selected pitches. Send your pitches via email ahead of time. We’ll present a selection and provide feedback in real-time on how to improve them and what outlets to approach. Everyone can learn from each other’s hits and misses.

Presenter:
– Susan Valot (@susanvalot), Moderator and SPJ Freelance Community Board Member
– Jim Benning (@jimbenning), Editor in Chief, AAA Explorer and Travel Editor, Westways
– Jarvis DeBerry (@jarvisdeberry), Editor, Non-profit News Outlet Louisiana Illuminator
– Jordan LaHaye Fontenot (@jordanilahaye), Managing Editor, Country Roads Magazine

View presenter bios


Susan Valot, Moderator and SPJ Freelance Community Board Member

Susan Valot is a long-time freelance reporter/producer based in the Los Angeles area. She hosts and produces the Quanta Magazine science podcast and edits the Writers' Co-Op Podcast. Her work has appeared on NPR's "Only A Game," KCRW, KPCC and other public media outlets. She also teaches audio production at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California.

Jim Benning, Editor in Chief, AAA Explorer and Travel Editor, Westways

Jim Benning is the editor in chief of AAA Explorer, a quarterly magazine that goes out to several million Auto Club members. He is also the travel editor of Westways, a monthly magazine sent to Southern California members of the Auto Club. Benning has a wealth of travel editing and reporting experience, formerly serving as deputy travel editor of BBC.com. He helped to launch and edit SKYE, an AOL weather and adventure website. Benning also co-founded the online travel magazine World Hum, which was eventually acquired by the Travel Channel.

Jarvis DeBerry, Editor, Non-profit News Outlet Louisiana Illuminator

Jarvis DeBerry is the editor of Louisiana Illuminator, an independent, non-profit news outlet with a mission of casting light on how decisions are made in Baton Rouge and how they affect the lives of everyday Louisianians, particularly those who are poor or otherwise marginalized. DeBerry spent 22 years at The TimesPicayune (and later NOLA.com) as a crime and courts reporter, an editorial writer, columnist and deputy opinions editor. He was on the team of TimesPicayune journalists awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service after that team’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the deadly flood that followed.

Jordan LaHaye Fontenot, Managing Editor, Country Roads Magazine

Jordan LaHaye Fontenot is the managing editor of Country Roads magazine, a cultural reporting publication focusing on South Louisiana, the Mississippi Delta, and the Gulf Coast. The free monthly magazine based in Baton Rouge covers day trips and weekend getaways, restaurant news, historic preservation and conservation, regional artists and more. Fontenot began at Country Roads as a contributing writer and worked her way up to managing editor. She’s a proud graduate of Louisiana State University.


2:45-3:45 p.m. ET

An Inside Look at Two Newspapers’ Public Apologies for Decades of Racism

The SPJ Board of Directors awarded a Special Citation for Excellence in Journalism to the Kansas City Star and the Los Angeles Times for their powerful apologies regarding each newspaper’s history on race. Both The Star’s and the Times’ editorials were exceptional articles in a year of intense racial reckoning in America. These efforts brought forward the troubling history of how the news media has covered communities of color in cities across the country over time. This discussion with leaders from two prominent American newspapers will address the process each went through in deciding to make these apologies and provide advice for how other newsrooms can confront similar challenges.

Presenters:
– Matthew T. Hall (@SDuncovered), SPJ president, editorial and opinion director, The San Diego Union-Tribune
– Sewell Chan (@sewellchan), Editorial Page Editor, Los Angeles Times
– Mike Fannin (@kcnewsfan), President and Editor, Kansas City Star, Central Region Editor, McClatchy

View presenter bios


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2:45-3:45 p.m. ET

How to Create More Inclusive Classrooms

Gain practical ways to create a more inclusive classroom. From syllabi policies to establishing classroom norms, you don’t want to miss this critical session. Presenters will give specific case studies and examples of best practices and suggested polices to help create a more inclusive and productive classroom.

Presenters:
– Laura Castañeda, Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Access, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
– Dorothy Bland, Professor, Mayborn School of Journalism, University of North Texas
– Jerry Crawford II, Associate Professor, William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Kansas
– Mei-Ling Hopgood, Professor, Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, Northwestern University

View presenter bios


Laura Castañeda, Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Access, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

Laura Castañeda is an award winning professor of professional practice in the USC Annenberg School of Journalism, has been a member of the faculty since 2000. Before joining USC Annenberg, she taught at Temple University and worked as a staff writer, editor and columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle, The Dallas Morning News, and The Associated Press in San Francisco, New York and Mexico. Her freelance work has appeared in The New York Times, TheAtlantic.com, and Columbia Journalism Review magazine, among others. Her scholarly articles have appeared in Journalism and Mass Communication Educator and Journalism Studies

Jerry Crawford II, Associate Professor, William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Kansas

Jerry Crawford is an associate professor in News and Information. His research focus is Historically Black Colleges and Universities and their units of journalism and mass communication. His areas of expertise are accreditation of schools with journalism and mass communications programs, broadcasting, ethics and mass communication theory. He teaches Ethics, Multiple Media Reporting, Advanced Reporting, Producing and Audio/Visual Documentary.

Mei-Ling Hopgood, Professor, Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, Northwestern University

Mei-Ling Hopgood is a freelance journalist and writer who has written for various publications, ranging from the National Geographic Traveler and Marie Claire to the Miami Herald and the Boston Globe. She has worked as a reporter with the Detroit Free Press, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and in the Cox Newspapers Washington bureau.

Dorothy Bland, Professor, Mayborn School of Journalism, University of North Texas

Dorothy M. Bland joined the faculty of the University of North Texas in 2013, and brings to the school more than 25 years of media experience including being a reporter, editor, media/marketing consultant and publisher. Professor Bland served as the Dean of the Mayborn school before returning to faculty.


2:45-3:45 p.m. ET

Why Newsrooms Are Unionizing and You Can Too

Reporters and editors are forced to work long hours with poverty-level pay, and under cruel conditions. Yet they are regularly laid-off, often with terrible severance or fired with little cause. Unfair hiring decisions and conditions can disproportionately affect reporters from underrepresented communities. Fortunately, unionization can give newsroom staff a voice. Unionization can allow staff to speak up for better pay, better severance, better working conditions, better job security, better managerial hiring decisions, and better editorial direction. This panel will explore the benefits of unionizing newsrooms, the arguments against it, and how big and small newsrooms can do it too.

Presenter:
– Danielle McLean, Senior Editor, Smart Cities Dive, SPJ Ethics Committee Chair
– Susan DeCarava, President, The NewsGuild of New York
– Andrew Pantazi, Founding Editor, The Tributary
– Fatima Hussein, Worker Safety Legal Reporter, Bloomberg Law
– Matt DiRienzo, Editor In Chief, Center for Public Integrity

View presenter bios


Danielle McLean, Senior Editor, Smart Cities Dive, SPJ Ethic Committee Chair

Danielle McLean is a senior editor at Smart Cities Dive, a national online news publication covering the most impactful news and trends shaping smart cities. She has also worked as a reporter at The Chronicle of Higher Education, Bangor Daily News, ThinkProgress, Somerville Journal, and The Boston Globe. She is currently the chair of the SPJ Ethics Committee and former chair of the SPJ FOI committee. Danielle is a proud trans woman who plays semi-professional women’s hockey in the DC-Maryland area.

Susan DeCarava, President, The NewsGuild of New York

Susan DeCarava is the President of The NewsGuild of New York. She began working for the NewsGuild of New York in 2008 as a Local Representative, after serving as Unit Chair for the staff union at the Writers Guild of America, East. During her career she has successfully organized against anti-union campaigns, fought to increase wages and eliminate pay inequities, and advocated to preserve Guild members’ rights and benefits. A fierce advocate, Susan has been transformative to the Guild. Known for her innovative and nuanced approach to mobilizing, negotiating contracts, and supporting members, Susan is respected both at the bargaining table and in newsrooms citywide.

Fatima Hussein, Worker Safety Legal Reporter, Bloomberg Law

Fatima Hussein is a worker safety legal reporter for Bloomberg Law, where she has most recently covered the litigation brought by families of workers who died of Covid-19 during the pandemic, as well as chemical safety news. She is also president of the Washington Baltimore NewsGuild, one of the nation's largest news unions that represents journalists and nonprofit workers from Bloomberg Industry Group, the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, as well as staff workers from the AFL-CIO, Jobs with Justice, DSA, and thousands more. She received her law degree from Florida Coastal School of Law and lives in Capitol Hill.

Andrew Pantazi, Founding Editor, The Tributary

Andrew Pantazi was a reporter at his hometown newspaper, The Florida Times-Union for eight years before leaving to launch a worker-run investigative nonprofit. After Andrew worked to organize the Times-Union, he worked part-time with the NewsGuild, helping organize the Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel, Naples Daily News, Ft. Myers News-Press and Dallas Morning News. While at the Times-Union, he served as the chair of the newsroom union.

Matt DiRienzo, Editor In Chief, Center for Public Integrity

Matt DeRienzo is editor in chief of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative journalism organization focused on inequality. He has worked in journalism for more than 25 years as a reporter, editor and publisher. He previously served as vice president of news at Hearst Connecticut and was the first full-time executive director of LION Publishers, a national nonprofit supporting local independent online news organizations. Newsrooms under his leadership have been recognized with the Robert C. McGruder Award for Diversity Leadership and the APME Innovator of the Year Award.


2:45-3:45 p.m. ET

How College Students Can Find the Best Internships and Land Their First Job

Are you stressed out while looking for an internship or first job? We've been there. We'll give you some tips and tricks on how you can make yourself stand out, how to have a killer resume and make connections to get the right opportunity.

Presenters:
– Daniela Ibarra (@DanielaIbarraTV), Reporter/Anchor, KTX-TX
– Alex Boos, Producer (@AlexAguilarBoos), KTVT-TV News
– Savannah Maher (@savannah_maher), Reporter, KUNM News
– Maya Brown (@mayaabrown10), Stony Brook University

View presenter bios


Daniela Ibarra, Reporter/Anchor, KTX-TX

Daniela Ibarra is a reporter for KTUL in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Daniela is an advocate for more diverse voices in newsrooms. She's currently a member of SPJ's Diversity & Inclusion committee, and previously served as the student representative for the National Association for Hispanic Journalists. She previously worked at KTXS in Abilene, TX where she took a special interest in investigative journalism. Daniela is a proud graduate of the University of North Texas where she graduated with her M.A. in Media Industry & Critical Studies in 2019 and her B.A. in Broadcast & Digital Journalism in 2017. Daniela is a proud San Antonian.

Alex Boos, Producer, KTVT-TV News

Alex Boos is a news producer at KTVT in the Dallas-Fort Worth, TX area, where he was born and raised. Working with both live and taped newscasts, he has climbed the ranks from intern to head producer within a few years. Alex has also had the privilege of creating and launching a 10pm Detroit newscast, which he currently manages and produces out of DFW. He's also aided CBS in launching an Atlanta newscast. Alex is an advocate for equal opportunities and diversity in the newsroom, being both a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). Alex graduated from the University of North Texas and holds a B.A. in Converged Broadcast Media with a producing certificate, and a B.A. in Political Science with a focus on peace and conflict studies.

Savannah Maher, Reporter, KUNM News

Savannah Maher covers Indigenous Affairs across the Mountain West region for KUNM and the Mountain West News Bureau. Before landing her first full time journalism job, she worked internships at the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, WCAI, the Mashpee Enterprise, NPR and New Hampshire Public Radio. She’s a proud citizen of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.

Maya Brown, Stony Brook University

Maya Brown is a senior journalism and political science double major at Stony Brook University pursuing a career in Broadcast Journalism, with a passion for social justice and politics. She has interned for NBC News, CNN, the Council on Foreign Relations and WSHU Public Radio. While at school, she is the Managing Editor of The Statesman and the President of the Stony Brook chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She is a member of NAHJ, NABJ and SPJ and her dream is to become a White House TV correspondent.


2:45-3:45 p.m. ET

Covering the Pandemic: Reporting for Television in the New Normal

Virtual interviews, the use of amateur video, covering the same big story over and over again — these are just some of the things that became normal in newsgathering during the pandemic. In all mediums, especially those involving video, the challenge for journalists has been to deliver solid content in unconventional times. What have we learned? What are the ethical questions we must consider? What should we fight to preserve from pre-pandemic days? What should we keep as we emerge from the pandemic? Certainly, we were reminded about the importance of journalism during this health crisis. Now, what is next? You will walk away from this session with tips and methods to implement in your craft.

Presenters:
– Stephanie Bertini (@StephanieTVNews), Miami Correspondent, BNC
– Farrah Fazal (@FarrahFazal), Freelance Correspondent
– Georgia Fort (@ByGeorgiaFort), Independent Journalist
– Erica Proffer (@EricaProffer), Investigative Reporter, KVUE

View presenter bio


Stephanie Bertini, Miami Correspondent, BNC

Stephanie Bertini is a national journalist with fourteen years of experience in television. Currently, she works for BNC- Black News Channel, as the network’s Miami-based correspondent. Stephanie spent six years reporting in South Florida’s local news market for WTVJ NBC 6 News. Before that, she covered Central Florida while reporting for ABC affiliate WFTV Channel 9 Eyewitness News. Also in local news, Stephanie reported along the U.S./Mexico border in South Texas for ABC affiliate KRGV-TV Channel 5 News. She started her career in Canada where she worked for CTV News at a local station north of Toronto. Stephanie holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Miami. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from York University. She studied Broadcast Journalism at Seneca College in Toronto. Throughout her career, she has gained recognition for her versatility by reporting and simultaneously juggling other roles. Her overall television experience includes: investigative reporting, anchoring, producing, and hosting weather, entertainment and traffic segments. Stephanie has received several industry honors for her work including the prestigious National Edward R. Murrow Award.

Farrah Fazal, Freelance Correspondent

Farrah Fazal is an award-winning multilingual and multiplatform journalist, with decades of experience on the local, national and international level. Fazal spent years as a general assignment and investigative reporter for local television stations across the country including markets in Florida, Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas and Minnesota. Nationally, she has filed for CBS and Matter of Fact TV with Soledad O’Brien. Internationally, she’s reported from Kenya, Somalia, Pakistan and Syria. Fazal’s reporting centers around disenfranchised communities, and her expertise includes race, terrorism, extremism, war, immigration, and refugees.

Georgia Fort, Independent Journalist

Georgia Fort is a two-time Emmy nominated independent journalist who is changing the narrative through visual stories about race and culture that build equity. She was one of two reporters in the courtroom for the sentencing of Derek Chauvin, the former officer who murdered George Floyd. Her reporting has been published on CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS affiliates. Most recently she produced a short documentary “George Floyd: It Happened Here”, and co-directed and edited the award-winning documentary “Rondo: Beyond the Pavement” which is now available on Amazon Prime. The Minnesota native has over a decade of broadcast experience and graduated from the University of St. Thomas where she advocated for student parents and diversity inclusion.

Erica Proffer, Investigative Reporter, KVUE

Erica Proffer is an investigative reporter who has helped law enforcement spot human trafficking, exposed weaknesses on the international boundary line, and has fought to get many people justice when it seems they have nowhere else to turn. She strives to have all investigations tell a story to which we can relate, bringing the voiceless out of the shadows and empowering the community. She turned three documentaries as an investigative journalist, covering the environment, social justice, and international relations on the Texas/Mexico border. Her awards include a national Society of Professional Journalism Award for Public Service in Television Journalism, a state Headliners Foundation Award for Enterprise and Innovation, several Associated Press awards, a regional Edward R. Murrow, and nine regional Emmy nominations. At KVUE in Austin, Texas, Proffer shoots, writes, and edits her stories.