course descriptions

Al tompkins

keynote speaker

senior faculty member

the poynter institute, tampa, fl

Sidney tompkins

psychotherapist, minister

Fighting TRUTH Decay with Regular Mental Flossing

Critical thinking is the single most important skill that a journalist must develop.  Without that, it does not matter how pretty your pictures are and it does not matter if you write beautiful prose.

In this session I will show you how to ask four key questions that will help you get to the truth of whatever you cover.

You will learn to make sense of studies, political claims and think through tough ethics calls.  You will learn how to fight the dreaded “fake news” label and see why there REALLY is such a thing as “fake” news that you have to inoculate yourself against.

We will use real examples, not pie-in-the-sky imaginary scenarios.  Come ready to participate in the discussion.

How to Be a Social Media Ninja

Your station wants to you to be all over social media. Let me show you how to be effective and efficient on social media while not letting it suck the life out of your TV reporting.

I will show you what video works best on social, why you must caption everything you post on social media and I will give you tools to get the work done beautifully and fast.

You will learn what a “win” looks like on social media and what is a waste to time.

How Journalists Can Learn to Live With Trauma

Some studies say that between 80-100% of journalists have been exposed to a work-related traumatic event. You don’t just cover mass casualties, you cover fires, murders, storms and car crashes. You see the trauma through your lens, on your monitors while you edit and in the stories you present on-air.


Sidney Tompkins, a psychotherapist married to a journalist for two and a half decades and the mother of a journalist, will help you recognize the symptoms of traumatic stress and teach you how to live with it. Undiagnosed and untreated traumatic stress is associated with PTSD, alcoholism, divorce and other family relationship issues and depression.   If you don’t master your stress, all of the rest of what we will teach you in our workshop won’t matter. 

Joe Fryer

network correspondent

nbc, los angeles, ca

Network Life: Frequent Flier, Infrequent Sleeper

Joe spent 14 years in local news, reporting for three different NPPA stations of the year, before jumping to the network level.  He wondered if he’d still be able to tell great stories at the national level.  He quickly learned that he could.  Teaming up with great photographers, audio engineers and producers, Joe has found a way to inject his storytelling style into some of the country’s biggest news stories.


In this session, Joe will give you a glimpse at his crazy life as a network correspondent.  What are the biggest challenges?  The biggest opportunities?  How does it compare to local news?   And what does it take to make it to the network?

Thinking Big And Finding Your Voice

It's easy to get caught up in daily deadlines and making slot and lose sight of the larger possibilities as journalists and storytellers. Matt will focus on how to develop your voice, become a leader, and think big ... on and off the air.

Matt Pearl

Chief Of Storytelling

And Development

WXIA, Atlanta, GA

matt mrozinski

storyteller founder

director of photojournalism

king, seattle, wa

forrest sanders

solo journalist

wsmv, nashville, tn

The Building Blocks of Storytelling 

With over a dozen years working in some of the most successful local newsrooms in America, I’ve learned that success can boil down to fundamentals. At most workshops it can feel like a dog and pony show, we often get into the weeds showing unrealistic works of art that many professionals do not have the opportunity to pursue. In our course, we will learn to reach for small victories by mastering your craft in fragments. When you master the fundamentals, all of your creative efforts can infuse a higher level of thought. We are going to reevaluate your storytelling foundation and learn that you’re never too good or too experienced to get back to basics.

Storytelling: People and Places

News can feel cyclical, a grind. Subjects covered so many times before they come back around again. How do you battle that trap of a mundane story? In this course, we'll look into the importance of building characters and atmosphere to create unique, memorable stories. What's unique to this person? What's specific to this place? What lessons learned in feature storytelling can be carried over to dayturn hard news? We're talking about the ways to grab viewers.

Make it memorable during one shift

Adrienne Broaddus will  focus on day-turn stories and provide the back story to  assignments that were  challenging or satisfying. She will also to talk about  shooting mistakes and how to avoid them. Plus, participants will walk away with some practical pointers for MMJs. 

adrienne broaddus

anchor/solo journalist

kare, minneapolis, mn

eric sander

chief photojournalist

wgcl, atlanta, ga

The Power of Soul

They say you make your own luck. But if you’re fighting the storytelling fight yet still trying to explain what a moment is, you know there’s got to be more to it. Eric has worked in some of the country’s most successful newsrooms, in some of the strongest storytelling cultures. From each he has learned little more of what it takes to cultivate a culture of quality. This course is about planting that storytelling seed...about making people believe.

alanna delfino


wbff, baltimore, md

Deadline Photography: Doing great work, even on deadline

Great visual stories connect the audience through powerful sound and memorable characters. But who has the time? Working under tight deadlines and challenging conditions doesn’t stop photojournalist Alanna Delfino. For her, doing great work against the clock takes focus and a commitment to craft. In this presentation, this regional Photographer of the Year and award winning journalist will share her tips to make your daily work stand out from the competition. 

Riding out the storm: covering severe weather with humanity

This presentation will tackle all the practical things to keep in mind when covering severe weather, including what to pack, best practices while in the field and live interviews. I’ll also offer some personal advice about how to approach your coverage with humanity.

brandi smith


khou, houston, tx