April 6-7, 2018
"Building Trust: A Toolbox for Journalists and Communities"
The Society of Professional Journalists welcomes professionals, students and supporters of a free press to our annual Region 5 (Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky) conference in Chicago.
Learn new skills, share tips and ideas with industry experts, gain insights on the most important issues facing American journalism today, and find job and internship opportunities. Then, explore a vibrant city with great food, world-class arts and culture, and an incredible lakefront.
Friday, April 6: Alison Bethel McKenzie, "Let's Talk About Trust and the Media"
Alison Bethel McKenzie becomes the executive director of the Society of Professional Journalists in March 2018.
From 1995 to 2000, Bethel McKenzie was senior assistant city editor at The Boston Globe, supervising a reporting staff that covered City Hall, urban affairs, and transportation. In 2000, she joined The Detroit News as features editor, and then became the paper’s Washington, D.C. bureau chief from 2001 to 2006, overseeing coverage of the White House and members of Michigan’s congressional delegation. She joined the Legal Times in Washington, D.C. in 2006 as executive editor, moving on in 2007 to the Nassau Guardian, in the Bahamas, as managing editor.
Before joining SPJ, Bethel McKenzie was the executive director of the International Press Institute and the first American, first woman and first African American to reach this position since its foundation in 1950.
Saturday, April 7: Jonathan Eig
Ken Burns calls Jonathan Eig a "master storyteller." Eig is the author of five books, three of them New York Times best sellers. His latest book, "Ali: A Life, was named best book of the year by Sports Illustrated and one of the ten best non-fiction books of the year by The Wall Street Journal. It was a finalist for a PEN America Literary Award, the Plutarch Award, the William Hill Award, an L.A. Times Book Prize, and an NAACP Image Award.
Eig is a former staff writer for The Wall Street Journal, where he remains a contributing writer. Eig has also written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and Slate.com, among others. Prior to The Wall Street Journal, he worked as a feature writer for Chicago magazine and as a news reporter for The Dallas Morning News and The New Orleans Times-Picayune. He was born in Brooklyn and graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
Eig has taught writing at Columbia College Chicago and Northwestern. He has spoken to audiences at the Library of Congress, the National Archives, Harvard Medical School, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame. His first book, "Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig," won the Casey Award for best baseball book of the year. Eig has appeared on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart, "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross, and in two Ken Burns documentaries. He is currently working with Burns and Florentine Films to make a documentary on Muhammad Ali.
Friday, April 6 schedule
Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, 303 E. Wacker Drive, 16th Floor, Chicago
12:30 p.m. Registration opens
1-1:50 p.m. What should journalism schools be teaching?
Journalism is changing rapidly, and journalism education needs to keep up. Hear from four faculty members of Chicago journalism programs about how they keep pace, from revamping a core reporting and writing class, to covering hyperlocal news and climate change, to sending students out on the presidential campaign trail.
- Jill Hopke, assistant professor, DePaul University
- Patricia Lamberti, program director of multimedia journalism, Loyola University
- Suzanne McBride, chair of the communication department, Columbia College Chicago
- Patti Wolter, associate professor, Medill School, Northwestern University
2-3:15 p.m. Covering a community crisis: Reporting on Chicago violence
The stories behind the stories. WBEZ reporters and editors on the 2017 series “Every Other Hour” spotlight the voices and perspectives of the people most affected by gun violence.
- Cate Cahan, lead editor on WBEZ series "Every Other Hour"
- Chip Mitchell, WBEZ reporter
- Patrick Smith, WBEZ reporter
- Rob Wildeboer, WBEZ senior editor of news
- Odette Yousef, WBEZ reporter
3-4:30 p.m. Student resume critiques and meetings with professional journalists
Students: Meet with media professionals for portfolio/reel reviews, advice on what to expect at entry-level job interviews, and direction on what skills are useful and in demand.
Register for the conference, then sign up for a session by following this link. Enter your name and add the word (writing) or (broadcast) so we can best match you with a pro. Choose an open time slot and click "Send." Please make note of your session time and arrive on time.
- ProPublica Illinois: Reporters Melissa Sanchez, Jodi S. Cohen and Duaa Eldeib; Web Producer Vignesh Ramachandran; News Applications Developer David Eads
- Bloomberg News: Managing Editor Flynn McRoberts
- Podcasting: Charlie Meyerson (Rivet Radio), Matt Cunningham (Columbia College Chicago)
- Broadcasting: Correspondent Brandis Friedman (WTTW-11, Chicago Tonight), Professional in Residence Richelle Rogers (Loyola University Chicago)
- Writing, blogging, criticism: Lecturer Stan Zoller (Lake Forest College), Film critic Dann Gire (Daily Herald)
3:30-4:45 p.m. Listening to and engaging with your community
Engagement is a lot more than reading what your followers are saying about your stories on Twitter. Hear from two news organizations about their successes in collaborating with their audiences for better journalism and stronger communities.
- Bettina Chang, editor, City Bureau
- Summer Fields, engagement consultant, Hearken
5-6 p.m. Reception
6-7:30 p.m. Keynote: "Let's Talk About Trust and the Media," Alison Bethel McKenzie, executive director, Society of Professional Journalists
saturday, april 7 schedule
DePaul University College of Communication, 247 S. State St., 11th Floor, Chicago
8:15-9 a.m. SPJ Region 5 Meeting (with continental breakfast)
9:15-10:15 a.m. Keynote: Jonathan Eig, author, "Ali: A Life"
Jonathan Eig is the New York Times best-selling author of five books, including his most recent, "Ali: A Life," which was named one of the best books of 2017 by Sports Illustrated, the Wall Street Journal and the Boston Globe. A former senior writer at the Wall Street Journal, Eig will talk about covering race and sports in America, and the challenges of capturing the life of an icon.
10:30-11:45 a.m. Breakout Sessions
Session 1: Sexual harassment in the media
Journalists have broken crucial stories about sexual harassment in Hollywood and elsewhere -- but the problem also hits their own newsrooms. Join a conversation about how to recognize and handle sexual harassment, how to cover harassment allegations as a journalist and how to foster a supportive newsroom environment.
- Rebecca Baker (moderator), president, Society of Professional Journalists
- Samantha Bomkamp, business reporter, Chicago Tribune
- Kyra Senese, Chicago co-captain, Journalism and Women Symposium, and managing editor, Railway Track & Structures
Session 2: Building trust through transparency and engagement
The days of hiding behind the curtain are over. The public wants to know how we do our jobs and how we make decisions. They want access to you, your journalists and your reporting. The Trusting News project is helping newsrooms do just that. Learn the seven strategies you can implement to help rebuild trust between the public and your news organization.
- Lynn Walsh, Trusting News Project
Session 3: Expanding your toolkit: Data scraping, data viz and storytelling
We'll show you how to scrape data from .PDFs and web pages, build interactive maps with spreadsheets and graphics with Google Fusion Tables. We'll also show you how to use Google Earth Pro and Google Earth Engine Timelapse to tell data-driven stories.
- Mike Reilley, Google News Lab
12-1:30 p.m. Lunch Roundtables
Lunch & Learn 1: How do we build trust with women in the #metoo era?
Discussion leader: Rebecca Baker, national president of SPJ and contributing editor at NewsMavens
Lunch & Learn 2: How do we build trust within ethnic communities?
Discussion leader: Bettina Chang, co-founder of City Bureau
Lunch & Learn 3: How do smart speakers (Alexa, Echo, Apple HomePod, Google Home, etc.) change the journalism news game?
Discussion leader: John MacLeod, CEO of Rivet Smart Audio
Lunch & Learn 4: Why can’t we stop saying “fake news”
Discussion leader: Lynn Walsh, project manager at Trusting News Project
Lunch & Learn 5: How journalists can make the most of Facebook
Discussion leader: Ben Meyerson, news editor for Blue Sky Innovation, Chicago Tribune
1:45-2:45 p.m. Breakout Sessions
Session 1: Community and corporate media: Can they, should they collaborate?
Community and multi-ethnic media have been serving communities often in the shadows of legacy media. Couldn’t the media ecosystem — and consumers — benefit from more collegial relationships? We'll explore how to help organizations understand how and why they might work together.
- Stephen Franklin (moderator), former labor and workplace reporter with the Chicago Tribune, former ethnic media project director with Public Narrative
- Christopher Benson, associate professor, Medill School
- Monica Davey, Chicago bureau chief, The New York Times
- Andrea Faye Hart, co-founder and director of community engagement, City Bureau
- Jeff McCarter, founder and executive director, Free Spirit Media
Session 2: Finding the truth in science news
The news release in your email claims that a “memory gene acts like a virus” that may spread Alzheimer’s disease through brain cells. A call alerts you to a widespread chemical spill in a city neighborhood. Veteran science and environmental journalists share their top tips for vetting sources, studies, breakthrough claims and potential crises to make sure their reporting is accurate, understandable and balanced. Learn how to recognize the clues that separate bogus claims and solid science.
- Abigail Foerstner, assistant professor, Medill School, and author of "James Van Allen: The First Eight Billion Miles"
- Michael Hawthorne, health and environment reporter, Chicago Tribune
- Kari Lydersen, lecturer, Medill School, and author of "Closing the Cloud Factories: Lessons from the Fight to Shut Down Chicago's Coal Plants"
Session 3: Podcasting do's and don'ts: How do you build audiences -- and keep them?
Charlie and Dometi bring expertise in podcast and audio news creation, content strategy, social media and media relations.
- Charlie Meyerson, vice president of editorial and development, Rivet Radio
- Dometi Pongo, anchor/reporter, WGN Radio 720 AM
3-4:30 p.m. SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards and reception
"Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government: When this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved."
— Benjamin Franklin