2018 PRNDI Conference Schedule

Feb 26, 2018

Check out the schedule for the 33rd annual PRNDI conference in Philadelphia at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel City Center. Don't forget to register for the conference and book your room ASAP!


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

PRNDI News Manager Training and Certification (2-day training) - Whether you’re a new or aspiring news director or a veteran newsroom leader, this dynamic, interactive two-day workshop is for you.  Held in advance of the annual PRNDI conference, the training will give you the practical skills you need to be an effective news manager - from establishing your newsroom vision to to running an effective news meeting; from setting the daily agenda to to navigating ethical and legal minefields; from managing people (maybe people who used to be your peers) to editing stories -- all while advancing your team into the digital future. Those who successfully complete the training will receive a PRNDI certificate of completion.  The workshop is led by public media news veterans Michael Marcotte and Judith Smelser.  Mike authored PRNDI’s Public Radio News Directors Guide (PRNDG), is the former news director of KPBS, president of MVM Consulting and a journalism professor at the University of New Mexico.  Judith is a former managing editor at Colorado Public Radio and former news director at WMFE; she now runs Smelser Editing & Consulting, working with stations and journalists across the country.  

PRNDI Editor Training (2-day training) - For the second year, PRNDI and NPR Training are teaming up to offer a two-day editor training session for member station editors. PRNDI’s Terry Gildea and Alicia Zuckerman (WLRN), along with NPR’s Alison MacAdam, will lead a team of presenters dedicated to helping build stronger audio and digital media editors. We’ll cover workflow, balancing the daily news cycle with long form story production, managing digital and audio content and editing podcasts. We’ll also have a chance to field and troubleshoot public media editors’ greatest challenges and frustrations. More information to come.

Putting the FUN in Fundamentals (2-day training) - Social media and new technologies have drastically changed the way journalists work and disseminate information, but the fundamentals are still the fundamentals. Without strong researching, story visioning, writing, fact-checking and interviewing skills, a journalist couldn’t effectively do his or her job, regardless of the fanciest new app. In this two-day session, journalism educators and news managers Julianne Welby and George Bodarky will be putting the FUN in fundamentals. This lively and interactive workshop is perfect for new and new(er) reporters who’ve never had any formal training or who simply want to sharpen their skills. Please bring audio recording equipment and your laptop for a fun-filled two days of training.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

PRNDI News Manager Training & Certification Day 2

Editor Training Day 2

Putting the FUN in Fundamentals Day 2

What the fact!: Learn to Become a Better Fact Checker (1-day Training) - Fact-checking is vital to journalism. This is especially true now that we're dealing with so-called "fake news" and "alternative facts." In this six-hour workshop, Brooke Borel, journalist and author of The Chicago Guide to Fact-Checking, will walk you through the what why and how of fact-checking. You'll learn how to vet sources of all types. Hands-on exercises will teach you how to fact-check quotes, photographs, headlines, and more. We’ll also cover how to navigate relationships with writers, reporters, editors, and sources.

You'll come away from the class ready to fact-check at any news outlet, and you'll also have tips on how you can apply these steps to your own work if you don’t have the luxury of working with a fact-checker.

***Please bring a fully-charged laptop, a notebook and pen/pencil, and an audio recorder***

7 p.m. - AIR offsite event - What happens when a public media station, indie producers, and neighbors work together to tell the story of a community in a new way? PRNDI opens the 2018 conference in North Philly with a live, on-state collaboration produced by WHYY, AIR, and people from the community. More information to come. 

Friday, June 22, 2018

7:30 a.m. - 8:30 - Breakfast

8:45 – 10 a.m. – Main Session: Creating A Safe Newsroom Environment - It’s been a very difficult year for many employees in public media. Revelations of sexual harassment and bullying in our industry have prompted the network and stations of all sizes to re-examine their policies for cracking down on toxic environments. But how do we as new managers and editors create a working environment that is emotionally safe? How do we help create and implement policies that encourage and support people to report harassment?  How do these new practices fit into a deadline driven environment that has traditionally functioned with some negative energy? This session will imagine that new environment. More information to come.

10 – 10:15 Break

10:15 – 11:30 – Breakouts

  • Truth Testing in a Post-Truth Era - There is so much misinformation spread around that audiences no longer know what to believe. That said, it's more important than ever for journalists in all media to verify their facts. In this session you'll learn the process of fact-checking; common mistakes and how to avoid them; how to identify and assess credible sources; best practices for live fact-checking; and more. Our esteemed panel includes Brooke Borel, author of The Chicago Guide to Fact-Checking, and Eugene Kiely of Factcheck.org. This session is moderated by Naomi Starobin, Radio General Manager of WHYY and a former fact checker.
  • The NPR Station Compact - Get the latest information on NPR’s initiative to work with member station newsrooms to build regional news hubs around the country. Join NPR’s Bruce Auster, Senior Director of the Collaborative Journalism Network and other presenters to find out how this new network of newsrooms is taking shape.
  • Emergency Communication: The Heart of Community Engagement - From natural disasters to mass shootings and even a false alert of a missile attack, it’s been a year of events underlining how communities depend on their public radio stations for information in case of an emergency. And yet the way emergencies are communicated by government officials has come under closer examination in the past year. Do you know your IPAWS from your FEMA? And where the lines are drawn among communication from the federal government, the state and local authorities? And what’s the best way to be prepared for the next surprise when it comes to providing critical information quickly to your community?

11:45 – 1:00 – Lunch: Covering Mid-term Elections - The 2018 midterm elections have the potential to reshape the political landscape.  What will it mean if the Republicans lose control of either the House or Senate?  What if the Democrats take over?  Will there be gridlock in Washington because of who sits in the White House?  Our two expert panelists are journalists and political observers.  Scott Detrow is congressional correspondent for NPR and Yamiche Alcindor is the PBS NewsHour’s White House correspondent.  They will help us understand why who wins in November is so important, why our coverage of the midterm elections matter so much and what’s at stake.

1:15 – 2:30 - Breakouts

  • Social Media Boundaries - Being a reporter while being a person - In a media landscape that is becoming increasingly polarized, how do journalists balance expressing their personal views with their duty to report the news objectively? How does this play out on social media when many reporters have a professional identity on many platforms.  This panel will examine the ethical boundaries of being a reporter and being yourself on social media.
  • Anatomy of an Investigation with Reveal - When Reveal reporters started to look into whether lenders treat people of color differently than white applicants, producer Laura Starecheski had no idea that her recent home purchase in Philadelphia would come into play. But it turned out, she lived in a neighborhood where black lenders were being turned away, while she was able to get a loan in no time at all. Laura will show you how Reveal built this investigation, and created a dataset to share with stations and news partners around the country. Several stations picked up the story, and were able to feature a local investigation based on the national database. We'll hear from some of the newsrooms who took part in the project about how they did it. In a time when investigative reporting is more important than ever, collaborations like this one can provide listenings with in-depth local reporting. while amplifying the impact of the national story.
  • Best Digital Practices for Small Newsrooms - Small newsrooms have unique challenges.  Some newsrooms may have a news director and a Morning Edition achor.  For other newsrooms, it may just be a one-person show.  With the need to reach digital audiences, small newsrooms may feel overwhelmed in trying to tackle the beast that can be digital, on top of creating content for the air.  Join this session to learn how to conquer the digital beast.  The members of this panel have cut their digital teeth in small newsrooms and understand the challenges that small stations face.  Jim Hill, Assistant Digital News Editor with Colorado Public Radio, and Heather Brandon, Digital Editor at NEPR in Springfield, Massachusetts, will talk about digital tips and how to manage workflow.  For stations that want to use students for help in the newsroom, Gary Green, Deputy News Editor and Digital Director of the Innovation News Center College of Journalism & Communications at the University of Florida, will give advice on how to utilize students for digital work and work on-air.

3:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. –  Breakouts

  • Covering Mother Nature: Breaking News Coverage During Natural Disasters - Harvey, Maria, and Irma.  These storms pounded the country and left major destruction in their path.  The West Coast has seen devastating wildfires. In this session, you’ll learn what three stations did when the coverage started and tips on what to do when covering a natural disaster for an extended period of time.  Learn how to manage stories as well as how to help the journalists that are covering the stories in an extended basis.  The panel for this session includes Nancy Klingener, Florida Keys reporter with WLRN. Nancy will discuss how she covered Hurricane Irma’s destruction of the Keys. Rick Holter, Vice President of News at KERA, will discuss the coverage and flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Texas.  In coverage of the wildfires in California, Queena Sook Kim, Senior Editor of the Silicon Valley Desk of KQED, will discuss how she has managed her team through this coverage.  Bring your questions with you for this interactive panel discussion.
  • Covering Diverse Communities - If your newsroom was to survey all the stories it did last year, would they reflect the community you’re charged with covering? Or would you find certain issues and interests receive a disproportionate amount of attention? Are there certain neighborhoods or geographic areas you’re ignoring? This session offers practical advice for how to effectively take a critical look at your coverage, plan intentionally and get outside your newsroom’s comfort zones. Editors who’ve been there will discuss their successes and failures.
  • Can Public Radio People Afford to Work in Public Radio? The Critical Need for Smart Recruitment and Retention - Public radio has lost a number of strong on air voices and off air talent in the relatively recent past. In certain cases, money has played a role, but it’s not the only factor. What does it take to attract the best and the brightest to our local public radio stations and to keep them on our teams? Issues range from financial considerations to diversity to providing progressive challenges for smart team members at every level. Learn what’s working and what you can use--even if you can’t boost your budget.

6:00 – Event at WHYY - Terry Gross, host of Fresh Air from WHYY, in conversation with Joshua Johnson, host of 1A from WAMU. Hor d'oeuvres will be served.


Saturday, June 23, 2018

8:30 a.m. - 9:15  a.m. –  Breakfast

9:15  a.m. – 10:30 a.m. – Main Session: Protecting the First Amendment: How Free is Our Freedom of the Press? - The First Amendment guarantees the freedoms of speech and press, among others, but what exactly do they protect?  And are they secure right now?  More and more, the press is under attack, and credible outlets are being branded as "fake news."  Join us in this main session as we learn why a free press is democratically essential and how our rights as journalists actually work.  The presenter is Jonathan Peters, a media law professor at the University of Georgia and the Columbia Journalism Review's press freedom correspondent.  

10:30 - 10:45 - Break

10:45 – Noon – Breakouts

  • Doc, Drop the White Coat: Undressing Health Reporting - MDs in white coats, PhDs in their ivory towers, we need their expertise and access to tell great stories. But too often health care reporting gets bogged down in policy minutia or pinned to the latest “promising” research finding. Taunya English and Maiken Scott from WHYY’s health and science show The Pulse share strategies for getting health experts to show a little personality — and drop their pretensions. Listeners rely on us to translate policy and track important health care changes, but we can also use our public radio skill to tackle the puzzling questions that make hospital stays a mystery and doctor’s visits so frustrating: Do surgeons lie? Why do we sometimes cry after anesthesia? What really goes on in the operating room after you’re knocked out and stretched out on the table? That’s health-care territory where local news reporters rarely venture. Join The Pulse breakout session and learn about storytelling techniques that make listeners care about health research and policy. Maiken and Taunya will challenge you to expand your newsroom's health coverage by getting right in the middle of things; in the OR, behind the waiting room door, in the break room where the white coats come off.
  • Be A Better One Man Band: Visual Storytelling for the “Radio” Reporter - Some public media organizations have photographers or a visuals teams. Others have...well, you. The reporter. In the field trying to ask the right questions, grab the best tape AND take photos. This nuts-and-bolts session will provide practical tips for how you can maximize your efficiency in the field, rethink your workflow, and capture better images to accompany your stories, whether you’re an experienced radio reporter yet mediocre photographer -- or someone from a small newsroom struggling to tell the same story on many platforms -- you’ll leave this session better equipped to tell stories that live beyond the radio.
  • Editor Office Hours (times TBA) - Aspiring, new and veteran editors will have an opportunity to sign up for one-on-one consultations with experienced editors from member stations and AIR’s Better Edit fellowship program. Bring your questions, challenges and ideas for feedback on specific or big picture issues.

12:00 – 12:15  – Break

12:15 p.m. –  2:30 p.m. – Lunch/Business Meeting

2:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. – Break

2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Breakouts

  • Rethinking Collaboration: Building Outside-the-Box Partnerships - A debate. A panel discussion. Co-reporting a story. Sure, your station is collaborating with other media entities and partnering with community organizations. That’s what you’re supposed to be doing, right? Well...yes. But it doesn’t have to stop there -- and it doesn’t have to be so boring. In this session, you’ll hear from newsroom leaders who’ve created unorthodox projects that’ll surprise and inspire you.
  • We've Got the Beat! - Congratulations: you just got assigned your first reporting beat. Or maybe you have been handed editing duties for a beat. How do you approach it; what is different from being on general assignment; how do you build sources and get started; what does it take to guide, lead and target reporters on a beat? And what beats should you select? All secrets revealed and shared. Our presenters include John Barth, Chief Content Officer of PRX and Nancy Cassutt, Executive Director of News & Programming for Minnesota Public Radio.
  • Listen to the Sound - We work in the realm of audio. We spend a lot of time talking about how to be better journalists, better managers, better editors, and better producers. This is a chance to think about what it means to be a better listener and what to do with that. In a session inspired by the Third Coast International Audio Festival, come take some time to just sit and listen together. Listen to and discuss work that embraces and celebrates our medium, from radio reporting to sound art. This is a moment to remind ourselves about the depth and beauty we have at our disposal every day, to remind us what’s possible in audio, and to help our newsrooms and colleagues get better at using sound.

6:00 – Cocktails - Before the annual awards banquet, take this last opportunity to network with the colleagues you’ve met at the conference.  Sponsored by the National Endowment for Financial Education

7:00 – Awards - Join PRNDI as we honor the best of the best in Public Radio News.  We’ll also get a chance to hear from this year’s Leo C. Lee Award Winner, NPR's Keith Woods. Sponsored by PRX and CIR.