Archive for the ‘Journalism’ Category

By Marhesha Maldonado


Gary Gillam

Unmanned aircraft systems, commonly called drones, could be very beneficial to journalists covering storm damage, traffic accidents, fires and other stories. But the technology also raises important legal, safety and ethical issues.

That was the gist of a panel discussion at the VPA/SPJ Region 2 Conference held Saturday (April 9) at Short Pump.

Charles Tobin, a former journalist and now a media lawyer in Washington, D.C., noted that it’s illegal for news organizations to operate drones unless they have permission, called a 333 exemption, from the Federal Aviation Administration.



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By Matt Chaney

A panel of FOIA experts expressed mixed opinions about the state of open government in Virginia at the VPA/SPJ Region 2 Conference on Saturday (April 9).


David Ress

The panelists said that while gains have been made for transparency, much remains to be done to hold government officials on all levels more accountable. They also emphasized that while the Freedom of Information Act is important to journalists, it exists to benefit the public.

“It’s up to us to keep pushing. While the law is the law, we can put the pressure on to say it’s the public who has the right to know,” Dave Ress, a reporter for the Daily Press of Newport News said.


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By Margaret Carmel

Before the internet, readers and viewers had no way to interact with the journalists who brought them the news. But today, social media enables journalists to connect with their audiences for a variety of purposes. From gathering sources and building a personal brand to communicating with consumers, it has become an essential skill in the modern journalist’s toolbox.

At the VPA/SPJ Region 2 Conference, three experts shared their wisdom on how to more effectively utilize social media. The panelists were Bob Bennett, senior producer for WAVY-TV/WVBT-TV in Norfolk; Roben Farzad, host of the show “Full Disclosure” on NPR One; and Bryan Devasher, breaking news reporter at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

“I always wonder what my morning of 9/11 would have been like in the era of the smartphone,” Farzad said. “Anybody can be recording anything. Anyone is suddenly this sentinel of information.”


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By Janeal Downs

A good news story means more than presenting information as an inverted pyramid and applying AP style. In today’s newsrooms, reporters also must be copy editors and turn in articles that are as ready for publication as possible.

At the VPA/SPJ Region 2 Conference, two experienced editors offered advice on how journalists can better copy-edit themselves. Karen Denny, director of the Annapolis Bureau of Maryland Capital News Service, and Suzanne Wardle, copy editor and books editor for The Roanoke Times, led a session titled “Stop Errors in Their Tracks: Copy Editing for Everyone.”


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By Diana DiGangi

In a panel at the VPA/SPJ Region 2 Conference, newspaper editors Paige Mudd and Steve Gunn had an inspiring message for the journalists in the audience: Journalism is changing, but it’s not necessarily dying.

Mudd is the top editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and Gunn holds the corresponding position at The Virginian-Pilot.

Gunn said the industry is reducing jobs in design and production. But he added, “If your goal in life is to be a great reporter who goes out and gets information and delivers it to 10 platforms, no problem. There’s going to be jobs, especially at smaller papers.” (more…)

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By Janeal Downs

From taking adventurous trips to the grocery store in China to covering the ravages of war in Afghanistan, top journalists shared their experiences as international reporters during a panel at the VPA/SPJ Region 2 Conference.

David Lynch, a correspondent in the Washington bureau of the Financial Times, and Paul Wiseman, an international economics writer for The Associated Press, explained how they find and report stories abroad. The session was moderated by Suzanne McBride, an associate professor at Columbia College Chicago who has been a Fulbright scholar in Ireland and a lecturer in Thailand.

“Every aspect of life when you’re living abroad is kind of an adventure,” Lynch said.


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We’re excited to announce the full line up of panels and workshops for the Virginia Press Association/Society of Professional Journalists Conference April 8-9 in Short Pump, Va.

The following programming is included with the purchase of a ticket through SPJ. You can purchase tickets here.

Friday Activities

2-4:30 p.m. Job/Internship Fair featuring representatives from The Daily Press, Richmond Magazine, Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Virginian-Pilot
Clips and resume critique

7-11 p.m. Screening of “Spotlight”

Saturday Panels

Keynote Speaker: (during the SPJ luncheon) T. Rees Shapiro, Reporter, The Washington Post (during the luncheon, the Mark of Excellence Awards will be presented)

Our Right to Know: The Future of Open Access

This roundtable discussion will explore the ongoing legal battle to open up circuit court case databases to the public, the ongoing proposals to revise the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, and how the General Assembly came down on FOIA/access issues in the 2016 session.
Moderator: Marisa Porto, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief, Daily Press Media Group, VPA President
Panelists: Dave Ress, Reporter, Daily Press; Megan Rhyne, Executive Director, Virginia Coalition for Open Government; Ginger Stanley, Executive Director, Virginia Press Association

Case Study in Tragedy: WDBJ

Hear from those affected by the August 2015 shooting of two WDBJ7 journalists and their interviewee as they discuss the practical and ethical conversations media organizations need to take when covering a tragedy in their newsroom.
Moderator: Nicole Livas, Veteran Broadcaster
Panelists: Kelly Zuber, News Director, WDBJ7, Roanoke; Ryan Parkhurst, Assistant Professor of Journalism, James Madison University; Brad Jenkins, General Manager, The Breeze

So You Want to be An International Reporter: Hear From Those Who Have Done It and How You Can Do the Same
Learn what it takes to become a foreign correspondent from journalists who have headed overseas bureaus and covered wars, disasters and other news all over the world. Renew your passport, start taking Rosetta Stone lessons and come to this session for a primer on going global.
Session leaders: David Lynch, Correspondent, Washington bureau of the Federal Times; Suzanne McBride, Interim Chair, Communication and the Media Innovation, Columbia College Chicago; Paul Wiseman, International Economics Writer, The Associated Press

Using Unmanned Aerial Systems for Newsgathering
Discussion about the future of unmanned aerial systems and their applications in news gathering. Learn about current and proposed regulations and what they mean for the future of aerial photography.
Moderator: Evan Jones, The Southside Messenger
Panelists: Charles Tobin, Partner, Holland & Knight; Daryl Watkins, Founder, Creative Dog Media; Gary Gillam, Career Videographer and Producer; Jeff South, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Robertson School of Media and Culture, VCU

The State of the Mid-Atlantic News Media and the Climate of Today’s News Outlets
Newsrooms have undergone multiple changes over the past year – from how we deliver news, to the audiences we target, to how we report. Our speakers will discuss the status of their newsrooms, how they’ve managed the changes and what they see for the future of news.
Session leaders: Steve Gunn, Editor, The Virginian-Pilot; Paige Mudd, Editor, The Richmond Times-Dispatch


Sharpen Your Social Media Skills: How to Use It to Expand Your Reach and Attract More Readers
These days your social media presence is just as important as your stories. Hear from pros who will tell you about today’s social media landscape and how to best navigate it for the highest impact.
Session Leaders: Bob Bennett, Senior Producer, WAVY-TV/WVBT-TV Norfolk; Alix Bryan, Interactive Producer, WTVR-TV CBS6 Richmond; Bryan Devasher, Breaking News Reporter, Richmond Times-Dispatch

New Products and Existing Products: “Steal Our Ideas”
How are news organizations in Virginia adjusting to find new sources of revenue and audience? We invite you to bring your ideas and to hear about the success the Richmond Times-Dispatch had with expanding its Discover Richmond magazine franchise.
Session Leaders: Paige Mudd, Editor, Richmond Times-Dispatch; Lewis Brissman, Editor, Discover Richmond

Stop Errors in Their Tracks: Copy Editing for Everyone
With fewer copy editors at local newspapers, reporters have to be their own copy editors. Panelists will offer tips about how to write cleaner copy, making reporters and their publications look smarter. Learn basic copy editing tips that will take you far no matter what kind of stories you write.
Session Leaders: Karen Denny, Director, Annapolis Bureau, Maryland Capital News Service; Suzanne Wardle, Copy Editor & Books Editor, The Roanoke-Times

Ethics Advice: How to Act When You Find Yourself in Questionable Situations
Ethical thinking is like a muscle. Use it often to keep it strong. Explore and talk through sticky situations with an expert.
Session Leader: Paul Fletcher, Publisher, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and SPJ National President



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