Here's The PRNDI 2019 Conference Schedule

Feb 27, 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

PRNDI News Manager Training and Certification (2 day training) - 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.  

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.

Covering Mass Violence (1 day training) PRNDI is partnering The Dart Center and Incident Reporter to present a new training focused on preparing newsrooms to cover acts of mass violence in their community. First, John Stempin, Emily Cureton and Terry Gildea will run participants through the Incident Reporter breaking news simulation that trains reporters and editor to discern facts and coordinate coverage of a 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.

Talk Shows (1 day training) – 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.

Thursday, June 13, 2019 — Pre-Conference

PRNDI News Manager Training & Certification Day 2

Editor Training Day 2

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.

Visual Storytelling (1 day training) - In this one-day training, you’ll learn to maximize your time in the field and create stories that easily span radio, web and social media. This one-day intensive training session is led by Carolina Hidalgo, photojournalist at St. Louis Public Radio, Grant Blankenship, all-platform journalist for Georgia Public Broadcasting, and Texas Public Radio reporter Joey Palacios. They'll provide practical tips and in-depth how-tos. This training will help you rethink your workflow, capture better images to accompany your stories, and more.

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.  Detailed agenda coming soon.

PRX Presents the 2019 Catapult Project Podcasts: Kick off the 2019 PRNDI conference with a sneak peek at the station’s working with PRX’s Catapult project to launch new podcasts. Teams from KUER, WUOL, WABE, WFYI and Colorado Public Radio will showcase their new podcasts and conference attendees will learn about how to be a part of the next Catapult training opportunity.

Friday, June 14, 2019 — Full Conference

7:00 a.m. - Registration Opens -

8:15 -8:45 - Opening Remarks and welcome from NPR’s Nancy Barnes

8:45 – 10 a.m. – Main Session: Power Shift Project - Jill Geisler of the Power Shift Project will lead a lively discussion focused on how local public radio stations can create “Environments free of harassment, discrimination and incivility – and filled with opportunity, especially for those who have traditionally been denied it.”

10 – 10:15 Break & visit with vendors  

Editor Office Hours (throughout the conference)- Editors from across the system have agreed to spend some time to talk through questions, challenges, strategies and ideas, from specific to big picture.  Sign up for a time slot at the registration desk.

10:15 – 11:30 – Breakouts

  • Solutions Journalism: The Whole Story - 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. Liza Gross, Vice President/Newsroom Practice Change at Solutions Journalism Network will lead this session.
  • Best Practices for Writing Digital - 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. 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 its hub system for regional reporting, a few less formal arrangements are springing up. We’ll talk about how Regional Journalism Cooperatives are formed and sustained with Kate Concannon. Managing Editor at the Mountain News Network. We’ll also hear from Mary Shedden, News Director at WUSF in Tampa, about how less formal collaborative efforts in Florida have continued after the entire state came together to broadcast through Hurricane Irma. While all of this grassroots collaboration is going on, how can stations prepare for the imminent NPR regional hub system? Bruce Auster NPR's Senior Director for the Collaborative Journalism Network will share his insight.

11:30 - 11:45 - Break and visit with vendors

11:45 – 1:00 – Lunch: This year, we’ve built some networking time into our schedule.  Join us for lunch.  We’ll have “conversation leaders” available at tables, but this is a non-structured time for having conversations with other conference attendees.  

1:15 – 2:30 Breakouts

  • Addressing retention through mentorship - When asked in a survey what’s the one thing an employee wishes they had to succeed in their work, “a mentor” is always a top answer.  In 2018, the Online News Association created and ran a grant funded intuitive 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 for female journalists and especially for women of color.  Join this lively conversation about mentorship:  what is it, and how do you get formal programs started.
  • Sound & Mix Editing: There’s a lot that goes into producing an audio story beyond recording interviews and narration and pulling cuts. Effective editing and mixing of sound allow our work to build a stronger connection with the audience. Join some of public media’s best sound editors and audio engineers as they share practical tips for getting the most out of sound in your story.
  • Let the Sun Shine In:  Using Open Records Laws to Find Stories and Expose Government Secrets - 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.  Panelists:  Danielle Mclean, investigative reporter at ThinkProgress and Society of Professional Journalists FOI Committee Chair; Martin Austermuhle, WAMU reporter, Patrick Madden, WAMU investigative reporter; Kevin Golderberg. First Amendment, FOIA and Intellectual Property Attorney at Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth

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

3:00 p.m. 4:15 p.m. – Breakouts

  • Managing UP Down and Sideways - Managing has become more complex and it’s not about to reverse direction. News directors and content creators need to develop the ability to “manage up”--not only understanding your 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--from interactions with content partners to dealings with other occasional colleagues. A strategic approach to all of this can actually help you better manage those you supervise--we’ll bring you success stories and tips for stations of all sizes from the front lines.
  • Talk Shows: While your talk show may air Monday through Friday in the middle of the afternoon, people are now looking for content on demand. In this breakout session we’ll go over the packaging of your broadcast for digital distribution and how to get the most out of your locally produced content.    
  • NPR Digital: Join the NPR Digital Services team and station digital editors as they discuss digital best practices on the new NPR DS platform.

6:00 – Friday Night Event sponsored by WAMU and featuring a panel discussion led by Joshua Johnson

Saturday, June 15, 2019 — Full Conference

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. - Localizing Global News Breakfast - Start your day with a BBC World Service breakfast conversation on making global news local.  Topline presenter and producer Rich Preston and D.C.-based producer Dave McGuire will share insights and examples of how stations are contextualizing and integrating international stories with local news coverage.  Join us for breakfast and ideas to meet your audiences' need for greater global context and perspective.

9:15  a.m. – 10:30 a.m. – Main Session: Covering the 2020 Elections - Presidental hopefuls are off to a running start and the first sanctioned candidate debates of the 2020 election cycle take place in June.  Saturation coverage of horserace politics is all but guaranteed, how do you rise above the noise?  Join a panel of newsroom leaders as we discuss station-led efforts to harness the collective power of public media journalism.   

10:30 — 10:45 — Break & visit with vendors

10:45 – Noon – Breakouts

  • Visual Storytelling for The “Radio” Reporter   - Some public media organizations have their own photographers or a visuals teams. Others have...well, you. The reporter. In the field trying to ask the right questions, grab the best tape AND take photos. This nuts-and-bolts session will help you can maximize your efficiency in the field, incorporate social media into your reporting, and get the most visual impact out of your digital journalism.
  • Super Practical Tips for Editing Scripts - Quick! This feature 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.
  • All About the Talent - Join PRNDI and the Culture of Journalism Collaborative for a discussion on how to recruit, nurture and retain the best talent at your station.  The COJ team will be unpacking data from a recent system-wide survey on best practices pertaining to talent.

12:00 – 12:15  – Break & visit with vendors

12:15 p.m. –  2:30 p.m. – Lunch/Business Meeting - Join us for this year’s annual business meeting.  We’ve got some exciting things to talk about - 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

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

  • Building Investigative Collaborations:  Join Reveal and member station reporters to discuss how stations can and are building strong investigative reporting units in their newsrooms. Editors from Reveal will unpack recent collaborations with member station reporters and discuss their strategies for collaborating with member stations on large investigative projects.
  • Diverse Sources = Broader Audience - Five 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 content. Data was gathered and made public.  It wasn’t pretty, but there is now a baseline from which to grow.  Now, KUOW, KUT, WHYY are three stations that have made an internal culture shift, by doing the research, creating the data and are working on internal cultural shifts.  How’d they do that? And, why?  Moderator: Doug Mitchell, NPR’s Next Generation Radio.     
  • Consumer Financial Reporting – 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.

6:00 – Cocktails Before the annual awards banquet, take this last opportunity to network with the colleagues you’ve met at the conference.

7:00 – PRNDI Annual Awards Banquet 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.