This year’s regional conference: “For the love of journalism”

The Society of Professional Journalists Region 1 Spring Conference will take place April 21 and 22 at Temple University in Philadelphia. 

The conference theme, “For the Love of Journalism,” reflects both our love for our chosen profession and a growing public appreciation of how the role of a free press serves a democracy.

Our focus during the Saturday, April 21, sessions at Annenberg Hall will be on the skills you need to know to be a better journalist. On Sunday, April 22, our focus will broaden to some of the bigger challenges facing journalism today.

The weekend will also include some activities that are just for fun – including a walking tour of historic sites in journalism in downtown Philadelphia and, for those who arrive early, a Friday, April 20, night ballgame between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Philadelphia Phillies.

But a word to the wise: the number of conference tickets and hotel rooms are limited. You’ll want to register for both the conference and the hotel as soon as possible. Don’t procrastinate. We anticipate this event will be sold out well in advance.

Make your hotel reservations HERE. 

Jane Primerano, SPJ Region 1 director
Pat Trosky, Keystone SPJ chapter president
John Ensslin, New Jersey SPJ chapter president

What we have planned
Here are some of the sessions that will be part of the SPJ Region 1 Spring Conference. We are continuing to add sessions, so check the conference website for the latest additions as well as information on panelists.

  • Into the Weeds: Efforts to legalize marijuana are advancing in the Northeast. NewJersey‘s new governor has called for legalizing recreational marijuana. Susan Livio covers medical marijuana for The Star Ledger. She will be part of a panel discussion of reporters delving into the issues raised by legalization.
  • Covering Cosby: The first sex assault trial of comedian Bill Cosby in Norristown, Pa., drew national attention until it ended with a hung jury and a mistrial in June 2017. A retrial is scheduled to begin on April 2 and is anticipated to last about two weeks. This panel will be moderated by Roy Gutterman, an associate professor at Syracuse University where he also is director of The Tully Center for Free Speech.
  • Going Digital: The trend toward digital journalism continues to accelerate as print and broadcast newsrooms grapple with new ways of telling a story and communicating it to their increasingly online audience. Cate Barron, editor of The Patriot-News and vice president of the PA Media Group, will serve as moderator.
  • “Dirty Dozen” Digital Journalism Apps: Digital journalists increasingly rely upon an ever-changing and always expanding tool kit of applications. But what are the best and most effective tools currently available? What apps are on the cutting edge? Kevin Z. Smith, director of the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism at Ohio State University, will demonstrate some of the best tried-and-tested apps when he presents his popular KipCamp talk “A Dirty Dozen Journalism Apps.”  Smith is a former national SPJ president.
  • Google Tools: Google continues to roll out new programs and applications that can be useful for journalists. Victoria “Vix” Reitano is a social media strategist, editorial marketing expert and a content strategist/creator based in New York City.
  • Drawing with Signe: Among the joys of Philadelphia journalism are the cartoons of Signe Wilkinson, editorial cartoonist for the Philadelphia Media Network. We’ll ask this two-time Pulitzer Prize winner to show how she draws her cartoons in this session.
  • The Future of Journalism in Philadelphia: Philadelphia has been a laboratory for experiments and news business models in journalism in recent years with innovations such as the online news site Billy Penn and the non-profit Lenfest Foundation and its partnership with the Philadelphia Media Network. Among the confirmed speakers thus far are Stan Wischnowski, executive editor and senior vice president of the Philadelphia Media Network, and Chris Krewson, vice president for strategy at Spirited Media and a founder of Billy Penn.

Here are important details:

Conference Hotel
  • We have reserved a limited number of discounted hotel rooms for conference attendees at the Courtyard Marriott at 21 N. Juniper St. in downtown Philadelphia. It is a short bus, train or car ride to the Temple University campus.
  • Here is a link to the booking website. We expect this room block will go quickly. It is reserved only through March 30 so consider booking your room as soon as possible to take advantage of the discount. 
Mark of Excellence Brunch
  • The winners of this year’s Mark of Excellence awards honoring outstanding college journalists in Region 1 will be celebrated during a brunch at 10 a.m Sunday, April 22, in the Philadelphia Media Network offices at 801 Market St.
  • The keynote speaker at the brunch will be Bill Marimow, senior vice president for strategy and editor-at-large of the PMN, which includes The Inquirer and The Philadelphia Daily News.
  • Cost of the brunch is included in the basic registration fee for the conference.

Temple University

  • Almost all of the conference sessions will take place at Annenberg Hall at 2020 N. 13th St. on the Temple University campus. There are several parking garages on campus with posted rates. The campus is also easily accessible by mass transit.
Food options
  • Conference attendees are free to obtain their own lunch during the conference. With the exception of the MoE brunch on Sunday, meals are not included in the conference registration.
  • The Temple campus has several casual food options available a short walk away from Annenberg Hall. There are also food trucks with all kinds of cuisines parked on campus. Here is a link to the food truck locations.
Explore Philadelphia: Here’s a preview! 

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