Conference schedule & event site map

SPJ Western Regional Conference (Region 11), April 29-30, 2016, Heard Museum, Phoenix. NOTE: Panel times and locations are correct as of April 26. Check this page for updates as the conference nears. Event hashtag is #spjwest. Also: Here’s a map of the Heard Museum campus with conference locations highlighted. NOTE: South is at the top; north at the bottom.

Friday, April 29

4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Region 11 Chapters Meeting with Matt Hall, SPJ Region 11 Director, U-T San Diego. Representatives of Region 11 professional and student chapters gather to discuss SPJ regional and national issues. Location: Macayo’s Mexican Restaurant, 4001 N. Central, Phoenix (light rail stop: Central Avenue/Indian School Road)

5:30 to 9 p.m.

Opening Night Reception. Arriba! Kick off the Region 11 conference and meet members near and far at one of Arizona’s oldest and largest Mexican food franchises. SPJ’s Valley of the Sun chapter is providing free appetizers and one drink ticket redeemable for beer, wine or margarita or one non-alcoholic drink. Location: Macayo’s Mexican Restaurant, 4001 N. Central Ave., Phoenix (light rail stop: Central Avenue/Indian School Road.)

Saturday, April 30


NOTE: SOUTH is at the TOP of this map and NORTH is at the bottom of this map. Heard Museum campus, 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix.

8 to 8:45 a.m.

Check-in and Continental Breakfast. Monte Vista Room, Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave.; Nearest light rail stop: Central Avenue/Encanto Boulevard.

  • Silent auction begins: Gift cards/certificates worth between $50 and $100 at several Arizona restaurants; a gift basket of fresh-baked gluten-free goodies from Jewel’s Bakery & Cafe to be picked up Saturday morning, April 30; a coffee table photo book of the Grand Canyon from Arizona Highways magazine; a hostess pack of four gourmet peanut butters from Peanut Butter Americano; an Italian gift basket with a $25 gift card good at Maggiano’s Little Italy (locations in Los Angeles and Las Vegas) with pasta, sauce, etc.; and two tickets to Arizona Theatre Company’s production of “The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Leo Tolstoy: Discord,” May 5-29 at the Herberger Center in downtown Phoenix. Auction ends at conclusion of lunch. Bring your money with you! Cash or checks preferred! (ATM at museum. See map above.)

9 to 10 a.m.

Keynote: One-on-one. The self-described “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, is interviewed by The Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini. Location: Monte Vista Room

10:15 to 11:10 a.m.

Panel 1a: Ethics Checkup. The practice of journalism has changed rapidly over the last five years. Is the concept of ethics changing as well? One-source stories. Free stuff. Interviewing friends/story sourcing. Privacy. Checkbook journalism/pay-to-play (paying sources to work exclusively with you). And more. Two veteran investigative reporters talk about the ethical landscape facing today’s journalists, and the ethical checklists they use, Moderator: Mark Scarp, former SPJ Region 11 director and adjunct professor of journalism ethics, Arizona State University Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Speakers: Award-winning reporters Craig Harris, Dennis Wagner of The Arizona Republic Location: Dorrance Classroom

Panel 1b: Cool, Clear, Water…. Reporting on the Western drought? Need direction to “divine” the real story? Our panel discusses the West’s water future and what journalists have to know to cover it accurately and thoroughly. Moderator: Robert Leger, former opinions editor, The Arizona Republic; president of SPJ’s Sigma Delta Chi Foundation and former national SPJ president. Speakers: Lisa Atkins, board chair, Central Arizona Project and Arizona State Land Commissioner; Tom Buschatzke, director, Arizona Department of Water Resources; Bruce Hallin, director of water supply, Salt River Project.  Location: Dorrance Conference Room

11:20 to 12:15 p.m.

Panel 2a: (Re) Branding Yourself. Description: A byline isn’t enough any more, but what makes someone a real, effective, digital-age journalist? We give you the tips on how to stand out and make yourself more marketable. Speaker:  Robin Phillips, senior content developer at Castelazo Content, a content marketing firm that specializes in technology. Location: Dorrance Conference Room

Panel 2b: Kick Up Your Storytelling. Mike Reilley, creator of the Journalist’s Toolbox, will share cool apps and tools that will help you create 360-degree photo bubbles, audio slideshows, build multi-layer graphics and create data visualizations. Apps we’ll use: Bubbli, Over, Storyline and JamSnap. Data visualization: Datawrapper and Venngage. Speaker: Mike Reilley, director of digital production at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. Location: Dorrance Classroom

Panel 2c: Student Resume Review/Mock Interviews. (Resumes will be collected before conference.) Newsroom leaders and supervisors in print, broadcast and online journalism will review conference-attendee journalism-student resumes and conduct mock interviews. Mentors include: Aric Johnson, senior recruiter, talent acquisition, Gannett; Elizabeth Mays, journalist, former certified professional resume writer; Josh Hoffner, Phoenix bureau chief, The Associated Press; Anna Johnson, interim West editor, The Associated Press; Ilana Lowery, editor, Phoenix Business Journal; Mark Casey, news director, KPNX-TV (Channel 12-NBC), Phoenix; Joe Hengemuehler, news director, KOLD-TV (Channel 13-CBS), Tucson. Location: Pritzlaff Courtyard

12:20 to 2:15 p.m.

Region 11 Mark of Excellence Luncheon. SPJ honors the best collegiate journalism in 2015 in Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada. First place winners have their work go on to be considered against that of first-place winners from SPJ’s other 11 regions for national honors this fall.  Location: Monte Vista Room

  • Silent auction ends at conclusion of lunch (see description of auction items under 9 a.m. above). Bring your money with you! Cash or checks preferred!

2:30 to 3:25 p.m.

Panel 3a: Covering the Race Beat. As the U.S. grows more diverse, so will reporting. In this panel, you’ll hear from journalists of color about how to make your reporting better reflect the growing communities of color, ethnicities and religions.Moderator: Debra Utacia Krol, freelance journalist. Speakers: Jeanne Eder, emeritus professor of history, University of Alaska, Anchorage; Felicia Fonseca, reporter, The Associated Press. Location: Dorrance Classroom

2:30 to 3:25 p.m.

Panel 3b: FOI Power Tools. Virtual hammers and saws for acquiring and using government data Learn about helpful online tools to make your job easier in acquiring and using government data and records. You’ll learn about:

  •             Advanced Google to find files on agency websites
  •             State record law app and online guide (Open Government Guide)
  •             Online records request letter generators (SPLC, RCFP)
  •             FOIA request trackers (Muckrock,
  •             Virtual helpers via online or phone (SPLC, RCFP hotline)
  •             Online form letters to appeal denials (RCFP)
  •             Money to fight denials (online applications)
  •             Google Fusion Tables – putting data online, charting, mapping.

Speaker: Dave Cuillier, director, University of Arizona School of Journalism, former national SPJ president. This workshop generously supported by a grant from the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona Inc. Location: Dorrance Conference Room

3:35 to 4:30 p.m.

Panel 4a: What You Can Learn from the Las Vegas Review Journal Controversy. The newspaper’s staff stood up to internal pressures and aggressively pursued the biggest story in Las Vegas: Who had bought the newspaper? Speaker:  Deputy editor Jim Wright, in a conversation with SPJ President-elect Lynn Walsh, investigative journalist, KNSD-TV, San Diego. Location: Monte Vista Room

Panel 4b: Freelancers’ Survival Hack.  Healthcare, taxes, networking and other unsexy things about being a freelancer — demystified. Moderator: Carrie Jung, reporter, KJZZ-FM, Phoenix, and freelance radio journalist. Panelists: Veteran freelancers Jimmy Magahern and Yael Grauer. Location: Dorrance Conference Room

5 p.m.

Post-Conference Gathering. Join us at a location well-known in the history of Phoenix and of American journalism: We’ll gather to debrief and decompress at the Sky Deck bar atop the Clarendon Hotel and Spa. Chat with Bob Richardson, Phoenix-based field producer for NBC News, who has spent more than five decades in journalism. In this hotel’s parking lot 40 years ago a bomb exploded under the car of Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles; the question of who is responsible for his death is debated to this day. We will raise a toast to his memory. 401 W. Clarendon (short three-block walk west of light rail stop: Central Avenue/Indian School Road).

End of conference