Pro Tips: Writing refresh

Find motivation and some new tools for energizing your writing in this afternoon workshop.

After a year of working from home, journalists and communicators around the country are hitting reset on their routines as they consider life after vaccination. Add “Pro Tips: Writing refresh” to your toolkit as you reset.

In this 3-hour workshop, we’ll get you motivated with:

  • Tips on energizing tired writing
  • Structuring stories with inclusivity at their core
  • Writing killer headlines that attract, rather than distract

While the formal program begins at 1 p.m. ET, participants are invited to join at 12:30 p.m. to mingle and network with other writers and editors.

Registration is now closed. If you have questions, please email [email protected].

Session highlight

Re-energize your writing … and your love for it (1-2 p.m., Steve Padilla)

Steve Padilla, Los Angeles Times Column One editor, teaches during the 2019 Pro Tips writing workshop.

Steve Padilla, Los Angeles Times Column One editor, teaches during the 2019 Pro Tips writing workshop.

If the circumstances of 2020 — and the year to date — have left your creative reserves drained, you’re not alone. Re-energize how you view writing — and the way you do it — in this session for nonfiction writers.

Writing coach and Los Angeles Times Column One Editor Steve Padilla will guide you out of your writing ruts with sentence-level, achievable techniques to invigorate your writing. Designed for professional nonfiction writers, Padilla’s workshop will give you fresh ways to (among other methods):

  • Craft descriptions
  • Construct anecdotes
  • Trim and squeeze your copy
  • Troubleshoot your writing
  • Collaborate with editors

Strengthen your technique while gaining practical tips that work for long-form stories as well as quick dailies.

Steve Padilla, who entertained standing-room-only audiences during the Institute’s Pro Tips writing workshop at the Press Club in 2019, is editor of Column One, the L.A. Times’ showcase for storytelling. He tweets about writing technique at @StevePadilla2.

Session highlight

How to be intentionally inclusive when reporting and writing (2-3 p.m., Robert Samuels)

Writing with the “little white man” on your shoulder is ingrained in the writing life, says Robert Samuels, quoting Toni Morrison. So how do you keep different voices and perspectives on your shoulder … without weighing down your reporting? Robert Samuels, a national political reporter for The Washington Post, will guide you through how to write with inclusivity at the heart of your work.

Participants will learn how to:

  • Talk yourself through a story’s mission statement and audience
  • Conceive inclusive stories by universalizing their most basic emotional appeal
  • Pitch (and pitch again and pitch again) stories that prompt diverse sourcing
  • Channel people who see the story differently than you and/or your editor
  • Deconstruct the process, structure and language that makes a story inclusive

Robert Samuels is a national political reporter for The Washington Post who focuses on the intersection of politics, policy and people. He travels the country to chronicle how the vivacious political discussion in the nation’s capital is impacting the lives of everyday Americans. He previously told stories about life in the District for The Post’s social issues team. Robert joined The Post in 2011 after spending nearly five years working at the Miami Herald. At the Herald, he covered politics, poverty, murder and mayhem. 

Session highlight 

How to write a headline your audience can’t resist (3-4 p.m., Julie Moos)

Across platforms, headlines are critical to framing a story in seconds for readers. Journalists use headlines to guide readers from pandemic news to protests to picking where they safely venture out today. They need to inform, engage … and fit specs. Word choice, order and pace become even more important. 

Julie Moos, executive director at the National Press Club Journalism Institute, will share practical methods you can use in your work right now. Whatever your role in the newsroom – editor, writer, visual journalist, engagement producer – you’ll benefit from learning best practices for:
  • Choosing which headline type will best fit the tone and story
  • Using writing and language fundamentals to craft quality headlines 
  • Quickly writing and revising headlines to improve them on deadline
  • Understanding how headlines attract or repel audiences

This hands-on, interactive workshop will include exercises you can use immediately in your work. If you’re interested in sharing headlines to be included in the live workshop, please send them to [email protected].

If you have questions about this program, please email Beth Francesco, the Institute’s senior director.

The National Press Club Journalism Institute promotes an engaged global citizenry through an independent and free press, and equips journalists with skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire civic engagement. As the non-profit affiliate of the National Press Club, the Institute serves as a beacon for journalism in the public interest.

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