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6:00 pm - Midterm Elections in the Era of Trump - by Justin Pham
During the Super Session on midterm elections during the Trump era, panelists Wendy Wilk, Anthony Salvanto, Blake Hounshell and moderator Chip Reid talked about how coverage of elections has changed since Trump has taken office. One of the factors that the panelists talked about was the different “waves” of people that could affect the upcoming election. While polls predict that the House will be won by the Democrats due to the incoming “blue wave,” there is a margin of error of 12 seats. While the house race isn’t over, Salvanto, Director of Elections and Surveys for CBS News, stated that Democrats had the advantage when it came to the House but are “playing defensive” when it comes to theSsenate.
Wilk, Washington Bureau Chief for Hearst, also mentioned the possible “pink wave” as more women are entering primaries and becoming more of a presence since Trump has taken office, and a possible third wave that Hounshell pointed out was the possibility of a “Latino wave.”
As for voters, Salvado pointed out that a there is a core group of people who vote solely based on single issues, and that this midterm will prove mainly status quo if that trend keeps up. Hounshell, POLITICO Magazine Editor in Chief, also pointed out that young voter turnout has been disappointing since the last election totaling up to only 35%.
As the panel closed and turned the the audience for questions a recurring question was prevalence of “fake news” and the effect it has on the media today. Moderator Chip Reid, National Correspondent, CBS News, chimed in saying that it is an aura that Trump created but will last even after he leaves office.
The next super session is scheduled for Friday morning at 8am when panelists Amy, Brittain, Anna North and Avi Kumin join moderator Debra Adams Simmons to talk about the #MeToo movement.
5:20 pm - No More A**holes! - by Samantha Woolf
In his presentation, “No A**holes in the Newsroom,” speaker Kevin Benz talked about how to create a positive culture in the newsroom.
Positive encouragement and productive conflict are Benz’s key recommendations to dismantle a a**hole-ridden newsroom. He encouraged journalists to report the individuals who harass others and support co-workers who have been bullied. He warns that if no one steps up to confront a disrespectful co-worker, the cycle of disruption will not stop.
Kevin Benz is a past RTDNA chair and a newsroom leadership trainer with the Kneeland Project.
“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.
Kevin Benz says that removing a**holes from the newsroom is important because:
- Assholes poison the newsroom culture
- Assholes rob the company of talent
- Assholes are expensive
3:00pm - Critical Thinking to Fight Fake News - by Lilly Cummings
Al Tompkins, Senior Faculty member at The Poytner Institute, presented recent fake news stories, where they originated and how journalists can combat fake news with critical thinking.
Tompkins displayed the ease of creating fake tweets and changing headlines through online generators and coding. Tompkins encouraged journalists to be aware and monitor what is being published using their names, newsroom’s names and social media handles.
Tompkins urged listeners to not be “what addicted,” but to be, “how and why,” addicted. Journalists should think of themselves as critical thinkers, but not cynical thinkers he said, “Cynics don’t believe anything.”
The four questions Tompkins said every journalist should ask are:
- What do I know?
- What do I need to know?
- How do I actually know what I know?
- Is there some other way to look at this?
2:30pm - What’s Next for Local TV News? Innovation. – by Simret Aklilu
“We have to have the courage to change,” said Ellen M. Crooke, the Vice President of News at TEGNA Media at the 2018 Excellence in Journalism conference.
Crooke was joined by Deb Halpern Wenger, assistant dean and associate professor, University of Mississippi, Bob Papper, professor emeritus, Hofstra University and Tracie McKinney, the news director for KTNV. They led the discussion about the importance of innovation in local news. The source of innovation, they said, is rooted in the journalists who are plugged into their respective communities.
McKinney urged the journalists in the audience to engage in social listening and to experiment with creative ways to reach out to more viewers. She said, “There was a time when we set the table, that time is over.”
Papper recognized the dominance of local news on social media platforms.
“The key there is engagement,” he said.
Wenger encouraged the journalists in the audience to engage in enterprise and investigative reporting.
“People come to the newscast and they know the story,” said Wenger. “We have to tell them what it means.” For more on news innovation, check out the Knight Foundation "Local TV News and the New Media Landscape" report co-authored by Papper and his RTDNA research.
12:15pm - Boyd Huppert on how to tell better stories that connect with people - by Stephanie Sandoval and Brian Danuff
Boyd Huppert tells stories. He writes stories that connect with people on an emotional level. Part of that is having a focus, he said. “You have to immerse yourself in the focus of the story,” Huppert said.
But it’s also about capturing moments.
“You can only get a moment once,” he said.
Huppert gave journalists and future journalists tips on how to maximize the impact of video at the 2018 Excellence in Journalism Conference in Baltimore on Thursday.
Huppert is a general assignment reporter and the creator of a weekly segment called “Land of 10,000 Stories” at KARE 11 News in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has been recognized with 16 National Edward R. Murrow Awards and has more than 100 regional Emmys and much more.
Dozens of journalists, eager to learn from one of the best in the business, started off their day with Huppert’s workshop: “It’s just video, until a storyteller creates an experience.”
Here are just a few of his tips:
- Always have a focus. As Huppert said, “focus clears away the clutter.”
- Always ask yourself “What is the story about?” not “What is the assignment?”
- Film everything because you don’t know what is going to happen. Every moment counts.
- Strong sentences = strong stories
- Put your most important words at the end of the sentence
- All stories have a beginning and an end. You must include the ending in your story.
“Everyday we make decisions on how we’ll tell our stories," he said. "I hope you leave this workshop with some tools that will help you make good decisions. It’s our job to honor these wonderful stories.”
11:30 am - RTDNA honors service to the association - by Karen Hansen
The annual conference opened with the RTDNA business meeting, an opportunity for members to reconnect, hear about what the association has achieved over the last year and recognize some of our own for their service. The Col. Barney Oldfield Distinguished Service Award went to RTDNF Secretary/Treasurer Kathy Walker. Region 10 Director Andrew Vrees received the Bob Priddy Award. Executive Director Dan Shelley was recognized by the board with the Rob Downey Citation. Also at the business meeting, candidates for 10 open board seats were officially nominated. Meet the candidates and vote here. Voting closes Saturday at 10am EDT, and results will be announced at the closing business meeting at 1:30pm.