EIJ18 Day 2: MeToo and newsrooms, master storytelling and honoring excellence

September 28, 2018 10:00

6pm - Honoring a Lifetime of Excellence in Journalism - by Austin Kleber
CBS News’ Bill Whitaker and NBC News’ Pete Williams each accepted  achievement awards from RTDNA Friday evening. The Paul White Award, RTDNA’s highest honor, was given to Whitaker for his distinguished reporting at home and abroad. The John F. Hogan Distinguished Service Award was given to Williams for his work as NBC News’ justice correspondent, which has helped further the freedom of the press as a pillar of society. In their acceptance speeches, both stressed the importance of standing firm in the pursuit of truth in today’s political climate.

6pm - Covering mass shootings - by Samantha Woolf
At the timely “Covering [Insert Recent Mass Shooting Here]: How to Ethically Cover Mass Shootings,” panel members gave advice to journalists about reporting on tragedies and crisis situations.

The members included journalists with real life experience covering mass shootings:
  • Terence Shepherd is the News Director for WLRN in South Florida. He became involved with the coverage surrounding the Parkland school shooting.
  • Kristin Hussey is a Connecticut-based freelance reporter who covers stories surrounding the Sandy Hook school shooting.
  • Tim Scheld is the Director of News and Programming at WCBS in New York. He’s covered numerous crisis events including the Columbine High School massacre and the Oklahoma City bombing.
  • Andrew Seaman is currently the News Editor for LinkedIn. His experience with covering mass shootings is not on the field level, instead he worked with deciding what content to release in push alerts sent to phones on the national level.
A key takeaway from the panel discussion is not to rush into covering an event before facts can be truly validated. Seaman said that a great question to ask yourself when covering a crisis is “Is what is coming out of my mouth or keyboard factual?” 

Scheld added that to remember that journalists are humans first and reporters second.

They also spoke about not giving notoriety to school shooters. They said many shooters are motivated to act because of the fame. All panel members advised attendees to exercise caution when referring to the shooter in broadcast news.

5pm - Hiring managers: Diveristy isn't a pipeline problem. - by Clair O'Neil
It could be you.

Mike Mickle News Director for WHBF/WKLB-TV and Tahera Rahman reporter for WHBF-TV discussed the importance of diversity in news. Rahman is the first full-time TV news reporter to wear a hijab.

“She was above her competition,” Mickle said. “It really came down to why would we not do this.”

Though she slowly had to work her way up from producer to reporter, Rahman said she’s received appreciation from her viewers. She and Mickle even appeared on on the Megyn Kelly Show.

“The TV industry has been a certain way for so long and now it’s changing.” Rahman said.

Rahman credits her station for believing and pushing her. She also says taking criticism and negative comments helped improve her work.

Mickle and Rahman agree that having a balanced news team can make for a better news station.

2:30pm - Trust your social media team - by Tabitha Dyer
Social Media is essential to any newsroom. It is a tool that spreads information using a platform of our audiences. The key to success is developing a relationship with your viewers. But even experts started out as beginners. Moderator John Colucci, Social Media Director for Sinclair, asked the panelists to introduce themselves with their biggest social media fail - and there were some spectacular ones! The news managers on the panel also offered several strategies for getting newsrooms to buy in to using social media to its full potential, including two RTDNA board members. Sheryl Worsley with KSL Radio, Region 3 Director, reminds news managers to reward and incentivize social media successes and progress just like with reporting. SFGate's Brandon Mercer, who is RTDNA's Region 2 Director, suggested that giving staff ownership of particular social tasks and platforms is an opportunity to develop not only social media skills but also leadership. 

12pm - Power Shift: Managing Personalities - by Danielle Stein
In this discussion about managing personalities, we had a demonstration and explanation about the Meyers Briggs personality types and how each characteristic works within a work setting. Jill Geisler and Scott Libin, the presenters, had contrasting personality types and explained each of the four letters that make up their respective personality types. With audience engagement and participation, they learned how we all act and behave as well, and understood our workplace preferences based on our personalities.

11:30pm - What do Murrow winners do right? - by Samantha Woolf
At“What it Takes to be a Murrow Winner,” attendees learned from a panel of past Edward R. Murrow Award winners. The panel members told their individual stories about how their work came to obtain award-winning status and their advice on seeking out and covering influential stories. Dan Shelley, Executive Director of RTDNA/RTDNF moderated the event.

The distinguished panel members included:
  • Aaron Henkin, Producer of “Out of the Blocks” at WYPR. He encouraged journalists to start a project with no agenda. The best stories, in his opinion, are the stories that are important to the people, rather than important to the journalist. He believes that “everybody’s got a story worth hearing.”
  • Dalton Bennett, video reporter for the Washington Post He won his Murrow award by taking what potentially could be a dry story and bringing more dimension. He said a journalist never knows when he or she has an award-winning story he approaches every story as if it is an award-winning story.
  • Erika Angulo, Coordinating Producer at NBC News. Erika spoke about reacting to a breaking news story. “So much of what we do is reacting quickly to the situation,” she said. These skills earned her a Murrow when she acted quickly to cover the Ft. Lauderdale Airport shooting.
  • Kerry Sanders, Correspondent at NBC News. "In a breaking situation like this, there aren’t facts” Kerry said about his experience also winning a Murrow for covering the Ft. Lauderdale Airport shooting. He advises journalists in breaking news stories to focus on what’s happening and describing what’s happening.
  • Pierre Thomas, Chief Justice Correspondent at ABC News. Thomas said stories that occur in your personal life translate into riveting journalism. The story was born out of desire to warn American anyway he could about the fentanyl crisis. Thomas said that he used affiliate footage because they wanted to show how careful law enforcement had to be when dealing with this issue. 
‚ÄčThe 2018 National Murrow Award winners will be recognized October 22 in New York City.

11am - #MeToo at EIJ18 - by Lauren Granada
Debra Adams Simmons, executive editor at National Geographic, moderates the Me Too panel this morning with speakers, Amy Brittain, an investigative reporter for the Washington Post, Anna North, senior reporter for Vox and Avi Kumin, a representative for Christine Blasey Ford.

Amy Brittain says that the most challenging part of reporting on the Me Too movement is quickly figuring out if the accused person’s behavior is a pattern. Brittain uncovered and published the Charlie Rose sexual assault case within 17 days of investigation. PBS suspended Rose within an hour of the article being released. Twenty seven additional women came forward after the story was released.

Anna North explains that the Me Too movement is not exclusive to sexual assault cases, but any discriminatory act. North has covered stories on women who have faced pregnancy discriminations within the workplace.

When investigating on sexual assault cases, Anna North looks at the people who come forward to make allegations; highlight the voices of those who have come forward. She created a database with quotes of who has come forward and the impact on those victims. North wants to emphasize the lesser known people and women who have had to put their lives on the line and risk everything to come forward.

Avi Kumin explains that “we didn’t know” is a popular legal defense by employers in a sexual assault case. Kumin looks for ways to overcome that defense. He says that many clients don’t want to be a public icon. Many want to get help so that they can move on with their lives and careers.

Anna North says that as a journalist, you need to be able to empathize with all players in a sexual assault case- including the accused. She also says that it’s important to look into every detail and tip provided.

10am - Gaining back trust in the era of Trump - by Danielle Stein
In an era where there is much mistrust for the media, outlets work hard to gain back the trust of their audiences. In a panel format, Lynn Walsh, Deborah Potter, Chip Mahaney, Elizabeth Jensen and John Dunbar discuss different solutions their publications or news stations have applied in order to regain trust. Some methods include explicitly labeling opinion pieces by writing “OPINION” at the very beginning, recognizing complaints about political bias, and asking audiences for feedback. Some suggestions for feedback include news segments, Facebook pages and Google forms, not just asking for news tips but also for suggestions of improved coverage. 


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