The National Press Club Journalism Institute offers programming that helps journalists grow their craft, career and community. During the coronavirus pandemic, all programming is being offered online at no cost, and much of it is focused on writing, reporting and leadership.
Journalists produce work that empowers civic engagement. The Institute helps power journalism in the public interest by producing high-impact programs that build concrete skills to support the Fourth Estate’s vital role in our society and uphold press freedom.
Most people know what it is to get hungry. But persistent hunger and a lack of access to convenient and affordable healthy foods is something much more, disproportionately affecting communities already underrepresented in news coverage. Food insecurity can be difficult for journalists to cover consistently because of its seeming invisibility.
These communities are in your coverage area, and reporting this deeply important, fundamental access issue is critical to finding solutions. The National Press Club Journalism Institute hosted a discussion on what journalists can cover at the intersection of food access, community impact, and systemic racism. Participants heard tips from:
- Alejandro Figueroa, food reporter for WYSO
- Bridget Huber, reporter with the Food and Environment Reporting Network
- Lauren Lindstrom, independent journalist focused on health and housing and O’Brien Fellow in Public Service Journalism at Marquette University
- Karen Robinson-Jacobs, investigative reporter on the Public Service Journalism team at Lee Enterprises
More than 61 million Americans live with disabilities, yet they remain underrepresented in journalism produced by U.S. newsrooms. Are you prepared to be a watchdog for disabled voters in your communities? What is your newsroom doing to ensure your election coverage is useful and accessible for disabled voters? How are you covering voter rights and accessibility leading up to and on Election Day?
The National Press Club Journalism Institute hosted a virtual discussion with experts in voter access, disability representation, and accessible news coverage on best practices to cover disabled voters and to highlight voting access issues they may face. Participants heard tips from:
- Thomas Hicks, Chairman of the United States Election Assistance Commission
- Jessica Huseman, editorial director for VoteBeat
- Hannah Wise, central region audience development editor for McClatchy and creator of Disability Matters, a toolkit to help newsrooms to better serve the disability community
- Moderator: Wendy Lu, senior staff editor on the Flexible Editing desk at The New York Times and global speaker on disability representation in the media
Journalism and democracy have been upended by the growth of mis- and dis-information. Countering it effectively requires understanding why people are susceptible, targeted, and how they can become more resilient. Psychological research can teach journalists how to prebunk disinformation and convey credibility in ways that readers, viewers, and listeners can process, which is more essential than ever as November’s elections near.
The National Press Club Journalism Institute, the American Psychological Association, and PEN America produced a free program on Thursday, Sept. 29 to learn how to use these strategies for coverage that informs and empowers your community as it prepares to vote and to discuss the ways disinformation has affected the practice of journalism.
- Dolores Albarracín, Alexandra Heyman Nash University professor; Director, Social Action Lab; Director, Science of Science Communication Division, Annenberg Public Policy Center
- Tiffany Hsu, reporter on the technology team covering misinformation and disinformation, New York Times
- Jay Van Bavel, Director, Social Identity & Morality Lab and Associate professor of psychology and neural science, New York University
- Anya van Wagtendonk, misinformation reporter, Grid
- Moderator: Summer Lopez, chief program officer, free expression, PEN America
Journalism internships in Washington, D.C., are a chance to expand a student’s skills and to experience life in a professional newsroom. But not all internship experiences are the same. Considering a D.C.-based internship means thinking about relocating, whether the internship is paid, and other things that can feel like barriers to applying.
We invited student journalists of all experience levels to join us for a virtual question-and-answer session featuring a panel of internship coordinators based in Washington.
- Sequoia Carrillo, reporter and intern manager, NPR’s Education Team
- Shirley Carswell, executive director, Dow Jones News Fund
- Christine Cox, intern program manager, NPR
- Angie Seldon, human resources senior specialist, C-SPAN
- Moderator: Beth Francesco, deputy executive director at the Institute
Elsie Robinson was America’s most-read woman for decades, reaching 20 million people with her weekly “Listen, World!” newspaper column. And yet most of us have never heard of her. A new book about her work and impact inspired this program on women’s voices, lost and found, then and now.
The National Press Club Journalism Institute held a wide-ranging conversation on how women’s voices have been silenced and spotlighted in newsrooms and in the public square, and how we can ensure that journalism raises up a diversity of women’s perspectives in the future. Participants heard from:
- Soraya Chemaly, award-winning author of “Rage Becomes Her,” co-founder of the Women’s Media Center Speech Project
- Deborah Douglas, co-editor-in-chief of The Emancipator
- Allison Gilbert, journalist and co-author of “Listen, World!”
- Dana Rubin, author of “Speaking While Female”
- Connie Schultz, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, novelist, professor
- Moderator: Julie Moos, executive director at the Institute
Political protests and civil unrest are expected across America this summer and fall. The combination of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, ongoing right-wing conspiracies about the validity of U.S. elections, and the prospect of domestic terrorist attacks have produced a climate that forebodes tense confrontations between protesters, counter-protesters, and the police.
Journalists are already in the mix covering these clashes, sometimes being mistreated, physically harmed, or even targeted in the process.
The National Press Club Journalism Institute offered a safety training on how to cover political protests and civil unrest while limiting your legal exposure and physical safety risks. Participants heard tips from:
- Corinne Chin, Emmy-award winning video journalist, and Associated Press director of news talent
- Kamesha Laurry, Borealis Racial Equity in Journalism Fund Legal Fellow for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
- Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association
- Moderator: Rachel Oswald, National Press Club press freedom team lead and a foreign policy reporter for CQ Roll Call
More than 75 percent of Americans say religion is an important part of their lives. How do these Americans see themselves and their faith reflected in news coverage? What does reporting on faith get right and wrong? How do editors and reporters think about who they’re reaching with these stories and who they’ve lost? And how might this coverage build trust in journalism among communities who have been historically misrepresented?
This program from the National Press Club Journalism Institute surfaced suggestions for covering people of faith and faith practices in ways that broaden reach and build credible connections in the communities journalists serve. Participants heard tips from:
- Dawn Araujo-Hawkins, news editor at Christian Century; vice president at Religion News Association
- Alison Bethel, vice president of corps excellence at Report for America
- Sarah Breger, editor at Moment Magazine
- McKay Coppins, staff writer at The Atlantic
- Richard Flory, executive director at USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture
- Aysha Khan, editor at Next City, freelance journalist, and Harvard Divinity School graduate
- Holly Meyer, religion news editor at The Associated Press
Journalists have long been charged with sorting fact from fiction through their reporting. But what happens when readers redefine what they see as truth and what they’ll accept as fact?
New York Times writer and author Elizabeth Williamson is among journalists confronting the rampant rise and spread of conspiracy theories through her reporting and research. Her current work has focused around unraveling the targeted misinformation and lies spread after the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Conn., the surviving families’ lawsuits against Infowars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and the election disinformation fueling the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack.
In this virtual program with the National Press Club Journalism Institute, Williamson shared her reporting and research process, along with insights she gained as she connected the dots on how conspiracy theories grow. Williamson, whose critically-acclaimed book “Sandy Hook: An American Tragedy and the Battle for Truth” published this spring, described how she threaded together more than 400 interviews, 10,000 pages of court testimony and other records, and on-the-ground reporting to trace a line from conspiracy theories around Sandy Hook to Jan. 6, 2021.
Public records belong to the public. So where do we get started tracking them down?
The Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, provides the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested unless it falls under one of nine exemptions. State and local agencies also have open record laws governing documents produced by government agencies including lawmakers, law enforcement agencies, courts, and school districts, among others. These laws help keep citizens in the know about their government.
This virtual webinar is designed to help individuals file their first open records request with a local, state, or federal government agency, with tips from:
- Kirsten Mitchell is the compliance team lead for the U.S. Office of Government Information Services, which is the federal FOIA ombudsman, and designated federal officer for the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration’s FOIA Advisory Committee
- Lulu Ramadan, an investigative reporter at The Seattle Times and a distinguished fellow with ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network
- Mark Walker, an investigative reporter for The New York Times, where he previously was its FOIA coordinator, and the president of Investigative Reporters & Editors
Every story competes for attention and must earn its readers by making a clear promise to deliver relevant information. Headlines may hook us, but ledes draw us in, and nut grafs keep us.
As journalism changes, this is constant: Readers must know what’s at stake in a story and why it matters to them (or should). This hands-on workshop for reporters and editors demonstrated how to make those stakes clear by:
- Deconstructing the difference between ledes and nut grafs
- Identifying common mistakes in crafting nut grafs
- Offering solutions that help an inclusive community connect your journalism to their lives
Please contact us if you would like to purchase a copy of the recording.
In honor of Sunshine Week, expert panelists explored the impact of government restrictions on press coverage of public schools and how to work around them. Produced by the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Press Club Journalism Institute, the discussion offered strategies and tools to overcome these barriers, with tips from:
- Eva-Marie Ayala, Education Lab editor for The Dallas Morning News
- Frank LoMonte, professor at the University of Florida and counsel at CNN
- Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
- Moderator: Delece Smith-Barrow, education editor at POLITICO
Newsrooms have looked hard at the diversity of their teams, leadership, and coverage in the last year, and many say they’re now devoting consistent attention to hiring more journalists of color, investing in them, and supporting them in helping shift the stories that are told.
What has really changed in newsrooms and what challenges remain? The National Press Club Journalism Institute held a program on what progress has brought and what it has cost, featuring newsroom leaders whose roles are at the center of this work:
- Leona Allen, Dallas Morning News deputy publisher and vice president — diversity, equity and inclusion
- Joseph Serna, L.A. Times deputy editor of culture and talent
- Mizell Stewart III, Gannett / USA TODAY Network vice president, news performance, talent & partnerships
- Krissah Thompson, Washington Post managing editor
Since the murder of George Floyd by police, there has been renewed attention to police misconduct and growing momentum for holding law enforcement accountable. But journalists struggle to get access to public records that could be used to reveal police conduct. The outcome of police discipline proceedings across the country are among our nation’s best kept secrets.
The National Press Club Journalism Institute hosted a program discussing how to break into this hidden system, featuring tips from:
- WAMU reporter Martin Austermuhle, who recently co-authored a story on how a panel of high-ranking officers kept troubled officers on the force in Washington, D.C.
- Maryland State Sen. Will Smith, a key player in the passage of Anton’s Law, a measure that is supposed to make police disciplinary information public but has had mixed success since it took effect
- Deborah Katz Levi, director of special litigation at the City Felony Trial Division in the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, who discovered that the Baltimore Police Department had wrongly expunged discipline records for more than 20 officers
- Moderator Miranda Spivack, a veteran reporter who recently published a series of stories about the erasure of civilian criminal records and police discipline records, and the danger these erasures pose to holding law enforcement accountable
There is no shortage of opinions online, so how do news organizations choose the voices they feature on their platforms? How do they differentiate their op-eds from the noisy crowd? Who are these op-eds and guest essays intended to serve? Is their purpose to persuade or to preach to the choir, and how often do they reach the audiences they hope to inform?
In this program, a distinguished panel offered tips for broadening the voices news organizations feature and the audiences they reach.
- Deborah Douglas, The Emancipator co-editor-in-chief
- Terry Tang, L.A. Times op-ed editor
- Kate Woodsome, Washington Post senior producer of op-ed video
- Moderator: Nancy Ancrum, Miami Herald editorial page editor
Education reporters have witnessed and documented the pandemic’s enormous effects on students, parents, teachers, administrators, and their communities. With so many voices – and quickly changing policies going into the next academic year – how can an education reporter lift the voices of those most impacted?
In this program, participants learned techniques for finding and shaping stories driven by the voices of those underrepresented in education coverage, including families of color, students with disabilities, rural residents, families experiencing homelessness, and others facing circumstances that impact their learning.
- Eva-Marie Ayala, a veteran education reporter and the editor of The Dallas Morning News’ Education Lab
- Shelly Conlon, watchdog coach for three newsrooms with The Argus Leader (South Dakota)
- Delece Smith-Barrow, education editor at POLITICO
- Bianca Vazquez Toness, a member of The Boston Globe’s educational equity team
- Moderator: Kara Arundel, a K-12 education reporter for Industry Dive who has covered education locally and nationally
How do journalists fairly use numbers in reporting? What does it really mean for a sample to be representative? In what ways can reporters vet numbers quickly and reliably for potential bias?
The National Press Club Journalism Institute and the National Association of Science Writers hosted a program that answered these questions and featured speakers:
- Fernand Amandi, managing partner of Bendixen & Amandi, the nation’s leading multilingual and multiethnic public opinion research and strategic communications consulting firm
- Caroline Chen, health care reporter at ProPublica, and 2019 winner of the June L. Biedler Cancer Prize for Cancer Journalism for her series with Riley Wong on racial disparities in clinical trials
- Dr. Kyler J. Sherman-Wilkins, assistant professor in the Sociology and Anthropology department at Missouri State University and a Mellon Emerging Faculty Leader for 2021
- Moderator: Tinsley Davis, executive director or the National Association of Science Writers (NASW)
Many Americans lacked access to affordable, decent housing before the coronavirus pandemic, a challenge that has disproportionately affected communities of color whether as renters or would-be home buyers. Now, the situation is reaching crisis levels across the country, with millions of renters at risk of losing their housing when a federal moratorium on evictions expires this summer.
The National Press Club Journalism Institute held a discussion of how to cover these issues with speakers:
- Michael Brice-Saddler, who covers D.C. government and politics for The Washington Post’s Metro desk
- Alexandria Burris, a business reporter for the IndyStar in Indianapolis who covers corporations, real estate, and development, and recently reported on racial bias in the home appraisal industry
- Lauren Lindstrom, a reporter for the Charlotte Observer who covers housing and homelessness, including the region’s struggle to create and maintain affordable housing, and a 2019 Report for America Corps member
- Dan Reed, a writer, urban planner, and community advocate who works with communities all over the United States to make their streets safer, enjoyable, and equitable
- Moderator: Kriston Capps, a writer for CityLab focused on housing, architecture, and the built environment
Reports of hate crimes have surged nationally, with targeted violence against Asian-Americans, Jewish Americans, and Black Americans all dominating national headlines. Journalists need to understand what is behind the increased violence, and what the trends are in hate crime attacks, which have historically been significantly under-reported.
The National Press Club Journalism Institute held a professional development program for journalists on improving their coverage of hate crimes with speakers:
- Moriah Balingit, Washington Post reporter covering national education issues, and president of the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association
- Lecia Brooks, chief of staff at the Southern Poverty Law Center and a longtime public speaker and educator on hate crimes and the American Civil Rights movement
- Tara Rosenblum, an award-winning senior investigative reporter for the News 12 Network who led a two-year long project documenting hate incidents across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut
- Moderator: Rachel Oswald, reporter for CQ Roll Call and Journalism Institute professional development team lead
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.
This 3-hour workshop covered:
- Tips on energizing tired writing (Steve Padilla, writing coach and Los Angeles Times Column One Editor)
- Structuring stories with inclusivity at their core (Robert Samuels, national political reporter for The Washington Post)
- Writing killer headlines that attract, rather than distract (Julie Moos, executive director at the National Press Club Journalism Institute)
Journalists believe that more facts get us closer to the truth, and that the way to make society stronger is by spotlighting what’s wrong. Many Americans disagree. New research shows us how to adjust our mix of stories, reframe our coverage, and write headlines to reach people who don’t fully embrace journalism values.
This National Press Club Headliners virtual event — in partnership with the Journalism Institute — discussed new ways to build trust with the communities your journalism is failing to reach.
The panel featured:
- Jennifer Benz, vice president, NORC at the University of Chicago
- Tom Huang, assistant managing editor for journalism initiatives, The Dallas Morning News
- Tom Rosenstiel, executive director, American Press Institute
- Emily Swanson, director of public opinion research, The Associated Press
- Moderator: Lisa Matthews, assignment manager of U.S. video for the Associated Press and the 114th president of the National Press Club
Making an impression on a potential employer starts long before an email or phone call. By then, your digital footprint has done the talking … don’t let it send someone walking. “Career Connection: Defining your digital footprint” was a weeklong series of hands-on workshops to help you create and maintain the journalism/writing identity you want to showcase to sources, employers, and publishers. Watch videos from each session:
- What hiring managers want you to know
- Tapping Twitter networks in your job search
- How to leverage LinkedIn in your journalism job search
- How to rev up your resume for today’s job market
In our scroll and skim culture, dynamic visuals can make the difference in whether a reader engages with a story. But not every story can attract a graphic design professional’s time in the newsroom, especially in the continuing pandemic news cycle.
Beth Francesco, National Press Club Journalism Institute senior director, shared best practices, tools you have at your disposal from home, and exercises for creating visuals regardless of your hands-on design experience.
Today’s journalists need to check more than their facts. In this cut-and-paste digital world, journalists also need to check their rights. The National Press Club Journalism Institute hosted an overview of copyright perils and solutions, presented by three lawyers with the Media & Entertainment Law Group from the Washington, D.C. office of Ballard Spahr LLP: Chuck Tobin, Alia Smith and Mara Gassmann.
- Best practices for the “fair use” of unlicensed work
- Tips to calibrate how much is too much when quoting or using someone else’s work
- Ways to quickly determine rights to an image and how to license it, even via social media
Will the use of artificial intelligence save journalism, be the end of news as we know it, or live somewhere in between? Francesco Marconi, who has led the development of the Associated Press and Wall Street Journal’s use of AI in journalism, offered a practical perspective on the potential of these technologies.
The National Press Club Journalism Institute and the National Press Club’s communicators team presented a program featuring Marconi, who explained how journalists and communication professionals can avoid pitfalls while taking advantage of the possibilities AI provides to develop new ways of telling stories and connecting with audiences.
As part of Sunshine Week, the National Press Club Journalism Institute and the National Press Club’s press freedom team hosted a discussion on public access to information and the role that investigative journalism plays in restoring public trust, with practical advice from Associated Press global investigations editor Ron Nixon and The Markup president Nabiha Syed, moderated by CQ Roll Call senior writer John Donnelly.
Visual journalists have been on the front lines of the pandemic, injured at protests and attacked at the Capitol insurrection. Holding a camera makes those who are reporting on events a visible target for law enforcement or people angry at the media. And working remotely is not an option when you’re the community’s eyes and ears at the scene. So how do we care for photojournalists facing more pressure than ever under exhausting and dangerous circumstances?
The National Press Club Journalism Institute and the National Press Photographers Association offered honest answers to this question from visual journalists who understand the challenges and importance of capturing history.
The panel featured:
- Nicole Frugé, director of photography, San Francisco Chronicle
- Rich Glickstein, recovering photojournalist, trauma therapist and social worker
- Michael Santiago, staff news photojournalist, Getty Images
- Moderator: Akili Ramsess, executive director, NPPA
Newsrooms mobilize on instinct when news breaks. Those split-second decisions — how we describe an individual or a group and their actions — can define reality for millions of people. The Capitol insurrection provides lessons for the upcoming inauguration in what loaded language to avoid, questions to ask in real time and how your values influence the way audiences understand and remember world events.
The National Press Club Journalism Institute and Resolve Philly offered a practical program with tips you can use to ask the right questions in real time and prepare to cover the unexpected on Inauguration Day and in the weeks and months that follow.
The panel featured: Eric Deggans, TV critic at NPR, commentator for MSNBC/NBC and author of “Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation”; Danielle K. Kilgo, the John & Elizabeth Bates Cowles Professor of Journalism, Diversity and Equality in the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Michael McCarter, managing editor for standards, ethics & inclusion at USA Today; Aubrey Nagle, Reframe editor at Resolve Philly. Cassie Haynes, co-executive director of Resolve Philly, moderated the program.
We start 2021 with a COVID vaccine, but the rollout has been slower than planned and a coordinated public health communication effort is needed to convince people to get vaccinated. Public opinion research shows a number of challenges: some people are justifiably skeptical of “big Pharma” and government; others are actively working to spread disinformation about the vaccine; and many remain unconvinced of the vaccine’s safety. What is being done to overcome these challenges, how can communicators be most effective, and how can reporters best cover the vaccination story and combat the disinformation?
The National Press Club Journalism Institute and the National Press Club Communicators Committee presented a candid conversation with Jesse Holland, Assistant Professor of Journalism at George Washington University; Nick Sugai, Vice President at the Ad Council; Susan Winckler, CEO of the Reagan-Udall Foundation for the Food and Drug Administration. Alison Fitzgerald Kodjak, Investigations Editor at The Associated Press, moderated the program.
As president-elect Joe Biden prepares to lead a deeply divided country, what’s next for White House coverage? What can past coverage and recent experiences teach us about envisioning a better future for how journalists cover the president, and how Americans understand the United States?
This program — a partnership between the National Press Club Journalism Institute and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University — featured Politico White House Correspondent Anita Kumar, former White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers, and longtime CBS White House Correspondent Bill Plante. Subbu Vincent, director of Journalism and Media Ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, moderated.
Visual social media posts are no longer a nicety — they are a necessity. Not all teams, though, have the resources to devote to designing and creating social media posts that sing.
Learn how to stop skimmers in their scrolls with visually dynamic social media messaging with Institute senior director Beth Francesco. During this hands-on workshop, participants will practice design fundamentals while creating posts from start to finished product. This session is designed for journalists and communicators who don’t regularly produce graphics but find themselves taking on some of that work right now.
After a summer of protests about police brutality and racial injustice, news organizations vowed to improve coverage of diverse communities and to step up their own long-promised efforts to diversify newsrooms and leadership.
The National Press Club Journalism Institute and the National Press Club Communicators Committee presented a candid conversation with Amanda Barrett, deputy managing editor at AP; Rene Sanchez, editor and senior vice president at the Star Tribune; and Dorothy Tucker, president of the National Association of Black Journalists. Michael McCarter, USA Today managing editor of standards, ethics and inclusion, moderated the program on what’s next for newsrooms pushing toward equity.
What does it take to turn your memories into a memoir? When is the right time to write a memoir about your life? How do you report on your own experiences and fact-check them? How do you determine what you don’t know and decide what to leave out? And when, and how, do you tell the people closest to you about their role in the narrative?
These issues were discussed in a 45-minute program with memoirists Mindy Greiling, author of “Fix What You Can: Schizophrenia and a Lawmaker’s Fight for her Son”; Abby Maslin, author of “Love You Hard: A Memoir of Marriage, Brain Injury, and Reinventing Love”; journalist Angela Greiling Keane, managing editor, states and Canada at POLITICO, whose family played a role in both memoirs; with moderator Aly Colón, Knight Professor of Media Ethics at Washington & Lee University.
The National Press Club Journalism Institute, the National Press Foundation, and the RAND corporation offered journalists a new way to prepare for the unexpected in Election 2020 news: Gaming your coverage plan.
RAND gamemaster David A. Shlapak presented players with scenarios based on current and likely events, and each team made coverage decisions to surface journalists’ assumptions and test how reporters and editors balance competing goals, commit limited resources, and assess tradeoffs. The game’s timeline began in September, continued through Election Day, and ended on Inauguration Day.
In a departure from her typical beat as a New York Times journalist, Sarah Maslin Nir has turned her reporter’s eye on herself in her new book, “Horse Crazy: The Story of a Woman and a World in Love with an Animal,” which unpacks her and others’ obsession with horses. Nir began riding horses as a 2-year-old but it wasn’t until she started writing a memoir about her passion that she realized the role they played in helping her heal from trauma.
This program featured Nir in conversation with Rukmini Callimachi, a fellow New York Times journalist, Pulitzer Prize finalist, and horse lover. They discussed:
- How to reveal (or not reveal) “the personal stuff” as a journalist
- Writing as an outsider – Black cowboys, Breonna Taylor, and equity
- Publishing in a pandemic
On-camera arrests. Physical assaults in the field. Verbal attacks and threats online. And an ongoing health crisis that has communities struggling in response.
Safety for journalists has taken on a renewed sense of importance as newsrooms grapple with the convergence of hostility toward those in the field and systemic racism that pervades even the most revered journalistic institutions. It seems journalists have more reason than ever to be allies for each other as the industry confronts itself while serving conflicted communities.
Moderator Jill Geisler and panelists Alex Marquardt, Sarah Matthews, Abby Phillip and Michael Santiago shared their experiences at CNN, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and discussed their knowledge of journalism, allyship and equity.
The November elections will be among the most consequential presidential contests in living memory, while also posing myriad challenges to voters seeking to cast a ballot. Now more than ever, reporters are feeling a civic imperative to produce timely, nuanced watchdog journalism so that the American public is equipped with the information it needs to press for a free and fair voting process and vote tabulation.
But how do you prepare for the unpredictable? The National Press Club Journalism Institute’s “What if” workshop brought journalists together with experts to generate unanswered questions and unanticipated scenarios that can guide coverage. FEC commissioner Ellen Weintraub provided opening remarks.
Investigative journalism requires digging for information that someone wants hidden. Powerful forces seek to prevent access, from government officials to private citizens avoiding accountability for wrongdoing.
So how can journalists protect their ability to investigate while under attack? What’s the best defense? And what are the strongest strategies for protecting a free press?
The Journalism Institute and Investigative Reporters & Editors presented a program with press freedom advocates on their work in journalism, law, and human rights. Panelists included Amanda Bennett, former Director of Voice of America; Agnes Callamard, United Nations Special Rapporteur; and Nabiha Syed, president of The MarkUp. Angela Greiling Keane, editorial director of states and Canada for POLITICO, moderated.
As racism and the treatment of people of color in and out of newsrooms has surged to the forefront of conversations, against the backdrop of a pandemic that disproportionately impacts people of color, journalists face many questions: When do ‘objectivity’ and ‘neutrality’ mask inequity? How do journalists move from covering protests to systemically telling stories that root out racist treatment in health care, education and other social spheres? And how can journalists practice antiracism in their everyday work?
Leah Donnella of NPR’s Code Switch, Cassie Haynes of Resolve Philly, and Robert Samuels of The Washington Post discussed “What would antiracist journalism look like?” at a Journalism Institute program on Aug. 21. Juliet Beverly of BrainFacts.org moderated the panel.
As news organizations and the nation have responded to the coronavirus pandemic and the protests following the murder by police of George Floyd, journalists have increasingly confronted the need for newsroom equity and a truer relationship with the communities they serve.
The National Press Club Journalism Institute and PEN America co-hosted a program identifying and sharing takeaways from pandemic and protest coverage and looking ahead toward election coverage. Jim Friedlich, executive director and CEO of the Lenfest Institute of Journalism, moderated the program, which featured panelists Denise Rolark Barnes, publisher of The Washington Informer; Cassie Haynes, co-executive director at Resolve Philadelphia; Darryl Holliday, co-founder and News Lab director at City Bureau in Chicago; and Tasneem Raja, editor-in-chief of The Oaklandside.
Government records belong to the public, but journalists often face delays and redactions that make it difficult to get the information they need to inform the public about significant issues. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever for journalists to be strategic when they are seeking government records.
Panelists Miranda Spivack, journalism fellow at the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida, and Mark Walker, FOIA coordinator in The New York Times’ Washington Bureau, offered strategies and approaches to requesting and obtaining public records using the Freedom of Information Act and state open records laws.
As journalism re-examines its relationship with communities of color, mug shot galleries are coming down, questions are coming up about police sourcing, and newsrooms are assessing the role of justice coverage.
This program from the National Press Club Journalism Institute and the News Leaders Association featured moderator Michael Days of the Philadelphia Inquirer and speakers Libor Jany of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Jamiles Lartey of the Marshall Project.
Everyone has an opinion, but not everyone expresses their views with power and impact. Some voices rise and echo, and others never penetrate the noise that surrounds us. In this program from the National Press Club Journalism Institute, L.A. Times editorial page editor Sewell Chan, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, New York Times Magazine editor-in-chief Jake Silverstein, and L.A. Times columnist Erika Smith discussed:
- How to make yourself heard
- How to work with an editor or writer to hone a point of view
- How to pitch (& catch) a column or opinion piece
As newsrooms commit to diversifying their teams, investigative journalists can better reflect underserved communities that have traditionally been harmed by systemic problems yet to be exposed. Moderator Manny Garcia, senior editor for the ProPublica-Texas Tribune Investigative Initiative, Maria Perez, investigative reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and Cheryl W. Thompson, investigative correspondent for NPR and president of Investigative Reporters and Editors, shared best practices on how to recruit, develop and advance diverse investigative journalism teams
The coronavirus pandemic has forced journalists to collect their stories from afar. Conducting an in-person interview is near impossible. On the telephone or on a video call, the ability to pay attention is crucial. Do you listen, or do you wait to ask? The National Press Club Journalism Institute invited two of the best interviewers in journalism — Terry Gross and Michael Barbaro — to discuss challenges and opportunities of interviewing now. Marketplace correspondent Kimberly Adams moderated the program.
In a conversation co-hosted by the News Leaders Association and the National Press Club Journalism Institute and moderated by Gannett executive Mizell Stewart III, executive editors Katrice Hardy of the Indianapolis Star and Mary Irby-Jones of The (Jackson) Clarion-Ledger discussed how they are leading their newsrooms when issues of race and class are at the forefront.
Many journalists are covering a physical and mental health crisis while they also may be struggling to cope themselves. Writers Elizabeth Flock and Lori Gottlieb examined how to work through this moment, by looking at the stories we’re telling ourselves about it, how these stories affect our emotional lives, and consequently, the stories we are reporting and writing.
In our scroll and skim culture, dynamic visuals can make the difference in whether a reader engages with a story. But not every story can attract a graphic design professional’s time in the newsroom, especially in the continuing pandemic news cycle. If you’re a reporter, editor, social media manager now handling (or who wants to handle) quick-turn graphics, get a head start with our hacks for designing visuals when it’s not usually part of your job.
Beth Francesco, the National Press Club Journalism Institute’s senior director, shares best practices, tools you have at your disposal from home, and exercises for creating visuals regardless of your hands-on design experience.
Court records are filled with untold stories, but PACER, the federal court records system, is antiquated and hard to navigate. In this deep dive workshop, Seamus Hughes shared skills he developed helping the media break national stories about topics ranging from terrorism and public corruption to corporate espionage. Seamus gave reporters tips and suggestions on how to use PACER to find and tell important stories.
Many writers find themselves on deadline with limited time, space and attention during this unprecedented crisis. The National Press Club Journalism Institute and the National Association of Science Writers partnered for a program offering tips for creating a writer-friendly physical space, finding your focus, and developing new tools to write in short bursts.
Speakers included: Lane DeGregory, a Pulitzer-Prize winning enterprise writer at the Tampa Bay Times; Deborah Netburn, a science and feature writer at the Los Angeles Times; and Marla Broadfoot, a science writer with a PhD in genetics who also authored the “Ask the Scientist” column for the (Raleigh) News & Observer.
The conversation described how to consistently collect and select compelling details that evoke emotion and help convey the impact of coronavirus on people’s lives. They shared ways to identify the moments that compel readers toward a story’s purpose, and how to connect the reporting & writing process with our collective ability to understand what this pandemic means
New York Times reporter Sarah Maslin Nir was reporting on coronavirus in New Rochelle when she lost her sense of smell and tested positive for COVID-19. New York Times editor Tim Herrera experienced symptoms that same week and struggled with testing.
The first part of this program is a 15-minute conversation with Sarah and Tim about writing through a personal pandemic. The second part of the program is a 15-minute Q&A with participants
Ibram X. Kendi, a New York Times-bestselling author and the founding director of The Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University, and Robert Samuels, Washington Post national reporter, discussed coronavirus inequities and how journalists can cover them. The conversation and Q&A was moderated by POLITICO reporter Shannon Young.
This program supported local independent bookstore Solid State Books, which is selling signed copies of Ibram’s “How to be an antiracist.”
Syndicated columnist and author Connie Schultz, and journalist and author Jon Mooallem explored how truth-telling in tough times creates community. This program supported local independent bookstore Politics & Prose, which is selling the authors’ books.
You can purchase “This is Chance!” by Jon here. And you can pre-order “The Daughters of Erietown” by Connie here.
Robyn Tomlin, southeast regional editor for McClatchy and president and editor of The (Raleigh) News & Observer and The (Durham) Herald-Sun, and Mike Wilson, editor of The Dallas Morning News, discussed how to handle the uncertainties journalists face and the ambitions that inspire us. The conversation was moderated by Jill Geisler, Bill Plante Chair in Leadership & Media Integrity and Loyola University Chicago Freedom Forum Fellow in Women’s Leadership.
Keith Woods, NPR’s chief diversity officer, and Tom Huang, The Dallas Morning News assistant managing editor for journalism initiatives, explored writing about personal loss in a time of collective grief. Both journalists have written about the loss of a parent at a time of collective grieving.
Identifying your audience is key to engaging the public on any story about policy, experts shared during a half-day workshop February 28, 2020. During “Covering Policy for the Public,” participants learned how to frame, report and write policy stories to engage the public. Sessions included: How to write policy stories that engage the public, taught by journalist and editorial consultant Andie Coller, a Politico and National Journal alum; “When and how to humanize your policy stories,” taught by Sarah Kliff, an investigative reporter for the New York Times; and “Finding (and interpreting) the data your readers want and need,” taught by McClatchy D.C. Bureau data reporter Ben Wieder.
Watch the recording of this program.
On February 10, 2020, experts from the Centers for Disease Control and other health care organizations answered questions about how to responsibly and pro-actively cover the coronavirus epidemic. Panelists included: Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases and the spokesperson for the CDC’s response to the current coronavirus crisis; Amanda McClelland, a registered nurse and senior vice president Resolve to Save Lives’ Prevent Epidemics team who has extensive experience coordinating the Red Cross response to the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa; Ann Marie Pettis, director of Infection Prevention for University of Rochester Medicine and the president-elect of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. The program was moderated by Andrew Siddons, CQ Roll Call health policy reporter; Siddons has been covering the policy implications of coronavirus from Capitol Hill.
Watch the recording of this program.
Hear from local guides who help journalists overseas and at home navigate dangerous situations in order to tell important stories: Chris Knittel, a fixer/producer in the United States who covers crime subjects for documentaries across the country; Ashraf Khalil, a Washington-based reporter for the Associated Press who spent more than 15 years covering the Middle East for a variety of news organizations; Suzan Haidamous, a Washington Post reporter covering Lebanon, Syria and the Middle East region who worked as a fixer, producer and interpreter since 2006; and Larry Kaplow, NPR’s International Desk Editor who edits the work of NPR’s correspondents in the Middle East and helps direct coverage about the region. The conversation was moderated by Lindsay Palmer, an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and author of “The Fixers: Local News Workers and the Underground Labor of International Reporting.”
Watch the recording of this program.
Other 2020 programs:
- FOIA as a Last Resort: Getting Information Through the Front Door
- How to use the Leadership Connect Database
- How to use the Bloomberg Terminal
More than 125 people participated in the National Press Club Journalism Institute’s inaugural Writing Workshop on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. Participants selected four sessions during the half-day workshop, one per hour from 1-5 p.m., and left with concrete skills to take their work to the next level.
The regional reporters who cover the nation’s capital today face a host of challenges: Shrinking newsroom budgets, federal offices that are ever-more opaque, a public that is increasingly skeptical — and sometimes even outright hostile. How can regional reporting adapt to, and once again thrive in, this environment? On August 1, veteran regional reporter Jerry Zremski, the Pew Research Center’s Michael Barthel and former U.S. Reps. Ryan Costello, R-Pa., and Jim Moran, D-Va., shared their diverse perspectives on the subject. The evening was moderated by Tamar Hallerman, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Washington correspondent and the president of the Regional Reporters Association, which co-hosted the program.
What makes a whistleblower or someone who’s been a victim of a crime or major misdeed willing to come forward to a particular journalist or outlet? On July 25, Lauren Clark, the subject of the Washington Post story “The man who attacked me works in your kitchen,” spoke at the National Press Club about how journalist Amy Brittain gained her trust. Her legal advocate Kristin Eliason discussed the factors that led to trusting Brittain with Clark’s story, and Brittain and Maura Judkis described what they did to maintain that trust, and about the responsibilities that come with telling a high-stakes story in the public interest.
What does it take to represent underrepresented communities and their major figures in a way that feels right to residents? In her speech at the Free Expression Awards, filmmaker Ava DuVernay said she “gasped” when she saw the way the L.A. Times had covered the life and death of South Los Angeles rap artist Nipsey Hussle–”the way that they had honored him on the page.” L.A. Times Staff Reporter Angel Jennings, Staff Writer Gerrick D. Kennedy and Assistant Metro Editor Erika D. Smith discuss how they approached the story to produce coverage that both stood out nationally and hit home–and about the groundwork that enabled them to do it on deadline.
Journalists, elected officials and government communicators committed to concrete steps aimed at increasing trust and civility in public life following two days of intensive conversations at the National Press Club on March 25-26, 2019. This program, facilitated by the National Institute of Civil Discourse, brought together more than 60 people —news media leaders and the people they cover—for face-to-face conversations about the challenges facing key American institutions. PEN America and the Stennis Center for Public Service Leadership partnered in the event.
Other 2019 programs
- Data journalism tools (with Google News Lab)
- Fundamental tools for journalists (with Google News Lab)
- Journalism under attack: Defuse threatening situations and protect yourself online
- Campaign 2020: Follow the money to essential untold stories
- How to find and use climate data that readers can trust
- Khashoggi & Magnitsky: Using sanctions to protect journalists