Freelancers Unite: Sessions for Independent Journalists at #EIJ17

The annual Excellence in Journalism conference commences Thursday in Anaheim, and I’m thrilled to say there are six (6!) sessions of special interest to freelancers, described below. (You can also find these descriptions, as well as links to speaker/panelist bios, on the EIJ Programs page.)

Additionally, the SPJ Freelance Community will host a “Freelancers’ Corner” table in the main hall of the conference on Thursday and Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Please stop by to say hi, fill us in on what you’re up to, and learn more about (or give us new ideas!) how the Freelance Community can support you.

EIJ is a bilingual, multimedia conference for journalists in any medium, with many sessions to be presented in Spanish. The conference is a collaboration among SPJ, the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ).

THE SESSIONS

 

2 specifically for freelance journalists

 

Time Is Money: The Art Of Retelling And Reselling Stories

Friday, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Do you want your hard work to pay off? Learn ways to make your research, interviewing and writing efforts do double duty. Independent journalists who know how to resell stories and reuse their research will show freelancers how to work more efficiently by finding new markets for published stories — to keep the pipeline full in slow times, and to boost earning power all year long.

Trainers: Stephenie Overman (@saoverman), independent journalist; Hazel Becker, independent journalist; Roberta Wax (@RobiWax), independent journalist

 
Yes, You Can: Investigative Reporting As A Freelancer

Saturday, 9-10 a.m.

Some say it can’t be done; this session proves them wrong. Others don’t know where to start; this session shows the way. We’ll dissect stories of experienced investigative journalists to reveal their techniques for gaining access, navigating legal complexities and funding investigative work without the level of newsroom support that comes with a staff position. We’ll give ample time for audience questions, which attendees are encouraged to send in advance to eij@nilesmedia.com. It will be relevant for new and experienced journalists and freelancers alike. You may pick up investigative techniques, but PLEASE NOTE: This is not a session about how to conduct investigative reporting. We’ll focus on how to do investigative reporting *as* a freelancer.

Trainers: Claire Martin (@clairecmartin), independent journalist and journalism professor; Debra Krol (@Debkrol) independent journalist on the Native American beat; and Jason Leopold (@JasonLeopold), former freelancer and now senior investigative reporter with BuzzFeed News investigations team

 

1 that’s super relevant for freelance journalists

 

Why You Need A Platform And How To Create One

Thursday, 1-2 p.m.

As the compensation model for working journalists continues to shift from salary and work made for hire agreements, to compensation that’s largely based on online metrics, so too must our approach to getting paid. Forget what you think you know about promoting yourself. It’s time to platform! The simple fact of the matter is more publishers are demanding that you become a brand unto yourself, and there’s no better way to be seen and heard than through the building and proper feeding of your own platform.

Trainers: Mikal Belicove (@belicove), author and journalist; Robyn Davis Sekula (@itsRobynwithay), consultant and writer

 

2 that feature freelance journalists

 

Covering Protests: Advocacy vs. Objectivity In Indian Country

Saturday, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Join NAJA members for an interactive discussion on how to navigate coverage of protests in Indian Country, including what to do if you’re in a situation where law enforcement is less discerning in upholding First Amendment protections. Learn about your rights and the limitations you have as a journalist in covering Native communities through examples such as the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

Speakers: Jenni Monet (@jennimonet), independent journalist; Tristan Ahtone (@tahtone), freelance journalist; Chiara Sottile (@CASottile), reporter, NBC News

 

Covering Violence Against Native Women And Children

Thursday, 2:30-3:30 p.m.

How does telling the story of violence against Native women and children help strengthen tribal sovereignty? What are the barriers to justice and safety for victim-survivors of abuse? Media play a critical role in telling the story of domestic violence and sexual assault in tribal communities. Journalists can help shed light on the devastating fact that millions of Native women, men and children in this country are directly experiencing physical, sexual, mental, emotional abuse and threats of violence in their intimate relationships. Learn about the importance of providing historical context in news stories, understanding the jurisdictional loopholes at the federal, state and tribal level, and get the latest data, tools and best practices for covering these sensitive topics. We’ll explore what resources exist for Native victim-survivors, including the StrongHearts Native Helpline, a new culturally-appropriate domestic violence and dating violence helpline for American Indians and Alaska Natives that launched in 2017.

Speakers: Princella RedCorn (@15Princella), communications officer, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center & Documentary Producer; Mallory Black (@mblack47), communications manager, StrongHearts Native Helpline & freelance writer; Mary Hudetz (@marymhudetz), criminal justice reporter, Associated Press

 

Plus 1, just in case it’s right for you

 

Career Transition: Moving From Newsroom To Classroom

Friday, 9-10 a.m.

The switch from full-time staff or freelance journalist to teaching can be a tough one especially for those without a deep background in journalism education. We’ll help you understand how community colleges, state schools and private universities hire adjuncts and full time professors. We’ll also set out the skills you need to be a successful educator as you create syllabi and rubrics, navigate contracts and manage students.

Speakers: Laura Castañeda (@lauracastaneda), professor of professional practice, USC Annenberg; Brooke Van Dam (@brookevandam), associate professor and faculty director of the MPS in Journalism, Georgetown; Allissa Richardson (@DrAlliRich), assistant professor, USC Annenberg; Henry Fuhrmann (@hfuhrmann), adjunct nstructor, USC Annenberg; Tim Posada (@timposada), journalism chair, Saddleback College

 

And it’s not too early …

 

… to think about next year’s conference. What freelance sessions would you like to see — or produce, or contribute to as a panelist or speaker? The deadline for proposing sessions is mid-January, so it helps to get a jump on the brainstorming now.

Last year, the Freelance Community started by crowd-sourcing ideas for sessions, then consolidating those into a handful potential sessions. Based on an informal poll of the community, we found volunteers to take the lead on a few of the higher-ranking session ideas, and of those proposals, two were accepted.

Maybe next year, one of them will be yours!

Please contact Freelance Community Chair Hazel Becker or Secretary Hilary Niles with your thoughts. And be sure to connect with @spjfreelance on Twitter, where you can also follow the conference through the hashtag #EIJ17

 

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