Registration and continental breakfast are 8 am on Saturday!

Day-long conference will be on Saturday, March 29. An informal reception will be held at the South Shore Harbour Resort lounge at 7 pm on Friday, March 28. SPJ Immediate Past President Sonny Albarado will talk with attendees about the present and future of SPJ.

Scheduled program (some programs are pending speaker confirmation):

9 am to 10 am:  Session I

Social Media for Dummies

This session will explore best practices in using social media and how Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites are used today in news collecting and reporting.

200 Years of Texas Newspapers

Dr. Nicolas Kanellos will preview a documentary about the history of the Texas newspaper industry, followed by a Q&A.

Marketing Yourself: The Key to the Freelance Life

A panel comprised of freelance writers and the editors who receive their pitches will share insights into the world of freelancing.

10:15 am to 11:15 am:  Session II

How to Hit a Home Run: Mastering the Sports Beat

Hear from print and broadcast reporters about the sports beat.

Is Energy Reporting the New Black?

As the energy industry grows and changes, savvy writers and reporters are needed to cover this specialized area.  Attend this session to gain expertise in this niche field.

How Have NASA’s Stars Aligned? Covering the Space Program in the 21st Century

The conference will take place in Johnson Space Center’s backyard, and we have invited local NASA communications experts as well as columnists who cover this very specialized niche field.

One-on-One Resume and Reel Critique

Individual evaluations and recommendations for both print and broadcast reporters will be available by appointment during sessions I and II.

11:30 am to 1 pm: Mark of Excellence luncheon

Our keynote speaker will be Kevin Dale, News Director of the Denver Post, 2013 Pulitzer prize winner in the Breaking News category for coverage of the 2012 Aurora, CO theater shooting.  As the Pulitzer citation noted, the the prize was awarded to the paper’s staff:

...for its comprehensive coverage of the mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., that killed 12 and injured 58, using journalistic tools, from Twitter and Facebook to video and written reports, both to capture a breaking story and provide context.

The keynote speech will be followed by announcement of the Mark of Excellence award winners.

1:30 pm to 2:30 pm: Session III

Q&A With Kevin Dale

This is an opportunity to ask our keynote speaker questions about covering the Aurora theater shooting.

The Dangers of Social Media

This session goes deeper than skills development and looks at how using social media can go wrong – and how to avoid that.

Weathering the Storm: Lessons in Crisis Reporting

How do you keep the presses running during a disaster? This session explores reporters’ and editors’ experiences and insight with natural disasters and how they’re reported accurately and safely to the public.

2:45 pm to 3:45 pm: Session IV:

Accuracy and Balance: Religion Reporting in a Diverse World

Covering religion can pose multiple challenges, from accurately understanding a range of faith practices to familiarity with etiquette in houses of worship.  Our panel will include a Muslim blogger, the Houston Chronicle religion editor and a public affairs representative of the local Latter-day Saints church.

What is Immigration Reporting in 2014?

Reporters covering immigration issues – one of the most critical topics in today’s America – must be well-informed, impartial, and accurate.  In this session, attendees will hear from a diversity of voices on the issue and how it’s covered by the media.

Protecting Yourself and Your Sources

We’ll examine some legal issues posed in today’s media environment, from the viewpoint of experts in both the legal field and media.

4 pm to 5 pm: Region 8 Business Meeting


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