Writers and Designers Workshop 2007

For the past several years, AAN has hosted a workshop designed for alternative newsweekly writers and reporters. Instructors address alternative approaches to news and arts coverage and provide training in investigative and narrative techniques. This year's program will add seminars for designers and production staff. The workshop is held at the Medill School of Journalism on the Northwestern University campus in Evanston, Ill. The 2007 workshop will take place Aug. 10-11 in conjunction with the final weekend of the Academy for Alternative Journalism. Registration
Registering online is quick, easy and provides an immediate confirmation. If you prefer to use a paper registration form, click here to download a PDF of the form. Hotel
The Hotel Orrington will provide accommodations for a special rate of $119 per night. Call (888) 677-4648 for reservations and ask for the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies rate. The cut-off date to make reservations at the Hotel Orrington is July 27. Program
Friday, August 10
3 to 3:30 pm
Welcome and Introduction

Design & Production
3:30 to 4:45 pm
Doing a Lot with a Little
Inspiration, creativity, recycling, stealing, arm-twisting, and other methods of making publications. Luke Hayman spent over two and a half years as Design Director of New York magazine -- a punishing weekly with an equally punishing editor. Stories from the front line...
Speaker: Luke Hayman, Pentagram

4:45 to 6 pm
Art Directors & Designers Interactive Session
Explore day-to-day design challenges and solutions, with a focus on cover design.
Moderator: Joe Mac Leod, Baltimore City Paper

Writing & Reporting
3:30 to 6 pm
Finding the Heart of Your Stories
In this hands-on workshop, you'll learn a new process for reporting and writing that transforms storytelling from a search for information into a quest for meaning. And it only takes five questions and 95 seconds to put you on the path to irresistible writing.
Speaker: Chip Scanlan

Saturday, August 11
Design & Production
9:30 to 10:45 am
Design for Designers
How to use the tools of design to tell stories, not decorate pages. All participants should bring two examples of their best work, as well as two that could have, umm, been done better.
Presenter: Robb Montgomery, Visual Editors

11 am to 12:15 pm
Great Storytelling in Visual Formats (both tracks)
Writers, editors, artists and designers will learn how to identify and develop the visual components of stories so people will actually read them in print, as well as how to take stories to new levels online. Learn how to innovate and collaborate on deadline, and develop new ways to provide an engaging reader experience.
Presenter: Robb Montgomery, Visual Editors

12:30 to 2 pm
Lunch, Critiques and Mentoring Sessions

2:15 to 4:30 pm
Graphic Secrets for Creative Pros: Timesaving Techniques
In this session you'll glean many time-saving tips for creating really tough selections and learn fast ways to create today's most popular photo effects like silhouettes, partial color, duo-tones, gorgeous grayscale conversions, creative photo frames, edges, and more. We'll also take a look at the world's most popular resource for stock imagery, iStockphoto.com, and how using imagery can help you to more effectively communicate your message. Last but not least, you'll learn the four secrets of great graphic design that will ensure your layouts always look their very best.
Presenter: Lesa Snider King, iStockphoto.com

4:45 to 6 pm
Creating Great Ads for Print & Web
This session will cover the state of Web advertising from simple and easy to make, to the outrageously complicated and expensive, and help define realistic expectations for alt newspaper websites. We will look at ads that are -- or seem -- successful online, and show how AAN designers can tap into their skills to craft Web ads that complement the print message -- and vice versa. The session will include voluntary critiques -- and Q& A.
Presenter: Ellen Meany, Isthmus

Writing & Reporting
9:30 to 10:45 (concurrent)
WORKSHOP: Journalism from a Progressive Perspective
Did you get into journalism to inform people about pressing social and economic problems with an eye toward progressive reform? Do you think the journalistic standard of "objectivity" too often means willful ignorance? Are you more concerned with saving the world than just telling good stories? If so, then come discuss the philosophy and tactics of the activist style of journalism that we practice at the San Francisco Bay Guardian. We'll talk about how to write and report in a way that seeks to influence the political agenda without crossing the line into advocacy or relaxing the important standards of professionalism, independence, fairness, and accuracy. Come learn a traditional approach to the craft that the modern corporate media would rather we just forget.
Moderator: Steven Jones, San Francisco Bay Guardian

WORKSHOP: Report for the Web, Write for Print
In this discussion we'll explore how posting daily news alerts, blogging and input from citizen journalists can be essential elements of the modern reporters' arsenal, and how they can lead to breaking web stories, exclusive and telling interviews, in-depth investigative stories -- and even indictments. Also: Tips for writing for the web.
Moderator: Donna Ladd, Jackson Free Press

11 am to 12:15 pm
Great Storytelling in Visual Formats (both tracks)
Writers, editors, artists and designers will learn how to identify and develop the visual components of stories so people will actually read them in print, as well as how to take stories to new levels online. Learn how to innovate and collaborate on deadline, and develop new ways to provide an engaging reader experience.
Presenter: Robb Montgomery, Visual Editors

12:30 to 2:45 pm
Lunch/Writing Critiques

3 to 4:30 pm (concurrent)
WORKSHOP: Help! My Story Is Stuck
The moderators will help you unstick a story -- whether you've hit a roadblock in reporting, are having trouble with the structure, or simply can't find the story within a really interesting topic. Bring examples of your stickiest situations. Moderators: Jimmy Boegle, Tucson Weekly and Patricia Calhoun, Westword

WORKSHOP: Writing About the Arts Like It Matters
We'll discuss how to craft better long-form, narrative and short-feature arts writing, and to pen blistering and insightful critical reviews. Plus, how to crank out listings/previews without you and your readers bursting into tears of boredom.
Moderator: Michael Tisserand

4:45 to 6 pm
The Power of Story
The opportunities may be diminishing, the profession may seem uncertain, but what good reporters do has a long and honorable history, and will always have an audience. No matter what comes next, readers will always respond to a great story well told.
Presenter: Alex Kotlowitz, Medill School of Journalism

7 to 9 pm
Group Dinner for all attendees!

Please note: schedule is subject to change.

Speakers Jimmy Boegle is the editor of Tucson Weekly. He previously was the news editor at Las Vegas CityLife, and before that, he was the editor of the Reno News & Review. Since moving to Tucson, he has grown to deeply appreciate the saguaro cactus, but in a completely platonic way.

Patricia Calhoun is the editor of Westword in Denver, Colorado. She has served on the AAN board of directors in a number of different capacities, including president. At present, she is serving as the association's editorial committee chair.

Luke Hayman has been a partner at Pentagram in New York since December 2006. In 2004 Luke joined New York magazine as design director. His tenure at New York culminated in 2006 with a prestigious National Magazine Award for excellence in magazine design from the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME). Currently Luke serves on the board of the Society of Publication Designers and is the editor of its newsletter, Grids. Luke's work has been consistently recognized by the American Society of Magazine Editors, the Society of Publication Designers, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, Folio magazine and the Art Directors Club.

Mike Kalyan is the production director for Washington City Paper, where he is responsible for researching and integrating new technologies into the production workflow. When not at the paper, he does workflow consulting, a la InDesign/InCopy, for other publications (newspapers and magazines), is a marketing manager for an online jobs site, a photographer, and freelance graphic designer... thereby proving that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can come in handy.

Lesa Snider King As the founder of the free creative tutorial web site, GraphicReporter.com, and chief evangelist for iStockphoto.com, Lesa is on a mission to teach the world to create better graphics. She is the coauthor of the forthcoming "Photoshop CS3: The Missing Manual"; (Reilly Media, October 2007) and writes for the National Association of Photoshop Professionals, Macworld Magazine, Layers Magazine, Elements Techniques, CreativePro.com, among others. Lesa is a regular instructor at Photoshop World and Macworld Expo, plus you can catch her Graphics Tip of the Week live each Wednesday night on YourMacLifeShow.com. Lesa is also New York Times technology columnist David Pogue's assistant, and serves as the production editor/tech editor/graphics goddess on several of his Missing Manual books. When she's not parked in front of her beloved Macintosh, you'll find her out riding her motorcycle with husband, Shawn King. They live in Westport, CT with two very spoiled cats.

Donna Ladd is co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Jackson Free Press, the state's only alternative newspaper. She has written for many magazines, websites and alternative newspapers, including The Village Voice. She is on AAN's board of directors.

Ellen Meany is the creative director of Isthmus in Madison, Wisc. Ellen is the first to serve as AAN's design and production chair.

Chip Scanlan is a senior faculty member at the Poynter Institute. He speaks to dozens of journalism groups each year, teaching reporting, interviewing, coaching skills, nonfiction narrative, personal essays and deadline storytelling. He also produces a writing advice column for Poynter Online. Scanlan is a former reporter (Providence Journal, St. Petersburg Times, Knight Ridder Washington Bureau), and the author of "Reporting and Writing: Basics for the 21st Century" (Oxford University Press). He also was the co-editor of "America's Best Newspaper Writing" (Bedford/St. Martin's), and he edited "Best Newspaper Writing" 1994-2000. With his wife, Katharine Fair, he wrote "The Holly Wreath Man," and "Mystery @ Elf Camp," serial newspaper novels that were syndicated in 60 newspapers and published in hardcover in 2005.

Michael Tisserand served as editor of New Orleans' Gambit Weekly for seven years, where he wrote about beauty pageants, blackjack, circumcision and Don Rickles. He moved to Evanston, Ill., following Hurricane Katrina and has covered the flood and its aftermath for altweeklies.com, The Nation and The National Catholic Reporter, and has written about the Chicago evacuee experience for The Chicago Reader and WBEZ-FM. He is the author of "The Kingdom of Zydeco" and the "Sugarcane Academy," which was published last month by Harcourt.