SEJ's 23rd Annual Conference Agenda — Wednesday




All-Day Freelance Workshop
Population Workshop
Global Meet and Greet
Opening Reception
SEJ Awards





Agenda Coverage Lodging/Travel Exhibits/Receptions Environmental News About Chattanooga


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

SEJ’s 2013 annual conference officially begins Wednesday afternoon, October 2, with our opening reception, followed by dinner, special welcomes and surprise guests, and SEJ’s awards program.

Before the official beginning, we offer the all-day workshops below, as well as an afternoon meet-and-greet session with environmental reporters from across the globe.

All sessions, as well as registration, exhibits and breaks, will be at the Chattanooga Convention Center,
1150 Carter Street, Chattanooga (423-756-0001), unless otherwise indicated.

Note: All information is subject to change. Please check back often for updates and information on event times, speakers, etc.


All-Day Workshop: Successful Freelancing 201

8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Join a team of veteran freelancers for a day of in-depth training on how to make a solid living freelancing, how to pitch, and how to navigate ethics questions when you work for yourself.

The Freelance Workshop at Lubbock in 2012 was broad and catered to all levels of experience. This workshop is designed for experienced freelancers who want to take their careers to the next level. It is in part inspired by Writers of SciLance, the team behind the new book, The Science Writers' Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Pitch, Publish, and Prosper in the Digital Age. Pre-registration and $70 fee required. Breakfast and lunch included. SEJ members only. Attendee size limited.

Facilitator: Jennifer Weeks, Freelance Writer

Jane Braxton Little, Independent Writer and Photographer
Tasha Eichenseher, Senior Editor, Discover Magazine
Daniel Grossman, Contributing Editor, National Geographic News Watch
Michael Kodas, Photojournalist, Writer and Picture Editor
Emma Marris, Environmental Writer and Reporter
Susan Moran, Freelance Print Journalist; Co-host, "How On Earth" Science Show, KGNU Radio
Jim Motavalli, Contributor, The New York Times; Blogger, Car Talk, and Mother Nature Network; and Author
Sarah Webb, Freelance Science Writer
Christine Woodside, Writer and Editor

Speaker: Lee Wilkins, Chairperson, Department of Communication, College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts, Wayne State University and Professor, Radio-Television Journalism, School of Journalism, University of Missouri

Audio coverage.


8:00-8:30 a.m. Breakfast

8:30-10:00 a.m. Show Me the Money: How to make a living, really, as a freelancer. Straight talk about pay rates now versus years ago; how to negotiate (higher) rates with editors, especially after the first or second assignment; how to budget your time so you have a healthy mix of assignments, and paychecks, flowing all the time. (Jim Motavalli and Dan Grossman)

10:00-10:30 a.m. Coffee, networking break

10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Business Strategy for the Long Haul: Practical tips from instructors and participants about making the most out of a freelance life, including diversifying into other income streams (teaching, technical writing, website design, radio, etc.). We’ll also offer info about how to access other potential money streams participants may not have thought of — e.g. grants (SEJ has the Fund for Environmental Journalism), fellowships, etc. (Michael Kodas and Sarah Webb)

12:00-12:30 p.m. Lunch

12:30-2:00 p.m. The Art of the Pitch 201 (starts while eating lunch): This session will focus on sharpening skills crafting and pitching blockbuster stories, especially features for top-notch publications (including The New York Times, Discover, New Scientist, Smithsonian, etc.). Instructors will also offer tips on how to leverage one story idea into multiple stories for distinct venues and market segments. Instructors will draw from their own examples as well as a few query letters sent in advance by participants. This session should help prepare participants to pitch to editors at Friday’s Pitch Slam. (Tasha Eichenseher and Susan Moran)

2:00-2:30 p.m. Coffee, networking break

2:30-4:00 p.m. Freelance Ethics: Flying right without going broke. Do the challenges of juggling multiple clients and income sources change the rules? This panel will take on the pesky ethical predicaments that routinely crop up for freelancers. Lee Wilkins, who focuses on media ethics at Wayne State University in Detroit, will provide an overview of the dilemmas most frequently encountered and provide tips for making tough calls. Freelancers Emma Marris, Jane Braxton Little and Christine Woodside will discuss issues that include corporate writing gigs, working for publications funded by environmental groups, taking speaking fees, reusing material, political donations and being opinionated online.

Location: Chattanooga Convention Center, Meeting Room 4/5

From Chattanooga to Chennai: Reporting on Population and Sustainability in an Urbanizing World

10:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

All conference attendees are welcome to attend this workshop. RSVP is required: please respond directly to Meaghan Parker to attend and for a detailed agenda.

By 2050, seven out of 10 people will live in cities — and almost all urban population growth will be in developing countries. Join journalists from Cambodia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, and Uganda for a workshop on reporting about this rapidly urbanizing world. Will the growth of today’s new cities outpace efforts to encourage sustainability? Will coastal cities be able to prepare for the impacts of climate change even as their size increases? How can reporters tell the stories of these complex demographic changes and their impacts on our environments, our health, and our economies in new and innovative ways? Coverage.


9:30-10:00 a.m. Breakfast, Welcome and Introductions

Speaker: Meaghan Parker, Writer/Editor, Environmental Change and Security Program, Woodrow Wilson Center

10:00-11:00 a.m. Eight Billion Stories: Reporting on People and the Planet

Zofeen Ebrahim, InterPress Service/DAWN (Pakistan)
Dingaan Mithi, JournAIDS (Malawi)
Ken Weiss, Freelance Journalist and Author, Los Angeles Times Multimedia Series, "Beyond 7 Billion"

11:00 a.m.-Noon. Cities, Coasts, and Climate Change: Case Studies

Imelda Abano, President, Philippine Network of Environmental Journalists
John Muchangi, Star Newspaper (Kenya)
Tim Wheeler, Reporter, The Baltimore Sun

12:15-1:45 p.m. Lunch and Live From the Wilson Center: The Demography of Adaptation to Climate Change (webcast)

Jose Miguel Guzman, Regional Coordinator of DHS Surveys at ICF International
Daniel Schensul, Technical Specialist, United Nations Population Fund

2:00-3:30 p.m. Visualizing Demographic Change: Using Maps, Graphics, and Video

Caroline D’Angelo, Social Media Editor and E-Books Director, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
Sam Eaton, Homelands Productions
Kytt MacManus, Center for International Earth Science Information
Willie Shubert, Senior Program Coordinator, Earth Journalism Network, Internews
Marissa Yeakey, Population Reference Bureau

Location: Meeting Room 3


2:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Sign up for Mini-Tours at the nearby SEJ table. If you didn’t sign up ahead of time for a Thursday tour, Friday dinner and tour of the Tennessee Aquarium, or Sunday morning breakfast, there may still be room — please check with registration.

Location: At the Information booth near the ballroom

SEJ Information Table

2:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Sign up here for Mini-Tours. Read up on SEJ Board candidates, and find information about SEJ Award winners, membership and services. Pick up copies of SEJournal, and other SEJ information.

Location: Outside Meeting Room 1

Meet & Greet

SEJ and the World: International Stories, Global Audiences

4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

The environment is global — and so is SEJ’s Chattanooga conference. Meet environmental reporters from Africa, Asia, and around the world and compare notes on covering the biggest beat on Earth. Share a snack while swapping stories, and get tips on how to reach new audiences in unexpected places. Refreshments for this event sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Meaghan Parker, Writer/Editor, Environmental Change and Security Program, Woodrow Wilson Center
Imelda Abano, President, Philippine Network of Environmental Journalists

Location: Meeting Room 3


Opening Reception and Dinner

5:00 - 8:30 p.m. (dinner served about 6:00 p.m.)

Voices of Lee


The bar opens at 5:00 p.m., and as you catch up with old friends, you'll see pictures of the region flash around the room while the music from the Voices of Lee — a 16-member a cappella ensemble from Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn. — entertains. These guys were the showstoppers at President Obama's 2013 inauguration. We've also invited some of the best bluegrass/symphony/pop (yes, you read that right) the Southern Appalachians have to offer.

President Obama's new Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, will speak at the Opening Reception.

Secretary Jewell will follow USDA-Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell in the evening program. Tidwell will discuss this year's wildfire season and the Forest Service's sustainable forestry efforts. Jewell will discuss Interior's climate change initiatives and general sustainability efforts. The Department of the Interior and the USDA-Forest Service collectively manage millions of acres of public land that provides our society with clean drinking water, fish and wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities and countless natural resources, all of which help enable sustainable cities.

Barring a government shutdown, the Secretary and Chief will follow The Voices of Lee, who will welcome us to Tennessee, and a lineup of Chattanooga luminaries, including Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn. (via video), Mayor Andy Berke and former mayor Ron Littlefield who will share the Chattanooga environmental history story with us over dinner.

Sponsored by the Chattanooga Times Free Press Foundation and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.


Bob Corker

Tom Tidwell

Sally Jewell


Conference Co-chairs Anne Paine, recently retired from The Tennessean, and Pam Sohn, Editorial Writer, Chattanooga Times Free Press; and Jason Taylor, President, Chattanooga Times Free Press

Location: Chattanooga Convention Center Ballroom


SEJ Awards for Reporting on the Environment

8:30 - 9:30 p.m.

After the reception, wind down with dessert and support your beat at SEJ’s Awards for Reporting on the Environment ceremony. Hear about the reporting and photojournalism that judges have decided are the best of the best — simply great work that changes the world, one story, one photo, at a time.

Location: Chattanooga Convention Center Ballroom


Thursday, October 3
Friday, October 4
Saturday, October 5
Sunday, October 6

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