Spring Conference 2009

The Society of Professional Journalists will host Spring Conference 2009 on April 3-4 at the Doubletree Worthington, with programming support from the Online News Association and the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism.

The event will open Friday, April 3, with an evening cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception at Winking Lizard Crosswoods, followed by a full Saturday of networking and professional development sessions dedicated to new media.

Pulitzer-prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald will deliver a keynote on President Obama’s influence on national culture. Pitts also will be available for a book signing as he just had his first novel published.

Detroit News recruiter Walter Middlebrook will talk about his paper’s plan to cut back home delivery and boost digital readership.

Breakfast and lunch are included in the registration fee.

Use the discount code “spring” before March 20 for $20 off any registration.

Go to the registration page

Here’s the lineup:

Friday, April 3

6-8 p.m. — Reception at Winking Lizard Crosswoods

Saturday, April 4
(specific session times and descriptions are subject to change):

7:30-8:30 a.m. — Registration

8:30-9:30 a.m. — Breakfast with Walter Middlebrook (Sponsored by Nationwide)

9:45 to 11:15 a.m. — (choose one)

Moving Beyond the Mainstream: The Impact of Digital Media on Public Affairs Coverage (presented by the Kiplinger Program) (Sponsored by OSU Office of Communications)

This session is designed to get you up to speed on the latest trends in the digital world and how they impact public affairs reporting. You’ll examine how the Internet is changing the shape and delivery of news and information. You’ll familiarize yourself with how journalists and others are communicating through Twitter, YouTube, blogs, Facebook, and a variety of other sites and technologies (including QR codes, Publish2 and Ping.fm). And you’ll learn how to apply new reporting strategies in multiple platforms. This is a foundations session for those who want to better understand and navigate the digital age.

Third Party and User-Generated Content Media companies are rushing to ensure users can more actively participate on their sites by providing story-level commenting, message boards and even social media. What protections do Web sites have when users place information on their site? What moral obligations, if any, do newsrooms have? Should that information be moderated or unmoderated? Expect a spirited session with lots of audience interaction. Presenters: Ray Marcano, internet general manager at Cox Ohio Publishing, and General Counsel Brett Thurman. (Sponsored by Cox Ohio Publishing Online Ad Studio)

11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Mark of Excellence luncheon and awards ceremony with keynote Leonard Pitts

1:15 to 2:45 p.m. — (choose one)

Beat Blogging with Henry Gomez of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Bob Baptist of the Columbus Dispatch and Chris Seper of MedCityNews.com. Learn how these pros are engaging readers on a whole new level. Blogging is quite different what reporters do in print. Blogs aggregate content from elsewhere, allow interaction with readers and allow for posting lots of tidbits and additional information – items that cannot fit in print. Blogs also can contain video and audio, and are part of an interactive online network of other blogs and social networking sites. (Presented by Online News Association) (Sponsored by Columbus Dispatch)

Journalists in Transition: Surviving layoffs, downsizing & planning your next career move during challenging economic times
This is a career planning session for journalists at all phases of work history. Whether you are starting a new career or have worked for many years, there are many challenges facing the journalism profession. Every day there is news about how the industry is both expanding and collapsing at the  same time. More than 6 million people have started Tweeting in one year, while newsrooms across the U.S. are closing altogether. What you’ll learn:
•    The nuts and bolts of what your resume must include to capture attention and be competitive in a tight job market;
•    Job hunting techniques;
•    How to market yourself;
•    Healthy life skills needed during transition including the money choices, assessments you need to make and how to move on;
•    Considerations for working in a niche market such as business writing.
With career strategist Celia Crossley, founder, Celia Crossley & Associates; life coach Jerry Browning
MS, LPC, founder of the Chiron Company; and Dominic Cappa, a 25-year business journalism veteran and editor-in-chief of Columbus Business First. (Sponsored by Paul Werth Associates)

3 to 4:30 p.m. — (choose one)

Following the Crowd: How to Reach New Audiences on the Web (presented by Kiplinger Program)

In this session, you’ll explore how journalists, non-profits, start ups and other organizations are using new technologies and techniques to gain attention and expand their reach. You’ll learn the sophisticated ways people are using 
Twitter, Second Life and other social media sites, for example. And you’ll explore how new semantic tools are changing they way groups collect, organize and make meaning from thousands of people who comment daily on the Web.

Narrowcasting: On-camera Professions in New Media

Assistant Managing Editor Dave Maetzold of college broadcast Web site palestra.net will provide insight into the changing world of online broadcasting. The site’s network of paid student reporters cover news, sports and entertainment. The network was founded in 2006 by a group of former Columbus TV sports guys who realized that the media was moving away from the half-hour evening TV newscast to an online and on-demand world.

The network has grown to nearly 100 schools and more than 120 student reporters. Reporters have covered every BCS bowl game, college basketball’s Final Four, the Super Bowl, the Sundance Film Festival, the Bonarroo Music Festival and both the 2008 Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Student reporters have filed stories from all 48 continental states. Palestra.net is a content partner of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Channel providing student reporters opportunities to appear on both TV networks. Palestra.net is also a content partner with Fox Sports Interactive, providing reporters one more national platform on which to showcase their work.

Spring Conference 2009 is sponsored by Nationwide, Ohio State University — University Communications and School of Communication, Columbus Dispatch, Cox Ohio, Paul Werth Associates, Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University, Graydon Head and Ohio Newspaper Association.