SPJ 21 Journalism Conference • Sept. 2-4, 2021



2021: Virtual


September 3rd, 2021 • 2021: Virtual
Journalists Should Advocate for the First Amendment

“If we don’t do it ourselves, who else is going to do it?” Lynn Walsh, assistant director at the Trusting News Project, asked this question about one of the most important aspects of journalism: defending the First Amendment.  In an SPJ breakout session Sept.


September 3rd, 2021 • 2021: Virtual
“We’ve got to do the work”: Newsroom leaders aim to amplify and diversify voices in editorial pages

Newsroom leaders at a range of U.S. publications said including diverse voices in their editorial pages remains a work in progress and stressed their commitment to continue "doing the work."


September 3rd, 2021 • 2021: Virtual
Phoning It In with Mike Castellucci

Grab your phone and a tripod, then hit the road. Illustrious Mike Castellucci, multi-Emmy award winner and renowned cellphone video journalist, showed a group of journalists how to use their iPhone to tell the best stories that can compete on the same playing field as large news cameras.


September 3rd, 2021 • 2021: Virtual
Objectivity: The Hot Topic of Conversation Across Newsrooms Today

Following protests of George Floyd’s killing last year reporters began to question why a traditional news standard was still applied to coverage and, more importantly, how to move past outdated notions in 21st century journalism. In an SPJ 2021 Journalism Conference super session Sept.


September 3rd, 2021 • 2021: Virtual
How to Strengthen an Interview When Talking to Strangers

Interviewing sources is a vital part of being a journalist, but it is often difficult for reporters to get a source to open up and feel comfortable sharing their story. Dean Nelson, a journalist of 40 years and an author of 15 books, stresses the importance of “talking to strangers” and being a strong, compassionate interviewer.


September 3rd, 2021 • 2021: Virtual
Oregon TV news producer: Newsrooms must prioritize trauma coping mechanism for journalists

Carla Judah, a news producer at Oregon’s KOIN-TV, watched a video clip that changed her life. Now, she's advocating for the destigmatization of mental health in newsrooms and urging management to do more to help journalists develop healthy coping mechanisms to traumatic events.


September 3rd, 2021 • 2021: Virtual
Tips and Resources for Becoming a Successful Freelancer

Award-winning editor and writer Ruth E. Thaler-Carter breaks down the skills required to be a successful freelance journalist, after her nearly 40 years in the industry.  Thaler-Carter, an author of two books on the subject, provided an overview of establishing a brand and gaining a following as a freelancer in the “Freelancing 101” session.


September 3rd, 2021 • 2021: Virtual
It’s More Than Telling The News: Mental Health & Journalists

Last year, journalists were heavily relied upon to keep America briefed within 24-hour news cycles covering the COVID-19 crisis, a presidential election and so much more. This opened up the conversation around mental health for journalists. While viewers have the chance to unplug from the media, this is not the case for reporters covering crucial stories.


September 3rd, 2021 • 2021: Virtual
How to Find Sources & Stories

Journalists are constantly searching for new stories and sources to generate content for the public. To be successful it is vital for them to create connections. Social media is one of the most commonly used resources when it comes to discovering content, as millions of users are active on several different platforms daily.


September 3rd, 2021 • 2021: Virtual
‘We need to be honest about how these things affect us’: Learning why–and how–journalists invest in their mental health

Natural disasters, death, mass shootings and similar catastrophic events can cause depression and anxiety in anyone, but what toll does your mental health take when your day-to-day job is to report on events like these? In an SPJ 2021 Journalism Conference breakout session Sept.


September 2nd, 2021 • 2021: Virtual
SPJ Board of Directors reflect on a challenging year

The Society of Professional Journalists Board of Directors met Thursday morning at the national conference to reflect on a challenging year, review reports, and say goodbye to retiring members. The one-hour meeting was outgoing president Matthew Hall’s last. In a virtual format, the board covered the SPJ President, Executive Director, Treasurer, and Committee and Community reports.


September 2nd, 2021 • 2021: Virtual
USC Inclusion Initiatives Inspire Empowerment in Student Newsrooms

Amara Aguilar, USC journalism professor and recipient of SPJ’s Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award, moderated a session on student newsroom culture and equity. Speakers Steven Vargas and Miki Turner joined Aguilar to share how Annenberg Media’s equity board worked to encourage diverse coverage and more inclusive journalism practices.


September 2nd, 2021 • 2021: Virtual
“Are you doing OK?”: Seasoned reporters weigh in on the role empathy plays in getting the story

Countless journalists believe empathy is crucial to the work of reporters. The lingering question is how? How can we show empathy and professionalism while connecting with people on the worst day of their lives? Seasoned reporters weigh in.


September 2nd, 2021 • 2021: Virtual
SPJ Business Meeting Highlights Accomplishments and Awards

The Society of Professional Journalists hosted its opening business meeting, featuring statements from outgoing president Matthew Hall, nominations and executive director reports, and awards for excellence. Starting with the roles of the Convention Governance in SPJ, Hall reviewed voting procedures by chapter and regional delegates, noting that questions on delegate information can be sent to cescobar@spj.org.


September 2nd, 2021 • 2021: Virtual
Reporting skill alone ‘is not enough:’ Journalists stress the importance of safety on the job

Amid the changing reporting landscape, first responder-turned-photojournalist Chris Post and foreign correspondent-turned-professor Moni Basu said safety training in newsrooms is vital while sharing advice for press members to de-escalate and predict unexpected situations waiting for them. With over 30 years of experience covering the Iraq War from its beginning, University of Florida journalism lecturer and former CNN International journalist Basu said she faced challenges in terms of safety every time, even when she went on the field with military members.


September 2nd, 2021 • 2021: Virtual
Networking in the Age of COVID-19

Ask any seasoned journalist how they got their current job, and it will likely boil down to one word: networking.  Networking, the practice of making interpersonal connections to access professional opportunities, has existed for decades. In fact, according to a 2016 study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of new jobs are now filled through networking. 


September 2nd, 2021 • 2021: Virtual
A pandemic timeline of Arizona and the Navajo Nation

Click here for a timeline of COVID-19 developments and the responses by Gov. Doug Ducey, Arizona health officials and Navajo leaders.  


September 2nd, 2021 • 2021: Virtual
Hurricane Ida brings back ‘Katrina’ memories, hits too close to home for LA family

I was just seven years old when Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana in 2005. I don’t remember much of the storm, the evacuation process, or evacuation in general. For my parents, however, all those details are still vividly imprinted on their minds.


September 2nd, 2021 • 2021: Virtual
SPJ’s Facebook Journalism Project Shares Social Media Leverage Resources

Giovanna Drpic, an award-winning bilingual local and network journalist of 20 years, detailed different tools to help journalists optimize their social media content. As platforms like Facebook shifted into spaces for discourse, it became important for newsrooms to engage with their communities online, according to Drpic.


September 2nd, 2021 • 2021: Virtual
Mover, Shaker, History Maker: Rebecca Aguilar set to become SPJ’s first Latina President

When Rebecca Aguilar, president-elect of the national Society of Professional Journalists, is sworn in at the group’s virtual conference later this week, she’ll be making history. Aguilar, 63, with more than 104 predecessors, will become the organization’s first-ever Latina and woman of color president.



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