Region 7 Spring Regional Conference March 30-31 at Iowa State

From reporting for mobile devices, to crowd sourcing on Twitter, to writing for magazines in the digital age and finding your way as a freelancer, this year’s Region 7 Spring Regional Conference has something for everyone.

The conference kicks off with a welcome reception from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Olde Main Brewing Co. and Restaurant in the heart of downtown Ames, Iowa.

Saturday is packed full of sessions that will help inspire and energize student reporters, early- and mid-career journalists and seasoned veterans. The workshops, Mark of Excellence Awards ceremony and keynote luncheon will all conveniently take place at Iowa State’s Memorial Union, where a block of hotel rooms has also been reserved, with room rates starting at $80. Call 515- 296-6848 to book your room and mention SPJ to get the conference discount.

Register for the conference here.

Follow the Twitter hashtag #SPJRegion7 for updates.

The sessions and speakers include:
Keynote Speaker “Covering Politics in Iowa, the Presidential Battleground,” with Kathie Obradovich, political columnist for the Des Moines Register: In a presidential election year, Obradovich has a front row seat to all the drama of the Iowa caucuses, campaign trail and candidates. Hear how this Iowa State alum helps lead the Register’s award-winning political coverage and how her job as a political journalist has evolved in the age of Twitter.

Reporting for (and with) Mobile Devices,” with Jenn Jarvis, Internet director, KWWL Channel 7 in Waterloo, Iowa: Tablet and eReader ownership doubled just over Christmas, new Pew research shows. How does this change the way we do our jobs as journalists and storytellers?


“Using Social Media to Find Sources, Break News and Attract Attention,” with Dave Sheets, sports editor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Learn how to use Twitter, Facebook and other social media to spot trends, establish sources, share stories and build your brand.


“Basics of Multimedia Storytelling,” with Mary Cox, newsroom coach: Want to boost your storytelling skills using multimedia? Cox, an Iowa State alum, will show you how to write web-optimized headlines and provocative abstracts, shoot better videos, gather strong sound and look and sound better on camera.

“Creating a Data and Document-Driven Newsroom,” with Joel Campbell, assistant professor in the Department of Communications at Brigham Young University and former reporter and editor at the (Salt Lake City) Deseret News: This session teaches journalists how to effectively integrate public data and documents into their reporting. Walk away with dozens of ideas for document-based stories, an understanding of state and federal freedom of information laws, and strategies for acquiring records, overcoming illegal denials and lowering outrageous copy fees. The session is useful for beginners and FOI veterans.

“Ethics in the Real World,” with Elizabeth Donald, reporter, Belleville News-Democrat in Belleville, Ill.: Donald, a newspaper reporter for 15 years, knows first-hand that personal ethics statements should not be crafted on the spot during a difficult assignment. It’s something we should all consider ahead of time to decide what we will do, what we don’t do and what we will hold our noses and do.

“Learn from Oprah’s Boss,” with Eileen Solomon, journalism professor at Webster University in St. Louis: Name a job in journalism and Solomon’s had it. The Emmy-award-winning producer spent 12 years in television and radio news in St. Louis, Miami, Tucson and Baltimore, where she was Oprah’s boss. Solomon knows how to produce the producers.

“Magazines in the Digital Age,” with Lori Blachford, journalism professor, Drake University: Who says magazines are dead? Blachford, who’s worked for The Des Moines Register, Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications and Country Home, knows hows magazines are evolving and adapting to the world of online publications, tablets and smartphones.

“Taking the Plunge into Freelancing,” with David Sheets, president, St. Louis Pro Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists: As more journalists switch from staff positions at big media outlets to solo work, what do they need to do to get started, stand out among the increased competition and keep work steadily coming in?

Conference Schedule at a Glance

8:30 a.m.: Registration & Check In
8:30 a.m.: Breakfast/Regional Meeting
9-10:15 a.m.: Sessions
10:30-11:45 a.m.: Sessions
Noon-1:30 p.m.: Mark of Excellence Awards Luncheon, Keynote
1:45-3 p.m.: Sessions
3:15-4:30 p.m.: Sessions

4:45-5:15 p.m.: How Can We Revive the Iowa Pro Chapter?

This conference is made possible with support from our sponsors, which include the Iowa Newspaper Foundation and the Leo Mores Chapter of SPJ at Iowa State.

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