CAMP 2015: Programming

A few of the sessions slated for Oct. 9-11 in Whitefish, Mont.; sign up for the Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP) today!

Pre-Conference Workshops

Book Camp: Come with an Idea, Leave with a Plan

Book Camp is a new program presented in honor of our 30th anniversary. It’s for writers who have a germ of a book idea, or a passion for a subject, or a story they have read or covered that might make a book. The session will be led by experts Jane Isay, editor and author of three and a half books; Gail Ross, agent and JAWS member; and Karyn Marcus, senior editor at Simon & Schuster with a talent for thinking up book ideas. They will listen to your idea, ask you important questions, think along with you and refine the idea so that it will be of interest to readers.


Data Visualization

DataViz is a popular buzz term in journalism these days. But it isn’t a single concept. Learn about incorporating data into stories in terms of finding, cleaning and bulletproofing your work — typically the major task in data visualization. Then get a sense for exploring your data through visualization and finally presenting it to your audience. Presented by Lauren Rogers and Cheryl Phillips.


Plenary Session

Not on My Watch

When it comes to diversity, there’s plenty of talk. It’s the action that’s lacking. In this session, every person in the room will be involved with both. We’ll use the power of stories, and the insights and inspiration we share to turn diversity from a noun to a verb. (Trust us.) With the careful guidance of Mary C. Curtis and Jill Geisler, participants will leave with concrete ideas to defeat conscious and unconscious bias in our lives and a commitment to leading change.


Breakout Sessions

Racism & Police from Sources

“Racism. We are not cured of it,” President Obama said in June on Marc Maron’s radio show. From Ferguson, Mo., to Baltimore, Md., the deep issues that drive racism are exploding to the surface. And many of those stories have started where race, police and community relations intersect. How do you go beyond the police reports and the quotes to find the deeper stories driving the issues? How do you know the right questions to ask? What are those stories? Three veteran reporters, who took part in a two and a half day institute on race, police and community in April, along with the seminar’s organizer, will discuss their work, their reporting and their strategies to help you tell these stories better. Presented by Susy Schultz, Cheryl Corley, Cheryl Thompson and Carla Murphy.


Covering Sexual Assault

The routine rape here in the U.S. of young Native women and girls and their later induction to prostitution through organized trafficking is detailed by two Native journalists who have broken ground in a story that is enmeshed in our histories and yet remains ever-present. You will leave this session with a deeper understanding of the Violence Against Women Act and its shortcomings. Presented by Rita Henley Jensen, Suzette Brewer and Mary Annette Pember.


Crossing Lines — How Journalists Can Ethically Be Advocates

Can a journalist ethically be an advocate? This session covers the difficult process, both personally and professionally, by which journalists can apply their reporting tradecraft to advocating their personal views with objective, investigative reporting and journalistic ethics and integrity. What are the most important elements that journalist-advocates have to exercise from the Society for Professional Journalists Code of Ethics? How do you report out an objective storyline when you have a point of view? Where do you publish your work? How do you still call yourself a journalist? And how do you handle the smear campaigns that writer-advocates very often receive, very often directed against them as women? Presented by Asra Nomani.


Talk Story, Write Story

Talk Story, Write Story began in 1998 as a volunteer effort to help financially disadvantaged Native Hawaiian students in Hana, where JAWS founder Tad Bartimus lives with her husband, retired journalist-teacher Dean Wariner (executive director of JAWS 1985-90). It grew into a series of personal essay workshops that have assisted more than 300 students, many of them Native Alaskans and Native Hawaiians, write their way into colleges and win scholarships. Tad will pass along the writing techniques that have helped her students and talk about her goal to transition Talk Story, Write Story to newspapers as a way to give back to their communities. Check out the Talk Story, Write Story website at


Lessons from the Digital Women’s Leadership Academy

What happens when you get 25 high-achieving, diverse, emerging media leaders in a room for a week of sharing, learning and networking? Real talk and an instant support system. We’ll share the results, including a survey on digital media culture, and candid take-aways on influence, entrepreneurship and compensation from the first class of the ONA-Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media Academy, guided by an A-list of speakers and faculty. #digitalwomenleaders. Presented by Jane McDonnell.


Reporting the Whole Story: The Fundamentals of Solutions Journalism

Too many news organizations today focus their reporting solely on widespread social problems, ignoring the thousands of individuals, organizations and institutions that are responding to these problems. The Solutions Journalism Network aims for a more accurate portrayal of society. Since 2013, it has helped more than 40 news organizations and hundreds of journalists learn about and practice a more complete form of journalism: rigorous and compelling reporting about responses to social problems — journalism that tells the whole story. Using the Solutions Journalism Toolkit as a guide, this session will cover what solutions journalism is (and what it’s not), why you should do it, and how it can make your own journalism stronger, higher-impact, and more audience-friendly. Presented by Samantha McCann and Liza Gross.


Storytelling in This Century

When this century started, podcasts and Snapchat didn’t exist. People would have laughed at the idea of conveying a news story on someone’s watch, even if it was “smart.” And yet, good storytelling is timeless. How do we use new tools to tell stories while holding on to old values? We will turn to three women whose expertise in 21st-century storytelling is in demand around the globe. Presented by Katherine Lanpher, Amy O’Leary, Lam Thuy Vo and Stephanie Foo.


Washington for Sale 2016

With a slew of new campaign finance laws and court decisions in recent years, it’s harder and harder to track the money flowing through our elections. Campaign finance pros — including political reporters and experts — will share their tricks for tracking down the money behind the candidates, especially as more and more of the cash is donated secretly to groups that aren’t officially affiliated with a campaign. Presented by Alison Fitzgerald, Carrie Levine and Denise Roth Barber.


Beyond the Spin: Covering Campaigns

We are entering what figures to be one of the more interesting and consequential presidential campaigns in recent memory, with Hillary Clinton vying to become the first woman president and an unprecedented number of Republican candidates up for the challenge. While the most recent polls and the “he said-she said” candidate statements provide easy material for daily coverage, campaigns at any level are much more than the horse race. With so many journalists and different kinds of media — including the campaigns themselves — covering politics, the opportunities are endless but so are the challenges. It’s more important than ever to get beyond the spin and find compelling and interesting issues, characters, and plots to bring the trail to life. This panel includes reporters and editors who have experience with daily and long-form political journalism. They will provide tools and advice for covering any kind of political topic, including local issues and campaigns, through print, video, photos, social media and more. Presented by Caitlin Huey-Burns, Melinda Hennenberger and Jodi Enda.


Freelance Doesn’t Mean Free

Learn how to be effective as you set rates, invoice clients, negotiate contracts, record income and expenses, secure “employee” benefits, keep the IRS happy, and more at this workshop on the business side of freelancing. Ideal for freelancers in the first two or three years of their career as well as more established freelancers. Presented by Dana Neuts.


Mini-Investigative Stories

This session will look at how to take a detour from the daily grind and find something new about the day’s big news. Do you want to veer away from the pack when big news hits? Veteran investigative reporters will share their favorite data sources, government agencies and search tips to help you write in-depth stories off the news of the day — fast. Presented by Alison Fitzgerald.


Mobile Storytelling

Explore the latest apps journalists are using to tell stories from the field. This is a hands-on session that covers the basics for mobile photography, video and live-streaming. Jackie Spinner is a former Washington Post correspondent who now teaches digital storytelling and runs a multimedia photojournalism major at Columbia College Chicago. We’ll explore best practices for creating and sharing content on Instagram, Vine and Periscope and look at simple ways you can connect with readers while out reporting. No experience required! Please bring your smartphone.


Reinventing the Journalism Curriculum

As the profession of journalism changes, journalism education is metamorphosing, too. This session will address the difficulties of crossing the bridge from older, traditional journalism to the newer world of teaching for a multiplatform digital environment, and how instructors can carry the old values into this changing world. Presented by Rachele Kanigel, Jackie Spinner, Melita Garza and Cindy Skrzycki.


Individual Tech Time

Sometimes the best way to learn technology is to experience it firsthand. Sign up for small group personal training to help you with a variety of tech tools and platforms. JAWS members with tech expertise as well as expert trainers from tech companies will be on hand to help you out. Bring your device along for hands-on training. Organized by Stephanie Yamkovenko and Hilary Powell.