Schedule

Below is a very preliminary schedule of what we have planned for you in September. Check back shortly for more details and many more announcements!

Jump to:
WednesdayThursday
FridaySaturday


Wednesday, Sept. 22

5-7 p.m.

Registration & Welcome Happy Hour

Stop by to grab your registration materials and be welcomed to the Mile High City over great drinks and even better company. Thanks to our friends at the Colorado Broadcasters Association for buying the first round!

7:30-10 p.m.

Experience Denver

Denver Press Club • Kathy Walker

Gather at the historic Denver Press Club to network around news.

Thursday, Sept. 23

7-8 a.m.

Find Your Zen: Morning Yoga

We meant it when we said restorative! Experienced and new yogis are welcome to join Brian Ford to start your day off right.

8:30-10 a.m.

Opening Keynote & Membership Meeting

Pull up a chair and get caught up on the latest with RTDNA. We’ll talk about the ways the organization is working to support journalists in the coming years and hear from candidates for the RTDNA Board of Directors. We’ll also come together to hear from Tramaine El-Amin (right) with Mental Health First Aid USA® at the National Council for Behavioral Health to set the tone with our Opening Keynote focused on resilience, Workplace Kaleidoscope: Shifting Views on Wellbeing.

In 2021, there are few things that we all can agree on. Attending to our mental wellbeing is one of them. We have reached critical mass in the believe that mental health and substance use challenges impact everyone. For many people in historically marginalized communities, the process of navigating these challenges — especially at work — can be even more difficult. We invite you into a transparent conversation about the inequities that exist and how we as individuals, coworkers and the news community can better respond to the gaps while also improving our collective mental wellbeing.

Learning Objectives:
• Explore the unique experience that historically marginalized communities often face as it relates to wellbeing.
• Increase our understanding of common terms and language to help decrease stigma around mental health in disenfranchised communities and to increase our literacy and awareness.
• Learn how communities and workplaces have responded to these gaps, and the resources available for enhanced wellbeing.

10-10:30 a.m.

Morning Joe: Coffee & Connections

Grab a cup, fill it up and spend time connecting with sponsors, exhibitors and peers in our lounge spaces.

10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Feedback Loop: Critiques

Sit down with the pros and have your reel or resume critiqued in rapid-fire fashion. Leave with tips and tricks, and the confidence to know you’re moving in the right direction.

10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

Which Words: Covering with Caution
Scott Libin & Terence Shepherd

The past two years of politics, pandemic, racial reckoning and other cultural upheaval have challenged journalists to select their words with greater skill than ever before. Activists, advocates and interest groups across the ideological spectrum demand change not just on their terms, but in their terms. When writing the news, who gets to choose? How can reporters best use language accurately, clearly, consistently and with editorial independence? Former RTDNA chairs Terence Shepherd and Scott Libin will pick up the conversation where they left it two years ago in San Antonio, at our last in-person convention. Join them for a session short on lecture and long on interaction as they revisit some of the toughest and most important issues facing journalists today.

Mental Health First Aid at Work
Tramaine El-Amin

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a high-impact, skills-based training program that teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges. You’ll learn skills you need to reach out and provide initial support to a colleague who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to appropriate employee resources.

MHFA at Work delivers the skills and confidence you need to provide direct assistance and support until the person in need realizes that professional and self-help resources are available. You’ll also learn how to reach out for emergency services on your colleague’s behalf when necessary.

The 4-hour MHFA at Work General Awareness training will introduce participants to signs and symptoms of mental health challenges and how to help your coworkers. This training will enhance the overall culture of mental health and wellness within the organization. Note: MHFA at Work General Awareness training does not certify participants as Mental Health First Aiders.

(It is highly recommended that attendees come to both sessions to receive the full benefit of the training, and those planning to come to only part two, make an effort to come to the first as well.)

Inclusive Hiring: How to Get It Right From the Start
Leonor Alaya Polley & Rohini Duvvuri of ModelExpand

According to U.S. Census Bureau, new demographic estimates show that nearly four of 10 Americans identify with a race or ethnic group other than white. In 2019, for the first time, more than half of the nation’s population under age 16 identified as a racial or ethnic minority. How can newsrooms stay relevant and better reflect their increasingly diverse audience? This 2-hour workshop shares important and tactical steps newsroom can begin to take in order to attract and hire a more diverse workforce.

Calling Bullshit: Declining Trust in News and What to Do About It
Jevin West & Sally Lehrman

With hundreds of hyperpartisan sites posturing as local news across the United States, the challenge of building and retaining public trust has grown even more challenging. In this workshop, you’ll learn more about these imposters and how to create a stark contrast in your own operations through refreshed policies and practices that work. The session will include hands-on activities and provocative discussion to help you envision the values to solidify your trustworthiness as an organization, avoid making mistakes that erode trust, and develop strategies to earn it.

12:30-2 p.m.

Lunch: Step Out on the Town

Check out the list of awesome places you can grab some local eats around the hotel before you head back for an afternoon full of education and community service!

2-4:30 p.m.

Feedback Loop: Critiques

Sit down with the pros and have your reel or resume critiqued in rapid-fire fashion. Leave with tips and tricks, and the confidence to know you’re moving in the right direction.

2-3 p.m.

Breakout Sessions


A FOIA State of Mind

A FOIA State of Mind
Nicole Vap

Build the right mindset to find and get the information you want and inspire yourself to turn that information into a story.

Inclusive News with a Welcoming Lexicon and Imagery
Lauren Appelbaum

More than 60 million people live with some form of physical, cognitive, sensory, mental health or other disability in America. In fact, consumers with disabilities represent a $1 billion market segment, the third largest market behind Baby Boomers and the mature market. When you include their families, friends and associates, that number becomes a trillion-dollar market segment. The use of certain words or phrases can express bias either intentionally or unintentionally. During this session, attendees will learn about terminology and definitions and how to ensure your storytelling is inclusive of people with disabilities, while avoiding inspiration porn.

Critical Mission: Self-Care
Travis Heath

The phrase self-care has become near ubiquitous within our culture. While such a movement has been almost certainly well-intentioned, it has led to a number of unintended consequences. One of the most problematic is the way it contributes to locating distress solely inside the physical body of an individual. Workplaces simply encouraging people to engage in self-care while not shifting the infrastructure so that care can actually be taken poses a real threat to mental health.

Join Dr. Travis Heath in this session, where we will focus on ways in which people in relative positions of power in organizations can begin to make systemic changes that increase the well-being of team members while also helping to create more equitable environments.

3-4 p.m.

Give Back: Denver Community Service Project

Part of what makes RTDNA21 (and local journalism!) so special is connecting with the community, and while we’re in Denver, we set out to do just that. Take time out of your conference collaboration and contribute some good, old fashioned hands-on volunteer time to our Featured Community Organization, The Delores Project. Together, we’ll work to assemble items needed to make those they serve just a little more comfortable.

4-4:30 p.m.

Afternoon Boost: Snacks & Social

Get the boost you need with some afternoon snacks and gather in our lounges to share what you’ve learned and socialize with peers, sponsors and exhibitors.

4:30-5:30 p.m.

Honoring Excellence: Paul White & John F. Hogan Awards Presentation

We’re honoring the best of the best with our Paul White and John F. Hogan Awards. Hear from each recipient about the power of journalism, their triumphs and tribulations and how they feel about the future of the industry.

Congratulations to this year’s John F. Hogan Award recipient, Soledad O’Brien (pictured, from left) and this year’s Paul White Award recipient, Susan Zirinsky!

5:30-7 p.m.

Celebrating Excellence: Paul White & John F. Hogan Awards Reception


Join us in celebrating the careers and achievements of our Paul White and John F. Hogan Award recipients at a reception in their honor. Enjoy food, drink and friends — with a little music mixed in, too — at this ticketed event. Sponsored by Hearst and CBS News.

8-10 p.m.

Opening Night Party

Celebrate Day 1 by hitting the town with us at the Opening Night Party, sponsored by our friends at CNN Newsource, at Dazzle Jazz Club, a long-standing Denver jazz spot filled with history and hits.

Friday, Sept. 24

7-8 a.m.

Find Your High: Morning Run

Lace up your running shoes and join 9News-Denver political and investigative reporter Marshall Zelinger for a refreshing run through downtown to pick up the Platte River trail, on to Confluence Park, South to Empower Field and back, giving you a great view of the Denver skyline and Elitch’s — Denver’s own amusement park.

9-10 a.m.

Morning Joe: Coffee & Connections

Grab a cup, fill it up and spend time connecting with sponsors, exhibitors and peers in our lounge spaces.

10 a.m.-Noon

Feedback Loop: Critiques

Sit down with the pros and have your reel or resume critiqued in rapid-fire fashion. Leave with tips and tricks, and the confidence to know you’re moving in the right direction.

10 a.m.-Noon

Breakout Sessions

It’s All in the Numbers: Math, Statistics and Data
Cody Winchester


It’s All in the Numbers: Math, Statistics and Data
The Boss and the Coach: Be Better with Both

Part 1: Understanding numbers and conveying their meaning is part of being a journalist. Join us in this session to make sure you have a working knowledge of arithmetic, be comfortable with statistics, percentages and more to accurately portray the truth and facts of stories.

Part 2: Now that we're grounded in the basic math, you're likely to encounter as a journalist, let's talk about some common data journalism tools and how to get started crunching data to answer your reporting questions.

The Boss and the Coach: Be Better with Both
Kevin Benz

Remember back to April, 2020. You had to clear the newsroom and still get a newscast on the air. Today, as you welcome journalists back into the building, you may be asking the same question you did then... “Now what do I do?”

No single person had the answer then and no single person has it now. But together, we might be able to find innovative ideas and some proven systems that make the return to — whatever this is now — easier, on you and on your team.

There are a few over-arching truths that can help us re-engage and re-energize the human capital we rely on for success. This session will be all about you and your people. What are the pressure points for your team? What guidance can you provide? How do you coach them up? What systems and accountability policies need better implementation? What needs to change... forever? What skills need to be polished? How do you find time to do all of that?

We may not find all the answers, but news managers will walk out of the room with a better understanding of how to manage this change and a few new ideas for how to be a better coach, a better boss, and a better colleague.

Safety Situations: In & Out of the Newsroom
Chris Post

Working in the field is hard, planning for your organization’s readiness is even harder. Join media safety expert and former emergency responder Chris Post to talk about current threats against journalists and proactive safety strategies for covering everything from natural disasters to civil unrest.

Mental Health First Aid at Work
Tramaine El-Amin

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a high-impact, skills-based training program that teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges. You’ll learn skills you need to reach out and provide initial support to a colleague who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to appropriate employee resources.

MHFA at Work delivers the skills and confidence you need to provide direct assistance and support until the person in need realizes that professional and self-help resources are available. You’ll also learn how to reach out for emergency services on your colleague’s behalf when necessary.

The 4-hour MHFA at Work General Awareness training will introduce participants to signs and symptoms of mental health challenges and how to help your coworkers. This training will enhance the overall culture of mental health and wellness within the organization. Note: MHFA at Work General Awareness training does not certify participants as Mental Health First Aiders.

(It is highly recommended that attendees come to both sessions to receive the full benefit of the training, and those planning to come to only part two, make an effort to come to the first as well.)

Noon-1:15 p.m.

Next Gen Journalists Luncheon


Help us honor and recognize RTDNF’s very first scholarship recipient 50 years ago, David Louie (pictured, left), and the 2020 and 2021 classes of scholarship and fellowship recipients at this luncheon, open to all attendees!

You’ll also get the chance to hear from CEO & Founder Blake Scholl (right) of Boom Supersonic, the foremost commercial developer of supersonic passenger aircraft, about bringing the future to the now through strategy and innovation. Sponsored by Fox.

1:30-2:30 p.m.


Sincerely, Leaders of Color
Building Your Brand: Authentic Voice

Breakout Sessions

Sincerely, Leaders of Color: What We Really Need in the Newsroom
P. Kim Bui & Emma Carew Grovum

Adapted from their recently launched column of the same name, writers Kim Bui and Emma Carew Grovum will bring their candor and rigor to a discussion about how newsrooms can best serve and support journalists of color. Come with questions and an attitude toward change.

Building Your Brand: Authentic Voice
Tracy Davidson

Connecting to our communities is a critical part of local news and something journalists can do in so many ways. But the key is doing so in an authentic way, especially on social media and digital platforms. Let’s talk about how to remain true to yourself, what you should and shouldn’t share, how to have those conversations with your management. You want your audience to be able to relate and know that you are working for them.

Dollar Driven: The $$$ Stories of 2020 (and 2021!)
Billy Hensley

Featuring the RTDNA/NEFE Excellence in Personal Finance Reporting Award winners, the Dollar Driven session will highlight the best in TV, radio and online personal finance journalism. Trainers will break down their award-winning pieces, and share key reporting tools and best practices. You’ll walk away with new ways to creatively approach financial reporting and make comprehensive topics more digestible to viewers and listeners. Sponsored by the National Endowment for Financial Education.

Covered Carefully: Who, How & Why it Matters
Meredith Clark

Social media and social mores, among other factors, have dramatically shifted audience demands about how their communities are covered. In this interactive (yet no-to-low tech) session, participants will learn about values of reparative journalism, an approach that centers structural vulnerability as its core value, and is "explicit in its commitment to doing the work of racial justice and by extension — without apology — social justice."

Together, we'll work through a series of common problems to apply social-justice oriented values in a session designed to help foster a culture of reporting that recognizes the dignity in every human being.

2:30-3:30 p.m.

Self-Care Space: You-Call-It

Leaders need self-care just as much as their teams do, and sometimes that comes in the form of fun. We’re here for you with a variety of activities to break up the day, help you take a breath and soak up a bit of enjoyment — you’ve earned it!

Puppies!

Need we say more? Take a break and hang out with some awesome local Denver fur-babies. We promise you’ll feel refreshed!

Make Some Music

We’ve partnered with local musicians to bring the sounds of Denver directly to you. Whether you’re musically talented or just a beginner, we have exceptional teachers ready to help you learn a new instrument and have fun while doing it!

Walking Tour

Step out of the conference room and take deep breaths of the fresh Denver air on this short downtown walking tour that’s sure to give you a boost to finish out the rest of your day!

Meditation

Bring yourself back to center with a quiet meditation meant to ease the mind and quiet the spirit so you’re ready to go for the rest of your day!

3:30-4 p.m.

Afternoon Boost: Snacks & Social

Get the boost you need with some afternoon snacks and gather in our lounges to share what you’ve learned and socialize with peers, sponsors and exhibitors.

4-5:30 p.m.

Closing Keynote & Membership Meeting

Gather together to round out The Year of the Team by hearing the results of the 2021 RTDNA/F Board of Directors election and what the year ahead looks like for the organization. Then, listen in to a brilliant keynote presentation from Rhonda Payne and Garet Turner focused on one of RTDNA21’s conference pillars: Beyond Diversity Optics: Are You IN?

Spoiler alert. The “business case” for diversity doesn’t mean what you think it does. It’s a powerful tactic, but "doing the work" is rooted in justice, not profit, or at least it should be. To miss that nuance is a big misstep that can derail your best efforts with your workforce and the communities you serve. Now, you’ve probably heard the words more than a little bit lately. Diversity, inclusion, equity, representation, justice, belonging… Several are used frequently (if inaccurately) by the most well-meaning advocates. To spite these concepts being firmly entrenched in the lexicon of so many of our organizations, the interchangeability and statistical story of our efforts betrays our hard truth—ongoing struggle with the representation gap. Demographic diversity matters. Full stop. Still, the diversity doesn’t mean there’s representation, which is more about how than who. And, representation doesn’t mean there’s inclusion. So, we’re asking, are you INclusive? Join us to discuss the imperative to recenter ourselves on outcomes for underestimated communities over outcomes that benefit our bottom line alone.

Together, we'll move beyond lip service, high-profile hires, and clever marketing spin to develop inclusive leadership competencies to:

– promote fairness through cognizance of individual behaviors at work and the blind spots that influence them.
– examine the organizational cultures and operational systems within the broadcast and digital journalism industry that help or hinder inclusion.
– advance internal buy-in, policy infrastructure, continuous learning, and culture change through inclusive leadership.

5:30-7 p.m.


Closing Night Reception

Close out RTDNA21 by celebrating the 25th anniversary of Public News Service and mingle with peers before (sadly) departing Denver. Sponsored by Public News Service and The Trust Project, this event is open to all attendees.


Featured Community Organization

The Delores Project provides shelter services to unaccompanied women and transgender individuals experiencing homelessness with housing-focused case management and continued care support for the newly rehoused. The Delores Project also provides supportive housing services through The Delores Apartments for people who have experienced chronic homelessness.


Sponsored by

Platinum Sponsors


Gold Sponsors


Silver Sponsors


Bronze Sponsors


Lounge Sponsors


Virtual Sponsors


Friend Sponsors


Questions? Send them here.