Alternative Journalism Workshop 2011

AANte Up!

Writers, designers and photographers: join your high-rolling colleagues for a weekend in Las Vegas. Mark your calendar for Nov. 4 and 5 for workshops, networking and ace-high good times.

1 to 4 PM
Writers: Covering the Green Economy
From innovative products to entire new businesses dedicated to environmental initiatives to the billions in government money earmarked for renewable energy, there’s a mega-cash flow behind the push for a better world. This workshop will introduce journalists to the business behind the green economy, will give participants a solid overview of hot trends in sustainability and also provide tangible methods for tracking the business dealings and money behind sustainability efforts. Veteran journalists and sustainability experts will also help participants learn how to spot greenwashing and identify topics relevant to their coverage areas.
Presenters: George Basile and Russ Choma
This session is sponsored by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism.

Designers: Data, Context, and Info-Porn
Telling Better Stories Though Visual Information
In this workshop, we'll explore the different ways visual design is used—and misused—to communicate, obfuscate, delight and distract. We'll look at the design process behind Deeplocal's work in Infographics and Data Visualization, dissect a range of other work from Edward Tufte to Girl Scout Cookies, and also have some fun creating Infographics on the fly.
Presenter: Eamae Mirkin, Deeplocal

4 to 4:30 PM
Writers: First Amendment Rundown

Presenter: Marc Randazza, First Amendment attorney and editor of The Legal Satyricon

Designers: Adobe CS Tips and Tricks Roundtable
Bring your laptops and show off your best Adobe Creative Suite tips and tricks to your fellow designers.

4:30 to 5:30 PM
Joint Session: Diversity Best Practices

In recent months, AAN’s Diversity Committee has put together a list of “best practices,” diversity-wise, for covering our communities--and before the document is finalized, we want your input. Bring questions, stories of successes and failures, and anything else you desire to this open, frank discussion.
Presented by members of AAN’s Diversity Committee

5:30 to 7 PM

8:30 to 9 AM
Coffee and pastries

9 to 10:30 AM
Joint Session: Preparing for the News Industry of the Future

The times are certainly changing and we can no longer ignore the elephant in the room: the Web is here to stay and it's causing a tremendous impacting our relationship with news. Together we'll explore qualitative research on the newspaper industry and take on the challenge to change the familiar format we have known since the 16th century. Through a facilitated design thinking session, Designers, Journalists and Photographers will be able to come together to foresee change and how to best prepare for it. Come open to the idea of leaving this session with a different perspective on doing your work.
Presenter: Lil Tydings

10:45 AM to 12 PM
Joint Session: How to be a Better Spot News Journalist or Designer

Mobile technology and social media are essential reporting tools. How can you best use them in the office and in the field? How can you make blogs and Twitter work for you, instead of the reverse?
Presenters: Rachael Daigle, Boise Weekly and Kendra Clune, Willamette Week

12 to 12:30 PM
Joint Session: How production, design and edit can best work together to make stories sing.

Presenter: Sarah Feldberg, Las Vegas Weekly

12:30 to 1:15 PM

1:30 to 3 PM
Story Critiques

Attendees may submit stories (published or not) prior to the conference for critique by AAN editorial committee members.

Designers: Finding your Mojo with Hardware you Already Own.
Tips and tricks on how to use cheap flip-cams, iPhones to get top-notch video, audio and stills.
Presenter: Yvonne Leow

3:15 to 4:15 PM
Writers: The Prison Beat: Busting Stories Out of Lockdown

Covering the corrections industry in your state involves more than riots or gang killings. It's stories about solitary confinement and mental health, the profit margins of private prison operators, labor disputes and environmental hazards, corrupt halfway house operators and life on death row. Westword writer Alan Prendergast will talk about how to develop stories and sources dealing with county, state and federal lockups, coping with access issues, investigative approaches that can yield stories in any jurisdiction, and how to sort out crazy inmate tips that lead to worthwhile reporting from crazy inmate tips that are just...crazy. Participants are asked to read Alan’s story on prison rape, along with a couple of his blog posts, before the session:
Raped and Extorted by a Prison Gang
Supermax showdown: Don't confuse us with facts
State yanks parole for paralyzed thief after cops complain
Presenters: Patricia Calhoun and Alan Prendergast

Designers: Surface Editing
The qualities of good print headlines/pullquotes/captions, etc., and the differences in print and web headline writing, tagging, etc. will be discussed
Presenter: Ellen Meany, Isthmus

4:30 to 5:30 PM
Joint Session: Competitive Story Generating

In this session, we’ll divide into groups, assign topics, and challenge you to come up with gripping, usable story ideas. The group that generates the most ideas wins.

Dinner on your own

George Basile is a senior sustainability scientist at the Global Institute of Sustainability and an associate professor at Arizona State University's School of Sustainability, the first of its kind in the nation. He leads a multi-disciplinary team of professionals at ASU's Decision Theater, which is focused on sustainability and public policy and is an internationally recognized creative thinker and practitioner in the field of sustainability. Basile started out on a traditional academic career path, with a B.S. in Physics from University of California-Irvine followed by a Ph.D. in Biophysics from University of California-Berkeley and a post-doc at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. He has held teaching positions at Berkeley and Stanford, and helped develop Green MBA programs in the United States and Sweden. He serves on the boards of nonprofit organizations and new ventures, and advises Fortune 500 clients on sustainable business practices and integrated operational and marketing strategies. He served as the R&D head of The Natural Step, an accelerator of global sustainability, and co-founded Thrive Unlimited.

Patricia Calhoun has been the editor of Westword since she started the paper in 1977. Her columns have been awarded the Golden Quill, the Unity Award and the national Women in Communications prize. Her career highlights including serving as the president of AAN, interviewing President Bill Clinton (in flip flops!), and playing an actual reporter in John Sayles's movie Silver City.

Russ Choma is a Washington-based investigative reporter who focuses on government transparency and accountability. He has written about green energy for a number of outlets including Investigative Reporting Workshop and EnergyBiz Magazine. His series, "Blown Away: Tracking stimulus grants for renewable energy" found that more than 80 percent of the first $1 billion in grants to wind-energy companies went to foreign firms, and many renewable energy projects that received stimulus cash were built well before President Obama was even inaugurated. Choma is the investigative reporting fellow for Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC).

Kendra Clune is the production manager and digital director at Willamette Week in Portland, Oregon. She likes spreadsheets, facts and Mexican Coca-Cola.

Rachael Daigle is the editor of Boise Weekly. She is a member of AAN's Diversity and Editorial Committees.

Sarah Feldberg is the editor of Las Vegas Weekly.

Yvonne Leow (@YvonneReports) is a multimedia journalist with a passion for visual storytelling. She is currently the west regional video producer at The Associated Press where she helps coordinate video coverage across 13 states. She has also worked for organizations, such as ABC, NBC, Shanghai Daily and the Seattle Times. She is fascinated with the intersection of digital media and storytelling, and is excited for the future of online video.

Ellen Meany is creative director of Isthmus in Madison, Wisconsin. She serves as the treasurer of the AAN Board of Directors.

Eamae Mirkin is a physical interaction designer at Deeplocal. On a daily basis, he works with people, computers, phones, and robots, helping them all to understand and communicate with each other. Eamae has a BFA in Industrial Design from Carnegie Mellon. He worked as an interaction design intern at Apple Computer and at Johnson Controls prior to joining Deeplocal.

Alan Prendergast has been a staff writer for Westword since 1995. He is the author of a book about the Richard Jahnke child abuse and parricide case, The Poison Tree, and has also written for Rolling Stone, Outside, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Men’s Journal, and other regional and national publications. He served as consultant and principal reporter for a CBS News one-hour documentary about the Columbine shootings that aired on Sixty Minutes. His work on criminal justice and prison issues has won several national awards, including AAN awards for Feature Writing, Short Form News and Long Form News (twice), and has been widely anthologized, including selections in The Best American Crime Reporting 2008 and The Best American Sports Writing 2009. Paul Wright, editor of Prison Legal News, has called Prendergast "the best prison writer in America who's never done time."

Lil Tydings is currently identifying other ways for users to consume news that will allow the industry to be self sustained in the short and long term. She has worked with publications abroad and in the US, such as Washington Post and Newsweek. Lil currently works as a multidisciplinary designer, helping transform the experience of education. Lil studied Design in Brazil, a country that's known for beautiful News Design, and has taught Web Design and Development at the college level in Maryland.

Please note: session descriptions are subject to change.

AAN members

Early rate: $75 if you register by Oct. 14
Regular rate: $100 if you register after Oct. 14
But, wait, we have a bonus for AAN member publications: pay for two and you get the third free. Pay for three and the fifth registration is free! Such. A. Deal.

Early rate: $150 if you register by Oct. 14
Regular rate: $175 if you register after Oct. 14
Click here to register.

Tuscany Suites
255 East Flamingo Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89169
(702) 893-8933

AAN has a block of rooms for workshop attendees at the Tuscany Suites. The group rates are $45 for Thursday night, Nov. 3 and $85 for Friday and Saturday nights. Group rates are for single or double occupancy; additional person charges apply for triple or quad. The cut-off date to make reservations at our group rate is Oct. 10.

You may make your reservations online by clicking on Group Reservations. Use group code 12S0AU. You may also call the Tuscany's reservations department at (877) 887-2261 and request the Association of Alternative Newsmedia group rate. Each individual is required to provide a credit card for first night's room and tax deposit, which will be charged in order to guarantee accomodations. The hotel's cancellation policy for individual reservations is 72 hours prior to scheduled arrival. Additionally, a credit card or cash deposit will be required at check-in to guarantee incidental charges.