PRNDI 2017 Conference Schedule & Registration

Mar 27, 2017

You asked for it, now it's here! It's the schedule for this year's annual PRNDI Conference which will be held in Miami in June.  The schedule is below as we know it.  We'll continue to update the program as we finalize more details, but in the meantime, go ahead and get registered for the conference HERE.  

Early registration pricing will be available through May 23rd.  After that date, prices will raise to late pricing.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

NOTE THIS SESSION IS FULL!!!  News Manager Training  - Today’s newsroom leaders face BIG challenges: they set editorial strategy and ethical standards for their organizations; they plan short-term and long-range coverage; they assign and edit stories; they manage people and budgets; and, they’re helping navigate a digital future for public media journalism.  This dynamic, interactive two-day workshop will focus on practical skills you will use.

You will come away with a clearer newsroom vision, a smart news coverage agenda, strategies to improve your team, confidence in your ability to find and deliver impactful journalism — and you’ll have a plan for dealing with rapid changes in audience demands and new technologies.

The workshop is led by public media news veterans Michael Marcotte and Judith Smelser.  Mike is president of MVM Consulting and a Professor of Practice in Journalism at the University of New Mexico. He’s served as news director of KPBS in San Diego and KPLU in Seattle-Tacoma, and is currently a local news consultant for Democracy Fund. He authored The Public Radio News Directors Guide, upon which much of this training was based. Judith is the founder of Smelser Editing & Consulting, which provides news-related consulting services, training and story editing to media organizations around the country. Smelser was managing editor at Colorado Public Radio, where she led day-to-day operations of CPR’s 17-person newsroom and previously was news director at WMFE in Orlando, Florida.

NOTE THIS SESSION IS FULL!! Editor Training Presented by NPR & PRNDI - What is an editor’s role in making a good story and shaping overall coverage? How do editors help reporters & producers transition their ideas into stories that captivate listeners? How do you as an editor achieve the right “bedside manner” that both supports and challenges reporters?  How can you develop an environment that encourages peer and group editing? We’ll attempt to answer these questions and more in a comprehensive two-day editor training put together by PRNDI and NPR Training. We’ll tackle innovative ways to edit daily news content on audio and digital platforms, long-term coverage planning, and podcasts, and we’ll explore ways to approach editing that brings out the best in your newsroom’s reporters. This training is designed for those currently serving in editorial roles. Join Alison MacAdam, Senior Editorial Specialist from NPR’s training team, Alicia Zuckerman, Editorial Director at WLRN and Terry Gildea, News Director at KUER and President of PRNDI, along with others for this great training opportunity.

Moneyball Your Reporting: Practical Strategies for Working Faster While Doing Better Work – We all face intense deadline pressure.  The goal of this training session is to give public media journalists and producers concrete new strategies for managing those stresses.  How can we balance the growing need for speed and fast turn-arounds with our audience’s unique demand for quality and richness? 

Brian Mann, Adirondack Bureau Chief for North Country Public Radio, will help participants think in new ways about their own creative process, finding practical ideas that will accelerate each project while also making the work better and sharper.  The mission of this session isn’t ‘corporate efficiency.’  Our objective is to help participants free themselves to do better, more enterprise-driven work.

“Brian Mann is a really good, really fast journalist in part because he's thought hard about how to work better and faster under fierce deadline pressure. He’s developed a process that allows him to meet daily deadlines while making time for the deeper enterprise reporting that other general assignment reporters struggle to make happen. His training session can help other public media story-tellers who want to sharpen their own approach.  –Andrea DeLeon, NPR Senior Editor and Northeast Bureau Chief

*Participants in this Wednesday training will also have an opportunity to meet with Brian for a one-on-one coaching session on Thursday.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

News Manager Training Day 2

Editor Training Day 2

Brian Mann One-on-One sessions

Beyond Radio: Telling your Stories Online and on Social Media - Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute leads this energizing, entertaining and informational day-long training session.   Al will teach you how to come a “Social Media Ninja” who can confidently use graphics, photos and videos to tell your stories.  You’ll learn practical tips on what to post—and what to avoid.  You’ll examine the differences between telling a story on-line and on the radio and you’ll learn how to leverage your limited resources to do both well.   And Al will share his “cool tools”, an extensive list of valuable on-line tips and tricks.  

Environmental Reporting Field Trip & Training: This trip will introduce reporters to the environmental issues in the Everglades and also an understanding of how the city of Miami is dealing with sea level rise. Breakfast and lunch are included.

The bus will leave the hotel at 7 a.m., and head to the Everglades for an airboat tour led by Erik Eikenberg and Steve Davis of the Everglades Foundation. You’ll learn about Everglades policy, water management, ecology and how these issues have changed recently with impacts on this region.

The Everglades restoration project is by some measures the most expensive environmental project happening in the world, and it's being funded through federal tax dollars (some state money is also involved).

Lunch will be served on a "tree island" in the Miccosukee reservation.

On the way back, we’ll stop at an area of Tamiami Trail that was retrofitted to allow for better waterflow through the Everglades. Then we go into Miami Beach to learn about the $500+ million sea-level-rise mitigation project, including water pumps and raised streets.

We’ll arrive back at the hotel by 4 p.m., in time to clean up and attend the opening night reception.


7 p.m. - Reception with BBC World Service & American Public Media - Just arriving? Coming off two days of training? Either way, you’ll want to grab your drink tickets and say hello to your colleagues at the opening night reception.

Friday, June 23, 2017

8:00 – 5:00 – Registration Desk Open – Atlantis Mezzanine

8:00 – Continental breakfast & visit with vendors – Atlantis Mezzanine

9:00 - 10:15 a.m. – Main Session – Real News in a Fake News Era - Atlantis Ballroom – It’s on all of our do we, leaders of newsrooms, defend our “real news” in an era when “fake news” gets so much attention?  Panelists:  Nancy Ancrum, Editorial Page Editor,Miami Herald; Anthony Zurcher, North America reporter, BBC news; and Mark Memmott, NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices.

10:15 – 10:30 – Break & Visit with Vendors – Atlantis Mezzanine

10:30 – 11:45– Breakouts

  • Imagining a Collaborative Journalism Network – Atlantis Ballroom - Join Bruce Auster (@bruceauster;, who leading the collaborative coverage initiative for NPR, for a discussion of next steps in NPR's and Member stations' efforts to work together and to build a structure that allows us to operate as a true network. The conversation will cover plans to experiment with new models and approaches for handling breaking news and planning coverage together.
  • Fear No Healthcare Story – Tiffany I - Now that the House has passed its version of the healthcare bill, what’s next?  What will these changes in healthcare coverage mean for communities across the country?  You’ll find ways to generate and cultivate healthcare stories that are engaging, compelling and have an impact. Panelists are:  Mary Shedden, News Director at WUSF and Editor of the Health News Florida journalism collaborative; Carmel Wroth, Managing Editor of Side Effects Public Media and Karoline Mortensen, Associate Professor of Health Sector Management and Policy at the University of Miami.   Moderator of this session is Sammy Mack, Health Care policy reporter for WLRN. 
  • Hidden Figures: How Smart Business Reporting Can Boost Your Local News Coverage – Tiffany II - If your eyes glaze over at the mention of Gross Domestic Product or tax policy, fear not—business news can provide unique insights into your community—and stories that go far beyond numbers. This break out session will include some perspectives and tips that you can take home and put to immediate use in rounding out your local news coverage—no previous experience needed. We'll get help from Marketplace's New York bureau chief Deidre Depke, as well as WLRN Vice President of News and business news program host Tom Hudson, a veteran of Nightly Business Report on PBS and former Bloomberg News Asia Pacific Managing Editor for Broadcast Bill Dorman.

12:00 – 1:30 – Keynote Address from Michael Oreskes, Senior Vice-President of News and Editorial Director for NPR – Kitchen 305 - (@MichaelOreskes; will address the challenges journalists are facing in the current media environment and how Member stations and NPR continue to strengthen their collaborative relationship. This moment presents a real opportunity for NPR and Member stations to build a true local, regional, and national news network. That will take work and commitment -- to create a new architecture that encourages us to work together, to recognize the importance of great editors to great journalism, and to reach our audiences where they are.

1:45 – 3:00 - Breakouts

  • Helping Reporters Transition to Editors – Atlantis Ballroom - Come hear from people who are in newsrooms that are training reporters to be editors. How can that help a newsroom, small or large, function better? How do you help reporters make the transition? Panelists: Donna Vestal (Director of Content Strategy, KCUR); Emily Siner (reporter, Nashville Public Radio); Kate Smith (contract/freelance public media editor).
  • Breaking News – Tiffany I - Are You Ready?  How prepared is your shop to respond to a live shooter in your city?  How about a train derailment, an explosion or a major chemical spill?  During an emergency, things move fast and you don’t need to be making basic procedural decisions.  In this session, Matt Shafer Powell (WFYI) and Julianne Welby (WNYC) of PRNDI’s Breaking News Training team will guide you through the first steps of creating a Breaking News Plan so that you can focus on the emergency—not the process for covering it.
  • NPR audio training – Tiffany II - Rob Byers from NPR will talk audio production. What are some common gripes from reporters on gathering and editing audio? Best practices, but also question and answers tackling some of the stickiest audio editing scenarios.

3:00 – 3:15 – Break & Visit with Vendors – Atlantis Mezzanine

3:15 – 4:30 – Main Session – Reporting on Guns with Al Tompkins – Atlantis Ballroom - Mass shootings and deep divisions over gun laws force us to frequently talk about firearms in our reporting.   But in public media, very few of us own guns. As a result, our reporting is often inaccurate and compromised by our assumptions.   Poynter’s Al Tompkins will address some of the most common mistakes journalists make when reporting on firearms.  What’s the difference between a rifle and a shotgun?   What’s a “semi-automatic” rifle?   And what does the “AR” in “AR15” mean? (hint: it’s not what you think!)    

5:00 pm –– Reception with WLRN - Local station WLRN is planning a great evening out for participants of the PRNDI Conference. We will board buses for a trip to downtown Miami and an exclusive, private reception at the city's brand new $300+ million dollar Frost Science Museum. Enjoy spectacular vistas and unique sense-of-place entertainment, food and beverages. You won’t want to miss it. Buses will board to return to the hotel at 9 p.m.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

8:00 a.m. – Registration Desk Open - Atlantis Mezzanine

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 – Continental Breakfast & Visit with Vendors – Atlantis Mezzanine

8:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. – Main session - Conflicts Between Newsrooms and Station License Holders – Atlantis Ballroom - Is there a "firewall" between your station newsroom and the organization that holds your station's license?  How does your editorial staff navigate conflicts that arise when the licensing organization seeks to influence editorial decisions or staff? From the conflict between WLRN and the Miami-Dade County Public School Board to the firing of a WUTC reporter, this panel will explore these examples and others while talking about strategies newsrooms can employ to codify their independence. Panelists: Terence Shepherd, News Director, WLRN; Vincent Duffy, News Director, Michigan Radio; Judith Smelser, Founder, Smelser Editing and Consulting; Jacqui Helbert, former reporter, WUTC.  Moderator: Terry Gildea, President, PRNDI

9:45 – 10:00 – Break & Visit with Vendors – Atlantis Mezzanine

10:00 – 11:15 – Breakouts

  • Reporting on Immigration – Atlantis Ballroom - Immigration is one the most difficult and controversial issues to cover. Are you looking for a better way to tell immigration stories? How do you gain trust and access in diverse communities?  A diverse group of experienced journalist will share their perspectives.  They are:  Richard Chacon, Executive Director of News Content at WBUR; Michel Marizco, Senior Editor of Fronteras and Hansi Lo Wang, National Desk Correspondent for NPR.  Moderating this session is Tim Padgett, Americas Editor for WLRN.
  • Getting your stories into the hands of your future digital audience – Tiffany I - How much can we (or should we) expect from our digital publishing tools to support the growth of our audience and our collaborative journalism? Join NPR and member stations to explore how our network could make it easier for stories to reach our current and future digital audience quicker, no matter how they choose to engage.
  • NPR’s State House Collaboration – Tiffany II - Join NPR’s Brett Neely and Phyllis Fletcher from the Northwest News Network as they showcase the latest and largest NPR/member station collaboration to date: a network of reporters working on state legislative coverage all over the country.  Phyllis and Brett will talk about this collaboration is transforming state house reporting - and finding trends and stories that resonate with a national audience.

11:15 – 11:30 – Break & Visit with Vendors – Atlantis Mezzanine

11:30 a.m. –  12:45 p.m. – Diversity Lunch - Why is it so important to look and sound like America? – Kitchen 305 - The story of your community today overflows with the issues we shorthand with the word “diversity." It’s at the center of ideological battles; woven into stories about health care; driving legislation governing faith and sexual orientation. It’s in everyday stories about policing, arts and education.  Join us for lunch as Keith Woods, NPR’s VP of Newsroom Training and Diversity, leads a conversation about how strengthening your storytelling and staff will help you sound more like your community.

12:45 – 2:30 - PRNDI Business Meeting – Atlantis Ballroom

2:30 – 2:45 – Break & Visit with Vendors – Atlantis Mezzanine

2:45 – 4:00 – Breakouts

  • Let’s Do Something Together! Planning and Editing Collaborations, Big and Small – Atlantis Ballroom - If you're dabbling in collaborating with other public media newsrooms, or even your local paper, then this session is for you. As the last several years have shown us, when newsrooms work together, they can accomplish some amazing feats of journalism. But it's not easy. Collaborative projects can be the ultimate cat-wrangling challenge. Experienced editors with statewide and regional journalism consortiums will share their strategies for how to successfully plan, implement and edit projects across newsrooms. Panelists:  Phyllis Fletcher (Managing editor of Northwest News Network a collaboration of public radio stations that broadcast in Washington, Oregon and Idaho); Rachel Osier Lindley (Statewide coordinating editor for the Texas Station Collaborative, a reporting consortium including the NPR affiliates in Austin, Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth and San Antonio); Naomi Starobin (Founding editor of Keystone Crossroads, a local journalism collaboration covering Pennsylvania); Donna Vestal (Director of Content Strategy, KCUR.
  • Spotlight on Investigative Reporting and Editing with Reveal – Tiffany I - Are you one of the growing number of stations committed to doing investigative projects? So, how do you pull it off? Join Reveal's Executive Producer Kevin Sullivan and Executive Editor Susanne Reber for a deep dive into the world of investigative news. They'll take you through the building blocks of an investigative news story and show you how to turn complex stories into compelling, character-driven radio. 
  • Is this ON? Successful Podcasting for Stations – Tiffany II - Podcasting is the next big audio thing and stations are jumping in. But even the best intentions around new talent and topics can fail if production, marketing, promotion, staff expectations and sponsorship efforts are not mastered. So…how do you do capture the intimate storytelling styles, hosting and distribution options that make podcasting a unique listening medium? And do it, without going broke. For months, PRX’s Project Catapult has worked with seven station teams through a process of rapid content development and feedback, addressing challenges head-on. Hear about what they’ve learned and how you and your station can implement some of their best practices from presenters Kerri Hoffman, PRX CEO and John Barth, Chief Content Officer.

6:30 – Cocktails – Atlantis Mezzanine

7:00 – Awards – Atlantis Ballroom - Reveal Host Al Letson will emcee the annual awards banquet where we’ll also honor this year’s Leo C. Lee Award Winner, NPR Bureau Chief Andrea de Leon.


Conference Registration Form