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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > The Conference of the year draws near

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SPJ Leads | 8/17/2011
The Conference of the year draws near

By Abby Henkel
SPJ Communications Department

EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM 2011. At the Excellence in Journalism 2011 conference (or as we affectionately call it...EIJ11) jointly hosted by SPJ and the Radio Television Digital News Association, all people who are passionate about journalism will improve their professional skills, network with journalists from all walks of life, and hear from renowned speakers whose efforts have shaped modern journalism.

We've devoted this week's issue of SPJ Leads to give you the inside scoop on everything EIJ11.

MEET THE REGISTRATION DEADLINE. Don't miss three days of top-notch educational programs, the excitement of New Orleans and the networking opportunities the conference offers. Save money by registering by Aug. 31.

BOOK YOUR HOTEL ROOM. Hotel rooms at the Sheraton New Orleans are filling up fast. If you haven't booked yours, go here to learn more and reserve your room online. Conference attendees receive great rates at the Sheraton, and we have negotiated complimentary Wi-Fi in all attendee sleeping rooms.

Looking for a roommate to share hotel costs?

Visit the roommate board

to leave a comment and find others who are looking for a roommate.

BECAUSE OF YOU. We want to say thank you to all conference sponsors for their support. Sponsors include: CNN Newssource, Google, Eli Lilly, Knight Foundation, The Associated Press, The Times-Picayune, Nickelodeon, Gannett Foundation, AFTRA, GEICO, Scripps Howard Foundation, Casey Family Programs. National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation, Broadcast Education Association and McCormick Foundation.

ENGAGE ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER. New Orleans. Search for a roommate. Get ready for the big conference tweetup.Do it all by keeping up on Twitter using the #EIJ11 hashtag, and by monitoring the Twitter list of conference speakers/presenters. And don't forget to join EIJ 2011 on Facebook for exciting conference updates and discussions!

MOBILE APP FOR EIJ 2011. The official Excellence in Journalism 2011 Conference App acts as your personal passport to the event -- browse sessions, plan your schedule, connect with others, and see where everything is happening all in one app! Look for the app named EIJ11.

JOURNALISM EXPO. Designed to provide you with resources, ideas and information for your career, the Journalism Expo is your one-stop shop for personal and professional development. Stop by the main ballroom to enjoy these fine offerings:

— Exhibitors rangefrom newsroom technology companies, journalism schools, talent coaches and more. Check out the list of 40+ exhibitors.
— Wi-Fi Zone sponsored by The Associated Press.
— Silent auction supporting SPJ's Legal Defense Fund lets you bid on fabulous items and raise money for a fund that helps protect the First Amendment.
— Book signings: Many of the conference speakers are also authors, such as Kevin Sites, Dr. Sybil Bennett, Mark Briggs and David Cuillier. Don't miss these speakers' scheduled book signings!
— BookMart: This is the place to buy your copy of SPJ's 4th edition ethics book, as well as books by conference speakers and other journalism leaders.
— Tour sign-ups for the Times-Picayune and WWL-TV and post-Katrina levee areas. In addition, sign up to participate in a community service project.
— Critiques for your resume, clips or writing samples.

STILL TIME TO DONATE TO LDF AUCTION. With just over one week left until the donation deadline, we hope you will consider making a contribution to the Legal Defense Fund Auction. As a mental support system for journalists who find themselves in trouble while defending press freedoms, we want to keep you covered!

No donation is too large or too small. We ask that you send your items in by Aug. 26 to SPJ Headquarters. Donations should be mailed to:

SPJ Legal Defense Fund Auction
3909 N. Meridian St.
Indianapolis, IN 46208

When mailing your donation, please don't forget to include this donation form.

Please contact Awards Coordinator Lauren Rochester with any questions at 317-927-8000 ext. 210. Your contribution to the Legal Defense Fund will make a significant difference in the lives of journalists across the nation.

TRAINING DAY. Start off your conference experience with a bang by participating in a pre-conference workshop on Sunday, Sept. 25. Workshops run for a half or full day. Space is limited, so sign up now! Here is a sampling:

— Video Storytelling Boot Camp. Led by Al Tompkins, senior faculty of broadcast and online for the Poynter Institute, this high-energy, interactive session will help you tell stronger video stories on your next shift. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., $50
— Great Bosses Boot Camp. In this daylong workshop, you'll learn about motivation, managing change, dealing with tough conversations and building a team that plays to win. Learn with Poynter's Jill Geisler and other top newsroom leaders. Jill's "What Great Bosses Know" podcasts have been downloaded 5 million times on iTunesU. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., $50
— Business Journalism Boot Camp for All Journalists. Join Jimmy Gentry of the University of Kansas for a grounding in the basics of business that will help you break stories and hold corporate officials accountable. 9 a.m. to noon, $25
— Backpack Journalism: The Story is the Destination. Kevin Sites, backpack journalist for NBC, CNN and Yahoo!'s Hot Zone, leads this workshop in how the individual journalist or a journalism organization can adopt the philosophies and harness the advantages of the backpack journalist. 9 a.m. to noon, $25
— Mobile Tools for Journalists. In this session led by Damon Kiesow, senior product manager at, you will learn about the latest gadgets, apps and sites to help you gather information and publish your content while on the road. We will cover ways to get connected while traveling and how to integrate your desktop, laptop and mobile devices to get content online faster. We will look at mobile journalism examples from some leading news organizations in print, online and broadcast, and talk first principles, work process and best practices. 9 a.m. to noon, $25

YOUR OWN PRO SHOP. Choose from 50 breakout sessions for professional development. Whether you seek advice on leading your team of journalists, wonder how radio reporters do what they do, or want a fuller understanding of public records access, there is a program for you. To whet your appetite:

— Facebook and Journalism. Learn how journalists are leveraging Facebook for reporting and distribution. Dive into practical examples, best practices, tools and stats around using the platform as a journalist. Vadim Lavrusik, Facebook's Journalist Program Manager, leads this session.
— Publishing Sensitive Information in a WikiLeaks World. Your source may not hand you an unmarked envelope in depths of a Washington-area parking garage, but that doesn't mean that the flow of illegally obtained or unauthorized information to the press stopped. This session will focus on how Wikileaks has changed the legal environment for anyone who obtains and publishes sensitive information as well as recent prosecutions under the Espionage Act.
— Google 101 for Journalists. Learn how to get the most from search and other free tools from Google. Whether you're in broadcast, print or digital journalism, this session will introduce ways you can search smarter, keep better tabs on your beat, see what's hot and what's not, add a visual edge to your online content, and use Google on the go when you're reporting in the field. Walk away with tips and tricks and an online resource for Google Search, Hot Trends, Insights, Reader, News, Maps and more. Led by Jake Parillo of Google.
— Digital + Diversity: What Does Your Newsroom Reflect? Studies are showing people of color have embraced mobile technology and social media more than other communities, yet diversity in Web newsrooms does not seem to reflect that. Discuss the current state of the "digital divide," the metrics behind tech usage, how we can work on diversity in the digital era of journalism and translate diversity to the bottom line. Led by Robert Hernandez of the University of Southern California's Annenberg School.

Explore these and dozens of other sessions on the EIJ website! Searching for certain speakers? Check out the line-up of speakers.

LINDA ELLERBEE TO BE HONORED AT RTDNA'S PAUL WHITE RECEPTION. The Radio Television Digital News Association has named Linda Ellerbee the 2011 recipient of the Paul White Award. Ellerbee and her company, Lucky Duck Productions, created Nick News for Nickelodeon in 1991. Nick News is the longest running children's news program in television history and has earned honors traditionally associated with adult programming. Ellerbee serves as executive producer, writer, and anchor for Nick News. She will receive RTDNA's highest honor at the Paul White Award ceremony and reception Monday, Sept. 26. Read more about Linda Ellerbee and the Paul White Award.

VOLUNTEER IN THE COMMUNITY. Tuesday morning, conference attendees have the chance to serve the New Orleans community by volunteering a few hours at the Second Harvest Food Bank. Volunteers will either be in the warehouse sorting and packing food or outside working with food salvage. This opportunity is FREE and transportation is provided.

Spots are limited and sign-up is required. Register now!

EIJ STUDENT UNION. In a move to provide great networking and social opportunities for student attendees at Excellence in Journalism, there will be a special Student Union event Monday at 1 p.m. This reception will recognize national first-place winners of the Mark of Excellence Awards and several national SPJ honors, and give students a time to network with their peers and learn from collegiate award winners how they produced award-winning journalism.

EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY. At the conference, meals and receptions are not just times to enjoy good food and company; they are also opportunities to applaud fellow journalists. To join in the festivities, consider purchasing tickets to the following before Sept 14:

— Before the conference takes off, join us Saturday, Sept. 24 for the Sigma Delta Chi Awards Banquet,where we'll recognize winners of SPJ's annual national awards contest.
— On Monday, rub elbows with Nickelodeon's Linda Ellerbee, winner of RTNDA's Paul White Award, at a reception in her honor.
— The SPJ President's Installation Banqueton Tuesday closes the conference with a dinner that bids farewell to one SPJ president as a new president begins. The most prestigious honors bestowed by the Society will also be presented to journalists and chapters for journalist excellence.

We are happy to invite you to two receptions that are free and open to all registered attendees:

— On Sunday, join hundreds of journalists for drinks, cuisine and conversation at the Opening Night Receptionsponsored by CNN Newssource.
— Join past and present broadcast personalities and news staff of the New Orleans market at "Faces and Voices of NOLA ... A Broadcasting Event," Monday's reception sponsored by AFTRA. Bob Edwards of Sirius XM Radio and former NPR "Morning Edition" host and news anchor Angela Hill of WWL-TV will speak at this event looking through the history and future of New Orleans broadcasting.

If you plan to attend both the Paul White Award Reception and the President's Installation Banquet, save money by upgrading your registration to the conference package.

FEARLESS LEADERS. The strength of SPJ comes from the leaders who volunteer their time to support and educate our members and the public. The annual conference is the time to make decisions that will affect the coming year, which includes voting on important amendments to SPJ bylaws. Read the proposed amendments, and participate in the online discussion for the proposed "One Member, One Vote" and the other proposed bylaws amendments. This is important for all members, not just delegates.

All members are also encouraged to review candidates for national office, who will be elected by chapter delegates. Click here for bios of people who have declared their candidacy in advance. Interested individuals can still participate by running from the convention floor during the Opening Business Session.

On Sunday, the Opening Business Session begins at 1 p.m., and Regional Meetings will take place immediately afterward. The Closing Business Session is Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.

Convention delegates, click here to complete the delegate registration form, see the proposed bylaw amendments and review the list of candidates for SPJ offices.

To see the list of national committee meetings, click here.

MORE FUN & GAMES. Critiques

Take time to receive rιsumι, video and writing advice from experts and professionals. These critique sessions, included in your conference registration, will be taking place Monday from 8 a.m.-noon and 1-5:30 p.m., and on Tuesday from 8 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m.

Newsroom Tours

Tuesday morning is your chance to take a tour of The Times-Picayune newsroom or WWL-TV CBS station, which have graciously opened their doors to EIJ conference-goers. Spots are limited and sign-up is required, so make sure to secure your spot, register on-site in the Journalism Expo by Sunday at 6 p.m. Please note that transportation is not provided, but both sites are not far from the Sheraton.

Fun things to do in New Orleans

Take a break from the excitement of the conference and enjoy the city! The EIJ11 website has plenty of ideas to help you make the most of your time in New Orleans.

— Molly's at the Market: Nicknamed the Reliable Source Cafι, Molly's at the Market is a bar and restaurant — and a haven for journalists. Bonus: your second drink is free if you show your SPJ/RTNDA convention badge!
— 10 things you must do in New Orleans
— 30 free things to do
— Restaurants, music, nightlife, culture and art

Whirlwind Bus Tour of Post-Katrina Levees

Take a bus tour of the nearly completed $9 billion levee system, designed with great improvements over the system that faced Hurricane Katrina. Led by experts in environmental issues, this tour costs $20, and registration is required (click here and scroll to "Additional Events").

ON THE RADIO. SPJ Blog Talk Radio

Last week on SPJ Blog Talk Radio, Holly Fisher discussed all the things you've been itching to know about the conference. Listen to the podcast while you pack your bags for New Orleans!

Studio SPJ: The Ledge, a survival story

For a change of pace, tune into Studio SPJ this Saturday, Aug. 20, at noon ET for a conversation on a life-and-death tale of mountain climbing with Jim Davidson, a climber and science writer from Fort Collins, Co., and Kevin Vaughan, a reporter for The Denver Post. Listen live, this Saturday at noon.

LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. What magazine published a controversial photo of a presidential candidate in the past week, and who was the person in the photo?

Answer: The cover of Newsweek featured a photo of Michele Bachmann.

And the winner is ... Becky Tallent, University of Idaho journalism professor, Diversity Committee member and Education Committee chairwoman. Sources who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak on the matter say she keeps day dreaming about the magnificent SPJ-themed prize bound for her mailbox.

THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. What influential civil rights activist from New Orleans recently died?

Submit your answers to Abby Henkel.

SPJ Leads
– Minimize Harm
– Be accountable and transparent
– Act Independently

Press Notes
– Breast Cancer Awareness: Learning From Jackie Collins' Death
– Blog: CPJ joins call to oppose draft surveillance law in France
– Baboon raid temporarily forced Zimbabwe radio station off air

SPJ Blogs
SPJ Leads
The EIJ News
SPJ News
Open Doors

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