2021 Advisers Institute program

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Build trust into your journalism curriculum

Learn what national research and polls say about trust in news (hint: it’s not good) and find out what journalists are doing to combat the problem. See how you can bring these lessons and tips into your own classroom. Presented by Lynn Walsh.

Lynn Walsh is the assistant director of Trusting News. An Emmy award-winning journalist, Walsh has worked in investigative journalism at the national level and locally in California, Ohio, Texas and Florida. She is the former ethics chair for the Society of Professional Journalists and a past national president for the organization. Based in San Diego, Walsh is an adjunct professor and freelance journalist.

Team Storytelling experience

Advisers will have the opportunity to strengthen reporting and content packaging skills in the signature Team Storytelling experience.

In this hands-on experience, attendees will learn new tools and techniques while collaborating with colleagues, all with guidance and feedback from veteran journalism educators.

Participants will experience journalism like their students do each day — by producing great work on deadline. The Team Storytelling experience gives each adviser a chance to collaborate, report and produce stories together regardless of experience level or publication type.

Attendees will connect with group members at the start of Advisers Institute, and facilitators will guide each group through a brainstorming process to develop their own ideas for what to cover and where as they experience New Orleans.


Beyond transition/quote formula and inverted pyramid

The basic structures of journalism can become a bit repetitive and stifling after a while. Revisit some traditional storytelling practices and principles and learn how to apply them to features and long-form in order to increase flexibility in writing and speech. Presented by Sergio Luis Yanes, CJE.

Building your resume early: That’s a Saluki!

Southern Illinois University’s College of Arts and Media helps students build a strong resume with hands-on lab-based opportunities. Students can explore all areas of media working with professional organizations like WSIU, the PBS/NPR affiliate in our region, or broadcasting our athletic events live on ESPN+ and ESPN3. Presented by Rita Medina.

The constant loop

Focused on practical warm-ups, strategies and systems, this session will argue the case for an ongoing approach to teaching design. First, building upon basic concepts of visual presentation, such as principles and elements of design, attendees will analyze and discuss sample sets ready to take home and use at school. Then, the group will practice and play with some interactive activities advisers of any experience level can apply regularly with their print and social media staffs, including design challenges, checklists and cheat sheets. Presented by Sarah Nichols, MJE.

Creative careers at SCAD

Find out about opportunities at SCAD for students and educators interested in creative fields. Learn about SCAD’s innovative academic programs, art and design career options, and admission requirements, as well as engaging, hands-on, professional development opportunities for educators at our campus locations. Presented by Amber Ylisto.

Discussing diversity: Best practices and more

A discussion on building an inclusive environment for your students while sharing best practices with one another. Presented by Larry Graham.

Effective social media strategy

A crash course in how to create a social media strategy for your publication. This session will highlight several platforms and how to make your content stand out. Presented by Orlando Flores Jr.

Everyone needs a copy editor

Teaching editing — and incorporating it into the workflow for students — can be a challenge. The alternative is that advisers spend late nights editing copy in addition to grading papers. Come discuss how to incorporate editing by adding well-trained students into the workflow. Presented by Bradley Wilson, Ph.D., MJE.

Get it together

Leave this session with a concrete grading methodology that makes you happy along with ways to get a grip on advising multiple levels and publications during the same class period. You’re willing to do anything to save your program, so you’ve agreed to take multiple publications in the same room during a single block and/or you have a variety of experience levels in the same room. It’s OK, you can become the master ringleader of your own circus.

Learn how to:

  • Develop grading methodologies that put grading on the back burner and producing sound journalism on the hot seat.
  • Organizing your planning so you aren’t doing it all.
  • Create a production cycle/calendar to kick your year off.
  • Use the expertise around you to take the weight off of you.

Presented by Val Kibler, MJE.

In the moment: Covering breaking news

News happens unplanned at the most inconvenient times. This session explores the mobilization of staff to cover important angles of a developing story in a 24-hour news cycle. Learn strategies to quickly report the news and constantly update to a comprehensive finished story. Presented by Delbert Ellerton.

Let’s play with light

Photography literally means drawing, painting or writing with light. In this hands-on session, we’ll do draw, paint and write with light. We’re going outside to explore the quantity, quality and direction of light around the hotel, looking for interesting people and things. Presented by Bradley Wilson, Ph.D., MJE, and Kelly Glasscock, CJE.

Online fresh start

Whether you are new to online or looking to improve your current website, come learn how one staff overhauled their publication. Then, use the tips to evaluate your own site, look at other sites for ideas and create goals to take back to your staff. Presented by Louisa Avery, MJE.

Organizing and rolling in your dough

In this hands-on session, you will develop a budget for your media, organize your advertising sales and market your money-making efforts. Get a grip on your finances, well, your staff’s at least. When you leave this session, you should have:

  • A detailed line-item budget for the coming school year.
  • A Google form spending survey to gauge the spending habits of the students in your school community.
  • An updated advertising and/or patron ad contract specific to your school.
  • An ad sales campaign with some mock-up ads.
  • Tips to help your students sell more ads.
  • Potential ad sales goals to share/revise with your student leaders.

Presented by Val Kibler, MJE.

Polish your online presence, attract visitors

Unlock the power of your website to reach a wider audience. This session explores elements to make your online coverage timely and more attractive to your site’s visitors. Effective web coverage combines well-written stories with consistently executed and effective visuals, multimedia and social media. Presented by Delbert Ellerton.

Practice makes perfect: Giving 110% to sports

Sports play a big role on most campuses and in student media, but the storytelling is often flat and cliche. Let’s put in the work to have a winning season in this hands-on session by drawing inspiration from “Ted Lasso,” professional media and other advisers. After identifying common weaknesses in coverage, participants will learn how to make sports assignments more exciting and/or comfortable to everyone on staff regardless of interest and experience level. Advisers will leave with sample stories and materials to use in their own classrooms and will work in teams to generate interview questions, photo angles and social media packages in addition to building the framework for a multipurpose reporting assignment tailored toward their program’s specific situation. Presented by Sarah Nichols, MJE.

Video journalism: From the start

This workshop will teach the fundamentals of visual journalism and production for you to incorporate into your curriculum. Learn some of the production skills that professionals use every day that students should learn. These concepts are basic and universally used and are second nature to all visual journalists. Presented by Lance Washington.

A wholehearted coverage plan

Gather ideas to plan myriad ways designers can incorporate fresh voices on every page, from creating a quote-a-palooza to adding relatable bits throughout. Collect a hearty batch of inspiration for alternative copy that is engaging for your readers and manageable for your entire staff. Presented by Lizabeth A. Walsh, MJE.

Write less, say more

In today’s media landscape, information moves quickly, which means journalists must get the word out faster with fewer words. Learn how alternative copy formats can maximize brevity without sacrificing depth of content while also adding variety and interest to print and digital media. Presented by Sergio Luis Yanes, CJE.


Del Ellerton advises the Southerner newspaper and Nexus magazine at Midtown High School in Atlanta and has advised student publications for 13 years. The Southerner consistently rates highly in state, regional and national competitions. Ellerton, a Midtown alum and Columbia Journalism School graduate, worked professionally at the Macon Telegraph, Newport News Daily Press, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Bloomberg.

Louisa Avery, MJE, advises The Standard newspaper and online news site at The American School in London, England. The publication has won multiple CSPA Crowns and NSPA Pacemakers, most recently a 2021 Online Pacemaker and 2021 Gold Crown in hybrid news. Avery has been teaching journalism for 16 years. She is also a member JEA’s Scholastic Journalism Week Committee.

Sarah Nichols, MJE, advises student media at Whitney High School in Rocklin, California, where her students have been recognized with top national and state honors. Nichols is JEA’s president and a member of the Scholastic Press Rights and Digital Media committees as well as an active JEA mentor. A former H.L. Hall National Yearbook Adviser of the Year, she has been honored with JEA’s Carl Towley Award and Medal of Merit, NSPA’s Pioneer Award and CSPA’s Gold Key.

Valerie J. Kibler, MJE, teaches at Harrisonburg (Virginia) High School, where she advises the print and online newspaper and the yearbook. She currently serves as the JEA vice president and has been the state director for Virginia, as well as president and treasurer of the Virginia Association of Journalism Teachers and Advisers. She was an NSPA board member for three years. She was named the 2010 Dow Jones News Fund’s National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year and has received NSPA’s Pioneer Award, JEA’s Medal of Merit, CSPA’s Gold Key Award, and SIPA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Amber Ylisto is the associate director of educator outreach at SCAD, the university for creative careers. Ylisto is a creative with a background in art education and has over 10 years of experience curating programming to enhance educational practices. If you need a creative recharge or want to live a more inspired life, be sure to stop by and say hi.

Orlando Flores Jr. is the digital editor for the Gulf States Newsroom, a regional collaborative servicing NPR stations in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Larry Graham is a faculty associate at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant for the Loyola University New Orleans School of Communication & Design. He’s on the board of directors for the APSE Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to diversity in journalism and a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Bradley Wilson, Ph.D., MJE, is an associate professor at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, He is the editor of the national magazine, Communication: Journalism Education Today, for JEA. He has received the Gold Key from CSPA, the Pioneer Award from NSPA, the Star of Texas from the Association of Texas Photography Instructors and JEA’s Carl Towley Award.

Kelly Glasscock, CJE, is executive director of the Journalism Education Association and assistant professor in the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Kansas State University. He teaches photojournalism and Mass Communication in Society in the journalism sequence in the Miller School. He also has worked as a professional photojournalist with work published in Sports Illustrated, Time magazine and USA Today.

Lance Washington is currently the director of photography at WVUE-TV in New Orleans. He has worked at stations in New Orleans and Atlanta. Washington is an award winning photojournalist, earning multiple recognitions from Murrow awards, NATAS (Emmys), the Press Club of New Orleans, Louisiana Associated Press and others. He is a proud member of NABJ, NPPA and the Press Club of New Orleans.

Sergio Luis Yanes, CJE, has been teaching since 2006 and advising student media since 2011. He currently teaches and advises the news website, broadcast and yearbook programs at Arvada (Colorado) High School. He also serves as the advocacy coordinator for the Colorado Student Media Association.


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