Who: Erica Perel, University of North Carolina, Steve Chappell, Northwest Missouri State University
What: Social Media and Audience Engagement
Where: Pacific L, Hyatt Regency San Francisco
When: March 3rd, 1 p.m.
This workshop showed how important media engagement with the your audience or reader is. Both Erica Perel and Steve Chappell showed the nearly packed room about the different tools they can use to engage readers and make them feel more apart of the production process.
Perel and Chappell asked many of the young news journalists about the different ways they try to engage readers, while showing us ways to bring in new readers and how to hone our current methods. By using tools like online polls, we can engage readers and keep them interested in the site.
No. 1 Take-Away: Use polls, surveys, and interesting questions to engage online readers.
No. 2 Take-Away: Ask your school about having a live forum to engage the local community on political and social issues.
Who: Audrey Cooper, San Francisco Chronicle
What: Transformation of the San Francisco Chronicle
Where: Grand A, Hyatt Regency San Francisco
When: March 3, 4 p.m.
Audrey Cooper is the first female editor in chief in the Chronicle’s history. She came to the convention to share some of her insights and stories about the guts and glory of being in journalism and what it takes to do in-depth reporting. Being one of the youngest editors ever named to the top of a major news outlet, Cooper explained where journalism stands in today’s world of fake news and how important it is to not lose sight of why journalism must remain a pillar of a free society.
In one of her stories, she shared just what in-depth looks like. She spoke about how one of their reporters went deep undercover by becoming homeless for two weeks so that he could live amongst those who are less fortunate. Through this, they were able to highlight key issues with the city’s method of dealing with the homeless and bring awareness to the public.
No. 1 Take-Away: Sometimes you need to get dirty to get the story.
No. 2 Take-Away: Don’t give up, but also realize when you need to take a step back and analyze another approach to what you’re doing.
Who: Barbara Kingsley-Wilson, California State University
What: Interview Anybody About Anything
Where: Pacific H, Hyatt Regency San Francisco
When: March 3, 9 a.m.
Barbara Kingsley-Wilson engaged every student with interesting advice: shut up and stop trying to fill silences with your own voice. The 20-year-veteran of journalism shared some of her advice for interviewing to the young journalists that attended her seminar
Wilson said that letting the interviewee talk can bring about some powerful possibilities. “Most people love to talk,” said Wilson as she reiterated that being quiet can let subject fill that void with words. If it was an important interview, the interviewee can lead themselves to a slip up which could be headline material.
No. 1 Take-Away: Be silent and listen when interviewing, but also be aware when you need transition the interview in a new direction.
No. 2 Take-Away: Reporters should ask questions that bring about the reason, obstacle and how the interviewee triumphed over it.
Who: Lucio Villa, San Francisco Chronicle
What: Full Stacked Journalist: How you can do it all
Where: Pacific N, Hyatt Regency San Francisco
When: March 3, 10 a.m.
Lucio Villa explained how reporters can find stories through data mining, as well as what websites you can use to find information to either beef up your current story or find a new story to pitch.
Through sites such as OpenDataSoft.com, Data.gov, FOIAMachine.com and Carto.com. Villa explained that you can not only mine for data, but also use the tools on some of these websites to bring that data to life. This can be used to bring color and a fresh view to your website, along with a fun way of viewing any boring data you need for your story
No. 1 Take-Away: It doesn’t take a computer genius to mine data and find the right info for a story.
No. 2 Take-Away: Make sure you add flare to whatever data you use. Boring data tells a boring story and doesn’t engage your reader.
Who: Kurt Eichenwald Newsweek, Vanity Fair and the New York Times
What: Investigating Donald Trump and Investigative Reporting for College Journalists
Where: Grand A, Hyatt Regency San Francisco
When: March 4, 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
With a packed auditorium, Kurt Eichenwald remarked his love for diet Pepsi, and after explaining a bit about his journalistic past covering Donald Trump, he proceeded to explain how much the audience might not like what he was about to say. “Bernie Sanders supporters were some of the nastiest supporters of this election,” said Eichenwald. After hearing some mumbling from the audience, Eichenwald explained some of the threats both he and his family received because of his criticism of Sanders’ campaign. He talked about how the job can bring about possible danger, but said that in this day and age, it is more important than ever to keep being critical towards those in power, even if threats are made. He was also critical of the media calling them lazy and said it was part of why we have such a toxic political scene right now.
He went on to talk about Donald Trump and how he had covered his business dealings with Cuba during the embargo and some of the things Trump has done since winning the election. In a later meeting with students, Eichenwald continued off his earlier speech. He talked about what it takes to really investigate a story, how it’s okay to not know a subject or individual and how to use that to learn for both you and the reader.
After the two workshops, I had the pleasure of speaking to Mr. Eichenwald for about 10 minutes about journalism and politics today. After a handshake and a smile, I asked him if he would be interested in reading some of the Indy’s stories and maybe give us some pointers for the future. He said yes and the Indy now has his email for future endeavors.
I am quite thankful for Clark in allowing us to go to this convention. Good things have happened, and it was nice to see what the future for journalism looks like!
No. 1 Take-Away: Don’t give up and don’t be lazy. Check your sources once, twice and then again.
No. 2 Take-Away: Don’t be afraid to be dumb about a subject. Think of it a as a learning experience and take it on.