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2019 NABJ Region III Conference
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2019 NABJ Region III Conference

4/5/2019 to 4/6/2019
When: April 5-6, 2019
Where: Sheraton Hotel
2101 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd.
Birmingham, AL  35203
United States
Contact: Ken Lemon, NABJ Region III Director

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2019 NABJ Region III Conference 

April 5-6, 2019

Sheraton Hotel

Birmingham, AL


Code Switching: Reporting The Virtual Truth

More and more people are relying on digital reporting for news. Often the meta message within stories we produce create unintended biases about the people color. The disadvantaged are usually most misrepresented. We explore how the analytics shape the images we produce daily and the role digital mediums have on reader, viewers and listeners. The conference will help you understand the digital pitfalls, use that information to create stronger stories more accurate news, and give journalists the tools to take ownership of stories and become better purveyors of the truth.

Host City
Birmingham, AL, the city at the center of the struggle for civil rights, the place where four little black girls where killed in an effort to suppress progress, when Dr. King marched and children were unlawfully arrested. The unfiltered stories about the plight of blacks in the south was shaped in Birmingham and that helped frame changes in politics, economics, and education that began to create more opportunities for for the disenfranchised.

Birmingham is now considered the Magic City of the south, a community on the verge of great advances with a black mayor leading the way. Birmingham is the perfect place to reflect on the past and project into the future. It is the home of the 16th Street Baptist Church, The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Negro Southern League Museum (baseball), and a vibrant, engaged Birmingham Association of Black Journalists (BABJ).

The hard work on the ground of the BABJ, The Greater Birmingham Visitors and Convention Bureau, and the outstanding support of Alabama Power help make this opportunity possible. We are also grateful for the continued support of The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Wells Fargo, and Annie E. Casey Foundation who support our cause of promoting diversity in the media.

This Year
Our planning team rolled up their sleeves again this year to bring you the best in quality programming with the goal of hands on learning, engaging sessions, and inspiring speakers with a goal of giving you tools you can use the moment you return to the newsroom, the office, or get back on campus.

Dr. Michelle Ferrier, Florida A & M University a victim of vicious online attacks leads a special session on dealing with the disturbing problem of hate online. She will provide a personal look at online targeting and how her experience led to Trollbusters, a way to combat digital attacks.

New this year, former NABJ President Herb and wife Mira Lowe of the University of Florida bring their class to Region III. They will provide skills designed to help college and emerging journalists build the foundation to lasting careers.

We are proud to bring back Investigative Reporters and Editors, the strongest name in investigative training in the industry for another in-depth, day long session to help reporters fight through the red tape, uncover key documents, and connect with key sources. This session comes with certification as a Watchdog Journalists and a one year membership to IRE. There is an extra fee for this session.

Back by popular demand, our in depth session on using the tools in your hands to visually enhance your reporting with mobile storytelling. This is one of our most engaging sessions that includes hands on training. Participants should charge their cell phones and mobile devices for this session that explores techniques for capturing the story and producing quality content on the scene.

Attendees can have a private tour of 16th Street Baptist Church, the church targeted by those with hate in their hearts when 4 black children were killed in a bombing in 1963. This act was a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement. Their loss meant to silence the demands for justice instead triggered a push for change.


 Region III Conference Schedule

Code Switching: Reporting the Virtual Truth
2019 NABJ Region III Conference
Sheraton Hotel
Birmingham, Alabama
April 5-6, 2019
FRIDAY, April 5, 2019
12:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
Second Floor of the Forum                                                                                                        
9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Room: Forum G
IRE Watchdog Workshop

9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. 
9:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.                                                                                                                                                                   
Everyday watchdog
We'll discuss how to build watchdog work into your daily routine and produce meatier stories, even in breaking news situations. We'll also give some real-world tips on time management and organization and strategies to give everyday stories more depth. 

10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Digital sleuthing on deadline
Stay ahead of the competition with these proven tips on becoming a digital sleuth. When news breaks, you need to be nimble and smart in finding sources, backgrounding people and verifying what's real and what's fake. Learn key sites, apps and social media strategies to quickly build a digital dossier on someone.
11:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Lunch (on your own)
1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.
Powering your journalism with public records
An overview of state and federal public records laws, plus practical advice on what makes a good request and strategies for staying organized.
 2:15 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Break
2:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.
Workshop: Writing the request and overcoming common roadblocks
In this hands-on workshop, you will get comfortable writing the actual request and learn strategies for overcoming some common roadblocks.
3:45 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Wrap up: What IRE can do for you 

11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Room: Forum H                                                    

Coding Session
In the digital age, coding is the next frontier in storytelling. Come learn the basics of coding and take the first steps toward launching your ideas into a digital platform for the world to see.

Instructor: Joshua Bowman, CEO of Digital Rocket

1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Room: Forum H                                                                                                                                                                               

Mobile Storytelling Hands-On Training
An in depth session on using the tools in your hands to visually enhance your reporting with mobile storytelling. Participants should charge their cell phones and mobile devices for this session that explores techniques for capturing the story and producing quality content on the scene.

Presenters: DaraMonifah Cooper, WUVI; Stan Washington, The Voice News Network; Brett Chambers, Instructor, North Carolina Central University

6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Room: Forum C
Town Hall - Trollbusters

Moderators: Kathy Times, Former NABJ National President & Executive Associate Director, Office of Communications, FAMU
Wendell Edwards, Morning Anchor, ABC 33/40 Birmingham

Presenter: Michelle Ferrier, Ph.D., Dean School of Communications, FAMU
Dr. Michelle Ferrier is Dean of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communications at Florida A & M University. She is the founder of, a just-in-time service that helps journalists fight abuse and has advocated on behalf of journalists worldwide at the United Nations, SXSW, the Online News Association and the European Commission.

7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
NABJ Region III Opening Reception
Presented by Mercedes Benz
SATURDAY, April 6, 2019
7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Second Floor of the Forum 
8:30 a.m. – 8:40 a.m.
Room: Forum J
Presented by the Title Sponsor: The Alabama Power Company
8:40 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
Room: Forum J
Opening Ceremony
Opening and Welcome: Ken Lemon, NABJ Region III Director
Chapter Greetings: Steve Crocker, President, Birmingham Association of Black Journalists
NABJ President Sarah Glover
Invocation: Rev. Arthur Price, Jr.
9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.                                                                                                                                            
Plenary: The Census, Gentrification and Demographics
Presented by: The Annie E. Casey Foundation
A look at the challenges in ensuring a complete and accurate count in the 2020 census within the Region III geographic footprint. Our panelists will tackle the federal and state programs at stake, underlying race/ethnicity issues and tools/resources journalists can use to generate stories around the upcoming Census.

Moderator: Rod Carter, Anchor, WFLA-TV and President Tampa NABJ
Panelists: Rebecca Briscoe, U.S. Census Bureau, Houston, Texas
Stephen Woerner Voices of Alabama’s Children
Morning Breakout Sessions

10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Room: Forum G
Newslab Training: Google Tools for News
This session will give you hands on training using Google Tools to research stories, fact-check, find what’s trending, locate and visualize useful datasets and more. You’ll also learn some advanced search techniques and get a look at cutting-edge tools for immersive storytelling, such as 360 photos and video. **Bring your laptop**
**Pre-registration is required**

Instructor: Benet Wilson, Owner/Editor-in-Chief, Aviation Queen, LLC.
10:00 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Room: Forum H
The Lowe Class
**Pre-registration required**
Do you want recruiters to find you? 
This #loweclass session will focus on HOW to let them know WHO you are; WHAT you want; WHY you want it; and WHERE to find it. 
Learn how to craft effective cover letters and resumes, and how to smartly showcase your work and leverage social media to build your audience. It’s all about demonstrating your passion and competencies in journalism and telling your story— in a phenomenal way to impress the people looking to hire you. 
10:00 - 10:45 a.m.
Room: Forum I
Building Capital: Resources, Relationships and Revenue
Successful journalism, independent or otherwise, is about more than making headlines. Long term careers are built on financial planning, development and strategy. This session is designed to help journalists understand how to expand careers in a field of often shrinking salaries and increasing demands, and it will also help you find funding for important projects.

Moderator: Jerry Goodwin, Assistant Professor, Journalism and Mass Communication/Digital Media, Tulsa Community College
Panelists: Annie Moyer, Fifth-Third Bank
Greg Morrison, NABJ Treasurer
Tiki Warmouth, Private Banking Sr. Client Service Associate
Morning Sessions II

11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Room: Forum G
Dating Data: Turning Raw Numbers Into Real Stories
Information is everywhere in the age of big data. But how do we turn the bits and bytes into award winning journalism? Knowing where to find news in only half the battle. The other half is figuring out how to turn statistics into stories. Come create content with several game changers in the data mining space. 

Moderator: Candace Bazemore, President J. Lane Media
Panelists: Delvin Davis - Southern Poverty Law Center
Norman Dotson Jr. Owner and Director of 1020 Magazine, WBRZ News 2 Baton Rouge, LA
11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Room: Forum I
Money Moves: Salary + Strategy = Success
Forget “show me the money”. Teach me how to make the money. This session takes a deep dive into salary negotiation. It’s an art and a craft. Learn how to add extra perks and most importantly more zeroes to your bottom line. 

Moderator: Alexis Mitchell, Digital Content Specialist, WBTV, Charlotte, N.C.
Panelists: Varion Walton, Walton and Associates Agent/ Coach
Anna Calderon, National Director, News Broadcast SAG-AFTRA
12:00 p.m.–1:15 p.m.
Region III Achievers Awards Luncheon
Presented by Title Sponsor: Alabama Power Company

Hosts: Sherri Jackson and Kerry Charles
Presenters: Gayle Hurd, Immediate Past Region III Director , WRAL-TV/WPTF-AM
Keynote Speaker: DeMarco Morgan, National Correspondent/Anchor, CBS News, New York, New York
1:30 p.m.–2:15 p.m.
Room: Forum G
SPJ Training Program with the Facebook Journalism Project
About the SPJ Training Program in partnership with the Facebook Journalism Project:
In 2018, Facebook partnered with SPJ to train a network of professionals to teach Facebook Tools for Journalists at conferences, workshops and newsrooms around the country. Facebook and SPJ are committed to creating opportunities for journalists everywhere to learn about the ways Facebook tools can help create and share incredible works of journalism, as well as engaging the public in the stories about their communities.

Trainer: Lynn Walsh
Afternoon Sessions II

2:30 p.m.– 3:15 p.m.
Room: Forum H
Programming Prejudice: How Algorithms Determine Your Future
Can or will some journalists be replaced by robots? What are the latest developments in artificial intelligence? There are stories everywhere but many have yet to be told. This session will address robots, chatbots, virtual and augmented reality. Confused? Concerned? Committed? Let’s explore the virtual reality together. 

Moderator: Dr. Syb Brown, Belmont University, Professor of Journalism 
Panelists: Larz Roberts, Instructor Dept of Media, Arkansas State University/Red Wolf Radio Executive Producer and Faculty Adviser
Sherrell Dorsey, Founder Of The Plug & BLKTECKCLT
Dr. Stephanie Dean, Assistant Professor of Interactive Media, Middle Tennessee State University
2:30 p.m.– 3:15 p.m.
Room: Forum G
The Red Zone: Three Things Sports Journalist Must Know To Score
Sports departments are shrinking more everyday. Travel budgets are often slashed first. A sports reporter today is asked to do more with less. This panel of experienced journalists talk about the three things every sports journalists must know to survive the changing landscape and emerging journalist must know to land a job in a crowded field.

Moderator: David Squires, Contributor to The Undefeated, Lecturer NC A&T University
Panelists: Roy S. Johnson, Columnist/ Director Content Development at Alabama Media Group
Sekou Smith, Senior Analysts NBA Digital - Turner Broadcasting
Ashley Holder, TV Sports Reporter, Former Sports Director
Donovan Dooley, Contributor to The Undefeated, Former Rhodes Fellow
Afternoon Sessions III

3:30 p.m.– 4:15 p.m.
Room: Forum H
AIDS, Opiods and Mental Health 
It’s a crisis! Whether the topic is AIDS, opioids or mental health, all are wreaking havoc especially in the United States. Addiction, shame and guilt are at the heart of the epidemic. But, which trends are the experts watching? Which efforts and strategies are working? And how can we use this information to serve the audience not just the stories they want, but the stories they need?

Moderator: Tracy Jones - AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Panalists: George Johnson- AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Dr. Nadia Richardson - No More Martyrs
Dr. Karen Cropsey UAB
3:30 p.m.– 4:15 p.m.
Room: Forum G
Millennial Moments 
Creative Ways to Secure Employment

Millennials continue to find new innovative ways to land employment in their respective fields. Some use social media components, and others have taken good old fashioned networking to a whole new level. Listen and take note as they share their success stories.

Moderator: Neima Abdullah, Reporter, 11 Alive, Atlanta, GA
Panelists: Joseph Ferguson, AJC, Winthrop University Graduate
Cierra Johnson, AIB Network, Clark Atlanta University
Grover Murrell, Nashville NABJ President, Assignment Manager, Fox 17 Nashville
Chris Ruffin, Morning News Producer, WBTV News, North Carolina, Stillman College
5:00 p.m.
16th St. Baptist Church
Birmingham, Alabama
Inside History: Private Tour of The 16th Street Baptist Church
7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Forum J
Region III Closing Reception
Presented by The US Virgin Islands



Registration for the NABJ Region III Conference will now be processed onsite from April 5-6 at the Sheraton Hotel.

You will need your NABJ username and password to view discounted member rates.


NABJ Region III Conference Early-Bird
Extended to Feb. 24
By March 31
April 5-6

$40 $50 $70
Student Member

$25 $35 $55

$60 $70 $90
Student Non-Member

 $45  $55  $75
IRE Watchdog Workshop
Friday, April 5, 2019
9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

IRE Watchdog Workshop with Conference Registration

$25 $25 $25

IRE Watchdog Workshop Only

$55 $55 $55

IRE Watchdog Workshop Only - Student

$25   $25 $25

Registration fees will include an additional $3 administrative fee during checkout.

For questions regarding your registration, please contact our or 301-405-0554 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. EDT, Monday – Friday.

Sheraton Hotel
2101 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd.
Birmingham, AL 35203

The discount rate is no longer available.

Please contact the hotel directly at 205-324-5000 to discuss availability and rates


Thank you to our 2019 NABJ Region III Conference Partners











Custom partner opportunities are available. To discuss your options, reach out to Kaylan Somerville, NABJ Development Director, at or 301-405-6986.



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