Here’s a look at the sessions we’re planning for the 2014 MIPA Fall Conference on Monday, Oct. 20. Sessions may change, based on speaker availability and other factors. Attendees will get a print program upon arrival with an updated list of sessions and where they will be held.

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Conference Schedule

Choose from more than 70 breakout sessions throughout the day!

  • Breakout Session 1: 9-9:45 a.m.
  • Breakout Session 2: 9:55-10:40 a.m.
  • Breakout Session 3: 10:50-11:35 p.m.
  • Lunch: 11:35-1 p.m.
  • Breakout Session 4: 1-1:45 p.m.

Session Key

Sessions are first-come, first-serve. So arrive early. We’ve labeled sessions with the following codes to help you choose from all the selections — but don’t be afraid to try something new!

A = Advisers
D = News Design
N = News Writing
P = Photojournalism
V = Video
W = Web/Digital Media
Y = Yearbook

Breakout Sessions

Session 1: 9-9:45 a.m.

Featured Speaker: Multimedia Storytelling

What’s the best tool for the story you want to tell? This session will explore a variety of mostly free and easy-to-use tools for multimedia stories with strategies for how to plan and produce them across all types and levels of media programs. iPhone owners will walk away with a must-download list for some great mobile storytelling apps, too.
Sarah Nichols, Vice President, Journalism Education Association; Adviser, Whitney HS in Rocklin, Calif.


Get your student media critiqued. Sign up near the the registration desk. Bring copies of your student media with you at your scheduled critique time.

Yearbook Coverage (Y)

It’s a big job to make sure your yearbook reflects the people and happenings at your school. Come learn tips and techniques to tell the story of your school in innovative ways.
Dave Loney, Yearbook Representative, Herff Jones

Blow Up The Article: 10 Ways To Tell Stories Without Words (E)

Too much of digital journalism looks just like print journalism: It fails to employ the potential of today’s technology, losing users to the sites and apps that do. This talk will look at tools and techniques for telling stories for digital platforms.
Reid Williams, Vice President, Innovation & Product Development,

Yearbook Design Trends (Y)

See the latest design trends that will take your yearbook design to the next level.  Learn how good design will increase coverage, carry your theme through your book and increase sales!
Anthony Perez, Yearbook Representative, Walsworth Publishing Co.

New Writing for New Media (W,N)

Times have changed. Your readers have changed. The way we process information has changed. So why are you still presenting information to your readers in the same old ways. Come to this session and let’s talk about ways to shake things up a bit while maintaining your journalistic integrity.
Rod Satterthwaite, Adviser, Grosse Pointe South HS

Don’t Be a Phony Photographer (P)

You’ve got a camera, and it’s a nice one. Your photos are turning out nicely. But the only mode you know how to use your camera in is automatic. Shame on you! Learn the importance of knowing your equipment and how it will add to the creativity and quality of your images.
Julie Price, Adviser, Haslett HS

Simple Video for News Reporters (W,V)

You’re not in a broadcast program, but you’d like to add some video to your website. That’s a great idea, and you can do it. Everything you need is at your fingertips. Whether you’re using a cellphone, a pocket-sized camera, or your mom’s iPad, you can take and edit good video to tell your story. We’ll run through your options for capturing video, then start you off with some basic video filming and editing techniques. You’ll leave with ideas and a list of resources to help you learn more.
Jeremy Whiting, Adviser, Ovid-Elsie HS; MIPA President

Smile, You’re on Camera (V)

Get a quick course in being on-air talent. Learn about your on-air voice, look and personality and get some tips to improve your overall presence as a reporter and anchor.
Jesse Sutherland, Producer, Big Foot Media

Shooting Interviews for the Web & Broadcast (V,W)

Learn how to frame your shot, get good sound and lighting, and ask the right questions. This session is relevant to video/broadcast students AND newspaper and yearbook students looking to post video interviews online.
Roger Smith, Adviser, Lake Orion HS; MIPA Video Chair

Welcome to MIPA! An Introduction for Newbies (E)

Are you new to MIPA? Come learn about our programs and activities — including contests, workshops, conferences and other resources — from MIPA’s membership chair. This is a great session for new advisers and editors of student media outlets.
Alexis Campion, Henry Ford II HS; MIPA Membership Chair

Loaves & Fishes Journalism (N, W)

Student publication staffs, especially from smaller schools, might struggle to develop ideas for stories and sections. Portage Community High School has just one hallway and fewer than 200 students, but the Spitfire staff still publishes more than 15 high-quality articles per week online! Learn the secrets for creating the greatest variety of coverage possible for your school as well as how to manipulate deadlines to produce more articles per press cycle.
Amanda Thorpe, Adviser, Portage Community HS

Measuring Your Audience (W)

Learn about and use industry principles to determine whether your student media is really having an impact at your school.
Ed Simpson, Assistant Professor, Central Michigan University

It’s a 2-Way Street: Working With Your Administration (E)

Building a comfortable, open relationship with your principal and superintendent can help publications avoid or end prior review and increase the likelihood that you will report on issues that matter. Learn some tactics that worked in Mason High School, including how to hold administrative press conferences, tips for interviewing your administrator, and ways to give a comfortable “heads up” on a story while avoiding prior review.
Sarah Ashman, Adviser, Mason HS; MIPA Trustee

More Than a Game(r) (N,W)

Being a great sports journalist is about a lot more than covering Friday’s football game. Learn how to be a better storyteller from this veteran sports journalist, who has penned sports stories for USA Today, NPR, Miami Herald, Associated Press, The New York Times, ESPN and more.
Joanne Gerstner, Sports Journalist in Residence, Michigan State University School of Journalism

Creativity Can Change Education as You Know It (E)

Want to connect with a support network in support of a common cause —“To change skool as we know it”? The time is now for students to unleash their creativity, be fearless and make a difference. Yearbook, journalism and video production classes provide the perfect environment to foster a mind-shift in education — one that unites students, provides them with unique learning opportunities and emphasizes the importance of creating a positive culture that embraces the student voice, utilizes and promotes student talent and nurtures ideas.
Jeff Croley, Co-Founder of the DeWitt & Michigan Creativity Groups; students from the DeWitt Creativity Group, DeWitt HS

The Best of Leads, The Worst of Leads (N,Y,W)

Don’t bore your readers with stale leads. It is a far better thing to lead with an anecdote. Learn how to do just this with this interactive presentation.
Jim Woehrle, Adviser, Midland HS

Captions That Rock! (N,P,Y)

Everybody reads captions. So take care to write them well. What’s the secret? This session will show you. By the time you leave, you’ll be writing strong, story-telling captions.
Pam Bunka, adviser, Fenton HS, MIPA Yearbook Chair

Opinion Writing (N,W)

The First Amendment gives you a right to say what’s on your mind, but that doesn’t mean anyone has to listen to what you say. Get tips from on how to write opinion columns and editorials that matter — and will get read.
Christina Hammitt, Adviser, Bloomfield Hills HS

Likes, Follows & Retweets (E)

Many of you are trying hard to get people to look at your newspaper’s website. You put a lot of work into it, for you to only have 10 visits per day. One way that we started to get people to our site is by building a following on Facebook and Twitter. Come ready to share your successes and frustrations.
Chad Sanders, Lansing Everett HS; MIPA Summer Workshop Director

Technology That Makes Teaching Easier (A)

Learn how to set up a Google Group, Google Forms and Google Docs. Your job will be easier and more manageable by the time you leave this session. If you use some of these already, please come and share your expertise.
Tracy Anderson & Kaitlyn Hart, Ann Arbor Community HS

You Should Give This Session an ‘A’ (A)

Grading work for a student media outlet can be very different from any other class in your school. This student is writing while that student designs and someone else is taking photos … How do you grade all that? Come get some tips — and some helpful documents — to give you confidence in grading your student journalists across a variety of media types.
Shari Adwers, Adviser, Grosse Pointe North HS

Session 2: 9:55-10:40 a.m.

Featured Speaker: Rethinking Everything (E)

With the commitment to apply a #onething mindset and embrace 21st century media skills, a willingness to question each process can lead to powerful changes. Join this discussion about staff culture, classroom design, production cycles and media collaboration as we focus on empowering student leaders to re-evaluate and solve problems on the fly.
Sarah Nichols, Vice President, Journalism Education Association; Adviser, Whitney HS in Rocklin, Calif.


Get your student media critiqued. Sign up near the the registration desk. Bring copies of your student media with you at your scheduled critique time.

Design Like A Spartan (D)

The Detroit News’ Richard Epps, a Michigan State University graduate (how could you tell?), will explain the building blocks for great print design. He will help you create a roadmap for taking your design skills to the next level, and even take them to the college level at an elite journalism school like Michigan State.
Richard Epps, Presentation Editor, The Detroit News

Features Without the Fluff (N,Y)

The best feature stories are about subjects that matter. Get some tips on how you can write about the hard-hitting subjects responsibly.
Tracy Anderson, Ann Arbor Community HS, and Madeline Halpert, The Communicator, Ann Arbor Community HS

Dean v. Utica (E)

When Katy Dean tried to publish an article in the Utica High School Arrow about the potential health hazards of diesel fumes from idling school busses, school administrators censored her story. Then she sued — and won. Get the story — and tips on how you might handle a similar situation — from this former student journalist and her newspaper adviser.
Katy Dean & Gloria Olman, Utica HS (retired)

Writing Stuff They’ll Actually Read (N)

Jim Valvano once said that if we laugh, cry and think, that’s a pretty great day. As journalists, we can make readers do all of these things, sometimes even in the same story — but first we have to write stories they will actually read. This session aims to give you strategies to help you do all of the above.
C.E. Sikkenga, Adviser, Grand Haven HS; MIPA Newspaper Chair

What’s an Environmental Portrait? (P)

Environmental portraits aren’t photos of trees and lakes and critters — they’re photos of people. Learn about how you can take better portraits of people by shooting photos in locations that matter for the story.
Julie Price, Adviser, Haslett HS

Producing a TV Newscast (V)

Learn about the job responsibilities of a news producer from a veteran of Lansing’s local CBS affiliate. You’ll also pick up tips on branding yourself for getting a job at a broadcast TV news station.
Jon Adamy, News Producer, WLNS-TV

Take Me There, Make Me Care (V)

Learn from an Emmy winner how to get great video and meaningful audio that captures the essence of a story and brings viewers to the scene.
Bob Gould, Broadcast Journalism Instructor, Michigan State University School of Journalism

Everyone’s a Critic: The Craft of Reviewing (E)

A hands-on discussion about reviewing the arts — the thought process, preparation and actual construction and writing of a potent, authoritative review. Attendees will have the opportunity to write a review about some new music that will be played during the session.
Gary Graff, Music Journalist, Digital First Media, New York Times Features Syndicate, etc.

Student Advisory Committee Meeting (invitation only)

This invitation-only event is open to one representative of each MIPA member school. Pre-registered students should bring their agendas (and ideas!) that were previously sent to those who were recommended by their advisers.
Stacy Smale, Adviser, Utica HS; Chair, MIPA Student Advisory Committee; and Alexis Campion, Adviser, Henry Ford II HS; Chair, MIPA Membership Committee

Where Do Great Story Ideas Come From? (E)

Great journalists are keen observers of the world around them, capable of spotting trends, paradoxes and angles others don’t. How do you get good at that? How can you tell what’s newsworthy or find the aspect of a hot topic that hasn’t already been done to death? Veteran Michigan-based freelance journalist Steve Friess tells the stories behind many of his stories and how to develop your nose for news.
Steve Friess, Freelance Journalist

Beyond Print (N,W)

Take your student media outlet beyond paper. Explore various platforms to deliver content, including YouTube channels, tablet magazines and simple mobile apps.
Ed Simpson, Assistant Professor, Central Michigan University

Headlines That Pop and Get Clicked (E)

Having a great headline is one sure-fire way to get your stories read, and it’s one of the most important ways to get a story noticed on a website or in social media.
Joe Grimm, Editor-in-Residence, Michigan State University School of Journalism

So You Want to Be a Sports Reporter (E)

Learn tips from this professional on how to make sports journalism your career.
Joe Rexrode, MSU Football & Men’s Basketball Reporter, Detroit Free Press

Leadership is Dirty Business (Y)

This session provides leaders with ideas for how to organize themselves and their staff to think outside of the box, to gain momentum, and creatively tackle the problems of yearbook production.
Ava Butzu, Adviser, Grand Blanc HS

Avatar Journalism (E)

Build a virtual, interactive world to connect with students and help your audience better understand current news events and important issues. See examples of current immersive journalism environments and get an overview of how you can create them for your student media outlet.
Stacey Fox, Transdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence, Michigan State University School of Journalism

Yearbook Writing: Chicken or the Egg? (Y)

Are students not reading your yearbook copy? If not, it might be because it’s bad! Discover ways to make it irresistible.
Brian Wilson, Adviser, Waterford Kettering HS

Market Your Website and Newspaper (E)

Every product needs a good marketing strategy and your student media outlet is no different. Get tips from this professional marketer on how you can promote your student media outlet and grow its readership.
Colleen Curran, Sales & Marketing Director, The State News

Smartphone Journalism (E)

See how this reporter uses his smartphone to write, edit and post articles and videos.
Fritz Klug, Multimedia Journalist, MLive Media Group

MIPA Mini-EdCamp (A)

Join us for a mini-EdCamp session. MIPA launched its EdCamp “unconferences” for media advisers this summer. These grassroots events help advisers share best practices, connect with each other and pick up tips that they can apply in their classrooms. Topics to be discussed are determined the day of the event with the input of attendees — who might just end up as presenters! Bring a flash drive of your classroom files and a list of the things you hope to learn about. Worried that you’re not an expert? With the pace of changes in education and media, who is? We’ll help each other.
Julia Satterthwaite, Adviser, Rochester HS

Video Advisers Meetup (A)

Come meet with other broadcast/video advisers, share ideas and provide feedback on MIPA programs and activities.
Roger Smith, Adviser, Lake Orion HS; MIPA Video Chair

Session 3: 10:50-11:35 p.m.

Featured Speaker: More Than a Theme

It’s not just a phrase on the cover. A yearbook theme can build an experience to last all year long, from a first impression to delivery day. This session will explore concept development, branding and how to make readers know you’re out there – with emphasis on why it matters and how to make it happen.
Sarah Nichols, Vice President, Journalism Education Association; Adviser, Whitney HS in Rocklin, Calif.


Get your student media critiqued. Sign up near the the registration desk. Bring copies of your student media with you at your scheduled critique time.

Audience, Brand & College Admissions: Twitter for Student Journalists (E)

Twitter is one of the most public and intriguing social media platforms available to journalists. It can power revolutions. It can build careers and college admissions portfolios. It can engage a wide audience with unfolding news events and convene conversations around important issues. Learn how you can use Twitter while avoiding its destructive side. Bring your experiences, your questions and your ideas to share!

Emilia Askari, Journalist, Teacher and Michigan State University Educational Technology Doctoral Student

Don’t Be a Journalist, Be an Innovator (E)

The news industry doesn’t need aspiring novelists, it needs people who connect with other people; it needs people who know that it’s stories that define a community and prompt it into action. Learn about the importance of innovation in news (and advertising), how to become an innovator, and how to measure your success.

Reid Williams, Vice President, Innovation & Product Development,

How Can You Avoid Copyright Infringement and What is Fair Use? (E)

Can you download pictures, music or text from the Internet and use it in student newspapers, yearbooks or broadcasts? Or is it copyright infringement? Discuss the do’s and don’ts of using another’s work in student press and when fair use applies.

Nancy Costello, Director, MSU First Amendment Law Clinic, Michigan State University College of Law

The Long and Short of It (N)

Most stories in school publications are sort of medium-length. That’s exactly the WRONG length. This session will give tips for how to write extended in-depth pieces, including those with multiple reporters and how to write bite-sized pieces that are still jam-packed with nutritional value.

C.E. Sikkenga, Adviser, Grand Haven HS;
MIPA Newspaper Chair

Shoot Sports Like the Pros (P)

Use these tips from the professionals to take your publication’s sports photography to the limit. Follow this adviser’s quest to become a member of the Sportsshooter online community.

Tim Morley, Adviser, Inland Lakes HS; MIPA Trustee

Break into TV News (V)

Are you looking to start a career in TV news? Come learn from a veteran producer and news anchor how to start your career in broadcast television.

Sheri Jones, Anchor, WLNS-TV; & Jon Adamy, News Producer, WLNS-TV

Creating ‘Killer Graphics’ for Video (V)

Take your graphics to the next level. We’ll start with five tips to consider the next time you put graphics in a production. Then, using Adobe Premiere and Photoshop, we’ll show you how.

Nathan Bush, Adviser, Saline HS; and Chase Stanton, Station Manager, Saline Community Television Network

Let Us Entertain You: The Changing Landscape of Arts and Entertainment Reporting (E)

Arts and entertainment reporting is one of the most fertile areas in the new media landscape, but doing it well requires more than just blogging your opinion. We will talk about how the field has changed in recent years and how young journalists can rock that world in an effective manner.

Gary Graff, Music Journalist, Digital First Media, New York Times Features Syndicate, etc.

Photojournalism Ethics (P)

The recent New York Post front page photo of a journalist moments before his execution rekindled discussion of whether news organizations should publish disturbing images and videos. This session will explore codes of ethics and apply them to other images that have been published in the past.

Neal Haldane, Professor, Madonna University

Put Together a Winning Portfolio (E)

Get tips about how to put together a top-notch portfolio to apply for MIPA’s Student Journalist Staff honor, apply for the JEA Journalist of the Year contest, nominate your adviser for MIPA’s Golden Pen AND launch your career!

Pam Punka, Fenton HS; Gloria Olman, Utica HS (retired); & Jesse McLean, Big Foot Media

Reporting on Religion (N)

Religion is a vital part of the cultural mix, but the religion beat still gets short shrift, both because religion is a tricky subject to get right and because reporters and editors haven’t thought about how to take their coverage beyond churches, temples and synagogues. Learn about how to find stories on the religion beat from the Religion Newswriters Association’s 2013 Cassels Religion Reporter of the Year.

Matthew Miller, Reporter, Lansing State Journal

Careers Confidential (E)

There are a lot of things potential employers won’t tell you, but you can figure them out for yourself. This journalism recruiter will help you start to plan your journalism career.

Joe Grimm, Editor-in-Residence, Michigan State University School of Journalism

Say What? Get the Most Out of Your Interviews (E)

If you want to be a journalist, you need to know how to ask the right questions. Learn why the process begins before you start talking.

Joy Visconti, Director, MSU-Detroit Free Press HS Journalism Program

It’s Not Marketing – It’s Your Identity (Y)

It’s everyone’s job to sell the yearbook, but how can you convince your peers to drop a load of cash today for something that doesn’t yet exist? How do your peers even know that you are making a quality book that they will cherish? This session will give you ideas for how to create an identity as a yearbook staff and how to prove to your peers that the yearbook is doing valuable work that they will want to buy.

Ava Butzu, Adviser, Grand Blanc HS

Animated Journalism (E)

Animation is a growing platform to help journalists share news and information. See examples of journalistic animation from around the globe and learn how you can create your own journalistic animation shorts for distribution.

Stacey Fox, Transdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence, Michigan State University School of Journalism

Ready-Made Mods & Sidebars (D,Y)

There’s no need to make every newspaper or yearbook page from scratch. Using magazine design as inspiration, learn how you can create a recipe for standard mods and sidebars that you can place throughout your newspaper or yearbook — without your pages looking like cookie-cutter designs.

Lydia Cadena, Adviser, Novi HS

Digital Diamonds (W)

Get inspiration for how to improve your online student media outlet by exploring some of the best work being done by student journalists.

Jamie Flanagan, Adviser, Fraser HS; MIPA Digital Media Chair

You Don’t Need Expensive Equipment! (V,W)

Don’t let a tight school budget slow you down! Learn about inexpensive solutions for scriptwriting, teleprompting, cameras, and more. This session will include mention of several free apps that can be used with a laptop/Chromebook/iPad.

Kate McCallum, Adviser, South Lyon HS

Trade the Classroom for a Newsroom (A)

Did you know that newspapers across Michigan host advisers and high school students every summer for PAID internships? Learn about the MPA Foundation’s teacher intern and student match programs.

Janet Mendler, Michigan Press Association Foundation

How to Train Your Dragon: Forging a Working Relationship with Administrators (A)

Get tips for working with administrators rather than fighting with them over student media issues. This session would also touch on curriculum, especially Common Core.

Gayle Martin, Adviser, Stoney Creek HS; MIPA Curriculum Chair

Session 4: 1-1:45 p.m.

Featured Speaker: Controlling the Chaos (P)

Photo shoots for student media can get out of control quickly with so many students needing cameras. Control the chaos with ideas from this organizational session covering topics like how to get better photos out of your beginning photographers. We’ll discuss camera checkout procedures, photo assignments, how to use Trello as a project management tool, the benefits of implementing a photographer-of-the-day plan, and more.
Sarah Nichols, Vice President, Journalism Education Association; Student Media Adviser, Whitney HS in Rocklin, Calif.

Newspaper Hacks: Tips & Tricks to Make Your Paper Cooler Starting Tomorrow (N,D,W)

MIPA’s Newspaper Chair shares the coolest ideas he’s seen and leads you in a discussion of why they’re the sorts of things we all should be doing in print and online. We’ll look at practical suggestions that will fit any staff and come out of this with new concepts to freshen our publications.

C.E. Sikkenga, Adviser, Grand Haven HS;
MIPA Newspaper Chair

The First Amendment Protects You, Too (E)

How can you fight censorship? Get tips on how student journliasts can get around Hazelwood’s restrictions and arm yourself with the latest information on student press law and open government laws so that you can report the important stories.

Nancy Costello, Director of the MSU First Amendment Law Clinic , MSU College of Law

It’s Not Over Until the Fat Lady Edits (N,Y)

Improve the professionalism, consistency and flow of your copy by following a set of writing and editing rules that make sense. You’ll understand why ‘”That’s what,’ she said” is no joke.

Lydia Cadena, Adviser, Novi HS

What Makes A Great Photo? (P)

It seems that everyone has a an opinion on what makes a good photo, but almost everyone can agree on some basic principles. Check this session out and your images will never be the same.

Tim Morley, Adviser, Inland Lakes HS; MIPA Trustee

The Anchor Chair (V)

Sitting in the news anchor’s chair means you’ve got to have a solid foundation in broadcast journalism. That starts with vivid writing, good reporting skills and strong ethics.

Sheri Jones, Anchor, WLNS-TV

Tips, Tricks & Mistakes I Wish Someone Else Would Have Made Before Me (V)

Learn how to be a better video and broadcast journalist from a previous MIPA award-winner who now gets paid to be a producer for MSU athletics.

Nick Baker, Video Producer, Michigan State University Athletic Communications

Good Audio Makes Good Video! (V)

Telling a story has never been more dynamic with the new technologies available, but how do we make it as good as we can? Check out this session to discuss what we need to do for making our audio and video stellar.

Jon Whiting, Academic Specialist, Michigan State University Department of Media & Information

Covering the Environment for Your School Media (N)

We’ll discuss how to find meaningful environmental and natural resource stories and and how to find and use relevant sources.

Eric Freedman, Director, Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, Michigan State University School of Journalism

Take a Break: Writing In-Depth Stories Without Drowning in Them (N)

Taking on an in-depth story can be one of the most rewarding experiences for a journalist. But it’s easy to be intimated all the work that’s required. Use these tips on reporting, researching and writing to tackle in-depth stories.

Gayle Martin, Adviser, Stoney Creek HS; MIPA Curriculum Chair