Trusting News: Here’s The Real Reason We Need You To Attend This Workshop


This might not be the best marketing strategy, but I’m going to be totally honest about this “Trusting News” event that’s taking place tomorrow (Saturday, Sept. 21) at Northern Illinois University’s Naperville campus.

The workshop is, after all, about trust.

I know from experience that I should be using this space to say what’s in it for you — the chance to meet and learn from Emmy-award winning journalist Lynn Walsh, to network, to get ahead in your profession.

I should emphasize the value proposition. That the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association has made this workshop free of charge — that NINA and NIU are sharing the costs so that you or your organization don’t have to. That the “Trusting News” workshop is the same as you’d get from the Poynter Institute, a workshop you might pay $50 to attend, plus hundreds in travel expenses.

Or I could emphasize that this is a chance to save your profession. Trusting News is partnered by no less than The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute and The American Press Institute, and they would not be making this effort unless they felt — as I do — that journalism is facing an existential threat.

But the real reason I want you to go is to support the efforts of NINA Board President Jim Fuller.

Maybe I’m being silly and sentimental and a little fatherly, but Fuller has flat-out busted his butt to make this workshop come together. And I want to see it succeed for his sake, and for the sake of the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association.

Organizing a journalism workshop might sound easy, but believe me, it’s not. First, there’s convincing the Trusting News folks to come, then there’s nailing down a date and venue and coordinating that with NIU. There’s marketing the event and personal phone calls and then a lot of hoping and praying that people will show up.

The hard truth is that NINA has presented some outstanding workshops in recent years, the most recent being the April 25 panel discussion on how to cover a mass shooting.

I was at that event. It was excellent. About 20 people attended.

And that’s the problem we’re all facing. Too few journalists, shrinking newsrooms and revenue sources, and a multimedia workload that’s never ending. Reporters and editors have no time to spare when on the job and we don’t want to give up personal time, even if we know spending that time will make us better at our craft.

I get that.

But I also know that the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association and journalism education and the profession we all love will not be around 10 or 15 years from now if we don’t take the time for events like this “Trusting News” workshop.

Fuller and many NINA board members put this workshop together on their own time because they’re passionate about their profession and want to do something to make it better. We need to celebrate that passion, join the fun and help them make this “Trusting News” event a success.

Please sign up by e-mailing Northern Illinois Newspaper Association Communications Coordinator Shelley Hendricks at shendricks@niu.edu.

Trusting News Workshop

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  • When: 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 21 (9:30 a.m. registration/check-in/welcome)
  • Where: Northern Illinois University – Naperville Campus Conference Center, 1120 E. Diehl Road, Naperville, IL.
  • Cost: Free
  • RSVP: via Facebook or by email to Shelley Hendricks, shendricks@niu.edu

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