Highlights from SPJ/LA’s Regional Conference: Photos from Saturday’s Program

During SPJ/LA’s Region 11 Conference, Saturday, April 28 was filled with speakers and panels.

We held nine panels on covering immigration, freelancing, data reporting, covering sexual harassment allegations, reporting on disasters, writing, reporting on homelessness, investigative reporting for broadcast and covering the LGBTQ+ community.

The speakers included USC Professor Robert Hernandez, Stephen Galloway, executive features editor at The Hollywood Reporter, and Harriet Ryan, L.A. Times investigative reporter, who was our closing speaker.

Here are photos that were taken by Clare Calzada throughout the day.

USC Journalism Professor Robert Hernandez gives the opening remarks.

NBC National Correspondent Miguel Almaguer and Marcus Yam, L.A. Times photographer on a panel about covering disasters. Frank Girardot, CEO of Pegasus Communications moderated.

Fox 11 anchor Elex Michaelson and ABC 7 reporter Veronica Miracle talking about covering disasters.

Steve Padilla, foreign-national enterprise editor for the L.A. Times, talks about writing.

Eileen Truax, freelance journalist, Daniela Gerson, CSUN journalism assistant professor, and Leslie Berestein-Rojas, KPPC reporter, speaking at a panel on covering immigration.

Leslie Berestien-Rojas, KPPC reporter and L.A. Times reporter Cindy Carcamo on a panel about covering immigration.

Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil and Michael Fleeman, both freelance journalists on a Freelancing 101 panel. SPJ/LA board member Roberta Wax moderates.

Mekahlo Medina, NBC4 reporter, talking to an attendee after the panel on covering the LGBTQ+ community.

L.A. Times reporter Tre’vell Anderson moderates the panel on covering the LGBTQ+ community.

Marqueeda LaStar speaking to an attendee at a panel on covering the LGBTQ+ community.

KPPC Investigative Reporter Annie Gilbertson on a panel about investigative reporting for broadcast.

Carla Hall, L.A. Times editorial writer, on a panel talking about covering homelessness.

Union Rescue Mission board chairman David Dow, Tom Waldman, director of communications Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and Carol Sobel, private attorney speaking about covering homelessness.

Harriet Ryan, L.A. Times investigative reporter, gives the closing remarks.

Highlights from SPJ/LA’s Regional Conference: Tips on Data Reporting

L.A. Times senior writer Doug Smith. (credit: Clare Calzada)

One of the panels offered at SPJ/LA’s Region 11 Conference at the Universal City Hilton was a session on data reporting.

The panelists were Los Angeles Times senior writer Doug Smith, L.A Times digital editor Ryan Menezes, and KPPC’s data reporter Aaron Mendelson.

Smith walked the audience through how he used data to report on the city’s plan to build housing for those experiencing homelessness in city-owned parking lots.

Here is Smith’s presentation.

Menezes talked about how he uses data science to do data reporting. He talked about projects on crowded homes, campaign donations to gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom from the cannabis industry, the city’s controversial deferred retirement option program.

Here is a link to Menezes’ presentation.

KPCC data reporter Aaron Mendelson and L.A. Times digital editor Ryan Menezes.

Mendelson spoke about his investigation into behested payments made to Mayor Eric Garcetti from “individuals, businesses and foundations, some of which have won sizable contracts and crucial approvals from the city in recent years.”  He also gave six tips when using data.

Here is a link to Mendelson’s presentation.

Highlights from SPJ/LA’s Regional Conference: Photos from Friday night’s reception with Linda Deutsch

SPJ/LA kicked off its Region 11 Conference with a reception Friday evening featuring retired  Associated Press reporter Linda Deutsch.

Deutsch “held court” and spoke about her storied career. She talked about covering the March on Washington in 1963 early in her career to covering some of the biggest trials of the century, including the Manson murders, the O.J. Simpson and Menendez brothers trials and Michael Jackson’s child abuse trials.

Below are photos taken by Clare Calzada at the event.

Highlights from SPJ/LA’s Regional Conference: Tips on Covering the LGBTQ+ Community

Tre’vell Anderson, film reporter for the Los Angeles Times (left), Marqueeda LaStar, community manager of Black Girl Nerds and Zach Stafford, editor-in-chief of INTO.

One panel offered to attendees at SPJ/LA’s Region 11 Conference at the Universal City Hilton was how to cover the LGBTQ+ community.

The panelists offered their insight on covering the diverse LGBTQ+ community. Panelists discussed how to locate worthwhile sources and how to find story ideas that will enlighten audiences.

Tre’vell Anderson, a film reporter with the Los Angeles Times, moderated the panel.

The panelists were: Nick Adams, GLAAD’s director of trans media and representation, Marqueeda LaStar, community manager of Black Girl Nerds, Mekahlo Medina, an NBC4 reporter and Zach Stafford, editor-in-chief of INTO, a new digital LGBTQ magazine.

Tre’vell Anderson, film reporter for the Los Angeles Times (left), Marqueeda LaStar, community manager of Black Girl Nerds and Zach Stafford, editor-in-chief of INTO.

Anderson compiled Do’s and Don’ts when covering the LGBTQ+ community, which is posted below. He also provided a link to the L.A. Time’s style guide when covering the LGBTQ+ community.

Created by Tre’vell Anderson, of the Los Angeles Times. (Twitter @TrevellAnderson).

 

Highlights from SPJ/LA’s Regional Conference: Tip Sheet on Freelancing 101

Freelance business writer Karen Robes Meeks (left) and Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil, Orange County-based freelance journalist.

One of the nine panels that SPJ/LA made available to Regional Conference attendees was a discussion about freelancing.

SPJ/LA board member and freelance writer Roberta Wax moderated the panel. She was joined by former board member and freelance journalist Michael Fleeman, Karen Robes Meeks, a freelance business writer, and Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil, an Orange County-based freelance journalist.

Freelance journalist and author Michael Fleeman.

 

The session covered pitch-perfect queries to negotiating payment. The experts also gave tips about finding markets, contract quandries, pitching story ideas, writing articles or books and more.

Below is a tip sheet from Wax on query writing tips:

Query Writing Tips

SPJ/LA board member and freelance journalist Roberta Wax.

1. Know your markets. Read several back issues (or recent posts) to understand what editors need and want, as well as writing style, tone, perspective, types of articles used, recurring themes, etc. Check Writer’s Market and/or a publication’s writer’s guidelines to see what editors want and how they want you to query. Note regular columns and sections, as well as recurring themes/topics.

2. Understand that an idea is not necessarily a story. Make sure your idea is not too broad and is the right fit for that particular publication. Be specific. No: I want to write about adoption. Yes: I want to write a 1,200-word story about how to adopt from a child from Romania.

3. Query the right person and always check the spelling of names. Editors change frequently, so double check. Nothing will get you rejected faster than misspelling the editor’s name or sending to a long defunct email box.

4. Keep your query short, focused, and business-like. Start with a great opening paragraph that will hook the editor (as your lead would hook a reader). State your idea, who you might interview, the story focus, etc. Make it clear that you are asking for an assignment: “I would like to write a 1,200-word story for L.A. Parent Magazine.”

5. If you are sending clips, paste the clip in the body of your email, rather than as an attachment. Many editors will not open attachments.

6. Make sure your name and contact information (email and phone number) are on the query and easy to find.

7. Check carefully for grammar and spelling errors. I mean it. Check again. Print out a hard copy, rather than just reading it on the computer.

8. Almost always send a query rather than a complete manuscript. Exceptions: humor,
editorials/opinion pieces, shorts and fillers, personal essay, reprints of a previously published
work.

9. Don’t say, “I know your readers would love this…” Editors know what their readers want.

10. Include a short paragraph about your qualifications, any expertise, where you’ve been published before. Short!

REMEMBER: THE QUERY IS YOUR SALES TOOL. Make it the best you can!