Here's the PRNDI 2019 Conference Schedule

Jun 13, 2019

This year's annual PRNDI Conference will be held at the downtown Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC.  As usual, the pre-conference training sessions will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, with the full conference kicking off with an opening reception on Thursday evening.  We'll end the conference with the annual awards banquet on Saturday evening.


Wednesday, June 12, 2019 — Pre-Conference

NOTE:  All pre-conference training sessions require a confirmation number before you can register.  To obtain a confirmation number, email Christine at

8:30 a.m - 5:30 p.m. - PRNDI News Manager Training and Certification (2 day training) - NOTE:  this training will take place at NPR.  Whether you’re a new or aspiring news director or a veteran newsroom leader, this dynamic, interactive two-day workshop is for you.  The training will give you the practical skills you need to be an effective news manager - from establishing your newsroom vision to running an effective news meeting; from setting the daily agenda to navigating ethical and legal minefields; from managing people (maybe people who used to be your peers) to editing stories -- all while advancing your team into the digital future. Those who successfully complete the training will receive a PRNDI certificate of completion.  The workshop is led by public media news veterans Michael Marcotte and Judith Smelser.  

8:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. - PRNDI Editor Training (2 day training) – For the third year, PRNDI will offer a two-day editor training session for member station editors. PRNDI’s Alicia Zuckerman (WLRN Editorial Director), Alison MacAdam (formerly of NPR Training), Kelsey Proud (WAMU Managing Editor, Digital), and Phyllis Fletcher (Editor, APM Podcasts and PRNDI's 2017 Editor of the Year), along with other presenters, lead a two-day workshop dedicated to helping build stronger audio and digital media editors. We’ll cover workflow, balancing the daily news cycle with long-form story production, managing digital and audio content and editing podcasts, and much more. We’ll also have a chance to field and troubleshoot public media editors’ greatest challenges and frustrations.

9 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Covering Mass Violence (1 day training) PRNDI is partnering The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma and Incident Reporter to present a new training focused on preparing newsrooms to cover acts of mass violence in their community. First, John Stempin and Emily Cureton will take participants through the Incident Reporter breaking news simulation that trains reporters and editors to discern facts and coordinate coverage of an active shooter situation. Next, Bruce Shapiro and Elana Newman from The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma will train participants in working with vulnerable sources and discuss how to build resiliency in your newsroom while making your staffs’ emotional health a top priority. And finally, a panel of public radio news managers who have coordinated coverage for some of the most devstating shootings will discuss their experiences and the lessons they learned. 

9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Talk Shows (1 day training) NOTE: this training will take place at WAMU. – The one day talk show training returns this year with a look at how to package your broadcast for digital distribution, ways to change up the expert guest roster, and how to keep a legacy show relevant. We’ll cover listener engagement, the most scrupulous use of sound, and the value of taking the show on the road. With producers from WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi Show and the nationally distributed 1A, it’s an opportunity for talk shows large and small to learn from some of the best.  Presenters:  Ingalisa Schrobsdorff, Managing Producer, Kojo Nnamdi Show; Ruth Tam, Producer, Kojo Nnamdi Show; Margaret Barthel, Live Events Producer; Kojo Nnamdi Show; and Gina Kaufmann, Host, Central Standard, KCUR.

Thursday, June 13, 2019 — Pre-Conference

PRNDI News Manager Training & Certification Day 2

Editor Training Day 2

9 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Solutions Journalism: The Whole Story (1 day training) - This all-day workshop will offer an overview of solutions journalism and explain how to integrate this technique into daily coverage. By focusing on rigorous reporting of what works without the fluff, solutions journalism provides news organizations with a powerful tool to produce high-quality journalism, build trust with audiences and spark constructive dialogue through fresh perspectives. The interactive training will showcase audio examples of solutions journalism along with other narrative formats, as well as testimonials from reporters and station managers that embrace the practice. A portion of the session will dig into the intersection of solutions journalism and audience engagement, metrics of success and suggestions for monetization. Participants will also have the opportunity to discuss story ideas and how to frame them with a solutions approach. Liza Gross, Vice President/Newsroom Practice Change at Solutions Journalism Network will lead this session.

9 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Visual Storytelling (1 day training) - We know online audiences gravitate to stories with strong visual elements. But balancing the need for compelling images with the demands of everyday reporting can be a challenge. In this one-day training, you’ll learn how to compose strong images, balance audio gathering with visual demands and produce videos while using social media in the field. You may be a pro at telling stories for the ear, but in today's media landscape, you need basic photo and video skills to build a narrative for the eyes. This training is led by Carolina Hidalgo, senior photojournalist and reporter at St. Louis Public Radio; Grant Blankenship, all-platform journalist for Georgia Public Broadcasting, and Texas Public Radio reporter Joey Palacios.

Noon - 5 p.m. - Culture of Journalism Meeting at NPR - The Culture of Journalism Collaborative will meet at NPR to discuss next steps for creating a set of standards and best practices for producing content across the system.  The agenda will include: 

  • Unpacking the fundamentals of journalism: practice, skill and value, led by John Barth from PRX and Keith Woods from NPR
  • Committing to journalism as the cornerstone of your station's strategy and mission, led by John Barth of PRX and Mark Memmott from NPR.

  • Setting universal goals and standards for collaborations and how they can improve journalism, led by Donna Vestal from KCUR and Shula Neuman from St. Louis Public Radio

  • We'll end the day with a discussion on the next steps from the group and how those in attendance can help achieve our goals.

Lunch will note be served, light refreshments will be available. 

6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. PRX Presents Project Catapult - Constitution Ballroom - Kick off the conference with this fun, multimedia performance (plus drinks!) from KUER, Salt Lake City; WFYI, Indianapolis; and Colorado Public Radio, Denver. Project Catapult is a podcast accelerator and training program designed by PRX with support from the Corporation of Public Broadcasting that supports stations to reach new audience and develop staff through podcasting. Applications are open for the next round of Project Catapult now. Come learn more!

Friday, June 14, 2019 — Full Conference

7:00 a.m. - Registration Opens - Independence Foyer

7:30 a.m. - Breakfast sponsored by the Knight Foundation - Indpendence Foyer.

8:15 a.m. -8:45 a.m. - Opening Remarks and welcome from NPR’s Nancy Barnes - Indpendence Ballroom A.

8:45 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. – Main Session: Power Shift Project: Becoming an Ally - Independence Ballroom A  - Jill Geisler of the Power Shift Project will lead a discussion on how everyone can play a role in creating an environment free of harassment, discrimination and incivility. The session will focus on how those who witness harassment can become allies in an effort to transform the newsroom into a place where a culture of respect is the status quo.  Panelists:  Shula Neuman, Executive Editor, St. Louis Public Radio; Traci Schweikert, Vice President of Human Resources at Politico; Robert Garcia, Executive Producer, NPR Newscasts; and Sharahn Thomas, Director of News Operations, NPR. 

10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Break sponsored by the Knight Foundation & visit with vendors - Indpendence Boyer

Editor Office Hours (throughout the conference)- Editors from across the system are available to talk through questions, challenges, strategies and ideas, from specific to big picture.  Sign up for a time slot with a specific editor at the registration desk.  Sponsored by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

10:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Breakout Sessions

  • Solutions Journalism: The Whole Story - Independence BC - This session will offer a general overview of solutions journalism, its potential as a tool to build trust with audiences by producing high-quality journalism, and explain how to integrate the technique into daily coverage. Following a presentation that will include examples of solutions journalism, participants will have the opportunity to discuss specific story ideas and how to frame them with a solutions approach. Presenter:  Liza Gross, Vice President/Newsroom Practice Change at Solutions Journalism Network.
  • Best Practices for Writing Digital - Independence DE - The challenge to write for the eyes versus the ears is real, and often what works in our radio features doesn't translate well to digital. In this session, we'll talk about what you need to think about for digital stories even before you go out into the field. We'll go over how to structure a good digital story, how to develop characters and how to bring all of your senses into your story. You'll leave with tips, tricks and tools that you can use tomorrow. Presenter:  Sadie Babits, Visiting Professor of Practice, Sustainability Director at ASU's Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication will lead the discussion.  
  • Regional Sharing - As NPR ramps up collaborative journalism investments including a hub approach for regional reporting, a few less formal arrangements are springing up. We’ll talk about how Regional Journalism Cooperatives are formed and sustained.  We'll also talk about how less formal collaborative efforts formed in Florida after Hurricane Irma have continued.  While all of this grassroots collaboration is going on, how can stations prepare for deeper collaborations with NPR through hubs and other approaches?  Panelists:  John Dankosky, Executive Editor, New England News Collaborative; Mary Shedden, News Director, WUSF; and Bruce Auster NPR's Senior Director for the Collaborative Journalism Network.

11:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Break and visit with vendors - Independence Foyer

11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Lunch - Independence Ballroom A - This year, we’ve built some networking time into our schedule.  Join us for lunch where you'll have time to chat with colleagues.  It's a great chance to get to know someone new, or catch up with long-time friends.  

1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions

  • Retention through mentorship - Independence BC - When asked in a survey what’s the one thing an employee wishes they had to succeed in their work, “a mentor” is often a top answer.  In 2018, the Online News Association created and ran a grant funded initiative to train embedded newsroom managers in mentoring and/or creating mentorship programs. This year, the International Women’s Media Foundation has embarked on creating peer-to-peer mentorship program targeting women journalists of color. We're going to try and squeeze as much as we can into an hour and 15 minutes.  Moderator:  Amy Kovac-Ashley, Senior Director, Newsroom Learning at the American Press Institute.  Panelists: Ben Philpot, Senior News Editor, KUT; Francesca Slesinger, Fellowship Manager of Guns and America, WAMU; Doug Mitchell, Founder/Director Next Generation Radio, NPR, ONA, IWMF; and Christina Cala, Associate Producer, NPR, Co-Founder, Women of Color Mentorship Program.  
  • How to Use Your Ears: Tips and Tricks for Making and Mixing Audio - Indpendence DE - Whether you're an audio native or came to public radio from print, this is an opportunity to get some fresh inspiration, tools and ideas about making your audio sing. This isn’t just for people who make audio but also for editors and managers who oversee what's on the air, online and in podcasts.  Join some of public media's best sound editors/audio engineers as they share practical tips for getting the most out of sound in our stories and building a stronger connection with our audience.  Moderator: Alicia Zuckerman, Editorial Director, WLRN.  Panelists: Jocelyn Gonzales, Executive Producer, Studio 360, PRI/PRX; and Danny Bringer, Audio Engineer, KQED.  
  • Let the Sun Shine In:  Using Open Records Laws to Find Stories and Expose Government Secrets - Indpendence FG - Suspicious money orders tied to D.C. lawmakers; Trump cabinet member takes eclipse-watching excursion on taxpayer’s dime; what D.C. offered Amazon for HQ2  – all stories that journalists from ThinkProgress and WAMU have exposed using freedom of information laws. Learn how they do it so you too can become a FOI ninja. Our all-star panel will share their experiences extracting information through open records laws, while offering tips and strategies on how to file better FOI requests to get what you want. We’ll also get legal insight from a top FOIA attorney.  Moderator:  Melissa Wasser, Director, News Media for Open Government.  Panelists:  Danielle McLean, investigative reporter at ThinkProgress and Society of Professional Journalists FOI Committee Chair; Martin Austermuhle, reporter, WAMU; Patrick Madden, News Director, WWNO; and Kevin Golderberg, First Amendment, FOIA and Intellectual Property Attorney at Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth

2:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Break & visit with vendors - Independence Foyer

3:00 p.m. 4:15 p.m. – Breakout Sessions

  • Managing Up Down and Sideways - Independence BC - Managing has become more complex and it’s not about to reverse direction. News directors, producers, reporters, hosts and editors need to develop the ability to “manage up”--not only understanding our boss’s priorities and perspective but also helping your boss help you achieve your organizational goals. How can you reach across your station to gain a better understanding of the broader picture from peers? Increasingly, we’re all being asked to manage projects and relationships outside our usual daily responsibilities. A strategic approach to all of this can actually help you better manage those you supervise.  Join this panel as they bring you success stories and tips for stations of all sizes from the front lines.  Panelists: Mark Simpson, Director of News and Public Affairs at Maine Public; Teresa Frontado, Digital Director at WLRN; and Zuri Berry, Senior Managing Editor at WAMU.  
  • Talk Shows - Indpendence DE - While your talk show may air Monday through Friday in the middle of the afternoon, people are now looking for content on demand. We’ll go over the packaging of your broadcast for digital distribution and how to get the most out of your locally produced content.  We'll create talk-show specific social media strategies to help you amplify what you broadcast into the digital world.  Panelists:  Ingalisa Schrobsdorff, Managing Producer, Kojo Nnamdi Show, WAMU; and Julie Glenn, News Director and Host of Gulf Coast Live, WGCU.
  • Organizing Your Workflow for Digital News Coverage - Indpendence FG - Strong digital storytelling rests on the foundation of good planning and workflow. This session will focus on the questions that news organizations of all sizes are asking of themselves and their teams, as they push to reach new audiences on digital platforms. How do you build a smooth and efficient connection between your editorial strategies, staffing and workflow to be effective with your digital audience? This session will explore how one station and NPR are tackling this challenge. WBEZ Managing Editor Tracy Brown will share how she’s realigning her newsroom to serve both the broadcast and digital audience.  And NPR will share the results of a year-long effort to reimagine how it programs its digital content like a “show,” with a focus on data-driven evidence to serve the audience. We’ll also offer an update on some of the publishing tools NPR has in place to support your success in delivering excellence in journalism in the digital age.  Join us for a conversation, with time for questions and conversation.

6:00 p.m. – Friday Night Event at National Public Radio sponsored by WAMU - Start the evening with some networking and maybe a tour of NPR. Then, join moderator and host of 1A Joshua Johnson as he leads a panel of Washington-based reporters in a candid discussion on race and reporting in the current political climate. Panelists:  Ayesha Rascoe, White House reporter for NPR, April Ryan, Political Analyst for CNN and White House Correspondent for American Urban Networks, and Darlene Superville, White House Correspondent for AP. Transportation will not be provided to and from this event, but NPR is only a short Metro commute from the hotel. 

Saturday, June 15, 2019 — Full Conference

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. - Localizing Global News Breakfast sponsored by BBC/APM - Independence Ballroom A - Start your day with a BBC World Service breakfast conversation on making global news local.   Join us for breakfast and ideas to meet your audiences' need for greater global context and perspective.  Get insights and examples of how stations are contextualizing and integrating international stories with local news coverage.  Panelists:  Rich Preston, Topline presenter and producer; and Dave McGuire, DC-based producer.  

9:15  a.m. – 10:30 a.m. – Main Session: Covering the 2020 Elections - Independence Ballroom A - What’s the distinctive role that public radio can play in coverage of the 2020 presidential election? How can stations, working together across platforms, contribute to a deeper understanding of what’s on Americans’ minds during the campaign season? In the process, how can we deepen engagement with our audiences and become more indispensable news sources for our communities?  Panelists:  Jim Schachter, Vice President - News, WNYC; Joy Lin, Vice President, Journalism, CPB; Kelsey Proud, Managing Editor, Digital, WAMU; and Adriene Hill, Senior Editor, California Dream Project. 

10:30 a.m. — 10:45 a.m. — Break sponsored by HomeAdvisor & visit with vendors - Independence Foyer

10:45 a.m. – Noon – Breakout Sessions

  • Visual Storytelling for The “Radio” Reporter - Independence BC  - You may be a pro at telling stories for the ear, but in today's multimedia landscape, you need basic photo and video skills to build the narrative for the eyes. This nuts-and-bolts session will help you can maximize your audio and image-gathering efficiency, produce videos while using social media in the field, and more. Panelists: Carolina Hidalgo, senior photojournalist and reporter at St. Louis Public Broadcasting; Grant Blankenship, all-platform journalist for Georgia Public Broadcasting; and Joey Palacios, reporter, Texas Public Radio. 
  • Super Practical Tips for Editing Scripts - Independence DE - Quick! You have a newscast in ten minutes. How can you best fact check your copy? Or you're editing a feature that has to be on the air ASAP. In this session, experienced editors will show you how to get the most out of edits on deadline, and share best practices they’ve learned for making stories sing. If you want to get in the weeds on script editing, this session is for you. Panelists: Korva Coleman, NPR newscaster and cross-platform breaking news writer; Phyllis Fletcher, APM Podcasts editor and Rachel Osier Lindley, statewide coordinating editor for the Texas Station Collaborative. 
  • All About the Talent - Independence FG - How can we recruit the best talent available? What resources do newsroom leaders have access to build diversity in their staff? How does one nurture and retain the best on your team so they have opportunities to grow and thrive in your newsroom? We’ll address these topics and more in this breakout session. Panelists: Shula Neuman, Executive Editor at St. Louis Public Radio and part of the Culture of Journalism Collaborative; and Julia Wallace, Frank Russell Chair and Professor of Practice at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University. 

Noon – 12:15 p.m. – Break & visit with vendors - Independence Foyter

12:15 p.m. –  2:30 p.m. – Lunch/Business Meeting - Independence Ballroom A - Join us for this year’s annual business meeting.  We’ve got some exciting things to talk about - including changing our name - and value every member’s input.  As always, it’s also board election time so if you’ve ever considered running for a board position, now’s the time!

2:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. – Break & visit with vendors - Independence Foyer

2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Breakout Sessions

  • Building Investigative Collaborations - Independence BC -  Many member stations have produced successful news investigations through collaborations with national outlets. This session will showcase partnerships between Reveal and WWNO in New Orleans on the effects of climate change on the Gulf Coast and a collaboration between APM Reports and WABE in Atlanta on voter security in Georgia. Panelists:  Tegan Wendland, Lead Coastal Reporter at WWNO; Kevin Sullivan, Executive Producer for Reveal, Susanna Capelouto, Senior Editor at WABE; Chris Worthington, Managing Editor and Director at APM Reports. Cristina Kim from KQED will moderate the discussion.
  • Diverse Sources = Broader Audience - Independence DE - About six years ago, NPR embarked on an ambitious idea asking this question:  How do we broaden the voices we hear on the air and within our digital media. Data was gathered and made public and it wasn’t pretty. But, there is now a baseline from which to grow. KUOW, KUT and NPR’s new “Reflect America Fellow” are three examples of making an internal culture shift, by doing the research, creating and reviewing the data and providing some infrastructure to encourage journalists to broaden their source development and use. How’d they do that?  What did they initially find? How did they create a plan of action?  Is it working? We’ll talk about it.  Moderator:  Doug Mitchell, NPR's Next Generation Radio.  Panelists:  Jill Jackson, KUOW, Seattle; Sangita Menon, KUT, Austin, TX; Pien Huang, Reflect America Fellow, NPR, Washington, DC.
  • Consumer Financial Reporting sponsored by NEFE - Independence FG – Financial analysts predict another economic downturn is almost certain to occur. Integrating personal finance coverage in your newsroom is the best way to keep your audience informed about important economic news that affects them directly. PRNDI and the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) are bringing together member station reporters and financial experts for a discussion on the benefits of consumer financial journalism and how to build that beat in the existing coverage of your newsroom. Panelists:  Bill Dorman, News Director, Hawaii Public Radio; Alisa Parenti, Anchor-Editor, Bloomberg Radio; Brian Bull, Reporter, KLCC, Eugene, OR.

6:00 p.m. – Cocktails - sponsored by PRX - Independence Foyer Before the annual awards banquet, take this last opportunity to network with the colleagues you’ve met at the conference.

7:00 p.m. – PRNDI Annual Awards Banquet - Sponsored by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting - Independence Ballroom A Join PRNDI as we honor the best of the best in Public Radio News.  NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro will serve as our emcee this year as we present our Editor of the Year Award and PRNDI’s Leo C. Lee Award.