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Musically speaking at SFJ14 in Nashville

June 24, 2014 Comments off
johnny-cash

“Johnny Cash: The Life” is available for purchase on Amazon

Nashville, the home of country music, also is home to the Johnny Cash Museum. Learn more about the “Man in Black” with Robert Hilburn, author of Johnny Cash: The Life, the featured luncheon speaker at SFJ Nashville 2014.

Hilburn, one of the top music beat writers in the country, was the only journalist at Cash’s famed Folsom Prison concert. His book draws from interviews with Cash and his contemporaries, and, boy, does he have stories.

That’s just one of the musically related highlights of the Nashville bash, Aug. 20-23 at the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University.

– Watch a special performance of “Freedom Sings,” a music lesson on the fragility of the First Amendment, with Nashville musicians and journalists.

– Listen to the stories of music in Nashville from Peter Cooper of The Tennessean. And he’ll share details on the paper’s video project, The Story Behind the Song.

– And let writer Tommy Tomlinson uncover how a three-minute song can teach you about the art of narrative storytelling. Click here for registration and hotel details.

Video x 2 = SFJ14 in Nashville

June 2, 2014 Comments off
Capture

Photo courtesy Grant Wickes

“We need more video!” That’s the battle cry from editors in newsrooms. But where you do you go from there?

At SFJ14 in Nashville, you’ll get instruction and inspiration from two seasoned pros, in two sessions on the opening day of the Society for Features Journalism conference. Val Hoeppner travels around the country teaching journalists how to shoot video. She’ll bring her enthusiasm and the newest tools for you to use. Later, learn how to take those skills to the next level with Josh Meltzer of Western Kentucky University.

Sign up for the conference, Aug. 20-23, at the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University in beautiful Nashville. Click here for registration and hotel details.

Reserve your Room at SFJ14 in Nashville

May 14, 2014 Leave a comment
Photo courtesy Flickr

Photo courtesy Flickr

It’s not too soon to make your plans for this year’s SFJ Conference in Nashville, August 20-23.  

The Embassy Suites at Vanderbilt , our proud host for the 2014 SFJ conference, is ready to accept reservations NOW!   Located in the heart of Nashville at 1811 Broadway St., the Embassy Suites is close to the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University, the site of this year’s conference.

Follow this link to make reservations today. Use the code SFJ to save. Or, call 615-277-4966.  To guarantee the best rate, be sure to book early. Music City awaits … so what are YOU waiting for?

…Next week, we’ll begin revealing our lineup of speakers and sessions.

Editors use their beats to find inspiration for books

October 14, 2013 Leave a comment
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Diane Cowen

By Carlos Frías
2013 SFJ Diversity Fellow

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA — In the 40 minutes it takes Diane Cowen to commute from the Houston Chronicle, she’d considered, conceived and came home ready to celebrate the idea for her first book.

Cowen, the Chronicle’s food and religion writer, burst through the door, heading for her computer, and called out to her husband, “I’m going to write a cookbook!”

His response? “OK. What are we going to have for dinner tonight?”

They went out to dinner.

She came up with the idea for “Sunday Dinners,” a book that examines the Sunday mealtime traditions for famous families of faith such as Joel Osteen and T.D. Jakes, simply by thinking about her beats — something she suggests any reporter can do.

“I thought sarcastically, ‘I guess I could write a cookbook for religious people.’ I literally laughed out loud in my car and then… I thought, ‘That is not a bad idea,’ ” she said during the Society for Features Journalism panel examining how books can spring from the newsroom.

Read more…

Tompkins revs up the story machine at SFJ conference

October 11, 2013 Leave a comment
tompkins

Al Tompkins

By Carlos Frías
2013 SFJ Diversity Fellow

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA — To watch Al Tompkins concoct story ideas is a free association spectacle.

Government shutdown, you say? Tompkins, a Poynter professor and journalist of 35 years, sees FHA loans that aren’t being processed, veterans’ disability checks getting held up, the flu spreading wildly without the CDC open to warn us, border patrols shutting down and food stamps not getting processed.

He can do that with just about any topic, conjuring story ideas simply by asking how a big, public event affects five areas: money, family, safety, health, community.

With that filter, writers and editors can devise local angles to big stories. And not all of them have to focus on malfeasance.

“Part of our job is to investigate wrong-doing. Part of our job is to investigate right-doing,” Tompkins said. “There are people who do good work and we should hold them up when they do. … People are hungry for that.”

The core of reporting, he said, is to forget our stereotypes — that politicians are all crooked, that the elderly are all frail, that “kids today” all know nothing.

“It’s not all like you think,” Tompkins said.

Read more…

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