EIJ18 Day 3: All about open government and RTDNA governance

6pm - Winning election coverage - by Justin Pham
With six weeks to go till the Midterm elections, Magid's Triston V. Shepherd hosted a panel on “How you can win with your election Coverage 2018” During the presentation, Shepherd focused on five key points:
 
  • Connecting to the community.
  • What is the direct benefit for the community.
  • Understanding and making sure that the people are correctly informed and know more than just the headline.
  • Sense of community and how we can better help the people understand a candidate or an issue.
  • Is the story interesting?
     
According to Shepherd, these five points create “value” in your coverage which is what the viewer wants. She spoke about how instead of broadcast just being a data dump and flooding the audience with facts, the viewers need to value what they are watching because facts are everywhere. Sanders emphasised that it’s important to put a face to a story.
 
Panelist Scott Diener, KMOV-TV News Director and RTDNA Region 5 Director, added on, saying when you see facts to fact check. He stated that it’s important to explain to our viewers that there is more information to find in other places. A constant emphasis by both Diener and NBC10 Reporter Lauren Mayk was to let the viewer know who's behind campaign ads and to find out where the money is coming from.
 
As we get closer to election day Sanders ended by saying that you have to have a plan and a to do list to execute that plan. Sanders stated that a good plan is what makes or breaks your coverage and that you should have a plan for every platform.  

5:30pm - Remembering the lives lost in the Capital Gazette shooting - by Stephanie Sandoval
 
Four journalists had a discussion about the tragic shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland during a super session called “Surviving the Unthinkable” just a few months after it happened. On the day of the shooting, five journalists were killed and two others were injured in the attack. 
 
Trip Alatzas, with the Baltimore Sun Media Group, talked about his experience and what he remembers. He oversees the journalists and staff at The Baltimore Sun and others, including the Annapolis Capital. He said counseling was made available to everyone after the attack and is still available for those who need help. Something like this can stay on a journalist's mind forever. 
 
“People are getting the help that they need,” Alatzas said. 
 
The attacker allegedly was holding a grudge against the news organization dating back to 2011 after it reported on a case involving the man. 
 
Trif talked about how reporters were inside the Capital Gazette building and still reporting on the incident through Twitter. An intern even used Facebook calling for help. Phil Davis with Capital Gazette was one of the people tweeting out information. 
 
The speakers also talked a lot about resilience and what they are doing in the newsroom. They said Capital Gazette workers showed strength and perseverance hours after the shooting. 
 
They showed a photo on the big screen of Capital Gazette reporter Chase Cook and photographer Joshua McKerrow working in a parking garage near the news organization’s office. 
 
Bruce Shapiro, executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, joined the conversation via Skype. He said an event like this can take a toll on journalists covering them. They might have a hard time sleeping, which is why journalists who cover should seek professional help as soon as possible.
 
Trif said there’s been an outpouring amount of support from the journalism community.
 
To help the families of Capital Gazette shooting victims and support memorial scholarships in their honor, donate to the Capital Gazette Families Fund.  


2pm - RTDNA elects ground-breaking leader
The members of the Radio Television Digital News Association have elected a ground-breaking leader by selecting Terence Shepherd to the position of Chair-Elect. Shepherd is the organization’s first Chair-Elect of African descent. He was previously Region 13 director and Ethics Committee chair, and also served on the RTDNA awards committee.

1pm - No A**holes Allowed! - by Samantha Woolf 
In his presentation, “No More A**holes in the Newsroom,” speaker Kevin Benz talked about how to create a positive culture in the newsroom. He imparted advice that all journalists can use in their newsrooms to make beneficial changes in the workplace.
 
Kevin Benz is a past RTDNA chair and a newsroom leadership trainer with the Kneeland Project. He acknowledged that the newsroom is a stressful environment that oftentimes breeds negative and conflicting relationships between co-workers; but he said there are ways that individuals can make a positive change.
 
“Newsrooms can and should be places that we like to work,” Benz opened his presentation.
 
To stop a destructive newsroom environment, a newsroom manager has to get rid of the destructive people- the a**holes.
 
Kevin Benz says that removing a**holes from the newsroom is important because:
1. A**holes poison the newsroom culture
2. A**holes rob the company of talent
3. A**holes are expensive
 
Benz described the first step in removing a**holes in the newsroom as altering the culture of the workplace. “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” he emphasized. A newsroom culture that is positive will encourage incredible work while a negative one will discourage it. No matter what vision a newsroom is working to fulfill, if the workplace has a culture of harassment, putting others down, and criticism, nothing will be accomplished.
 
Benz said the best way as a newsroom manager to foster a positive workplace culture is to set the tone right at the start. To create a team mentality where all journalists are willing to work together and support each other’s work, managers can make “In our newsroom, we…” statements. These statements will rally the journalists under a common goal and mindset.
 
“Positive feedback is a powerful thing,” Benz said. He instructed that newsroom managers should reinforce when a journalist does a great job on a story rather than punishing them for something they did wrong. A small mindset change like this from a workplace authority figure can create a positive feedback loop, where praise leads to positive behaviors happening again and again.
 
Using productive conflict is another one of Benz’s key recommendations to dismantle a a**hole-ridden newsroom. He said that there is often a misconception that a co-worker’s success indicates a failure for everyone else. Negative conflict like this breeds a workplace culture of winners and losers. Instead, Benz said “we need to learn how to nurture positive competition.”
 
Positive conflict is professional, factual, and elevates the team. Benz stated “Positive conflict can drive us all to get better at what we do.” Positive competition can lead to all workers aiming to be the nicest, most respectful, and hardest working in the newsroom. Many great behaviors and projects can arise from this improved mentality.
 
Benz also used his presentation to encourage journalists to report the individuals who harass others and support co-workers who have been bullied in the newsroom. He warns that if no one steps up to confront a disrespectful co-worker, the cycle of disruption will not stop. Benz urged journalists to “be a part of the solution by being involved” and refusing to let disruptive and dangerous behavior go unnoticed. 
 
“Our newsrooms can be friendly places that we do not hate walking in the door every morning,” Benz promised at the end of his presentation. 
 
By following his steps to improve a workplace culture controlled by a**holes, news managers will not only make their newsrooms a happy place to work, but a more productive and professional one as well.
  12pm - Censorship by PIO: Challenging Gag Orders on News Source - by Kayla LaRosa
Censorship by PIO: Challenging Gag Orders on News Sources was a session all about equipping reporters with the tools necessary to deal with public information officers and gag orders. A recent report based on research from the Society of Professional Journalists found that an increase in the number of PIOs negatively affects journalists' ability to to their jobs and keep the public informed. Former AP reporter Dr. Carolyn Carlson gave helpful tips on how to avoid the interference of PIOs in reporting, such as seeking out sources and experts in their homes rather than in their office space. Brechner Center for Freedom of Information Director Frank LaMonte spoke about gag orders on employees of public companies, why they are unconstitutional, and ways to challenge these restrictions. The session concluded with a Q&A, where the audience shared their experiences with PIO censorship and the panelists gave legal and journalistic advice. 

10:45am - Stop Your State Legislature from Stifling Your Press Freedom - by Samantha Woolf

The most productive way to remove legislation that limits the rights of the press is to band together with other journalists to make your message clear and powerful. 

At “Stop Your State Legislature from Stifling Your Press Freedom,” panel members David Reyman, Joel Campbell, Scott Sternberg, and moderator Sheryl Worsely (RTDNA Region 3 Director) discussed what actions journalists can take to protect their reporting rights. Each of them used their own experience successfully dealing with legislation that limited journalism.

“[The State Legislature] can do a lot of damage if [journalists] don’t pay attention,” Worsley warned. She co-chairs the RTDNA Voice of the First Amendment Task Force, which monitors and addresses these issues on behalf of members around the country. 

All panel members described success when many media groups would come together and report on legislation that threatens transparency. Making the public care about and aware of the issue by using media formats can urge government leaders and people on both sides of the political spectrum to change harmful legislation. 

“The media mobilized and actually covered this fight and that’s what caused the change,” Reyman said, drawing from his own state’s success fighting legislation that limited the public’s right to know.