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Fresno NewsTrain
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Train in data, video, social, mobile, podcasting, analytics and verification at Fresno NewsTrain on March 27-28, 2020


The Particulars

When: 1 to 5 p.m. Friday, March 27, and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 28, 2020

Where: Department of Media, Communications and Journalism, McKee Fisk Building, 2225 E. San Ramon Ave., California State University, Fresno. Here is a campus map.

Meals: Your registration includes a light breakfast and lunch on Saturday. 

Hotel option: Holiday Inn Express & Suites, which is close to the campus, has rates from $139 to $154. Reservations can be made online or at 559-297-0555

Is this workshop for you? This workshop is for reporters, editors and other journalists from print, digital and broadcast newsrooms of all sizes, as well as journalism educators and students. Public information officers and public relations specialists have also benefited from attending NewsTrain. You do not have to be a member of APME to attend.

Travel scholarships for Chips Quinn Scholars alumni: The Freedom Forum Institute offers travel scholarships to Chips Quinn Scholars alumni who are working as journalists or teaching journalism full-time and who are interested in attending NewsTrain. The scholarship will cover up to $1,000 for travel expenses. Interested alums, who are asked to submit a piece about their workshop experience for the Chips Quinn Scholars website, should email Karen Catone, director of the Chips Quinn Scholars Program.

Registration for groups: Email Laura Sellers-Earl, NewsTrain project co-director.

What to bring: A fully charged laptop and smartphone for the exercises.

Ground transportation at Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT):  Please see the airport's website.

Local donors: California State University, Fresno, and GVWire

Sponsor: Associated Press Media Editors (APME) Foundation. Please see the complete list of donors who support NewsTrain at the bottom of this page.

Hosts: Representatives from the following local organizations are serving on the host committee for Fresno NewsTrain: California State University, Fresno; The Associated Press; The Fresno Bee; California News Publishers Association; The Tribune of San Luis Obispo; Valley Public Television; Valley Public Radio; Vida en el Valle; The Modesto Bee; GV Wire; KMJ Radio; Fresno City College; Fresno Business Journal; KMPH; California Polytechnic State University; Visalia Times-Delta Fresno Christian High School; San Joaquin Delta College; Bakersfield College; California State University, Bakersfield; Univision; ABC30; College of the Sequoias; California State University, Stanislaus. 

Questions: Email  Laura Sellers-Earl, NewsTrain project co-director.


Join us for 1.5 days of affordable digital training at Fresno NewsTrain on March 27-28, 2020, at California State University, Fresno.

Training Sessions Include:

  • So, you think you have an idea for a podcast?
  • Using social media as powerful reporting tools,
  • Storytelling on small screens: making smart choices for mobile audiences,
  • Becoming a verification ninja,
  • Shooting smarter video with your smartphone,
  • Mobile newsgathering: better reporting with your smartphone
  • Developing a data mindset to improve stories every day, and
  • Maximizing audience analytics to produce better journalism.

Your Trainers

Amara Aguilar is a digital journalism associate professor at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She teaches journalism for mobile/emerging platforms, social media, visual journalism, and interactive design, among other courses at USC. Aguilar has written for the Los Angeles Times, CNN and other outlets. She has worked as a designer, visual journalist, reporter, and consultant. She’s conducted social media, data, and digital journalism training for the Associated Press, ABC News, the National Football League, International Center for Journalists, and is a trainer for the Society of Professional Journalists on Google News Lab tools. Aguilar was named a TOW Knight Disruptive Educator for innovation in 2018, MediaShift’s top innovative journalism educator in 2018, a Scripps Howard Foundation-AEJMC visiting social media fellow in 2017, and is an Apple Distinguished Educator. She is completing her doctorate at USC’s Rossier School of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership, where her research focuses on diversity and converged newsrooms. She loves journalism, empowering reporters and diverse communities, and all things tech.

Stan Alcorn is a reporter and producer for Reveal. His radio work at Reveal has won awards including a Peabody Award, several Online Journalism Awards, an NABJ Salute to Excellence Award, and a Best of the West Award, as well as making him a finalist for a Livingston Award for Young Journalists. He previously was a reporter for Marketplace, covering business and economic news – from debit card fees levied on the formerly incarcerated to the economic impact of Beyoncé's hair. He has helped launch new shows at Marketplace, Slate, and WNYC; contributed research to books by journalists at Time and CNBC; and reported for outlets including NPR, PRI's The World, 99% Invisible, WNYC, FiveThirtyEight, Fast Company, High Country News, Narratively, and Digg. @stan_alcorn

Aaron Mendelson is the data reporter at KPCC, the NPR affiliate in Los Angeles. He has been with the station since 2014, and joined its investigative team in 2017. He has worked to infuse KPCC's reporting with data analysis and public records, both over the airwaves and digitally. His stories have spanned beats, and included award-winning work on police militarization, the lottery, firearms sales, the Lakers, and the avalanche of money in local politics. He teaches data journalism at the University of Southern California. @a_mendelson

Sona Patel is a senior audience editor for The New York Times, based in Los Angeles. Prior to moving to LA, she was based in NYC for nearly five years, where she served as a deputy editor of the social media team. Her current role is at the intersection of editorial and analytics, and one of her primary goals is to grow The Times’s California audience. She also leads The Times's efforts around user-generated content, crowdsourcing and reader-sourced reporting. Prior to joining The Times, she worked for The Seattle Times as a social media producer where she was part of the team that won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting. She started her journalism career as a general assignment reporter for The (San Luis Obispo) Tribune.  Sona graduated from UC Irvine with a B.A. in Literary Journalism and Spanish and a minor in Information and Computer Science. @sona

Stay tuned please. We will be announcing more of the accomplished journalists who will be your trainers for Fresno NewsTrain.

You Will Learn How To:

  • Identify a good idea for a podcast and develop that idea into a pitch.
  • Use social media to locate diverse expert and “real people” sources, listen to your community and identify news stories, crowdsource using Google Forms and call-outs, and create a social dossier on a person in the news.
  • Make smart choices among alternative ways to tell a story on mobile to get the maximum audience impact with the least expenditure of time, energy and effort.
  • Verify user-generated images and other content on social media on deadline,
  • Follow a storyboard to shoot and sequence your best five shots to create a one-minute video,
  • Use your smartphone to shoot a well-composed, well-lit and in-focus photo that captures a moment and tells a story; capture high-quality audio; and record dictation that can be translated into text. 
  • Identify five ways to find relevant databases and formulate questions to identify stories in the data. Leave with at least one story idea using data that you can do now.
  • Use audience analytics to create compelling journalism.




The blue and green tracks on the agenda allow for smaller class sizes. All attendees receive the same instruction, sometimes just at different times.


Session Specifics


So, you think you have an idea for a podcast? Podcasts open the door to telling new stories and reaching new audiences — if you do them well. But what are the conversations that need to happen before going forward, and what’s the balance between innovative podcast storytelling and the investment needed in time, expertise and money. This session identifies the kinds of ideas that make for the best podcasts and establishes the minimum requirements for success. What are the table stakes – besides a good idea – to get into the game?  Bring an idea that you think would make a good podcast and prepare to develop it into a pitch. Stan Alcorn


Using social media as powerful reporting tools Social media can be used as powerful reporting tools, whether you're facing a big breaking news story or an enterprise project. This session explains how to use social media platforms and complementary websites to locate diverse expert and “real people” sources, listen to your community and identify news stories, crowdsource using Google Forms and callouts, and create a social dossier on a person in the news. Sona Patel


Storytelling on small screens: making smart choices for mobile audiences More than eight in 10 U.S. adults now get news on a mobile device. We need a new storytelling tool kit to attract and better serve our audience on mobile. On a small screen, what’s the best way to tell a particular story? We will take a look at the Stories Format and how it has exploded across platforms from Instagram to WhatsApp. Bring your mobile device loaded with the Instagram or Facebook app ready to go. As a bonus, we’ll look at TikTok and provide an introduction to how media organizations are using this tool to experiment on mobile. Amara Aguilar


Becoming a verification ninja The wealth of content available on social networks and video platforms means that we all have to be verification ninjas with a procedure to identify accurate content and debunk hoaxes. Learn how to set up your toolbox to verify user-generated content (UCG) on deadline. Sona Patel


Shooting smarter video on your smartphone  Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism studied what makes for successful news video and recommended that reporters shoot fast, raw clips posted instantly from the field, leaving in-depth, more sophisticated video stories to highly trained video journalists. This session teaches reporters how to produce those clips of under one minute with minimal editing. Learn how to use a tripod and external microphone and sequence your best five shots to create shareable video – without getting in the way of your reporting. Bring your smartphone for the exercises. 


Mobile newsgathering: better reporting with your smartphone A smartphone, stocked with the right apps, is a powerful multimedia reporting tool. Learn how to use it to shoot photos, work with audio, and create GIFs with your mobile device. Bring your smartphone charged and ready to use for the hands-on exercises. Please download the following apps prior to the session: Lightroom, Anchor, GiphyCam, Adobe Spark Post.  Amara Aguilar


Developing a data mindset to improve stories every day For providing context for breaking news or developing enterprise stories off your beat, databases are your friend. Learn how to develop a data state of mind, find newsworthy data and begin to analyze data sets. Spot the enterprise stories in the numbers, whether your beat is breaking news, sports, health, business, education, local government or cops and courts. Bring your laptop for the exercises. No previous data experience is required. Aaron Mendelson

Maximizing audience analytics to produce better journalism Audience analytics provide a powerful tool to track audience engagement, but the amount of data and its interpretation can be overwhelming. It’s time to move beyond pageviews. What are the best practices to move occasional users to regular users and, for some outlets, into either paying subscribers or members? By focusing on audience behavior, how can we best use analytics to create compelling content? 

Our Donors

NewsTrain's recent donors include The Associated PressThe APME Foundation, the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, GateHouse Media LLC, the Park, Gannettand Sigma Delta Chi foundations and APME past and present board members. To join them in supporting NewsTrain, please make your tax-deductible contribution here

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·         Atlantic Journalism Awards

·         Canadian Association of Journalists

·         Brunswick News

·         TC Media

·         University of King’s College School of Journalism

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