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Phoenix NewsTrain

Phoenix NewsTrain, March 22-23, 2012

ATTENDING PHOENIX NEWSTRAIN? SHARE IN THE "IDEA SWAP" SESSION: The Phoenix NewsTrain workshop will close with an "Idea Swap" featuring great tips, tools, ideas, resources, techniques, and more from  workshop participants. No good idea is too small, too specific. Think about people who do the same job as you and what might help them. Download this form and share your ideas in advance via email to build a handout collection for the final session. Then come ready to pitch your idea.

NewsTrain will be in Phoenix, AZ, on March 22-23 for a two-day workshop on watchdog journalism, developing enterprise off a beat, multimedia storytelling, how to cultivate community content, mobile tools and tactics for reporters, managing change, and more. NewsTrain is sponsored by APME and this workshop is hosted by The Arizona Republic, Arizona Newspaper Association, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University, Arizona Daily Star, Arizona Daily Sun, Colorado Press Association, Nevada Press Association, Utah Press Association, and the Associated Press.

Location & times: Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, Arizona State University, March 22-23. 


Accommodations: Reduced rates are available at the nearby Lexington Hotel for $85 per night (plus tax). Call 602-252-2100, press 1 for reservations, and tell the agent you are booking a room for APME NewsTrain and the Arizona Press Association. Rooms must be booked before March 9 to obtain this rate.

Questions: Contact Michael Roberts, NewsTrain Project Director,

Follow NewsTrain on Facebook for updates and news.


Unleash Your Watchdog – This is a program for reporters and editors on how to identify and pursue powerful watchdog stories from everyday records. Includes investigative techniques and strategies that lift high-impact enterprise from daily beats, and enable reporters and editors to create authoritative work on multiple platforms. The goal is not to wait for news, but to make it happen, whether you’re a reporter in the trenches or editor at the helm.

Digging for Data – Once a potential watchdog story is identified, how to use timesaving techniques to drill through mountains of information – from paper files to computer databases – and extract critical information that turns routine stories into must-read enterprise. Includes simple methods and innovative reporting tools to systematically mold raw data into hard-hitting leads and nut graphs.

Storytelling in Multimedia: With the plethora of tools available in the new media environment, how on earth do you manage them for telling stories effectively? This program offers an overview of the tools available for breaking news and all the way through to investigative stories. In addition, how to continually build context in this medium that enables journalists to follow stories that span generations. Then we'll break into teams and try putting strategy into practice. 
Community Content: News organizations are searching for ways to include more local content on their web sites. This session explores what kind of content is out there, how to reach out and develop relationships with those who are or can produce content, and the many ways that content can be brought into your web site. Includes examples, tools, and copyright or contractual issues that may occur.
Accountability Coverage: How to generate a consistent flow of watchdog coverage off a beat. Between the news scoop and a major project there are a variety of ways to build short and mid-range watchdog stories. This session offers seven different measures of accountability reporters and editors can use on a beat to produce a strong body of watchdog work around a public agency or issue.

Tools for Mobile Journalists: A program on many basic (and free) tools reporters and other mobile journalists can use to capture and post news and images from the field. Includes smart phones, simple cameras, apps, free software, reference materials, and easy-to-use web platforms. Bring your smart phones for demos and practice.

How to Shoot Great Short Video: Demand for short, timely video is high on all news web sites. This program covers how to shoot three of the most common types of short video with a smart phone or simple point-and-shoot camera. The focus here is on 30-60 second video that requires no or very minimal editing and can be posted quickly. Skills include framing, light conditions, sequences of shots, and more. 

Impact Stories: In the constant stream of instant news, readers still want stories that explain the impact of the news on themIncreasingly, impact stories are the primary role of the daily newspaper. This program for reporters and editors examines the difference between a breaking news story and an impact story, how to frame an impact story, then report, write, and edit so "impact” is the primary focus, even across different types of stories. 
Managing & Surviving Change: The news business and daily life in any newsroom is engulfed in constant change. This program offers a simple eight-step approach to managing change, for supervisors and staff, a model that can be used by small groups or entire newsrooms to navigate change effectively and keep the focus on strong results.

NewsTrain Idea Swap: The workshop will conclude with a lively session (stoked with prizes) in which everyone is invited to share one good idea, best practice, tip, time-saving trick, or other nugget that can help others do a better job. In this session, people will have two minutes to quickly share their idea. Ideas will be collected in advance to produce a full collection that will be posted online.

Click here for complete workshop agenda: Phoenix NewsTrain agenda


Michael J. Berens is a reporter on the investigative team at The Seattle TimesHe previously worked on the investigative team at the Chicago Tribune and began his career at the Columbus Dispatch (Ohio). Previous projects include the unchecked sexual misconduct among hundreds of health-care practitioners; a comprehensive analysis of hospital infections and the MRSA epidemic; FDA failures to thwart fraudulent medical devices; a military blunder with a vaccine that led to unnecessary deaths. He has twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize (beat and investigative reporting categories). First place honors in 2011, for his "Seniors for Sale" project on abuses in adult family homes, include Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE); the White House Correspondents Association; the National Press Club; Gerald Loeb Award; Association of Health Care Journalists; Society of American Business Editors and Writers; and Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Reporting at Harvard University. His latest project in December revealed how the state of Washington promotes the use of methadone as a low-cost pain killer through state-subsidized health care among the poor, a group with higher than average death rates from methadone use. The project just won the $35,000 Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting from the School of Journalism, USC Annenberg.

JenkinsMandy Jenkins has just accepted a new position as Digital Projects Editor with Digital First MediaHer new duties are still taking shape, but will involve work with papers on  "...special projects, digital strategy and breaking news."  She was most recently the Washington D.C. Social News Editor for the Huffington Post. Previously, Mandy was Social Media Editor for the startup; Digital Content Editor / Social Media & Projects at the Cincinnati Enquirer; Social Media Editor and Online Special Projects Editor, Cincinnati Enquirer; and an online news producer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She also writes the Zombie Journalism blog on digital media.

Jane Stevens is the editor of ACES Too High, a web site about the trauma-informed care movement and the issues surrounding how childhood toxic stress contributes to much of adult chronic disease. She is also laying the foundation for a national network of local health sites.  Jane writes the blog ReJourno, on remaking journalism on the web. In 2011, as director of media strategies at The World Company in Lawrence, Kansas, her community heath site, WellCommonswon an EPPY award from Editor & Publisher for "Best Community Service on a Media-Affiliated Website” with under 250,000 unique monthly visitors. Prior to that, she was editorial director of Oceans Now, associate faculty at UC Berkeley’s Knight Digital Media Center, taught multimedia reporting at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism and consulted with news organizations making the transition to a Webcentric world. In 1996, she was part of the first group of videojournalists at New York Times Television, and did multimedia reporting for the New York Times, Discovery Channel, and She’s worked for the Boston Globe and San Francisco Examiner as copy editor, assistant foreign/national editor, Sunday magazine writer, and science/technology reporter and columnist. She founded a syndicated science and technology feature service with 20 newspaper clients worldwide, including the Los Angeles Times, the Dallas Morning News, The Washington Post, and Asahi Shimbun's AERA Magazine.

Michael Roberts is a newsroom trainer and consultant and Project Director for NewsTrain. Previously, Michael was Deputy Managing Editor Staff Development at The Arizona Republic (2003-2010), responsible for all newsroom training, served as writing coach, and edited major projects. Outside his own newsrooms, Roberts helped create and launch NewsTrain, designed and taught the American Press Institute’s first online seminar for copy editors, and has presented programs for the Poynter Institute, American Press Institute, the Maynard Institute, Freedom Forum, and various National Writers Workshops. Before the Republic, Roberts was Features Editor, AME/Features-Business, and then for 10 years the Training Editor/Writing Coach at The Cincinnati Enquirer. He also worked as a writer and editor at the Midland (MI) Daily News, the Detroit Free Press, and as a senior editor at two magazines. He taught feature writing at the University of Cincinnati and regularly presented programs at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, Arizona State University. Email:

Retha Hill is Executive Director of the Digital Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University. Previously she was vice president for content for Black Entertainment Television Interactive, an executive producer for special projects at, and an editor for local news, arts and entertainment at the Washington Post. She was also an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, and has presented programs for the Poynter Institute, the Online News Association, the American Press Institute, the Freedom Forum, and the National Press Club.

SchumacherRob Schumacher is a photographer / videographer with the Arizona Republic / He designed and led the photo training for Republic mobile journalists and the entire reporting staff.

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