Convention sessions


The fall convention brings together dozens of inspiring and insightful sessions. Whether you’re a newcomer or a veteran, you’ll find sessions across the spectrum of collegiate media.

Leading the sessions will be professionals from a range of organizations, including The Washington Post, National Geographic, National Public Radio, “PBS Newshour,” WAMU, Kaiser Health News, Politico, CQ Roll Call, the San Diego Union-Tribune and the Freedom Forum, as well as experienced college-media advisers and expert educators from across the nation.

Our speakers volunteer to share their expertise. Many have experience in student journalism, and all share the goal of giving you common-sense advice. When you can, thank them for helping us.

We’ll announce the speakers, as well as the tentative schedule, in the coming days when we release the convention app. The app will be your go-to resource for the latest convention information, including updates on sessions, times and locations.

Advertising & business

Ad revenue decline on college newspapers
This study, based on an April survey of the 300+ CMA members who advise student newspapers, examines the effects of COVID-19 and declines in advertising and other revenue on corresponding declines in college newspaper circulation and print publishing frequency as well as the move to online publication.

Ad sales in a multi-platform newsroom
This session will explore innovative techniques to cultivate local ad sales across newsroom platforms. A student business director will address how one college newsroom exponentially increased its advertising sales and commercial presence in a competitive market in the Los Angeles area.

The laws of advertising in student media
Can you run that ad? How much discretion does your staff have to accept or reject certain advertising? What do you do about ads for controversial products or services? Learn about the rights and restrictions related to advertising in student media.


Adviser roundtable
Join us for this advisers-only opportunity to talk with Student Press Law Center experts about issues that are arising in your student media operation and on your campus. Come chat about surviving (and thriving) in what may be the toughest job in school. Part legal workshop and part therapy session, we’ll talk about important strategies.

Advising 101: Introduction to advising
This session will help you better understand your role so you can help others better understand what you do and what you don’t do. Topics include the role of the adviser, its challenges and the basics of advising.

Advising 102: Policies and procedures
This session is a crash course in how to set policies and procedures for your student staff and operation. The presenter will address topics including operational guidelines, student leader selection procedures and bylaws for student media organizations.

Advising 103: Budgets and revenue
College media advisers often start their jobs knowing all about the journalism or the technological aspects of the job, but we don’t always know everything about the business side … the part that pays the bills. This session will address a variety of topics including how to set ad rates, manage expenses and find additional revenue.

Advising 201: Recruiting, training and retraining
Student media doesn’t run without students. But it can be a struggle to recruit eager, talented, dedicated students — and to do it every year. This session will provide tips on recruiting and retaining a staff, developing leaders, incentivizing student media and training a media staff.

Advising 203: Connecting with resources
Advising college media can sometimes feel really lonely. While there may not be many people on your campus who understand what you do, there are many people in the country who certainly do. This session will address resources available to advisers, the benefits of CMA and opportunities to network with your peers.

Becoming a leader in CMA
CMA’s elections are coming up next spring. Ever thought about running? If not, you should. This session will demystify the election process and explain why you should run to become a CMA board member.

So, you’re a broadcaster advising the yearbook. Now what?
With student media consolidation on many campuses, find out what you need to know if you’re advising a yearbook that’s not your area of expertise. We’ll share lessons learned and what to look for in finding a publisher.


Advisers • Media Law & Ethics


Law 101 for advisers
Learn the rights of your students as journalists and yourself as the adviser. This session will address how to protect yourself and your students through a fast-paced tour of legal basics. You’ll also get advice on how to get help if you need it.


Broadcast, Audio, Video & Podcasts


Documentary filmmaking
This session looks at how one small college made four feature documentaries in 10 years, including funding, training, travel, equipment, post-production and distribution. It will reflect on student outcomes, including skill development, team building and job placement, and suggest ways for advisers and students to develop long-term projects on college schedules utilizing small budgets.

How to cover your local community through video
The desire for people to “see it with their own eyes” presents an opportunity for local TV news to lead the way in rebuilding trust in journalism. In this session, learn what to do (and not to do) to cover and build connection within your community through video.

Podcasting 101: How to set up your studio, produce, edit and distribute your content
This in-depth presentation will discuss podcast equipment, studio set-up, costs, content creation and distribution for student-driven podcasts.

Storytelling through videography
Did you know that just the angle of the camera or how the shot is framed can change the entire intention behind the story being told? Do you want to become a visual storyteller? Then this session is for you. Learn tips to becoming a master storyteller through videography.

Taking your podcast to the next level
This session will cover everything an aspiring podcaster needs to create an engaging podcast episode. We will brainstorm episode ideas, discuss cost-effective equipment, give tips for recording high-quality narrations and interviews, and walk them through how to mix sound using projects in Audition, with insight from the speaker’s podcast, “The Youth Vote, and his experiences at NPR.




Steering around opinion-piece potholes
Column, editorial, review, critique, commentary, post — you name it — the opinion piece is an avenue of free expression and an invaluable service and information source for your audience. But it also comes with legal, ethical and other professional concerns. Two experienced advisers and the CNN Legal Counsel (and previous director of The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information and the Student Press Law Center) will share their issues and suggestions and invite you to do the same.




Supercharge your creativity
If only creativity happened as it does on TV — the idea arrives like a crash of lightning. Unfortunately, this is rarely if ever the case. Creativity is a process — a process that needs to be learned, practiced and nurtured. The good news is every one has the capacity to be creative. We will teach you how to supercharge your creativity while leading you through exercises you can share with your staff to help you improve both the quantity and quality of your ideas.


Data & visualization


Beyond charts: How to use data in your stories and scripts
Data are all around us, including at your school. Learn to find stories from data and tips to write about them in compelling ways.

Excel for journalists
Here’s the dirty little secret of data journalism: You don’t need fancy computer skills to do it. Learn how to go from a big pile of data to a story using just Microsoft Excel. Bring your laptop.

Power in numbers: Building compelling data-driven stories
It’s no longer enough to build news stories around interviews alone. A credible article must be backed by data presented in an engaging and compelling way. In this short hands-on session, you’ll learn the skills required to become a modern journalist at the exciting intersection of data, information design and customized narratives.

Telling compelling stories with data
We will explore a few tools data journalists use to clean, visualize and analyze data sets. We will also touch on a few ways data can help elevate reporting and help tell powerful stories.

Telling stories with numbers and nuance
Numbers whiz past people on a near-constant basis, and it’s easy to lose a sense of why they may matter. From the pandemic to climate change, numbers inform how we navigate our daily lives, and journalists play a big role in amplifying those numbers, for better or for worse. Participants will learn about evidence-backed best practices and real stories about how this plays out in news coverage.

Transforming your reporting with data
Data is everywhere, and you can use it to transform your reporting and tell deeper and more meaningful stories. This session will introduce you to the skills you need to thrive in data-driven, interactive storytelling.



Art direction for a breath of fresh air
“omg. Why didn’t I think of that?” Word, image, concept, perspective, story. Ignite your creative process for visual storytelling.

Chicken salad: Radical redesign and rewriting
We’re going to gut a half-dozen student newspapers in under an hour. We’ll rip apart their front pages and redesign everything – including the name of the paper. We’ll rewrite every headline and every story. Total carnage. Don’t like what you see? Make a compelling counter-argument and win cold hard cash.

Design thinking
Consider content from a visual perspective while you keep the audience experience top of mind.

Engaging your reader through gripping design
A designer’s No. 1 job is to motivate the reader — to make them want to explore, study and engage with your publication. Graphics, typography, color and placement all play a key role in making this happen. Let’s review and analyze professional publications to get inspired by some of the most gripping design work out there — while learning how to adapt those design concepts for your publication.

Let’s get linear
Horizontal design is so Y2K. Almost 90 percent of people get their news from their smartphones so learning how to design for a vertical format is critical if you want to work in the field of journalism.

Not your grandfather’s National Geographic
Step inside the yellow border and learn how a magazine published consistently for more than 133 years continues to innovate. Michael Tribble, Nat Geo’s vice president of integrated storytelling, will walk you through the iconic magazine’s editorial process and give you a behind-the-scenes tour of how telling stories about the most incredible places in the universe requires thinking outside of traditional media constraints.  

Sports photojournalism — Take your best shot
We will discuss how to create powerful storytelling sports photos and the equipment needed to do this. The creative, aesthetic and technical elements of successful coverage will be addressed.

That old design can be new
Looking for something new to do with your page design? Why not adapt something old or revamp a visual design you have seen in a professional publication for your newspaper, magazine or yearbook? Yes, old or borrowed can be new. The key is to use the professional sample for inspiration.

The Philadelphia Inquirer rebrand
Always Philly. That’s the Inquirer’s focus on its vibrant community. Design director Suzette Moyer will walk you through the brilliant new look from Pentagram Design and how Philly audiences experience it across platforms.

What’s your type?
Typography is like the people we know. Some are sophisticated. Others are gregarious. A few are a bit awkward. And, yes, some are weird. We use it to convey messages through stories, captions and headlines. Although we typically follow the rules of typography when designing, there are a few occasions that we might choose to break those rules.

Design • Sports

Your sports page sucks
The sports page is the second-most looked at page, so stop making it look so ugly. In this session, we will discuss how to make your page more reader-friendly.


Leading inclusively: A how-to guide
Clarion calls for diversity and inclusion are sending college media managers scrambling for resources. In this session, we’ll discuss what newsroom managers should consider if they want to build a sense of belonging for all staffers, including those from marginalized identities.

Let’s talk about diversity and inclusion
Join an informal meet-and-greet with the members of your College Media Association Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Come by, chat and tell us what you’d like us to work on or anything on your mind. Students and advisers welcome.

Newsroom mentorships: Connecting college and professional newsrooms
Mentorship programs can provide important opportunities for college journalists to learn from professionals who share their successes and shortcomings. This session will share a mentorship program between the San Diego Union-Tribune and The Sun at Southwestern College, a community college outside San Diego.

Watch your language
Hispanic, Latino/a or Latinx? Pregnant women or pregnant people? Autistic people or people with autism? As language and culture change, it can be a struggle to find the right terms. In this interactive session, the editor of The Diversity Style Guide will help you write with accuracy, authority and sensitivity.

Engagement & platforms

Using audience and community engagement to make better journalism
Guessing the information needs of your audience and community doesn’t always work. In this session, we will discuss the differences between audience engagement and community engagement. We will talk about how using both in your newsroom, or in your individual reporting, creates more thoughtful journalism that benefits your audience and community. From social media to newsletters, listening sessions to surveys, we’ll discuss the qualitative and quantitative data that can be measured through successful engagement.


Building effective teams from Square One to success story
In nearly three years as marketing director, this speaker built a powerhouse team that wins national awards, is recognizable on campus and boasts 15-20 members with a 98-percent retention rate between semesters. She’ll discuss how she built that team — from when it’s just you, up until you’ve built your team and are preparing to pass it on to a new leader.

Future proofing your media: Results of a national study on archiving student media autlets
A university archivist and former student media adviser share their results of a national survey of student media outlets regarding their archiving practices. They’ll offer tips on archiving for media outlets who would like to go it alone, as well as a call for case studies in archiving. The speakers will tailor their advice to your situation, as student media struggle with fewer staff, less budget and the challenges of archiving digital technology.

Putting first things first: Effective editorial leadership time management
Newsrooms are often beehives focusing on urgent things instead of the important things. It is vital to distinguish between the two. Let’s reflect on your newsroom — “Am I doing this because it is important or because it is simply urgent?”

Successful leadership through change, disruption and disaster
Through natural disasters, gun violence, pandemic and political division, it has never been more challenging to be a leader in a student newsroom. This panel will explore leadership techniques being used in one college newsroom that can be adapted in others.

Leadership • Staff Management

Managing student publications: Tips and tricks
From promotion to production to delivery, a student publication can be a complex process. With decades of experience, the panelists will discuss the processes, procedures and the team effort needed to deliver successful student publications on a monthly or yearly schedule. You will learn some tips, tricks and pitfalls to avoid.


Evolution of the campus magazine: How a pandemic and social justice movement have changed values
Operations of general-interest campus magazines do not follow a temporal news cycle. But with the isolation and unease of a pandemic, heartbreak of police-involved shootings and energy of social justice demonstrations, student staffs faced the challenge of producing relevant content amid a changing definition of culture and voice. This panel charts these challenges and how campus magazines — as cultural artifacts — capture these moments. Listen to some trends of CMA/ACP/SPJ members and hear how social conditions challenged the definition of campus culture by student journalists involved in campus media magazine production.

Form and function: Create a literary journal that represents your student body
Join us for a discussion — roundtable style — on how to capture and maintain an audience when planning and designing a literary journal. We’ll focus on diversifying content areas to attract and engage with the full spectrum of your student body.

How your literary magazine can save student media. (And the world, who knows?)
College media is challenged every day by the indifference, or sometimes callousness, of university administrations. What can humble literary artists do? Quite a lot, actually. Combine ancient storytelling techniques with modern-day mutual back-scratching to not only grow readership but gain loyalty from the campus community for student media as a whole.

Put a zine on it: Creating print products for a digital world
Print’s not dead – and we can prove it. Zines (short for “magazine”) are small independently published print products that are flying off campus newspaper racks. Using student-produced zine examples from the last year, we’ll show you how your news team can easily turn reporting you’re already doing into small print products that will inform and engage audiences beyond their screens. 

Media Law & Ethics

Beware of the copyright bots: Borrowing online photos and stuff
“It’s never been easier — and potentially more risky — to help yourself to photos, videos and music. Join us for a quick copyright primer and tips (and warnings) about finding truly free material that’s safe to re-publish.”

Can I publish this? Conducting a self-directed pre-publication review and keeping yourself out of legal trouble
Libel? Privacy? Intellectual property? When you’re producing a publication, there are many legal risks to keep in mind. But don’t fear — we’ll go over tips and tricks for reviewing your own content to keep you out of the courtroom and in the newsroom.

College Press Freedom 101
“You might be being censored — and you don’t even know it. Content-based budget cuts? Restricted access to information? Need to go through the university PR machine to talk to anyone? How do you know if it is censorship and how to recognize if you are self-censoring.”

Copyright fair use, made simple
While it’s great to understand how statutory fair use works and all the different ways it can be applied, at the end of the day, most modern courts make fair use decisions in a simplified way. Find out how you can do the same thing and make accurate fair-use decisions when you’re on deadline.

Covering campus crime: Getting the facts
The Clery Act and state open records laws entitle you to a ton of information about crime on campuses, even private ones, but getting secretive colleges to provide timely, accurate information can be a tug of war. Learn what really is and isn’t private when it comes to crime and discipline on college campuses.

FOIA and access to information
“Getting good information is key to good reporting. We’ll talk about the ins and outs of public records requests, how/where that pesky FERPA excuse applies (it usually doesn’t) and what to do if you’re being given the runaround.”

Keeping secrets: A guide to the reporter’s privilege
Should reporters be allowed to keep their confidential sources or unpublished notes or photos secret? When is it appropriate to use a confidential source? This presentation will introduce student journalists to one of the hottest and most controversial topics of the day — reporter’s privilege.

Privacy Law 101
The law recognizes that every person sometimes has the right to be left alone — even by journalists. This session will help student media understand where the legal lines have been drawn. What stories/photos/practices should you avoid? What is fair game? What happens if someone wants you to take down a story that was previously published?

Public records and private schools
Private schools don’t have the same freedom of information obligations as public schools, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have any. Private schools have the obligation to disclose a number of records that are important to readers. We’ll talk about some common ones and how to find the uncommon ones.

SPLC roundtable/forum
This discussion is part of a broader Student Press Law Center project that looks at differing generational and cultural approaches to a journalist’s ethical commitment to “minimize harm.” We know that there is a deep and growing generational divide between younger, digital-native journalists and veteran journalists who have been trained and operated with different views on what “harm” means. This session is meant to be a tightly facilitated discussion exploring core questions about what it all means.

The ABCs of L-I-B-E-L
While just saying the word aloud can bring shivers down a journalist’s spine, the basics of libel law — and the keys to avoiding it — are actually fairly simple. Let’s clear the fear. We will also spend some time talking about what to do when you get a takedown request (and you will).

Trends in college press censorship
A recent nationwide survey revealed that more than 60 percent of college newspaper editors had experienced censorship at least once in the previous year. In this session, learn more about the data and walk away with five tips for avoiding and responding to censorship.


Professional collaborations:
College classroom and newsroom partnerships that amplify student journalism

The speaker offers details about her journalism project collaborations with Teen Vogue and The Nation, in which those national newsrooms published stories produced by students in her graduate-level race and reporting class.

Partnerships • The future

How colleges can partner with grassroots media sites
Thanks to a grant from the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium, Saint Peter’s University has been a partner with a grassroots media site, Slice of Culture, to pool strengths and create informed multimedia projects designed to engage civic participation, focusing on communities of color. This panel discusses how colleges can find local media partners, how students can take part and how these partnerships boost civic engagement.


A shot in the dark: Low-light performance photography
How do you turn in a usable photo when performers look like they’d be better off lit by candlelight? Learn how to make low-light images without using flash or breaking the bank on gear, and why learning to shoot live acts can turn you into a better news, sports or feature photographer.

Four elements of great photography
How do we know if a photograph is good or bad? What language can we use when describing why we like or dislike a photo? This session will explore the four elements that make up all great photographs and teach us to be better communicators as we discuss photography.

Photo Shoot-out introduction
Fine-tune your photo skills with the people of Washington, D.C., as your subject matter. Student photojournalists can compete in an on-site competition. To participate, students must be registered for the convention and bring their own camera and equipment to edit images.

Photo Shoot-out critique
After photojournalists have spent two days fulfilling the assignment, instructors will critique their work. The group will also select a class favorite. Images recognized by the judges will be posted online in about two weeks.

Photojournalism composition that engages the viewer
Composing for impact and meaning matters. How you frame your subject matters, and what you include, or don’t include, in the viewfinder is key. Learn how to improve your composition and thereby tell better stories visually. Learn to edit through composition.

Picture Perfect: How to make something out of nothing
How do photojournalists covering the White House keep creating powerful and informative imagery day after day? Join photojournalist Al Drago as he breaks down his process to capturing new and distinctive moments in the fast-paced world of DC politics.

Taking better feature photos: Slices of life
What makes good feature photos and what should you look for to get them? Get these answers and view award-winning feature photography examples. Learn how to get great feature photos by capturing an exceptional moment within a common, everyday occurrence.

The (not so) scary world of freelance photography
As traditional jobs in newspapers or television decline, there is a rise in journalists being their own boss. Join photojournalists Al Drago and Kenny Holston as they discuss the ups, downs and everything in between. Topics will include getting started, maintaining editor relationships and balancing personal work and personal life.

Want better photos? Be engaged
Being a photojournalist is more than just making photos, getting quotes and writing stories. If you don’t have subjects to talk to, you do not have a story. This presentation showcases meaningful ways to engage in the community you are covering; the better the connections, the better the stories.

Photojournalism • Media Law & Ethics

Photojournalism ethics
What are the principles that guide photojournalists? From digital manipulation and staging to creating visual inaccuracies, this session offers real-life examples to help students understand how photographs can tell the truth and lie.

The right to photograph
What do cops, professors, university presidents and football coaches have in common? Opposable thumbs, and that they’re likely to say, “You can’t take pictures here.” They’re also usually wrong. We’ll talk about what’s really private, what to do when there’s a disagreement and how to avoid getting arrested for doing your job.

Photojournalism • Sports

Sports Photography 101
Looking to boost your sports photojournalism? Capturing great sports moments doesn’t have to be expensive or burdensome. Learn techniques and tricks to help making quality photographs that are meaningful.

Professional & Personal Development

Build your skills, join a great team
There are a lot of different jobs available, but how do you position yourself for the best fit? Learn what employers are looking for and what you can do to make sure you’re giving yourself the best possible opportunity to advance.

Establishing your brand:
Teaching journalism students how to create their brands

Journalists are generally not taught how to create a brand for themselves. But their success in today’s competitive media market is about getting more views and using social media to stretch their reach. This session will teach student journalists how to create a brand and extend it through social media.

Find your niche
Learn how to adapt your general reporting skills and other campus media experience to more specialized newsroom roles such as audience engagement or business reporting. Learn from the pros how beginning journalists can carve out a niche and hear the top qualities editors look for in potential hires.

Journalism study abroad:
Developing critical consciousness, self-awareness and a portfolio

This session provides an overview of a journalism study-abroad program in which student journalists research, write and publish stories while living in South Africa. We will demonstrate how a program built on rigorous journalism, thoughtful storytelling and mindful travel can bring about critical consciousness and encourage self-awareness about privileges.

Launching your creative career
Job searches aren’t much fun. When you’re just starting your career, it’s often hard to know where to begin. What should you do while you are in school? How can you position yourself to get hired? What’s the best way to show off your skills? Where are those great creative jobs? We’ll talk about résumés, portfolios and networking as well as what not to do.

Report for America & journalism job opportunities
Report for America is a national service program that places emerging and experienced journalists in local newsrooms across the country to report on undercovered issues and communities. Report for America journalists join a movement to strengthen communities — and democracy — through local journalism that is truthful, fearless, fair and smart. Learn more about the program, information sessions and applications.

Striking a balance:
Addressing the demands of a changing profession while meeting student needs
Student publications are ground zero for incorporating professional skills in ways that lead to portfolio work strong enough to catch the attention of media organizations hiring interns and entry-level staff. This workshop explores feedback from 90-minute interviews with 19 journalists working and hiring interns for 17 organizations. Journalists explained how they approach job applications as well as how they consider geographic location, program accreditation and a student’s major in hiring decisions. They also explained where new hires succeed and where they fail.

Taking care of yourself after reporting on traumatic events
Sometimes a journalist’s job is to witness the hardest day in someone else’s life. Or to edit hundreds of captions about a war. Or to take photo after photo of an act of violence. Though we are not the ones directly experiencing the trauma, being around it and involved with it can have lifelong effects. We’ll talk about confronting that reality and figuring out what tools work best for you to cope with it.

Talkin’ LinkedIn and résumés
An experienced recruiter will describe how LinkedIn, combined with a powerful résumé, will open opportunities on the job market. Get tips and advice on making both of them effective in your job search.

Trauma in the newsroom: How to protect your mental health
The American Psychological Association has described journalists as “vicarious first responders” as student journalism poses special challenges to mental health with the added stress of balancing classes with a demanding job. Covering a small community that students are a part of can make reporting on tragedy especially difficult. The former editor-in-chief of The Alestle at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville will discuss the foundations of these skills.

Turn an idea into a job and a job into a career
This session will explore and present ways to capitalize on academic skills, experience and talents. We’ll discover and discuss how to mine your skills and experiences to set you apart in the job market. Learn how to build a professional network and leverage it to find and create meaningful internship or employment opportunities. 

Washington women in journalism: The path to success
This session will feature three successful reporters based in Washington, D.C. Each of these women will share how they made it there, what their day-to-day work entails, and tips and techniques for those who want to follow in their footsteps.

Reporting, Editing & Storytelling

10 ways to look like a genius with simple (free) interactive tools
It’s a sensory thing. We’re drawn to motion and the opportunity to interact with information on a screen. We’ll look at easy ways to make your storytelling more powerful and engaging.

Award-winning reporters employ empathy and so should you
Smart journalists employ empathy as a relational approach and a research method. We will discuss how empathy cultivates curiosity, challenges prejudices, gives a writer access to common ground with others, encourages the translation of nonverbal cues into solid information, and more.

Be curious, not judgmental: Better people make better journalists
How a person sees the world, how a person sees people, places, things (especially government) often determines how well or poorly they cover something. This session focus on reporting, editing and how hard it is sometimes to report the story when some topics make it impossible not to feel something for what you are reporting on.

Break into business reporting
Want to shine a light on injustices in your community, celebrate a local small business or report on the power players in your city? Then you are a prime candidate for business reporting, a smart career choice in a growing coverage area that generally pays well. Learn more about the business-reporting beat and the skills it needs.

Breaking into music journalism wherever you are
Interviewing musicians as a young reporter isn’t just something out of “Almost Famous.” Learn how one student journalist found herself on a tour less than a year out of college and how to cover local gigs for your college paper before you’re old enough to get into them as a spectator.

Candy is dandy — What is news?
Just what is news? Beginners can learn about the characteristics of newsworthiness and how to apply them. The more seasoned can test their news judgment. Either way, you get candy.

Conspiracy theories and media: Definitions and challenges
Conspiracy theories have been part of American politics since the founding. However, they have been growing in the last half-decade, creating new challenges for media. This presentation will give some background on what conspiracy theories are, their current place in American politics and how media should handle them.

Covering Capitol Hill
A panel of veteran journalists will share how-to information in an introduction to covering Capitol Hill. This panel will feature a press gallery staffer and several Hill reporters, and it will be useful to college interns at DC outlets or mid-career practitioners who want to know the logistics and ins and outs of Hill coverage. It will provide advice and best practices for another generation of people covering legislation.

Finding stories is easy … really
So many times, reporters tell their editors there are no stories out there… there is nothing going on. Not true. Come join in a fun activity and learn there are stories EVERYWHERE.

Fitting in the news: Creating personalized interactives
Study after study shows many people feel disconnected from the news. Here’s one surefire way to engage audiences: creating personalized interactives that show people how they fit into the news — and give them information they need to make decisions. In this session, we’ll take you through conceiving and producing effective personalized interactives.

Get out of your comfort zone
Today’s students communicate through electronic means and need more focus on face-to-face communication. To serve our readers, we need more voices in our content and to do that, we have to get our reporters talking to real people in real time. We will provide some tips and activities on how to get students out there reporting in person to get better interviews and to improve stories.

God and the newsroom
Can you be a serious journalist and devout in your religion? At secular schools, do you feel like the oddball? At Christian, Catholic, Jewish or other faith-based schools, do you battle censorship or face pressure to use journalism to promote your religion? Join us for a conversation.

How to cover a music festival before you’re old enough to drink at one
Yes, you can cover 13 bands in eight hours. You can interview musicians and not get lame answers. You can write a review before your first caffeine buzz wears off and a detailed preview for the next day without staying up all night. Learn how to plan your day from a young reporter published in Teen Vogue, Rock Sound Magazine, Cosmopolitan and more.

Interviewing 101: How to prepare for and execute clean interviews
One of the major challenges since COVID hit is getting your staff out there again interviewing in-person with the goals of getting at the heart of the story. This session will give you sound tips/tricks to help your staff redevelop the confidence necessary for good interviews. You will learn techniques for crafting good questions, asking follow-ups and engaging both with your interview subject and your intended audience.

Journalists & surveillance: What you need to know to stay safe
Is your digital footprint secure? Do you know how to protect your sources and content from prying and spying eyes? This session will introduce basic cybersecurity and digital-hygiene practices through a series of hypotheticals to get students thinking about ways to protect themselves, their sources and their content from surveillance and cyber threats.

Local journalism is the lifeblood of democracy
Reporting on local decision makers, business owners and characters helps everyone who lives in a community make intelligent decisions in their lives. But what happens when that reporting isn’t happening? How can college journalists fill those gaps?

Making national news local and local news national
Whether you’re covering a school board meeting, a concert or a national disaster, there’s always more to the story than “here’s what happened.” In this session, we’ll talk about coming up with story ideas that appeal to both local and national audiences.

Media matters: Now more than ever
The skills of media reporting are still vital, more vital than ever. You can get information anywhere, but journalism must represent accuracy, research and integrity. Recognize the best foundational skills in order to be a professional media producer, and explore the whys of this craft.

Powerful stories:
How student journalists are amplifying community voices

Salt Lake Community College journalism students, in collaboration with nonprofits The Salt Lake Tribune and Amplify Utah, published dozens of stories in the past two years with a focus on increasing representative storytelling across the local-news landscape. The stories engaged tens of thousands people, and the project is growing. This session illustrates how we did it — and you can, too.

Project paralysis: How to tackle your dream reporting project
You have the goods. A source has dropped an internal document with the most intriguing numbers. Or you’ve learned that a hospital’s owner is banned from collecting federal health care funds. Or maybe your gut just tells you that there’s something more to that proposed law than meets the eye. How do you turn it into a rock-solid project that excites your audience? Join Kaiser Health News’ Sarah Jane Tribble as she shares lessons learned while creating KHN’s first narrative podcast as well as multiple award-winning investigations. There will be practical, no-nonsense advice on how to gather, develop and keep track of the sources and documents you need to get published.

Reporting on #MeToo allegations
We’ll discuss the legal and ethical aspects of covering reports of sexual assault, abuse and harassment and how to gain access to public information. We’ll also explain changes enacted this year to Title IX when it comes to adjudicating sexual misconduct allegations. You will have an opportunity to discuss roadblocks you’ve encountered as you’ve tried to cover this important and difficult topic.

Seize today, seize tomorrow
There’s no denying the daily deadline pressures every reporter faces, but how do you make sure you’re planning for tomorrow with meaty, investigative work? Learn some tips and tricks to do what’s needed every day while finding ways to complete larger future stories that can have range and impact.

Solutions Journalism across platforms and in your newsroom
This session will examine how students can tackle Solutions Journalism reporting and how they can present these stories across platforms: digital, video, podcast and social media.

The business of higher education
Ever wonder where your tuition goes? Learn how to report on your school and its departments as a business by using data and documents to answer key questions in fields like academics, athletics, construction, donor relations and human resources.

The criminal justice beat as a career — from print & broadcast to a digital nonprofit news site
Capital B is a Black-led local and national news organization. Come hear Christina Carrega, its award-winning national criminal justice reporter, talk about her beat and career, which has included television, print and digital outlets. Carrega previously worked for CNN, ABC News-Digital and The New York Daily News.

The lasting legacy of Ernie Pyle
Nearly 80 years after World War II, the writings of war correspondent Ernie Pyle are as relevant as ever in human-interest storytelling. Hear from the Ernie Pyle Legacy Foundation, sponsors of the ACP human-interest reporting award, on how Pyle’s legacy lives through his work and the work of other journalists.

The power of investigative journalism at the college level 
College journalists bring fresh perspective, data skills and old-school grit to the world of investigative reporting — and major media outlets are taking notice. Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Debbie Cenziper will talk about the power of accountability journalism at the college level and why student reporters, now more than ever, are helping to keep the government honest and the public informed. She will also provide tips on reporting, research and writing at the college level.

The role of journalists in news literacy education
As misinformation spreads and distrust in the media grows, new research shows journalists themselves can play an important part in increasing the news literacy and news appreciation of their audiences. This session will present practical ways for journalists to start this effort early in their careers.

Using the five Ws and H for impactful multi-platform storytelling
Using the five Ws and one H of journalism is a highly successful approach to storytelling, not only in newspaper reporting but in social media and in sharing stories across platforms.

Where the money is: Business reporting
Business reporting is an important area of journalism in New York City and nationwide. It’s a place where jobs are stable and salaries are higher. Business journalists perform an important watchdog function. So what does it take to be a business reporter? Hear from a former Wall Street Journal reporter who still writes for business outlets like Forbes, BusinessWeek and The Washington Post. He also teaches business journalism classes and leads the Dow Jones News Fund business reporting program.

Why religion reporting matters in the 21st century
The importance of religion to individuals and to society varies greatly from country to country. As a result, the religion beat remains vital to understanding our world. This session will delve into the challenges and joys that come with reporting on matters of faith.

You found that idea where?
They’re at the mall, on the web, on billboards and even in some well-designed junk mail. From Pinterest to magazines — ideas for stories, designs and theme concepts are everywhere. We’ll adapt ideas from professional resources that will give your publication a cutting-edge look and help you create a memorable yearbook, magazine or newspaper for your student audience.

Using conscious language
Conscious language is about being sensitive to your audience and understanding that words can mean different things to different people. We’ll talk about the topics that have led stylebooks and news organizations to increase their emphasis on using conscious language. Included will be a discussion of “inclusive language” updates to the 2022 AP Stylebook.

Editing your own work
We should all edit our own work before submitting it, but being your only copy editor isn’t really a great idea. Yet it’s become a necessity for many journalists working in quick-post online environments. This session will show you the tips and tricks to make editing your own stories work.

Stop. Look. Listen. Story ideas are everywhere
“What do I write about” makes an editor nervous, but Stop, Look, Listen and use some creativity and thought to that interesting story idea. This session will present ideas from routine to unusual to “off the wall” and how to find and develop them.


Reporting, Editing & Storytelling • Media Law & Ethics

Public Records 101
This workshop explains the basics of public records, walks participants through tips for submitting records requests and explores ideas about how records can be useful for student journalists.

Reporting, Editing & Storytelling • Data & visualization

Storytelling with election data
Elections are a time of peak attention from news consumers, which is why news nerds often say election night is their Super Bowl. This session will identify the major sources of election data, walk through methods for parsing and understanding this data, and provide examples of stories that students can tell — through text, charts, audio and even live video.

Reporting, Editing & Storytelling • Data & visualization • Design

Inventing visual story forms
Washington Post Graphics assignment editor Kevin Uhrmacher will present some approaches you can take on the way to producing creative and memorable visual stories. Whether with interactive tools, maps or other data visualizations, you’ll leave people wondering “How did they think to tell the story that way?”

Reporting, Editing & Storytelling • Partnerships

Collaborative coverage and the potential for change:
Breaking down and reporting community-based stories about homelessness and poverty
It’s difficult to report on big, seemingly intractable social problems. How can your staff make systemic social problems — and the hundreds of potential stories that stem from them — both manageable and meaningful to readers and their communities? This workshop explores how journalists can scrutinize responses to social challenges associated with homelessness and, in turn, poverty. It includes how editorial staff might become partners with communities, large and small, to produce stories that contribute to positive change and include a genuine range of perspectives.

Reporting, Editing & Storytelling • Staff Management

Newsroom Digital Security 101
Protecting your newsroom from an ever-growing list of cyber incidents may seem daunting, but there are easy changes to safeguard your work. In this session, we’ll be going over the first steps into digital security for journalists. We’ll play “spot the phish,” show examples of real-world phishing emails and learn how to look for the telltale signs.

Reporting, Editing & Storytelling •
The Future: Engagement & Platforms

Move along — How to keep your readers
Writers talk about engaging their readers, keeping them engrossed in their writing. Certain things in your writing, though, might actually stop readers, which means you could lose them. Join us for some quick tips that will keep your readers moving forward and keep them more engaged.

Reporting, Editing & Storytelling •
Media Law & Ethics

Covering protests and staying safe so you can tell the story
Plan carefully before covering a protest on your campus or in the community, and know what to do if you are accosted. We’ll review journalists’ legal rights, steps to take in advance to protect yourself and what to do if challenged by police or protesters.


Research topics on college media
Scholarly research on college media can help answer important questions about college media and its future. This panel session will present academic research about the most urgent topics facing college media.

Social Media

Can you TikTok the news?
Using social media video to report and present real journalism

As social-media outlets have expanded and changed, news organizations have found clever ways to present news on these platforms — and harness the power of social media for sources in their reporting. In this session, Northwestern professor Craig Duff will talk about how outlets from The New York Times to Vox to AJ+ to The Washington Post have each made their mark in social-media video.

Do you really know reels? How to succeed on Instagram
Do you want to take your Instagram to the next level and engage your followers even better? Then this is the session for you. Come prepared to learn IG tips and tricks for success, and everyone will leave the session with a reel in their pocket ready to post.

Life’s too short for boring social media
When this speaker started at her town’s daily newspaper, she quickly realized she was the youngest employee in the room. She knew the paper had readers of all ages — but the company’s social content wasn’t connecting with its audience the way it potentially could. A year after taking over, through experimentation and some rule-breaking, content interactions and engagement have boosted tenfold. In this session, we’re talking all things social strategy.


Developing a sports website worth reading
Audiences have ever-changing expectations on how they consume sports information. They don’t want stories posted on websites late at night or days later, nor do they merely want a summary of key plays. They want you to use your access, your expertise and your storytelling abilities to engage them rapidly, and frequently, on all digital and social media platforms. We’ll address multiple ways to improve, or develop, your sports coverage.

Why is the SID such an SOB
All you want to do is talk to an athlete to write a profile for your publication. Why does the sports information director make it so hard to get access to a student-athlete?

Writing (multimedia) sports stories
Learn how to write dynamic stories about live sports events that go beyond play by play, stats and final results. Instead, tell engaging stories by reporting, observing and interviewing better – and by engaging more fully with multimedia elements. The presenter is the author of Field Guide To Covering Sports and publisher/editor of a community sports website,

Staff management

Encrypting a college newsroom for free
In 2019, San Jose State’s newspaper adopted Signal, a free, encrypted instant-messenging service. We will examine why we did it, who we were worried about and how we pulled it off. Finally, we will discuss other tips on how to secure internal newsroom communications.

The feedback loop
Newsroom drama usually comes from a lack of good communication. This session will cover the formal communication channels developed at The Signpost and encourage discussion about better ways to talk out conflicts.

The Future: Engagement & Platforms

10 ideas to revive your print edition
This session will present a Top 10 list to provide inspiration for those who want to reinvigorate their printed product.

Creating a membership program for generating revenue and reader engagement
The Chronicle, The Daily Tar Heel and The State News worked in collaboration with a performance-driven change consulting group (think Table Stakes) called Blue Engine for the entire school year. We set individual goals around growing reader revenue (memberships, donations) and all the things that go with that (email lists, tech stack, stewardship, etc.). We’re trying to figure out how to keep it going. We will, but what’s next? And we want to share our findings with college media and encourage others to try this.

Decentralized journalism, aka the post-traditional journalism movement
The internet broke the business models of traditional publishers, leaving a demand for investigative reporting, and niche interest areas and beats. The reporters that will be most sought after are those that deeply know their beats and are savvy users of social media who can build their audiences. This session will offer tips to prepare you to fill this demand.

Expand and deliver
Students get involved in the issues that matter to them — from campus safety to climate change and gun violence — and student media can facilitate these conversations. Learn how to expand your program to engage more contributors and serve a broader audience.

Future of college media: Change vs. tradition
Big questions loom. What should we do about print? How do we organize our newsrooms? How does our audience want to receive news? What is “news,” anyway? Answering the questions often means challenging traditions cherished by student staff. Let’s talk bluntly about the tensions and brainstorm about resolving them.

Newsletters 101: Why you should start or expand now
Starting and running a popular email newsletter is easier than you think. Get a boatload of basic info, including tips how for how to make it work in your newsroom.

Newsletters 202: Make them better
Want to try some new things with your newsletter? See what other college and commercial outlets are doing and talk about new ideas with fellow newsletter enthusiasts.

Really and truly (and finally) digital first
If your news organization finds itself caught with one foot in the digital world and the other stuck in print, we feel your pain. Join two students and two advisers as we cover key concepts to help you move forward, including audience-engagement strategies, content pushes that emphasize quality over quantity, tuning up production schedules and more.

Town Halls: How student media can host live discussions on community issues
Town halls have become popular venues to inform audiences and generate discussion on issues facing communities. This session will share one student newspaper’s experience in co-sponsoring and conducting two town halls and offer tips on how student media outlets can do their own.


Yearbook ideas from a Pinnacle and Pacemaker winner
The adviser of a Pacemaker- and Pinnacle-winning yearbook will talk about steps you can take to update, upgrade and improve the quality and content of your book for your audience and for contest time.

Fall National
College Media Convention

Oct. 27-30, 2022
Grand Hyatt Washington

> Register here