Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sessions about covering veterans among broad, deep agenda at SPJ conference in St. Louis April 27

More than 2 million American troops have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since the start of U.S. military operations in the region in 2001, and a disproportionate share of them came from rural communities. The troops' return has created a new kind of reporting challenge for journalists: battle-scarred veterans trying to re-enter civil society. Many have trouble finding jobs, housing and health care for themselves and their families, and often find find that government cannot meet those needs. A nationwide effort is underway to persuade private agencies and businesses to fill the gap.

Two sessions at next weekend's regional Society of Professional Journalists regional conference in St. Louis will examine the issues and how journalists can cover them. Col. David Sutherland with the Center for Military and Veterans Community Services, and Erica J. Borggren of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, will lead the discussions.

The conference also includes sessions on the secrets of great journalism, social media in journalism (three sessions), using Twitter to cover politics, news-media ethics, an overview of laws governing journalism, digital teamwork for online and broadcast journalists, a University of Missouri experiment testing the use of drone aircraft in journalism, and an Investigative Reporters and Editors session on doing investigative journalism on a tight schedule and a meager budget.

The conference, at the Drury Plaza at the Arch hotel, begins with an informal meet-and-greet Friday, April 26 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. The training sessions will be held Saturday. Questions about the sessions can be addressed to SPJ Region 7 Director David Sheets at or send them via Twitter to @DKSheets. The conference website is!sessions/c10fk.

No comments: