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.

Professional reviewers: 

  • 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.

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.

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