Speakers

 

 
 

friday

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Jill Hopke: What should journalism schools be teaching? 1-1:50 p.m.

Jill Hopke (Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison) is an Assistant Professor of Journalism in the College of Communication at DePaul University in Chicago. Her research and teaching explore the interface of people, the environment and new media technologies. Her professional experience includes social media, radio production and grant writing.

Hopke has written for The Conversation and In These Times magazine, as well as appeared on Fox News. Her writing for The Conversation has been republished in the International Business Times and Salon, as well as numerous local publications around the country.

Patty Lamberti: What should journalism schools be teaching? 1-1:50 p.m.

Patty Lamberti is the Director of Multimedia Journalism and a Professional-in-Residence at Loyola University Chicago. Before she began teaching ten years ago, she held editorial positions at Playboy, Latina and Lifetime TV. 

Suzanne McBride: What should journalism schools be teaching? 1-1:50 p.m.

Suzanne McBride has worked in the media industry for more than three decades, serving as a top newspaper editor and reporter before joining Columbia College’s faculty in 2005. Besides teaching journalism courses, Suzanne serves as chair of the Department of Communication and works as an editor for the Chicago Sun-Times.

With external grant support, she has launched two local news web sites - ChicagoTalks and AustinTalks - which have been honored by the country’s leading journalism organizations and featured the work of hundreds of Columbia students. Suzanne has been invited to speak at dozens of conferences across the U.S., Canada and Europe; she has traveled to Thailand to work as a specialist for the U.S. Department of State and served as a Fulbright Scholar in Ireland, where she researched online journalism and taught local news reporting at the Dublin Institute of Technology.

Patti Wolter: What should journalism schools be teaching? 1-1:50 p.m.

Patti Wolter is an Associate Professor at the Medill School of Journalism and an editorial consultant for print and online publications. She teaches across the Medill curriculum, with specialties in magazine editing, narrative structure, factchecking and health & science writing. Her particular interest is in storytelling across platforms and teaching science writing to both journalists and scientists.

Wolter has spent the past few years working on new approaches to journalism education at Medill. She successfully modernized Medill’s foundational undergraduate journalism course and has trained other instructors in her approach, resulting in increased student satisfaction and retention.

Before joining Medill in 2002, Wolter worked for 12 years in senior staff magazine jobs in New York, San Francisco and Chicago, including the managing editor and acting editor positions at Mother Jones magazine and the senior features editor position at Self magazine, where she managed award-winning and investigative content on women’s health. Her freelance writing continues to appear in a range of publications, including Self magazine.

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Cate Cahan: Covering a community crisis: Reporting on Chicago violence, 2-3:15 p.m.

As a WBEZ editor, Cate Cahan works with reporters and producers to conceive and research stories, edits scripts and digital copy, and organizes long-term projects.

Cate joined WBEZ in 1998 as editor for Eight Forty-Eight, then WBEZ's weekday morning newsmagazine. She's been interim news director and metro editor of beat reporters in community bureaus, and in business, politics, science, criminal and legal affairs, education, urban affairs and arts. Because she works with excellent reporters and producers Cate has received numerous local, regional and national awards. Before coming to WBEZ, she worked as editorial director for the local CBS station, WBBM.

She’s also been a magazine editor and worked as a newspaper reporter, which she still sometimes misses. Cate has a M.A. in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.A. in English from Mundelein College.

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Chip Mitchell: Covering a community crisis: Reporting on Chicago violence, 2-3:15 p.m.

Based at WBEZ’s studio on Chicago’s West Side, Chip Mitchell focuses on policing, gun violence and underground business.

Since joining WBEZ in 2006, his investigative and narrative work has earned dozens of local and national honors. He is a three-time winner of the Chicago Headline Club annual award for “best reporter” in broadcast radio. He has won two first-place National Headliner Awards, one for reporting that led to a felony indictment of Chicago’s most celebrated police commander, another for a short documentary about a Chicago heroin supply chain through Mexico and Texas. Other honors have come from Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Sidney Hillman Foundation, the Radio Television Digital News Association (Edward R. Murrow awards) and the National Association of Black Journalists.

From 2003 to 2006, Chip’s base was Bogotá, Colombia. He reported from conflict zones across that war-torn country and from numerous other Latin American nations. The stories reached U.S. audiences through PRI’s The World, NPR’s Morning Edition, the BBC, the Dallas Morning News, the Christian Science Monitor and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

From 1995 to 2003, Chip focused on immigration and U.S. roles in Latin America as editor of Connection to the Americas, winner of the 2003 Utne Independent Press Award for “general excellence” among newsletters nationwide. In 1995, the Milwaukee Press Club named one of Chip’s stories for the Madison newspaper Isthmus the year’s best investigative report in Wisconsin. The story examined a fatal shooting by narcotics officers in a rural mobile-home park.

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Patrick Smith: Covering a community crisis: Reporting on Chicago violence, 2-3:15 p.m.

Patrick Smith is a criminal justice reporter for WBEZ. He joined WBEZ as an intern in 2013 and never left.

Patrick has a B.S. in news reporting and writing from Columbia College Chicago and an almost M.A. in public affairs reporting from the same place. His reporting has won awards from the Associated Press, the Chicago Headline Club, the Radio Television Digital News Association and the Chicago Bar Association.

Patrick grew up a few miles north of Detroit. Now he lives in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood.

Rob Wildeboer: Covering a community crisis: Reporting on Chicago violence, 2-3:15 p.m.

Rob Wildeboer is the Senior Editor of News for WBEZ, heading up the daily news operation, and also Senior Editor of the Criminal Justice team.  

Much of his reporting work in recent years has focused on prisons. Rob spent much of 2012 seeking access to prisons in Illinois, waging a very public battle with Gov. Pat Quinn that resulted in reporters getting inside. Rob’s efforts were featured in several publications, including a cover story on prison reporting and access in the Columbia Journalism Review

In 2012 Rob also reported on the high cost of phone calls for inmates in the Cook County Jail. The series won many awards, including a Scripps Howard award and a PRNDI for best investigative reporting.

Rob's reporting has been recognized with dozens of other awards, including several Edward R. Murrow awards, PRNDIs, Lisagors, and numerous awards from the Associated Press. He’s been a Guggenheim Fellow for criminal justice reporting at John Jay College at the City University of New York. He spent the 2014/15 academic year as the Knight Wallace Law fellow at the University of Michigan. His work has been on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. He’s contributed to Tell me More, Here and Now, This American Life, the CBC, various BBC programs and Voice of America.

Rob joined Chicago Public Media in September 2004 as an intern for Eight Forty-Eight, later becoming a freelance contributor for the news department before taking over the criminal justice beat.

Rob has taught journalism in the graduate journalism program at Columbia College Chicago and at North Park University. He also frequently lectures locally and nationally at colleges, law schools, and once, somewhat strangely, at a medical school. Rob has an M.A. in Journalism from Columbia College and a B.A. in Philosophy from Calvin College. 

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Odette Yousef: Covering a community crisis: Reporting on Chicago violence, 2-3:15 p.m.

Odette Yousef is a WBEZ reporter covering immigration, race and class. 

Since joining the station in 2010, Odette has covered a range of stories, including local and state efforts around immigration policy, DREAMers and the impact of travel bans on Muslim-Americans and refugees. She has also delved into the reality of homelessness in Chicago, with stories about tent cities and the disappearance of affordable housing on the North Side. In 2016, Odette was part of a team at WBEZ to win a National Edward R. Murrow Award for best Continuing Coverage of how local officials in Puerto Rico were sending drug addicts to unlicensed therapy groups in Chicago, with false promises of professional treatment.

Odette’s coverage includes enterprise and data reporting, and she has contributed to NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, PRI’s The World and WNYC’s The Takeaway. In 2015, she served as president of the Chicago Headline Club, which is the largest chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Prior to joining WBEZ, Odette was a reporter at WABE FM in Atlanta.Odette received a B.A. in Economics and East Asian Studies from Harvard University.

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Bettina Chang: Listening to and engaging with your community, 3:30-4:45 p.m.

Lunch & Learn 2: How do we build trust within ethnic communities? Saturday, 12-1:30 p.m.

Bettina Chang is the Editorial Director at City Bureau, a Chicago-based journalism lab focused on media equity and civic engagement. Previously, she was Executive Digital Editor at Chicago magazine. She has also written and edited at DNAinfo Chicago and Pacific Standard magazine, and she reported from South Africa during the 2010 World Cup for the Star newspaper.

Summer Fields: Listening to and engaging with your community, 3:30-4:45 p.m.

Summer Fields has worked with newsrooms on serving their audiences' curiosity as an engagement consultant at Hearken since 2016. Before that, as part of her undergrad in sociology at UChicago, she wrote a thesis on the fraught concept of "diversity" within public media, and interviewed dozens of producers and podcasters of color on their experiences in the industry. She's enjoyed podcasting for the love of it, and has trained many other folks on how to produce audio stories. She lives in Chicago in the Hyde Park neighborhood, and hopes to stay in the city forever.

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Alison Bethel McKenzie: Keynote, "Let's Talk About Trust and the Media," 6-7:30 p.m.

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

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Jonathan Eig: Keynote, 9:15-10:15 a.m.

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 JournalIt 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.

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Rebecca Baker: Sexual harassment in the media, 10:30-11:45 a.m.

Lunch & Learn 1: How do we build trust with women in the #metoo era? 12-1:30 p.m.

Rebecca Baker is the national president of SPJ and a contributing editor at NewsMavens. She previously worked as a top editor at the New York Daily News and New York Law Journal and was a reporter for The Record in New Jersey, The Journal News in the northern suburbs of New York City and for the New Haven Register in Connecticut.

Samantha Bomkamp: Sexual harassment in the media, 10:30-11:45 a.m.

Samantha Bomkamp is a business reporter for the Chicago Tribune who has covered the rise of #MeToo and solutions to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. She previously covered the restaurant industry and served as a digital editor and producer at the Tribune. She came to Chicago in 2013 from New York, where she worked as a travel industry reporter for The Associated Press, but she cut her journalism teeth at daily newspapers in Maine and Iowa. She has a degree in psychology from Ohio State University.

 

Kyra Senese: Sexual harassment in the media, 10:30-11:45 a.m.

Kyra Senese is managing editor at a Chicago B2B magazine covering the freight railroad industry, as well as Chicago co-captain of the Journalism & Women Symposium's local group. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Columbia College Chicago in May 2016, where she worked as editor at the weekly student newspaper, The Columbia Chronicle. Kyra has previously interned at Advertising Age magazine and Crain’s National and is currently freelancing.

 
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Lynn Walsh: Building trust through transparency and engagement, 10:30-11:45 a.m.

Lunch & Learn 4: Why can’t we stop saying “fake news,” 12-1:30 p.m. 

Lynn Walsh is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has worked in investigative, data and TV journalism at the national level as well as locally in California, Ohio, Texas and Florida. Lynn is a digital explorer working to help companies, newsrooms and organizations engage the public with ethical content, no matter the medium or purpose. She believes strongly in government transparency, holding the powerful accountable and spends more time than she would like fighting for access to public information.

Currently, she is a freelance journalist and the Project Manager for the Trusting News project, where she works to help rebuild trust between journalists and the public by working with newsrooms to be more transparent about how they do their jobs.

She serves on the National Board for the Society of Professional Journalists and during her term as National President for the organization spoke out against threats to the First Amendment, while working to protect and defend journalists and journalism. She also serves the journalism organization as a member of SPJ’s FOI and Ethics committees. Lynn was also selected to represent SPJ on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Advisory Committee where she recommends changes to help improve the FOIA process.

Mike Reilley: Expanding your toolkit: Data scraping, data viz and storytelling, 10:30-11:45 a.m.

Mike is an SPJ digital trainer who has taught Google News Lab tools to more than 3,000 journalists and educators of the past two-plus years. When he’s not on the road doing trainings, he teaches data and multimedia journalism at the University of Illinois-Chicago and consults with major news organizations through his company, Penny Press Digital.

A former reporter at the LA Times and web editor at the Chicago Tribune, Mike served for 13 years as a faculty member at Northwestern, Arizona State University and DePaul University, teaching digital journalism to thousands of students and professional journalists. He holds journalism degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (undergrad) and Northwestern University (masters). Mike founded and updates the research site The Journalist’s Toolbox (journaliststoolbox.org) for SPJ. Twitter: @journtoolbox | Email: mikereilley1@gmail.com

John MacLeod: Lunch & Learn 3: How do smart speakers (Alexa, Echo, etc.) change the journalism news game? 12-1:30 p.m.

John MacLeod, CEO of Rivet Smart Audio, has an extensive background and current focus within the IoT. He is a global executive with broad and rich experiences spanning automotive, technology and media industries. John has a successful track record across public (Disney and NAVTEQ), turnaround (NAVTEQ) and start-up (Rivet) companies. John established Rivet, a smart audio company, to re-imagine the way spoken-word content is produced, programmed, distributed and consumed in a voice-first world.

 

Ben Meyerson: Lunch & Learn 5: How journalists can make the most of Facebook

This new SPJ/Facebook Journalism Project collaboration provides training in products and tools -- including Live, Groups, Creators app and CrowdTangle -- that can help journalists leverage Facebook and Instagram for news gathering, storytelling and connecting with their followers.

Ben Meyerson is news editor for Blue Sky Innovation at the Chicago Tribune. He also is an executive board member of the Chicago Headline Club.

 

Stephen Franklin: Community and corporate media: Can they, should they collaborate? 1:45-2:45 p.m.

Stephen Franklin is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, who was a foreign correspondent and labor writer for the Chicago Tribune. He was also a reporter in Miami, Detroit and Philadelphia. He was the project manager for Islam for Journalists, was a fellow for the International Center for Journalists in Egypt, and has taught journalists from Africa to the Middle East to South Asia. He was the ethnic media project director for Public Narrative. He has taught at the University of Illinois, DePaul University, Northwestern University, and Columbia College Chicago.

 

Christopher Benson: Community and corporate media: Can they, should they collaborate? 1:45-2:45 p.m.

Christopher Benson, a journalist and lawyer, is an associate professor of journalism.  He teaches media law and ethics, magazine writing and a special topics course on media and the marginalized, focusing on media responsibility and the role of the media in the construction of social difference.

As a professional journalist, Benson has worked as Washington Editor for Ebony magazine, city hall reporter in Chicago for WBMX-FM, and as a contributor for The Chicago Reporter, writing a weekly online column on justice, race and media issues.  Additionally, he has contributed feature articles to Chicago, Savoy, and The Crisis magazines, and has contributed commentary to The Huffington Post, the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, and the Chicago Sun-Times.

As an attorney, he served as vice president and associate counsel for Johnson Publishing Company, Inc., the parent company of Ebony.  Among other things, he conducted pre-publication review of all company magazines for libel, privacy and copyright issues, and was Chicago management liaison for the startup and ongoing oversight of Ebony South Africa magazine.

Benson is co-author with Mamie Till-Mobley of "Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America," the account of the historical significance of the 1955 lynching of Mrs. Till-Mobley’s son, Emmett Till, and the winner of the 2003 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award Special Recognition. 

Monica Davey: Community and corporate media: Can they, should they collaborate? 1:45-2:45 p.m.

Monica Davey is the Chicago Bureau Chief of The New York Times. She works on The Times's National Desk in a dual role as an editor and reporter based in Chicago, a bureau that covers 11 states in the Midwest.

Davey has worked at The Times since 2003. She has covered street violence and police conduct in Chicago, the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy in Detroit, and the water crisis in Flint, Mich. She has written about the fast-changing political landscape across the Midwest; shifts in farming, oil, labor unions and factories; and the demise of more than a few Illinois politicians.

Davey, a Chicago native, previously worked at the Chicago Tribune, The St. Petersburg Times (Fla., now the Tampa Bay Times), The Roanoke Times (Va.) and City News Bureau of Chicago. She received a bachelor's degree in linguistics from Brown University.

Andrea Faye Hart: Community and corporate media: Can they, should they collaborate? 1:45-2:45 p.m.

Andrea Faye Hart is a Chicago-based journalist, media-based organizer and interdisciplinary educator. She is a Co-Founder and the Director of Community Engagement at City Bureau. Since 2010 she has designed collaborative journalism programs for media outlets as well as leading youth media organizations. In 2016 she served on the Hive Chicago Learning Network Advisory Committee and continues to freelance teach as well as creatively consult for other organizations. She was a 2016 Voqal Social Entrepreneur fellow, a Fall 2015 recipient of a Shuttleworth Foundation Flash Grant and a local news consultant for the Democracy Foundation in 2017.

Jeff McCarter: Community and corporate media: Can they, should they collaborate? 1:45-2:45 p.m.

Jeff McCarter is the Founder & Executive Director of Free Spirit Media, which he created in 2001 in order to share his experience as a media professional (Emmy Award-winning producer, cameraman, director, and editor) with young people from under-resourced communities. Jeff witnessed the lack of diversity in both representation and opportunity in mainstream media. Now, Free Spirit Media transforms media and society by providing opportunities for emerging creators, primarily from communities of color, to produce and distribute original content and to pursue artistic, personal and professional aspirations.

Jeff worked on feature films directed by Steven Soderbergh and Ron Howard, and on documentary television with ABC News, PBS, and WTTW Chicago. He earned a BA in Humanities and Film Production at the University of Colorado and has studied NonProfit Strategy and Management at Harvard Business School, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Jeff is a founding co-chair of the Chicago Youth Voices Network and serves on the boards of Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV), the Advocate Bethany Community Health Fund, and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Chicago/Midwest Chapter. He is a thought leader in the fields of creative workforce development and youth media education, and has presented at multiple conferences, including Digital Media and Learning, the Alliance for Community Media, and the Alliance for Media Arts & Culture.

Jeff is a fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Emerging Leaders Program, the National Arts Strategies CEO Program, and is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and the Chicago Ideas Co-Op. He lives with his family on Chicago’s West Side.

 

Abigail Foerstner: Finding the truth in science news, 1:45-2:45 p.m.

Abigail Foerstner co-directs health, environment and science journalism in the career-focused, graduate program at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. Her students learn to makes science accessible to general audiences who have a critical stake in understanding medical options and fast-paced innovation in fields such as nanotechnology. Students publish stories with the Medill News Service and media partners through Medill’s newsrooms.

Foerstner initiated an embedded reporting program where graduate journalism students join field research teams to follow the retreat of the glaciers in Mongolia, challenge drought in India with “pop-up” greenhouses, track storm triggers on the Great Plains or mine the secrets of the universe at CERN. They return from the field to produce and pitch stories to major media.

Foerstner’s own embedded reporting brings her each summer to the excavations at Cahokia, the greatest Ancient American metropolis in North America where a 1,000-year-old earthen pyramid still rises to a 100-foot pinnacle. Her research is for a book – already under contract - to bring the story of culture and climate change past and present home to our own backyards. Her previous books include the biography, "James Van Allen: The First Eight Billion Miles," a fresh, fast-paced look at the dawn of the space race when Van Allen and rocket pioneer Wernher von Braun matched wits on America’s first satellite after Sputnik beat the U.S. into orbit.

Foerstner’s 40-year career as a journalist began when she initiated science and environmental coverage as a staff reporter for regional sections of the Chicago Tribune and received awards for investigative and environmental reporting.

Michael Hawthorne: Finding the truth in science news, 1:45-2:45 p.m.

Michael Hawthorne is an investigative reporter who focuses on environment and public health issues for the Chicago Tribune. His stories have prompted new laws and health reforms at the federal and state level, including a U.S. ban on the export of mercury, rules to eliminate toxic, ineffective flame retardants in household furniture and tougher safety requirements for Illinois water utilities. He began his journalism career in Daytona Beach, Fla., and reported for newspapers in Illinois and Ohio before joining the Tribune in 2004.

Kari Lydersen: Finding the truth in science news, 1:45-2:45 p.m.

Kari Lydersen is a lecturer in Medill’s MSJ graduate program and leader of the Social Justice & Investigative specialization in the program. She is also a Chicago journalist and author focusing on energy, environment and science stories, including for Midwest Energy News. Until 2009 she was a staff writer for the Washington Post out of the Midwest bureau, and she wrote for the Washington Post’s Science page. She is now a stringer for the Washington Post’s regional network. Kari also wrote for the New York Times Chicago edition as part of the Chicago News Cooperative, and her work has appeared in other outlets including Discover Magazine, the Guardian, The Economist, People Magazine, the Pacific Standard, the Chicago Reader and In These Times magazine. In 2011-2012, Kari was a Ted Scripps Environmental Journalism Fellow at the University of Colorado, where she studied environmental and energy law and policy and focused on hard rock mining. Her six books include “Closing the Cloud Factories: Lessons from the fight to shut down Chicago’s coal plants.” www.karilydersen.net

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Charlie Meyerson: Podcasting do's and don'ts: How do you build audiences -- and keep them? 1:45-2:45 p.m.

Charlie Meyerson’s devoted a career to bringing news to the Chicago area—on air, online, in print. You may have heard him on WXRT, WGN or WBEZ, or read his work for the Chicago Tribune. He’s the winner of dozens of journalism awards—including a national 2016 Edward R. Murrow Award for online audio investigative reporting. And you can read his take on the day’s news weekdays at ChicagoPublicSquare.com.

Dometi Pongo: Podcasting do's and don'ts: How do you build audiences -- and keep them? 1:45-2:45 p.m.

Dometi Pongo is a news anchor and reporter for WGN Radio and the host of the ChiPedia Podcast on WGN Plus. Prior to joining WGN Radio, he served as news director for the legendary urban talk radio station WVON 1690AM, where he wrote and produced radio features spurring thoughtful dialogue on issues relevant to under-resourced communities. 
As a multimedia consultant, his firm Pongo Strategy Group, LLC produces the Chicago Urban League’s “Dear Black Voter” and “CULture, Race and Equity” podcasts.
For more information, visit dometipongo.com