Idaho Press Club Fall Conference set for Oct. 17 in Boise

When: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, October 17 (registration opens and Guru donuts and Flying M coffee will be served beginning at 8:30 a.m.)

Where: Boise State University downtown facility, 301 Capitol Blvd., Boise, across from Trader Joe’s

What: Join us for our annual Fall Conference featuring hands-on clinics to help you get the most from data, as well as discussions about media literacy.

Registration details: Free for current Press Club members, new members who join prior to registering for the fall conference and students. $15 for non-members. Visit www.idahopressclub.org/2015-fall-conference/ to register.

By Clark Corbin

As journalism continues to evolve in the 21st Century and news organizations expect more from reporters, the need for training and education is as great as ever.

Unfortunately, many newsrooms struggle with tight budgets and limited resources, often leaving the burden of paying for pricey workshops, seminars and conferences to cash-strapped journalists.

That got us thinking about how the Idaho Press Club could tap our own resources to further our mission of improving journalism in Idaho and offering tangible benefits to IPC members.

For the first time in recent memory, your IPC has decided to offer its Oct. 17 Fall Conference free for current members, members renewing their memberships and any new Press Clubbers who join our ranks prior to registering for the conference. We’ll also open the conference up to students to attend for free, and are charging a modest registration fee for non-members who don’t want to miss out on valuable data journalism training and a critical discussion about media literacy.

Based on feedback from attendees who participated in last year’s conference, we’re striving to make this year’s event even better by emphasizing the hands-on nature of training.

To that end, we’re asking everybody to bring their laptop to the conference Oct. 17, and make sure they have a free Gmail account so they can test drive some of Google’s online reporting tools that we will be demonstrating.

We’ll kick things off right with plenty of Flying M coffee and Guru Donuts to perk everybody up. Then Audrey Dutton from the Idaho Statesman will help try out some free online reporting tools that can help you make the most of your online story presentations, from the easy to the advanced. Dutton will demonstrate how journalists can build interactive timelines, embed Tweets and work up Google charts that have helped the Statesman visualize crime trends.

Then Idaho Education News’ Kevin Richert will explain why reporters don’t need to be afraid of data and spreadsheets. One of Richert’s specialties is using data to ferret out the stories that others overlook and providing data-driven reality checks that refute conventional wisdom. He’ll use his own stories as case studies, and walk attendees through basic Excel functions and statistics.

Finally, we will close out strong with a critical discussion of media literacy and how reporters can help educate the community, led by Seth Ashley, Boise State University’s associate professor of journalism and adviser of The Arbiter. Ashley has written about the emerging field of media literacy locally for The Blue Review and co-authored a scholarly paper on the subject with the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, which is available online to review before the conference: http://scholarworks.boisestate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1062&context=communication_facpubs.

We hope many of our members take advantage of this opportunity to participate in a morning of free hands-on training provided by some of Idaho’s best and brightest working journalists. We are also looking forward to welcoming back any past IPC members who let their status lapse in recent years.

We strive to offer an array of benefits and services for our members. As longtime IPC members already know, Press Club members receive deep discounts on entry fees for our annual awards contest. Members also enjoy timely access to newsmakers at events during the legislative session. At the moment, we’re also planning two more social events — one this fall, and our annual pre-legislative party — to help keep things fun and light.

If you haven’t already, please take a moment today to renew or start your membership at www.idahopressclub.org/join, so you’ll be able to enjoy all of those benefits — free admission to the Fall Conference, social events throughout the winter and big savings when you enter your best work into our contest.

Clark Corbin is a Statehouse reporter for Idaho Education News, and is the president of the Southwest Chapter of the Idaho Press Club.