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Seattle NewsTrain, Oct. 3-4, 2013

NewsTrain will be in Seattle, WA, Oct. 3-4, 2013, for a two-day workshop at the Frye Art Museum. NewsTrain is sponsored by APME and this workshop is hosted by the Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman-Review, Tacoma News Tribune, Puget Sound Business Journal, KUOW public radio, The Seattle Globalist, EO Media Group,, The Associated Press, Western Washington chapter of the Society of Professional JournalistsUniversity of Washington and Washington State University journalism programs.

Location: The Frye Art Museum704 Terry Avenue, Seattle.

Registration: Cost is $75 for the workshop and food service. PLEASE NOTE: As of Sept. 12, registrations for the workshop have reached capacity. There is now a waiting list for those who would like to take any cancelations. To be added to the waiting list, contact Teresa Cooper, The earlier registration link also includes a complete list of those attending the workshop: Seattle NewsTrain

Accommodations: Discount hotel rates of $99 per night are available for the nights of Oct. 2, 3, and 4, at the Executive Hotel Pacific, 400 Spring Street, Seattle, WA 98104. Reservations must be made by Sept. 1 to receive the discount. Contact Tona Zubia, sales coordinator  206-777-7102, and mention the name "Seattle NewsTrain Conference 2013." Discount hotel rates of $139 (King) and $149 (Double queen) are also available at Silver Cloud Hotel Seattle-Broadway, 1100 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122. Call 800-590-1801.

Diversity Scholarships Available: The Associated Press Media Editors Foundation offers diversity scholarships to APME NewsTrain events in 2013 for print and broadcast journalists and students who are pursuing careers in journalism. The scholarships cover registration and may cover some accommodations and travel expenses. NewsTrain host committees review applications and choose the recipients. Pacific Northwest candidates will have the best chance for the 10 scholarships available for Seattle. Interested journalism students and young journalists of color who need assistance should send a resume and application letter by Monday, Sept. 16, to Jessica Partnow

SPJ Member Discounts: The first 25 Western Washington SPJ members to sign up for NewsTrain and email SPJ at or will receive a $10 ticket reimbursement at the event.

Keep the conversation going! Join fellow News Train attendees for light appetizers and a cash bar at Vito's after Thursday's sessions. Please RSVP so we know how many appetizers to order:

Questions: Contact Michael Roberts, NewsTrain Project Director, or Jim Simon, Seattle Times,


Finding the Best Stories in Data: Given a fairly structured data set, how do journalists find "actionable intelligence” or the best storylines. The first step is to understand what we and our readers want to know. Often this means shifting from or statistical shifts to the deeper questions of "Why?” or "Who?” The best insights are often found in the shape of the data – e.g. Why do 20% of the police write 70% of the tickets? And who are they? Simple ways to look at data distribution -- measures of skewness, diversity, dispersion and concentration -- often move journalists down the most interesting paths. (Overberg)

Mining for Data: Data and documents help reporters covering government, business, public safety or most any beat shift the balance of power. How? Consider: Data and documents enable a reporter to test claims and priorities; reshape the focus of an issue with a paragraph of key statistical background; and provide facts that stand outside local debates and allow comparisons to the broader world. Good use of data also shows readers the reporter can think and act independently and will do so on their behalf. This session explains how to grow a data-and-document mindset, using the example of one specific town in Washington state. (Overberg)

Digital Storytelling: How to approach the development and presentation of breaking news and enterprise packages with both print and online platforms in mind. (Friesen)

Data Visualization: Many new tools have created a surge in data visualization, the presentation of data in visual and interactive forms online. But a lack of skills in visual editing can result in poor or even misleading results. In some respects, visual editing is harder than story editing. This session covers the skills and terms associated with visual editing, among them the importance of data density, simplicity, information layering, interactivity, and good design principles. Also included are cautions about the many new open source tools available for data visualization, and specific challenges of data mapping. (Overberg)

Planning & Coaching Content Across Platforms: How to frame clear standards and workflows for new digital media in a rapidly changing media environment. The focus is on building a strong set of online tools for covering your community and how to enable everyone on staff – reporters, editors, online producers, visual journalists -- to use the tools effectively. (Roberts)

Continuous Coverage: Once your set of online tools is in place, how to plan and manage continuous news coverage across digital and print platforms, and create content specifically for the web and print. This program offers a model for developing a story online and then using print to offer more. (Roberts)

Social Media Reporting Tools: Social media platforms contain powerful reporting tools that can be valuable when reporters are faced with big breaking news stories or enterprise projects. This session explains how to use different social media platforms and onsite tools to locate expert and "real people" sources, for "crowdsourcing” using advanced search features on major social media sites, and how to curate social media content to augment your own content. (Jenkins)

Maximize Your Social Media: So you're a journalist on social media, but not so sure you're taking the right approach? This session offers tactics and tips to improve your comfort on social media, establish your brand, encourage community engagement, and measure how well your social media efforts are working over time. (Jenkins)

Smartphones for Journalists: A guide to the best apps, web sites, and other tools for reporters working in the field. (Jenkins)

Enterprise off a Beat: A program aimed at reporters and editors on how to spot and develop enterprise stories off a busy beat. This session offers different ways to measure the accountability of public and private institutions, and a variety of story forms that can be used to quickly develop a series of short to mid-range enterprise pieces. The goal is to build a sustained body of enterprise coverage while juggling the many demands of beat work. (Roberts)

Download complete two-day agenda here: Seattle NewsTrain


Mandy Jenkins is Interactives Editor with Digital First Media's Project Thunderdome, where she oversees the national video and data journalism teams and works with local newspapers on special projects and social media strategy. Mandy was previously Social News Editor for politics at The Huffington Post, and coordinated the company's citizen journalism program, OfftheBus. She was formerly the social media editor for Washington, D.C. local news startup TBD and served in several roles involving social media and online news for the Cincinnati Enquirer and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She is a board member of the Online News Association and a journalism instructor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Paul Overberg is a database editor at USA Today and a member of its data team. He helps to shape its demographic trend coverage, but also analyzes data on subjects from war casualties to highway traffic. He also helps to produce data maps, graphics and interactive applications. He had earlier been a science and environmental reporter and editor at Gannett News Service in Washington and a reporter and editor at The Courier-News in Bridgewater, N.J.


Mark Friesen is a web designer and developer at The Oregonian. He spends a lot of his time developing and designing data-driven projects. Previously, Mark worked as a print designer at the Corvallis (Ore.) Gazette Times, The Ledger (Lakeland, Fla.) and The Oregonian. He joined the online team in 2007. He grew up in Salem, Ore., and is a graduate of the University of Missouri.


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. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and holds a masters degree in training and human resource development from Xavier University, Cincinnati.


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