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Photo illustration by Dave Porreca (screenshot of UI7 Newsbreak, posted on YouTube Sept. 14, 2014)
Whether it's learning about the latest reporting techniques or just watching your students be inspired by some of the top journalism experts anywhere, here's where you should be Sept. 18!
August 31, 2015
URBANA — The newsroom of the future is here, and you can get a glimpse of it Sept. 18 at the IJEA Fall Conference.
Why should advisers and their students attend?
“I know of no better way for advisers to get their yearbook and newspaper staffs enthused about the new school year and the challenge of covering their high school communities,” said Lynn Holley, U of I journalism lecturer.
Of course, Holley might not be the most unbiased source, since she’s served as executive director of the Fall Conference since 2004. On the other hand, Holley’s been in the ideal position to see the event’s positive impact year after year.
“Attending this conference helps to get the students in ‘journalism mode,’ ” Holley said. “They begin to feel they’re real journalists and see what great journalism they’re capable of doing. Plus it’s just flat-out fun, and they get to spend the day on the campus of one of the top universities in the country.”
Registration is $15 per student if done by Sept. 11; late registration is $17 per student if space is still available. Total conference space is limited to 600 students.
The cost for advisers is $20 for an adviser’s first medium and $5 for each subsequent medium — e.g., total cost for an adviser who oversees both yearbook and newspaper would be $25. The annual advisers luncheon is free. (Advisers: Please indicate on your registration form whether you plan to attend the luncheon.)
THE THEME IS INNOVATION
The title of their keynote will be “The Newsroom of the Future is Here!” They’ll talk about how their organization has helped to create that future through its multiplatform coverage of the city’s neghborhoods.
“I was very interested in the work being done at DNAinfo Chicago,” Holley said. “It does journalism on a hyperlocal level covering individual neighborhoods. It also has a new online radio station attached to it. The radio news director is taking that in some very innovative directions.
“I also see how this community-based journalism is similar to covering a high school community via the school newspaper and/or yearbook. So I think high schools will be able to take quite a bit away from it.”
LEARNING BY DOING
During the conference, students will be able to supplement what they take away from the keynote with some hands-on learning of their own. Among the opportunities:
• Cover It Live! Using Social Media to Report on #IJEA15
Students can get experience covering events live on social media by joining the first-ever IJEA Twitter Team. Under the direction of Prof. Eric Meyer of the U of I journalism department, up to 20 students will work as social media reporters and editors covering the conference live on Twitter. The students will use the IJEA’s Twitter account, @IllinoisJEA, as their flagship account for the day, posting photos, reporting news and sharing insights under the hashtag #IJEA15.
Advisers: If any of your students are interested in being part of the IJEA Twitter Team, they should contact Meyer at [email protected].
• Stand By! Producing Your Own Newscast
Prof. Janice Collins of the U of I journalism department will again offer a daylong broadcasting workshop for a maximum of 20 students. The workshop culminates in students producing and delivering their own short television pieces called “Newsbreaks.” Participants will leave right after the keynote and head to the Richmond Studio at Campbell Hall to begin shooting and editing their stories. In addition, they will write blog entries about the keynote session. Their broadcast work and blog entries will be published online. This is a full-day session that includes a pizza lunch.
Advisers: You must reserve a spot for any student interested in participating in the newscast workshop. To do so, please contact Lynn Holley, [email protected].
• Write Off! Competing in an Onsite Feature Contest
The Fall Conference will again offer an onsite feature-writing competition, in which students test their abilities to write a compelling story under tight deadline conditions. The competitors will interview the panel speakers from DNAinfo Chicago and then head to Gregory Hall to write their stories. The contest is limited to one student per school.
Advisers: If one of your students is interested in competing, you must reserve a spot in the contest. You can do this by checking the appropriate box on the online version of the registration form or by leaving a note under “Number of students expected to attend” on the paper version.
TRACKS AND SESSIONS
Not able to participate in any of the learning-by-doing opportunities? As always, students and advisers will have dozens of expert sessions to choose from throughout the day, with each session lasting 50 minutes.
The sessions are organized so they can be taken as tracks if attendees want to concentrate on a particular area of interest. The tracks are:
For ease of planning, each session is identified in the conference schedule with an icon that indicates which of the five tracks it belongs to.
Of course, conference-goers may also attend sessions without regard to tracks.
This year’s offerings include a number of debut sessions, such as:
• Create Your Own Podcast
Emily Siner, Nashville Public Radio
Siner, who hosts her own podcast called “Movers & Thinkers,” will discuss how the podcasting boom inspired by “Serial” has become one of the most exciting developments in journalism. She’ll also play snippets of podcasts that students should follow, and she’ll provide a blueprint of how students can make podcasts of their own.
• Coaching Your Sports Staff – Advisers Only
Joe Gisondi, Eastern Illinois University
Gisondi, author of “Field Guide to Covering Sports,” will give advisers — even those who know little about athletics — the basics about how to coach up rookie sports reporters.
• Community Journalism 101: Reporting on Diverse Issues
Brian Dolinar, Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center
Dolinar, a scholar of African-American literature and editor of UCIMC’s newspaper, The Public i, will provide students with a toolkit for how to practice inclusive and diverse journalism, including advice on how to reach out to LGBTQ, African-American and Latino communities.
• How to Interview a Celebrity
Dann Gire, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights)
Gire, film critic for the Daily Herald and president of the Chicago Film Critics Association, will reveal some of his best and worst moments with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Josh Hutcherson, Daniel Craig and many others as he offers his advice on how to interview movie stars, authors and TV personalities.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
To learn more about the conference, from the full lineup of sessions to the lowdown on directions and parking, visit the official site here.
If you have questions that the site doesn’t answer, please contact Lynn Holley by email at [email protected] or by phone at 217-333-1508.
We look forward to seeing you Sept. 18!
NOTE: To watch the UI7 Newsbreak video on which the photo illustration at the top of this page is based, click here.