PRNDI Conference Schedule

Mar 27, 2013

PRNDI's annual conference will be held in June in Cleveland.  This year, the conference sessions will be held at Cleveland's Idea Center - the building that houses ideastream.  We'll be staying at a hotel just across the street - the Wyndham Playhouse Square.  The tentative schedule is below.  Click on the link to register online.  Hotel information is at the end of the schedule.


Wednesday, June 19

8:30 - 5:00 - Reporter Training – PRNDI’s reporter training is only available to reporters who have been nominated and accepted for these sessions.  For information on how to nominate a reporter, please contact Matt Shafer Powell at

8:30 - 5:00 - Writing for Story - How can you draw in your audience but still give them the essential facts? What are some creative ways to tell a story and not get lost in the reporting?  This workshop will cover spots and features.  Reporters will learn how to make the most of their sound while writing stories that will hold listener's attention.  This session lead by NPR editors is ideal for new reporters, former print reporters, and anyone else who would like to sharpen their storytelling skills.

Thursday, June 20

8:30 - 5:00 - Reporter Training – PRNDI’s reporter training is only available to reporters who have been nominated and accepted for these sessions.  For information on how to nominate a reporter, please contact Matt Shafer Powell at

8:30 a.m. - Noon - Vocal Training – Learn techniques to strengthen your on-air performance.  This half-day session will help you deliver copy in a clearer, more conversational manner to more effectively communicate with your audience.   Please bring your own copy, but we’ll also have plenty on hand for you to practice with.  Your presenters are George Bodarky and Amy Tardif.   George is the News Director of WFUV FM in New York.  Amy is FM Station Manager and News Director of WGCU in Fort Myers, FL.

1 p.m. - 5 p.m. - Management A-Z - Jonathan Ahl & Maryanne Zeleznik have over 30 years combined experience in management.  They’ll share some of their best tips and tricks for getting the best out of people.  

8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. - Multi-media Journalism - This one-day workshop led by multi-media educator and former journalist Darragh Worland offers a hands-on crash course in the basics of multimedia storytelling, including the best, most cost effective equipment, software and mobile apps to use, how to take stronger photos, the basics of shooting and editing video on a camcorder or mobile phone, how to assemble audio slideshows, and using free online tools to create maps, charts, polls and surveys. You will need a laptop for this session.

8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. - From the Cutting Edge: Human-Centered Design in Journalism - Spend a day learning how "design-thinking" -- the methodology pioneered by Silicon Valley influencers IDEO and Stanford -- can ground your newsgathering and spark creativity in your newsroom.  This is not a sit-and-listen session; we'll roll up our sleeves and head into Cleveland neighborhoods.  What follows is a dynamic process that leads to insights and actions -- based on authentic understanding of problems.  We'll design a networked reporting approach to address those needs.  This is for news managers and reporters looking to take their work deeper into their communities.  Presented by a team from American Public Media’s Public Insight Network and design-thinking specialists and pioneers in participatory journalism. Class size is limited to 18 participants.

3:30 to 5:00 - Come by the ideaCenter to have a tour.

6:00 p.m. - Opening Reception sponsored by the BBC  & American Public Media

Friday, June 21

8:00 a.m. – Continental Breakfast Roundtables - choose a topic that interests you and join your colleagues in a lively discussion over breakfast.

8:45 a.m. – The Sound of Ideas Live - ideastream’s own local weekly radio show with a PRNDI twist.  Join us as we explore the topic of covering trauma: how coverage decisions are made, how we can do it better. With Rachel Dissell of the  Cleveland Plain Dealer, NPR Bureau Chief Russell Lewis, WSHU News Director Naomi Starobin and Bruce Shapiro from the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.  The show will be hosted by ideastream’s David Molpus.

10 a.m. – 10:15 – Break

10:15 – 11:30 – Breakouts

  • Navigating the Legal Minefield  How do you protect your newsroom from charges of defamation and libel?  What is “Fair Use”?  What are the limits of privacy?  How does the law view web content and social media?  And what are the  rules regarding courtroom access?  These are just a few of the topics discussed during this interactive panel discussion hosted by three of Northeastern Ohio’s leading attorneys in the field of Media Law.  Panelists include Darrell Clay of Walter | Haverfield, Steven Friedman of Squire Sanders and Kenneth Zirm of Ulmer & Berne.


  • What's in Your Multimedia Toolkit -- Show 'N Tell - Anyone who has covered breaking news in the field knows all too well how many things can go wrong. In this session, Robert Smith, a correspondent for NPR's "Planet Money" and Darragh Worland, a multimedia educator and former journalist, show you the secrets in their gear bags. They’ll reveal which recorders and cameras they never leave home without.  Plus, advice for all the software and apps you’ll need to produce from the field.  And emergency gear for when everything goes south. Think of this session as a Show and Tell for digital journalists.

  • Fact Checking - Learn how to insert good fact checking practices into your editing process and help reporters find and use resources to strengthen their story’s accuracy. Panelists: Russell Lewis, NPR Southern Bureau Chief, Amy Tardif,  WGCU News Director and co-author an  e-book that defines and deals with plagiarism and fabrication and Phyllis Fletcher, KUOW.  We’ll ask and answer questions like: How do you know when a statement needs attribution?  How much can you copy without becoming a plagiarist? When one organization’s story is “matched” by another (with its own reporting), must the first organization be credited?  

11:30 - Lunch - PRNDI Presents “Breaking News & Getting it Right” at the Cleveland City Club - Columbia University Journalism Professor John Dinges, WBUR News Director Tom Melville and Steve Drummond, senior national editor for NPR News.  Moderator: George Bodarky, PRNDI President.


2:00 p.m. – 3:15 - Breakouts

  • Demystifying Data Reporting:  Jeff Severns Guntzel, senior reporter with American Public Media's Public Insight Network, will talk about how to bring data-driven storytelling to your newsroom and discuss how a "data state of mind" will make you a better, more reliable reporter. He'll show you tools that will make you a data wizard and tell a few cautionary tales. And he promises a data story you can get started on right away.

  • When Science Breaks - Science can break out at any place and any time, and a general assignment reporter must be ready.  Three skilled communicators offer advice on covering scientists, their research and translating their often complicated conclusions for the average consumer:  Jon Hamilton is a correspondent for NPR's Science Desk. Currently he focuses on neuroscience, health risks, and extreme weather.  Peter Iglinski, former PRNDI president, is press officer for Science, Engineering and Public Media at the University of Rochester in New York State.  Jared Bendis, who specializes in photography, virtual reality, and computer graphics, serves as a Creative New Media Officer for Case Western Reserve University.

  • Working With New Reporters -- presenters David Molpus (Executive Editor, WCPN), Bob Beck (News Director, Wyoming Public Radio) and Kerry Donahue (Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism).  What they may lack in newsroom experience, new reporters often make up for with passion and enthusiasm. How can newsroom leaders harness that enthusiasm and polish the rough edges of new and inexperienced reporters? This session will offer tips and tricks for getting the most out of new reporters while feeding their passion for news. Whether you’re a news director or maybe a new reporter yourself, you’ll find some useful information on how young reporters can learn and grow on the job.

  • Vocal Coaching:  Learn techniques to strengthen your on-air performance.  This session will help you deliver copy in a clearer, more conversational manner to more effectively communicate with your audience.   Please bring your own copy, but we’ll also have plenty on hand for you to practice with.   Your presenters are George Bodarky and Amy Tardif.   George is the News Director of WFUV FM in New York.  Amy is FM Station Manager and News Director of WGCU in Fort Myers, FL.

3:30 – 5:00 p.m. –  Keeping Radio Vital in the Digital Age:   This session features NPR’s Senior Vice President for News Margaret Low Smith via Skype and others from NPR.  It will focus on the need for distinctive reporting and a reimagining of the way NPR and stations collaborate on coverage.  This session will include a Q & A period.

6:00 -- 11:00 pm - “The Heart of Rock and Roll is in…” - Sponsored by APM’s PIN - PRNDI takes you to the very heart of Rock and Roll history with exclusive access to Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.   Tour the museum at your leisure, snack on hors d'oeuvres, visit the cash bar, and participate in the “PRNDI Rock Trivia Challenge” sponsored by Ohio Public Radio.  It’s an easy, downhill walk from the Wyndham at Playhouse Square down 9th Street, but a shuttle service is also available.  Don’t forget to wear your “PRNDI Rocks!” concert t-shirt.

Saturday, June 22

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. - Continental Breakfast Swap Shops - Get tips and have a conversation with stations who are facing the same challenges as you are.

9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. - Effectively Managing Stress when News Breaks  - Learn the impact of stress on the mind/body, tips and tools for effective stress management, and how to re-wire the brain for greater responsiveness, all leading to greater life balance.  This session will include a brief guided relaxation experience. Jane Pernotto Ehrman, M. Ed., is the lead behavioral health specialist at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Lifestyle Medicine, in the Wellness Institute. Adding context will be former WBUR News Director Martha Little, who recently refocused her career for personal reasons.

10:30 – 10:45 – Break

10:45 – 12:00 – Breakouts

  • Personal struggles with covering trauma:  We will give advice to News Directors, Supervisors and others about ways to help reporters overcome the trauma of covering an emotional story.  We will hear from those whose newsrooms have recently been in these situations.  Speakers will include Kelly Griffin from Colorado Public Radio and John Dankosky of WNPR.  

  • Enhancing the audience experience during major news events - Miller 2 - When major international news events occur, audiences are hungry for immediate, in-depth information.  Public radio newsrooms typically need to look outside of their regularly scheduled programs to find distinct, real-time coverage. Moreover, once the immediacy of a story is over, programmers have to choose how and when to continue coverage. That could very well mean integrating additional news segments into schedules. In this session we’ll explore how some newsrooms react to major international news events over the life of a story.  MPR’s managing director/news, Chris Worthington, will discuss moments when he’s moved away from his regular programming and opted for specific coverage of a major story. He’ll also discuss why he supplements regular programming with specific segments designed to round out a topic and offer new insight and information. We’ll be joined by Rob Hugh-Jones, Partner Hub Editor at the BBC, who will talk about organizing and editing BBC stories specifically for those moments and how he decides what to distribute.

12:00 – 12:15 – Break

12:15 – 2:15 p.m. – Business Meeting

2:15 – 2:30 – Break

2:30 – 3:45 – Breakouts

  • We Are What We Measure - Metrics don't just reflect how we're doing – they also influence our priorities and define who we are. NPR Digital Services' Steve Mulder will talk about the digital metrics that are most important for public media, and what we know about our current digital impact. We'll share system-wide insights on public radio streaming, web site audience growth and engagement, and our competition – and also show the new Station Analytics system that provides easy-to-use dashboards for stations.

  • Looking Ahead:  Strategic Planning - More than ever, public radio news directors must plan strategically for their departments.  Strategic planning is becoming common at the organizational level in public radio, but News and Information is the driver of public radio listening and news departments are faced with growth that must be planned strategically in ways that intersect with the larger organizational goals. Add to this the basic function of trying to plan operational growth three to five years out with the increasingly prominent and rapidly changing role of digital media.  The stakes are higher too, with more people involved and bigger money from grants, underwriting, foundations and other sources.   All of this can pose challenges for any News Director.  How do you grow your department smartly in the increasingly complex world of public radio news?  Public Radio veteran and station consultant Mike Marcotte and Capital Public Radio Director of News and Information Joe Barr will walk you through the process of creating a “Strategic Operation Plan” for your news department by using their experience in creating one for Capital Public Radio over the last  year. They’ll share the process they used and provide best practices for creating your own plan that can be scaled to the size of your news department.

3:45 – 5:00 – Breakouts

  • Audio: The Next Generation - Five years ago, the Internet story for public radio was all about text, images, video. Now, as mobile web explodes on tablets and smartphones, listening is rising too. We've had success offering our high quality radio shows and features online, but are there new ways to innovate and package our stories that can draw a bigger audience? How do we use the digital space as an incubator for new show ideas and concepts? Are there different ways to present and package audio online? NPR Digital Services' Todd Mundt and Kim Perry will share what they have learned and ask you to join the conversation.

  • Docs that Rock - Despite evidence of shorter listening times, long form lives! Many stations have specials and 'doc slots' for long form works. What hour long programs stand out, how has the form changed; what opportunities exist for ambitious news departments and producers? Join John Barth, managing director of PRX, along with panelists Emily McCord, WYSO, John Dankosky, WNPR and David Krasnow, WNYC’s Studio 360.

6:00 p.m. - Reception

6:30 p.m. - PRNDI Awards Dinner - Sponsored by NPR - Join Emcee Scott Simon as he helps present the PRNDI annual awards, and we welcome this year’s Leo C. Lee Award Winner.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

8:30 a.m. -- 5:00 p.m.  JMEGS.  This concentrated, one day workshop focuses on the craft of journalism from a Morning Edition Grad School perspective. Apply here.

The 2013 PRNDI Conference Hotel is the Wyndham Cleveland at Playhouse Square.  Rooms are available at a PRNDI rate of $109 per night.  Reservations can be made by calling the hotel direct at 216-615-7500 or by calling the toll-free reservation line at 866-706-6788.  You must mention Public Radio News Directors Inc. to receive the conference rate.  All reservations must be made by May 28th, 2013.