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SPJ Region 4 Spring Conference: Rise Up In Cleveland!

Friday, April 9, 2010 at 2:00 PM - Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 5:00 PM (EDT)

SPJ Region 4 Spring Conference: Rise Up In Cleveland!

Ticket Information

Ticket Type Sales End Price Fee Quantity
Professional Member Last-Minute   more info Ended $100.00 $3.49
Professional Non-Member Last-Minute   more info Ended $110.00 $3.74
Student Member Last-Minute   more info Ended $90.00 $3.24
Student Non-Member Last-Minute   more info Ended $100.00 $3.49

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Event Details

“Rise Up in Cleveland”

The Society of Professional Journalists 2010 Region 4 Spring Conference

Cleveland, Ohio April 9-10


Friday, April 9 at The Cleveland Plain Dealer main office and training facility (For J-students and young professionals)

Friday evening reception at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Saturday, April 10 at the downtown Cleveland Marriott Key Center Hotel

Those attending the Plain Dealer sessions can check in at the Plain Dealer from 1:30-2:00 p.m. at The Plain Dealer. Those not going to the Plain Dealer can check in at the Rock Hall from 6:30-7:00 p.m Friday, or Saturday morning at the Marriott. 


Friday, April 9

SPJ takes over the newsroom and training facilities of The Plain Dealer, the largest newspaper in Ohio and 16th largest in the nation. Journalism students and the young professionals of Generation J will mingle with PD journalists, editors and training staff, and participate in the following programs:

1:30 p.m. Arrival and reception, second floor Community Room The Plain Dealer, 1804 Superior Ave., downtown Cleveland

2:30 p.m. Welcome and Keynote Susan Goldberg, Editor, The Plain Dealer

2:30-3:20 Concurrent Sessions

New Frontiers In a 165-year-old Newsroom: How the Plain Dealer is combining the internet and social networking with good old-fashioned newspapering. What we’re doing, where we’re going, and how students should prepare for this profession beyond 2010. You’ll have lots of time to question Jean Dubail, assistant managing editor, on-line; Sheryl Harris, consumer reporter; and John Kroll, online social networking director.

West Virginia Uncovered: Since Fall 2008, faculty and students from the West Virginia University P.I. Reed School of Journalism have crisscrossed the back roads and small towns of West Virginia, finding untold stories and providing training for a dozen weekly newspapers. Supported by grants from private foundations, the project helps small papers adapt their product to reach an online audience. MaryKay McFarland, project coordinator and former multimedia editor for the Charleston Gazette, and two students share their experience creating multimedia packages for the rural paper.

What Every Journalist Needs to Know about Photography and Video: The Plain Dealer director of photography, Bill Gugliotta and multimedia editor, Dale Omori will show you the power of visual storytelling.

3:30-4:30 Concurrent Sessions

Planning the Front Page with PD Editors: The first 20 students to sign up will sit in the final planning session for tomorrow’s edition with PD editors and have the opportunity to discuss decisions.

Mining the Web: Success Stories in Computer Assisted Reporting An overview of how the PD has used data, mapping and online research tools to produce stories for print and online. News researcher JoEllen Corrigan, computer-assisted reporting editor Rich Exner and news research director Dave Davis will show you how to use the powerful tools available to journalists.

Quality Time with the Pros: Spend time with PD reporters, editors and other pros in the community room lobby. Whether you’re interested in sports, features, business, investigation, columns, photography or editing, learn from the pros.

4:30-5:30 Concurrent Sessions

Dead Trees in the Digital Age; News Design Today: David Kordalski, PD assistant managing editor/visuals, talks about the designer’s role in building a compelling print edition of the daily newspaper. Hands-on Training with Rich Exner and Dave Davis (Limited to 10 students per session) • Session #1 with Exner – Using Excel for quick-hit stories from the 2010 census. • Session #2 with Davis – Using Excel for quick-hit medical stories.

Under Fire at the Pittsburgh G-20: They tasted tear gas, sat face-to-face with President Obama, and got a hell of a story. The J-students of Duquesne University covered the explosive G-20 International Economics Summit in Pittsburgh last September, and got the experience of a lifetime. They’ll tell you the story.


7:00 p.m. Opening Night Reception at the world famous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum! Mingle with friends and colleagues and rock the night away at Cleveland’s international shrine to the legends of Rock and Roll. Hors d’oeuvres, soft drinks, and a cash bar.


Saturday, April 10

7-10:00 a.m. Conference registration

7:00-8:30 Continental Breakfast

7:30-8:00 SPJ Regional business meeting

8:00-8:10 Welcome - SPJ national president, Kevin Smith

8:10-8:45 Opening Remarks - Regina Brett, Plain Dealer columnist “Journalists: Rise Up and Make a Difference” Regina Brett is a metro columnist at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. The PD is the largest newspaper in Ohio and the 16th largest newspaper in the country. An award-winning columnist, Brett was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in both 2008 and 2009. Her columns are tucked in wallets, pressed in Bibles and stuck under refrigerator magnets all over Ohio and beyond. Brett won the prestigious National Headliner Award for columns she wrote about being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998. During her chemotherapy and radiation treatments, she shared extensively and candidly about her experience. The award put her in the great company of past Headliner recipients, which include Mitch Albom, Anna Quindlen, Dave Barry, Leonard Pitts and Carl Hiaasen. The single most popular column ever written by Regina Brett was "50 Life Lessons," written for The Plain Dealer when she turned 50 years old in 2006. We’ll get to read more about the "Lessons" this year when Grand Central Publishing releases her book, "God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life's Little Detours." Brett also hosts her own radio program on Cleveland’s local NPR affiliate, WCPN-FM 90.3. The hour-long show airs Fridays at 9:05 a.m. and is available live on the Internet.

8:50 - 9:45 Concurrent sessions

Breaking Through the Noise: Capturing an Inattentive Audience in a Digital Age: This session will provide a user-friendly guide to the digital media landscape and how journalists, government and business leaders are increasingly communicating through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other new platforms. It also will provide insight into the latest monitoring techniques and how reporters and others can use them to track what people are saying, as well as how to research the deep Web, use tools to discover people’s digital footprints, tune into hashtags, and more. Presenters Debra Jasper and Betsy Hubbard lead the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism (Ohio State University), a digital media program designed to help journalists make the transition to online reporting. They also teach graduate-level courses in the John Glenn School of Public Affairs on the impact of digital media on public affairs, and lead intensive, three-day Digital Media KipCamps, which provide hands-on training in social media technologies and strategies.

Accounting Tomfoolery (2 hours): Use Securities and Exchange Commission documents as a basis for covering business stories and breaking news with a business bent. Take a quick look at how to interpret financial statements. Then learn how to use these public documents, some available on websites of publicly traded companies, others through the Edgar database with a subscription. Use the numbers to see what problems face public companies, and learn tips for covering ailing companies and finding treasures in footnotes. Presenter Daniel Poole helps write and edit the NYSE/FINRA exams that stock market analysts must take and has 17 years of experience as an equity research analyst. His "Accounting Tomfoolery" session has helped train many NE Ohio business journalists.

9:50 - 10:45 Concurrent sessions

Bulletproof Your Career: Journalists in transition – and those just starting out in the field at this difficult time – will benefit from this program featuring advice on career building, job searching and the tools available to keep you on track in an ever-changing field. Presenters: Kelly Blazek, manager of Internal Communications for Eaton Corporation's Industrial Sector, has 27 years as a communications and marketing executive. She is the producer of the Cleveland Communications Jobs Bank, a free job lead Yahoo Groups listserv with 5,000 subscribers. (Panelists will be added to this program) •

Is Burnout Chasing Women from the Newsroom?: A 2009 Newspaper Research Journal study reported that 62 percent of women working in newspaper newsrooms have some intention of leaving journalism, citing exhaustion and cynicism, two components that can lead to burnout. A panel of journalists examines the issue. Panelists include Karen Sandstrom, former reporter with The Plain Dealer; Carol Kovach, editor, Sun Newspapers; and Laura Kessel, Managing Editor, The News-Herald. •

Accounting Tomfoolery (continues)

10:45 – 11:00 Break

11:00-11:55 Concurrent Sessions

The Document-driven Newsroom: A panel of experts discusses how they use federal and state public records laws, techniques for FOI strategies and other methods to secure documents to build front page stories. Panelists: Jim Parsons is an investigative reporter at Pittsburgh's WTAE TV is director of the Pennsylvania Freedom of Information Coalition and in 2008 won the George Foster Peabody award for the report "Fight for Open Records." He holds numerous other awards, including the IRE Medal and the 2009 First Place Award of the Society of Environmental Journalists for Reporting on the Environment. Gregory Korte is an investigative reporter at the Cincinnati Enquirer. He created the newspapers Data Desk, which enhances its website with updated interactive websites and built a public records intranet site at the newspaper while also covering everything from foreclosure to racial profiling. Among his many awards, is SPJ's "Best Reporter in Ohio" in 2007. Jim Schaefer is an investigative reporter at the Detroit Free Press who shared the 2009 Pulitzer Prize with colleague M.L. Elrick and the newspaper's staff for their coverage of the text-messaging scandal that led to the resignation and jailing of Detroit ex-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Schaefer has covered sexual abuse among clergy, drug abuse and misuse of taxpayer money. He also has served as a page designer, copy editor and video game critic. •

Breaking Through the Noise: Capturing an Inattentive Audience in a Digital Age (repeats)

12:00-1:20 Mark of Excellence Awards Luncheon

1:30-2:25 Concurrent sessions

The Journalist As Entrepreneur: Journalism isn’t just Big Media anymore. Startup companies with names like TechCrunch, MedCity News and True/Slant now dot the landscape. Newsrooms are full of such ideas. But how do you take an idea and make it into a product? And how do you survive doing it? A panel of entrepreneurial journalists, lead by Chris Seper of MedCity News, share their experiences and advice on earning a living outside traditional journalism channels: from raising money to managing work-life. Chris Seper is the president of MedCity News, a company that creates content for people who care about healthcare. Within a year, Chris and co-founder Mary Vanac expanded their business from Ohio into Minnesota, and their customers include companies from Minnesota Public Radio to Summa Health System. A longtime print journalist, Chris worked in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; has had bylines in the Philadelphia Inquirer and International Herald Tribune; and his previous position was online medical editor at The Plain Dealer. As president of MedCity News, Chris’ duties include ad sales, syndication pitches, raising a six-figure angel investment and buying snacks for the MedCity News world headquarters (located above a bank in Cleveland’s Shaker Square neighborhood). •

Writing Skills for Multi-media (two hours): Stuart Warner, a nationally-known writing coach, provides his 12-step program to better writing for multi-media. The presentation ranges from grammar to readability and can be applied to any form of writing. Now known as "The Write Coach," Stuart Warner teaches journalism at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, conducts writing workshops for newspapers and corporations, and continues to craft his own work. As writing coach at the Cleveland Plain Dealer he edited stories that won more than 50 national awards. He is a veteran of the PD and Akron Beacon Journal. He is the author of “JOCK: The Quickest Thinking Coach in America,” which is being represented by Loretta Barrett Books in New York. 2:30-3:25 Concurrent sessions •

Re-inventing the Newsroom in a Digital Age – an update: It’s the elephant in the room. Newspapers are suffering. The journalism business model is changing. Layoffs continue. Members of this panel are right in the middle of the fray, and will give us the latest update from the battlefront. You may be surprised. David M. Shribman became executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2003. He came to Pittsburgh from The Boston Globe where he was assistant managing editor, columnist and Washington bureau chief. He joined The Globe after serving as national political correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. Prior to that, he covered Congress and national politics for The New York Times and was a member of the national staff of The Washington Star. Shribman was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in journalism in 1995 for his coverage of Washington and the American political scene. His column, "My Point," is syndicated nationally. He was a regular panelist on the PBS show "Washington Week in Review" and a frequent analyst for BBC radio. His "I Remember My Teacher," a tribute to the nation's great educators, was published in April 2002. Nancy Andrews, Detroit Free Press Managing Editor\Digital Media, led the newspaper’s photography department into video. Former “still” photographers have now won four national Emmy Awards. And, since May 2009, the staff produces a weekday newscast aired on the local CBS station. Nancy played a key role as the Free Press changed its home delivery schedule from seven to three days each week in March, 2009, while still printing single-copy editions all seven days and delivering the paper daily by e-edition to all its subscribers. In May, the newspaper launched a weekday television newscast with WWJ-TV, CBS Detroit. In October, the paper doubled the single-copy price from 50 cents to one dollar. There’s a continued emphasis on live-publishing digitally to desktop and mobile devices as well as interaction on social media. Kurt Franck is executive editor of The Blade of Toledo. He is the newsroom’s top manager, overseeing The Blade’s news operations within the editorial department. He also is responsible for long-range planning, staff development and administrative functions. Before being promoted to executive editor in January 2010, Franck was the newspaper’s managing editor since September 2000. He helped direct The Blade’s “Coingate” coverage, and the paper’s 2004 Pulitzer Prize winning series on atrocities by Tiger Force, an elite U.S. Army platoon, during the Vietnam War. •

Writing Skills for Multi-media (continues)

3:25-3:40 Break

3:45-5:00 Concurrent sessions •

Citizen Journalism: This session explores the concept of citizen journalism through the experiences of a successful chain of citizen newspapers in Northeast Ohio. Presenters: Entrepreneur Jim O'Bryan co-founded the Observer chain of citizen newspapers in Northeast Ohio, which started with the Lakewood Observer. His forte is developing the software for the websites they all use, and the basic organizational structure and design of the papers. MBA grad Deanna Bremer Fisher runs the Heights Observer, a non-profit publication, while the other Observer papers have different philosophies. Ken Warren, former director of the Lakewood Library, takes a keen interest in citizen journalism and was a co-founder of the Lakewood Observer. Professor Carrie Buchanan of John Carroll University's Tim Russert Department of Communication and Theatre Arts will moderate the panel. •

Digging Deep: This session will demonstrate the uses of federal and state databases to illuminate your reporting from census data to home sales and campaign finance reporting. Presenter: The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer's computer assisted reporting editor Rich Exner is responsible for database analysis and using mapping and data programs as reporting tools throughout the newsroom. Rich also maintains Data Central (www.cleveland.com/datacentral), the Plain Dealer's online home for archived data, including a variety of interactive maps and databases. Rich previously was an assistant metro editor, metro reporter and sports copy editor at the newspaper. Before joining The Plain Dealer in 1991, Rich was the Ohio state editor and Cleveland Bureau chief for United Press International. •

The Story Behind a Pulitzer - Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's Downfall in Detroit: Jim Schaefer was part of a team with M.L. Elrick that obtained nearly 14,000 text messages that proved Kilpatrick and his then chief of staff had committed perjury. The duo used FOI to obtain records detailing the payout of millions of tax dollars, in part to cover Kilpatrick's misdeeds. Schaefer and Elrick also published the book, "The Kwame Sutra: Musings on Lust, Life and Leadership from Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick." Jim Schaefer is an investigative reporter at the Detroit Free Press who shared the 2009 Pulitzer Prize with colleague M.L. Elrick and the newspaper's staff for their coverage of the scandal that led to the resignation and jailing of Detroit ex-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Schaefer has covered sexual abuse among clergy, drug abuse and misuse of taxpayer money. He also has served as a page designer, copy editor and video game critic.


There are a limited number of rooms at the Marriott Key Center Hotel for $89 plus tax per night.  Click on the link below  or call the hotel directly at 216-696-9200.  You must refer to the Society of Professional journalists to get this rate.




Have questions about SPJ Region 4 Spring Conference: Rise Up In Cleveland!? Contact the organizer

When & Where

Cleveland Marriott at Key Center
127 Public Square
Cleveland, 44114

Friday, April 9, 2010 at 2:00 PM - Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 5:00 PM (EDT)

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