Schedule — Region 5 Spring Conference

2014 Region 5 Spring Conference

Here is the schedule for sessions at the Society of Professional Journalists’ Region 5 Spring Conference in Chicago. Encourage your colleagues to come. All are welcome to attend, to learn and to share views. We will have newsroom tours Fri. April 11, with the opening reception at 6 p.m. at Billy Goat’s.

Most of the development programs will be Saturday morning; we will have an “ethical afternoon” with you doing the work to develop a consensus about what we believe changes in the SPJ Code of Ethics should be — if any. The first thing Saturday morning is also a work-session for you. Chapters are asked to tell about their best programs so other chapters will have a wealth of new ideas.

All sessions, except for the opening night reception, will be at Inn of Chicago, 162 E. Ohio St.


8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Registration at Inn of Chicago, 162 E. Ohio St.
2nd floor corridor between conference rooms

8 a.m – 9 a.m. Buckingham Room

Your Best Programs (mandatory for chapter representatives)
This won’t be your usual boring, traditional regional business meeting. That’s because YOU will be the speakers. Share your best program ideas with your colleagues from other chapters. Try to limit your presentations to five minutes if we have a crowd. Moderator: Region 5 Director Susan S. Stevens.

9 a.m. – 10 a.m. Buckingham Room
New Trends and Innovations in Journalism
Dana Neuts, SPJ’s president-elect, will welcome all conference-goers at this session. Following the opening, NBC 5’s Station Manager and VP of News, Frank Whittaker; Scripps Fellow Emily Withrow, assistant professor at Northwestern University; Charlie Meyerson, head of news for Rivet News Radio and principal of Meyerson Strategy; and Dave Newbart, senior editor at DNAinfo Chicago, will tell what they see coming up in our world. Moderator: Loyola University Journalism Program Director Beth Konrad, a Chicago Headline Club board member and past president.

10 a.m – 11:30 a.m. Buckingham Room
Social Media — the Latest and Greatest
Jeff Cutler, the nation’s premier trainer of social media for use by journalists, will come in from Boston to head this session. He will help you communicate more effectively. Check out Jeff on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Barbara Iverson and Teresa Puente, both social media experts at Columbia College Chicago, will participate.

10 a.m – 11 a.m. Windy City Room
How to Keep Sane Covering Tragedies
“Taking home” heart-breaking stories can play havoc with reporters’ personal lives. Ways to keep an even mental keel will be offered by Dr. Sudip Bose, an expert in emergency room medicine, and Life Matters Media co-founders Randi Belisomo, a reporter for CLTV in Chicago, and Dr. Mary Mulcahey, of Northwestern University.

10 a.m – 10:55 a.m. Harbor Room
Proofread your own work
Proofreaders resemble dinosaurs, and are almost extinct. Learn to do it yourself better with the help of Jon Ziomek, a Chicago Sun-Times veteran, Al Solomon, a Chicago Tribune veteran, and Jim Benes of WBBM780 Newsradio in Chicago. All three teach in Chicago journalism programs.

11 a.m. – 11:55 a.m Harbor Room
Edit Yourself
Theresa Schmedding, of the Daily Herald and president of the American Copy Editors Society, and Maggie Walter, of the University of Missouri and member of ACES, will present this session, which will include tips on how to edit your own work, including when technology can help — and hurt — you. In these times of shrinking copy desks, this session and the next are more important than ever.

11 a.m. – 11:55 a.m. Windy City Room
Knight Lab: Innovating Journalism at the Intersection of Media and Technology
Technology is transforming media, offering new opportunities for quality journalism, storytelling and content. Northwestern University Knight Lab has been at the forefront of bringing together different disciplines to develop projects that revolutionize media. Ryan Graff will tell about some of the lab’s projects and tools as well as their student fellowship program. The lab is a joint initiative of NU’s McCormick Engineering and Medill schools.

Noon – 12:55 p.m. Windy City Room
50 Ways to Make a Freelance Living
Tips from Dana Neuts, Kent, Wash.-based freelancer and SPJ President-Elect, Robyn Davis Sekula, Louisville, Ky.-based and SPJ activist, and Chicago-based John Wasik, all successful and veteran freelancers.

Noon – 12:55 p.m. Harbor Room
SPJ/ONA DePaul Free Speech Wall
SPJ/ONA DePaul, the 2013 SPJ National Campus Chapter of the Year, shares an innovative Constitution Day program that drew in nonjournalists and can be adapted by any chapter anywhere. Adviser Mike Reilley’s executive board members will present the wall, share materials and lead a small group exercise on how to expand and improve the program.

1 p.m. – 1:55 p.m. Buckingham Room
Mark of Excellence Awards Luncheon
The best student journalism in Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois will be honored.

2 p.m. on Windy City Room
Unemployed? Underemployed? Uncertain?
“Transition benefits”
David Brown and Harry Riley of Semler Financial Services in Indianapolis, SPJ’s trusted advisers, use that term as they talk with SPJ members about financial planning. They will answer questions from journalists at all stages of their careers, including those displaced.

2 p.m. on Harbor Room
Just for students
A semisocial session with a Q-and-A about making the transition from college to being a graduate and going out into the world. Moderator: Professor Barbara Iverson of Columbia College.

2 p.m – 2:55 p.m Buckingham Room
Ethics On Call
How do we observe journalism ethics? How do we learn?
Ethics AdviceLine team members will reveal some of the most significant calls they have received at 866-DILEMMA, and tell how they worked through the dilemmas with the callers. Call-takers are David Ozar and Hugh Miller of Loyola University Chicago, Lee Anne Peck of the University of Northern Colorado and David Craig of the University of Oklahoma. Leader of this session is Casey Bukro, retired from the Chicago Tribune, helped write SPJ’s Codes of Ethics and, with David Ozar, co-founded the EAL.

3 p.m. – 3:55 p.m. Buckingham Room
When Ethics Goes Bad, Really Bad
Some egregious examples that cause the public to mistrust us will be discussed by Rick Tulsky, director of Northwestern University’s Medill Watchdog. Tulsky’s Watchdog uses interns to examine systemic institutional problems in partnership with major news media outlets including the Chicago Tribune, WGN-TV and Chicago Public Media.

4 p.m. – 5 p.m. Buckingham Room
Change the SPJ Code?
(Or, Why the SPJ Ethics Code Might Not Be as Good as Mom’s Apple Pie, the American Flag or Sex)
Study the Code — you will get a copy in the morning. Frame your thoughts. Put those thoughts on an index card and hand it to Dann Gire when you see him. We will discuss the Code as it stands now and how it might be improved. In this town hall kind of format, we want to develop a Chicago consensus on what, if any, changes need to be made in the Code. This give-and-take session will be directed by Gire, a Chicago Headline Club board member and Daily Herald film critic, who is deeply concerned about ethics.


6 p.m. Opening reception
Billy Goat Tavern & Grill, 430 N. Michigan Ave. (at Illinois Street) lower level. First draft beer or Pepsi is on us! Get a coupon at the door from Danielle Lieber. All of the serious stuff will be Saturday, but note we have Friday newsroom tours scheduled earlier in the day Friday.


Sun-Times Media – Visit the Chicago Sun-Times newsroom and the rest of the Sun-Times Media offices at either 10 a.m. or 3 p.m. Friday. A maximum of 20 of you will be welcome either of those hours. If possible, Editor in Chief Jim Kirk will give you the tour. The Sun-Times is at 350 N. Orleans St. about a mile west and a little south of Inn of Chicago. To RSVP for security purposes, email Patrick Boylan at by Wed. April 9.

Chicago Tribune – A maximum of ten of you will be welcome at each of the Chicago Tribune news meetings at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Plan to show up at Tribune Tower 15 minutes before the meeting you prefer. After the meeting, if Editor Jane Hirt’s time permits, she will talk with you and walk you around the newsroom. To RSVP for security purposes, email Patrick Boylan at by Wed. April 9.

NBC5 TV – 5:30 p.m. Fri. April 11. Station Manager and VP of News Frank Whittaker invites you to tour the station and watch the 6 p.m. news. Limit of 10 people. For security, you must sign up in advance: To RSVP, email PatrickBoylan at by Wed. April 9.

You can read short biographies of our presenters at

To sign up for the conference go to

To reserve your room at Inn of Chicago, 162 E. Ohio St.
call 312-787-3100, tell them you are with SPJ Region 5

Thanks to our sponsors:
Chicago Headline Club (SPJ chapter)
Chicago Sun-Times
Daily Herald
Ball State University
Indiana University
Northwestern University Medill School
Loyola University Chicago
Columbia College Chicago