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2021 Conference Schedule

Take a look at our conference schedule

Daily Session Schedule

This year’s conference tackles the most pressing issues newsrooms face today and covers a wide range of topics from career growth to providing fair and equitable coverage of diverse communities. All are designed with today’s journalists in mind.

Attendees will gain new perspectives and insights on how to lead effectively in 2021 and beyond, as well as make new connections and gain tools to help you and your organization thrive. 

With this year’s all virtual format, you can access it anywhere!

11:00 a.m. EST


NLA President George Stanley, Editor of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, and NLA Conference Chair Audrey Cooper, Editor In Chief, New York Public Radio/WNYC welcome conference participants.

11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Conversation Corner

A View From The Inside

Delrish Moss, former police chief in Ferguson, Mo., was hired to deal with the aftermath of the 2014 death of Michael Brown, an unarmed Black 18-year-old, killed by a white officer. He shares with Miami Herald’s syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts what he learned from his experience in regaining public trust and the media's role in exposing – and perpetuating – bias in policing.

12:15 p.m. - 12:45 p.m.

How To Sessions

How To: Reach Audiences That Don't Trust You

Only 29% of Americans trust the news media. Mistrust may be an even greater problem in the long-term for journalists than business models and digital transformation. What can be done?

Presenter: Kimeko McCoy, Marketing Reporter, Digiday

How To: Conquer Decision Paralysis

Decisions are hard when you don’t have an abundance of qualitative information. Learn how to apply the 2x2 matrix, a powerful yet simple tool, to effectively navigate your decision making process for everything in your life.

Presenters: Sharon Chan, VP of Philanthropy, The New York Times; Paul Cheung, CEO, Center for Public Integrity 

How To: Get That Money, Money, Money

Nonprofit newsrooms and public media have a long history of applying for foundation grants. But now, for-profit newsrooms are getting in on this as well. How can you stand out? 

Presenter: Michele Matassa Flores, Executive Editor, The Seattle Times

12:45 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

How To Sessions

How To: Podcast On A Budget

Podcasts can help retain subscribers and reach new ones. But how do you start one with limited resources? Hear from a newsroom that did it, the mistakes made and the successes. 

Presenter: King Kaufman, Senior Audio Producer, San Francisco Chronicle 

How To: Not Get Sued

Just because it's on the internet, doesn't mean it's free to use. This workshop will cover what you need to know about copyright, online speech and digital media laws. 

Presenter: Alia L. Smith, Lawyer (Of Counsel), Ballard Spahr LLP 

How To: Level Up

Media recruiters say 2020-21 was one of their busiest years ever, even though the industry lost more jobs than ever before. Hear from a top recruiter about what they are looking for and how to best position yourself for your next job.

Presenter: Ramón Escobar, Senior Vice President, Talent Recruitment & Development, CNN

1:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Diversity Real Talk

Diversity Matters

NLA Diversity Committee Chair Katrice Hardy and Dr. Meredith D. Clark present an update on NLA’s ongoing DEI survey of digital and print news organizations and the next steps for the Transformative Transparency Project. Initial results will be announced in December 2021.

Presenters: Katrice Hardy, Executive Editor, The Dallas Morning News; Dr. Meredith D. Clark, Associate Professor and Founding Director, Center for Communication, Media Innovation and Social Change, Northeastern University; Dana Amihere, Owner, Code Black Media


2:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Facilitated Conversations

Cultivating for Inclusion

Hiring diverse journalists is just the first step; the second step is retention. This discussion focuses on ways to build and maintain an inclusive culture that ensures newsrooms mirror the diversity of their communities. This session is brought to you by our platinum sponsor, The Associated Press.

Facilitators: Peter Bhatia, Editor & VP, Detroit Free Press & Michigan Editor, Gannett/USA TODAY Network; Marissa Evans, Health Reporter, The Los Angeles Times

Be Intentional: IYKYK

Lip service and good intentions are not enough. Let's talk to managers who have turned good intentions into tangible true intentions that are showing up in their newsrooms. 

Facilitators: Sarah Nordgren, Deputy Managing Editor, Sports, Business, Entertainment/Lifestyles and Health/Science, The Associated Press; Corinne Chin, Senior Video Journalist, The Seattle Times

How Do You Define Diversity?

An inclusive newsroom goes beyond racial, ethnic and gender diversity. Open your eyes to what it really means to have an inclusive and diverse newsroom in the 21st century. 

Facilitators: Amanda Barrett, Deputy Managing Editor, The Associated Press, Digital News; Krista Torralva, Courts Reporter, The Dallas Morning News

2:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.


Free time to visit our sponsor booths, connect with fellow journalists in our Meet-Up rooms, take a poll to tell us what you think and explore our Networking rooms. Don’t forget to check for clues and get passcodes throughout the conference to earn points and win prizes in our Let’s Play! feature.

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Real Talks

You’re Welcome: Is Your Newsroom Truly Inclusive?

Real talk from members of NLA’s Emerging Leaders Institute fellows. You’ll thank them. 

Facilitators: Jill Geisler, Bill Plante Chair in Leadership & Media Integrity, Loyola University, Chicago School of Communication; Alfredo Carbajal, Managing Editor/Al Día, at The Dallas Morning News

From Boomers to Zoomers

Real talk about the different needs, motivations and tensions of a multigenerational newsroom from Baby Boomers to GenXers to Millennials and Gen Z.

Presenters: Ashley Clarke, Audience Engagement Editor, The Center for Public Integrity; Joanne Griffith, Founder, En(title)d! For Leaders of Color in Media; Ron Nixon, Global Investigations Editor, The Associated Press

Moderator: Ashley Alvarado, VP of Community Engagement + Strategic Initiatives, Southern California Public Radio

4:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.


A Clean Start

Is your newsroom considering a new policy to allow people to get past arrests or minor convictions taken off your website? Learn from other editors what you need to know when trying to fix editorial decisions from the past. 

Presenters: Peter Baniak, Editor, Lexington Herald-Leader; Jason Tuohey, Managing Editor, Digital, The Boston Globe

Moderator: Nancy Ancrum, Editorial Page Editor, Miami Herald

Military Veterans in Media*

This special session is presented in partnership with MVJ: Military Veterans in Journalism. The candid discussion will look at what issues and opportunities exist for veterans who enter journalism after their service. *This session will not be posted for later viewing.

Presenters: Zack Baddorf, Executive Director, Military Veterans in Journalism; CeFaan Kim, Reporter, ABC7 New York; Juli James, Educational Technologist, Playable Media LLC

Moderator: Dr. Meredith D. Clark, Associate Professor and Founding Director, Center for Communication, Media Innovation and Social Change, Northeastern University

Widening Your World View

Covering Rural America: What journalists get wrong that results in mischaracterization of the political, social, and cultural nature of rural areas. 

Presenters: Kayleigh Skinner, Managing Editor, Mississippi Today; James Bright, General Manager, Texarkana Gazette

Moderator: Alison Gerber, Editor, Chattanooga Times Free Press

5:15 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Conversation Corner


Gina Chua, Executive Editor at Reuters, shares with Axios Executive Editor, Sara Goo, her journey on becoming the most senior openly transgender journalist of color in the country.

11:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. EST

Welcome Back

Check out our Announcements and Plan Your Day features to get ready for today. Keep adding up those  points in our Let’s Play! feature to win a conference prize.

11:15 a.m  - 12:00 p.m.

Conversation Corner

Journalists At Risk

Patrícia Campos Mello, award-winning Brazilian reporter at Folha de S.Paulo and Afghan journalist, Farida Nekzad, Director at the Center for the Protection of Afghan Women Journalists (CPAWJ), discuss with Joel Simon, Executive Director at the  Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) what they have experienced and provide attendees a snapshot of threats to journalists worldwide.

12:00 p.m. - 12:45 p.m.


Do Better

Media outlets are taking a second, deeper look at how they ill-served vital minority communities in the past. Hear how The Kansas City Star, The Los Angeles Times and National Geographic didn't like what they saw, apologized and have taken concrete steps to do better. 

Presenters: Channing Gerard Joseph, 2021 Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin; Melinda Henneberger, Opinion Editor, The Kansas City Star

Moderator: Sewell Chan, Editor-in-Chief, The Texas Tribune

Trust But Verify

How journalists should change police reporting when they learn that police agencies have lied to them.

Presenters: Delano Massey, Race & Equality Team Leader, CNN; Taylor Tiamoyo Harris, Reporter, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Moderator: Marlon A. Walker, Executive Editor, The Clarion Ledger

Who Cares About Editorials?

Editorial boards no longer can pontificate from the ivory tower. This panel shares some of the effective community engagement practices Ed Boards are using to reach their audiences.

Presenters: Peter St. Onge, Opinion Editor, McClatchy; Marjorie Pritchard, Deputy Managing Editor, Opinion, The Boston Globe

Moderator: Amy Driscoll, Deputy Editorial Page Editor, Miami Herald

1:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

How To Sessions

How To: Win The (Partnership) Dating Game

Partnerships, particularly with other outlets that target specific audiences, are increasingly important to legacy outlets, especially if you are gunning for grant money. But increasingly, community media are wary of large outlets eying their expertise. How do you choose the right partner and make it work for all sides?

Presenter: S. Mitra Kalita, Book Author and Co-Founder/CEO, URL Media and Epicenter-NYC 

How To: Break Through Opinion Writing: FInding Distinctive and Compelling Voices

Looking to grow and engage your audience? Opinion editors will share ways to attract and engage diverse perspectives. Participants will come away with actionable, practical ideas for how to improve opinion coverage in their newsrooms. 

Presenters: Maret Orliss, Op-Ed Assistant Editor, Los Angeles Times; Elena Gooray, Assistant Op-Ed Editor, The Philadelphia Inquirer; Raj Mankad, Op-Ed Editor, Houston Chronicle

Moderator: Sewell Chan, Editor-in-Chief, The Texas Tribune

How To: Find Support As A Woman in Media

Learn the advantages of having a mentor as a woman later in your career and how to avoid the "imposter syndrome."

Presenter: Tee Hicks, VP Advertising Sales, Gannett | USA TODAY Network & LocaliQ

1:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.


Visit our sponsor booths, connect in our Meet-Up rooms, take a poll to tell us what you think and explore our Networking rooms. Keep checking for clues to earn points and win prizes in our Let’s Play! feature.

1:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.


Leading a Union Shop

What's next in an increasingly unionizing industry.  Hear from those who have experience managing a unionized newsroom — from the perspective of a NewsGuild leader and a newsroom leader.

Presenters: Jon Schleuss, President, NewsGuild-CWA; Marty Kaiser, Managing Director, Capital News Service, University of Maryland and retired Editor, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Moderator: Sewell Chan, Editor-in-Chief, The Texas Tribune

2:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Facilitated Conversation

You Can't Take It Personally

You hear it from everyone. And yet it seems like every newsroom has a union issue at some point in time. Find out how to work through issues with unions and what works – and what doesn't. 

Presenter: John Canalis, Assistant Managing Editor, Los Angeles Times

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Real Talks

Social Media Ground Rules: Is There Such A Thing?

Is there any way for editors to appropriately control what their staff puts on social media? What is the future of social media and journalism? What is the latest in policymaking? What's happening in your newsroom?

Presenters:  Maria Reeve, Executive Editor, Houston Chronicle; Sharon Waxman, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, The Wrap; Tom Horgen, Director of Digital Audience Strategy, Star Tribune

Moderator: Calvin Sims, Executive Vice President for Standards and Practices, CNN                   

How to Build a Happy, Hybrid Culture

In this interactive session, participants will contribute ideas (from both experience and imagination) and learn to work within a framework that presents 5 key elements to analyze, create or upgrade your newsroom culture. 

Presenter: Jill Geisler, Bill Plante Chair in Leadership & Media Integrity, Loyola University Chicago School of Communication

Walking A Tightrope

Learn how opinion sections can reflect ideological diversity without giving into extremism. 

Presenters: Colleen McCain Nelson, Executive Editor, The Sacramento Bee; David Plazas, Opinion and Engagement Director, The Tennessean | USA TODAY Network; David Swerdlick, Assistant Editor, Outlook and PostEverything, The Washington Post; Aaron Retica, Opinion Staff Editor, The New York Times

Moderator: Nancy Ancrum, Editorial Page Editor, Miami Herald

3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

The Workshop

Product Thinking 101

This skills-based workshop is aimed at educating journalism leaders on how to translate audience needs into effective product strategy. Hands-on activities will illuminate key product-thinking concepts, including identifying "jobs to be done" and prioritizing efforts for maximum impact. Participants are encouraged to bring an idea for a product they would like to create or evolve, or an audience problem they would like to address through product thinking.

Presenter: Eric Ulken, Product Director, Gannett | USA TODAY Network and Senior Coach, American Press Institute

4:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.


Victimized Twice

We often turn our cameras toward victims of tragedy  but we rarely hear from them about what it was like dealing with the media. Publicized trauma survivors share with us what could be done to ensure responsible reporting and respectful engagement with the people at the center of our stories.

Presenters: Sirena Saul, Miami mother who lost her son at 15 to gun violence; Brenda Hines, Milwaukee, Founder/President of Donovan Hines Foundation. She lost her son to gun violence (case is still unsolved).

Moderator: Ashley Luthern, Reporter, Milwaukee Sentinel Journal

5:15 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Conversation Corner

Lessons Learned

Retired Washington Post Editor, Martin “Marty” Baron, shares highlights and insight from his storied career in journalism with News Leader of the Year Ron Nixon, The Associated Press Global Investigations Editor.

6:00 p.m.


Don’t miss NLA President George Stanley’s farewell to conference participants.

Time Is Running Out! Register Today.

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$ 75
  • Full conference registration for current high school and college students.


$ 175
  • Full conference registration
    for members


$ 275
  • Full conference registration
    for non-members

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