Sep. 7, 2016  

SPJ Florida Pro Running Three Major Sessions at #EIJ16

Aside from a solid slate that’s running for the national SPJ board, Florida Pro has three chapter-sponsored sessions at the Excellence in Journalism conference this year.

The convention, Sept. 18-20 in New Orleans, features dozens of sessions covering everything from ethics, digital media, freelance, and tons more. SPJ Florida Pro has three sessions either created by the chapter or has speakers who are board members.

“I’m so happy that our chapter is representing so well at EIJ16,” said chapter president Dori Zinn. “I believe we have some of the best programming in SPJ and to see this at a national level means hundreds of media professionals from across the country will learn from talented Florida journalists.”

On Sunday morning, Sept. 18, Zinn and executive vice president, Christiana Lilly, organized How Well Does the Media Cover Mass Murders? — a panel discussion on the media’s coverage of shooters in mass murders. 9-10 a.m. Borgne, 3rd Floor

How Well Does the Media Cover Mass Murders?



Mass shootings are increasing at a rapid rate, which means the media coverage of them is growing exponentially. This panel will discuss how the media covers these events — the good, the bad, and the ugly — as well as how the media can improve in accuracy, ethics and responsibility.

Moderator: Casey Ferrand

casey-ferrandCasey Ferrand is a general assignment reporter for WDSU in New Orleans. Ferrand, an award-winning journalist, previously worked at KIAH in Houston as a multimedia journalist and a fill-in anchor on the morning news show Eye Opener. She was also at KTVE in Monroe, La. and KTBS in Shreveport, La. She has two bachelor’s degrees in journalism and psychology from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.


emily-laneEmily Lane is a reporter at | The Times-Picayune, covering crime and courts. Lane was working at The Times-Picayune’s office in Baton Rouge in the summer of 2015 when she was sent to cover The Lafayette Theater shooting in Lafayette. Three people, including the shooter, were killed and nine others were injured. She previously worked at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss. and the Natchez Democrat in Natchez, Miss. Lane is a New Orleans native.

andrew-seamanAndrew M. Seaman is the chair of the ethics committee for the Society of Professional Journalists. In that role, Andrew oversees a committee that assists the society’s leadership, members, and staff in educating people about the organization’s ethics code. Additionally, Seaman is senior medical journalist for Reuters Health in New York City. He also worked at USA TODAY and WBRE-TV/WYOU-TV in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. His work has appeared The Washington Post, The New York Times, USA TODAY, and numerous other publications around the world.

tom-tevesTom Teves is the co-founder of No Notoriety, a nonprofit that challenges the media to limit naming, and featuring photos of, the shooters in mass killings. Tom and his wife, Caren, lost their son, Alex, in 2012 when he was murdered in the Aurora, Colo. theater shooting. The theater shooting left 12 dead. No Notoriety was founded in the days after the shooting in an effort to encourage media to limit the notoriety of shooters.

On Monday, Sept. 19, past chapter president Brandon Ballenger will run a drone session, Drone Journalism: Fly Before You Buy — a hands-on session about how to use and understand drones for journalism. 12:30-1:30 p.m., Maurepas, 3rd Floor.

Drone Journalism: Fly Before You Buy


Maybe you’ve read stories about the confusing laws that (might) let you use a drone in your work. Maybe you’ve even attended a drone workshop and listened to experts run through some scenarios. But have you ever flown the damn thing? Seen what it can do? Learn the latest drone law, discover which assignments a drone can excel at, and then take to the skies to record your own HD footage — which we’ll send you after the session. Even better, borrow a Phantom 3 Pro through SPJ Florida’s “Loan-a-Drone” program and get right to work.

Speaker: Brandon Ballenger

brandon_headshotPast SPJ Florida president Brandon Ballenger is the associate editor for, a unique provider of personal finance news and financial services. His dabbling in interactive content led him to experiment with drones, and he has spent more than a year flying and leading drone workshops and information sessions across South Florida and at SPJ regional conferences. His business and money writing has been featured in The South Florida Business Journal, Money Talks News, Business Insider, Reader’s Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, on the homepages of MSN and Yahoo!, and more.

Also on Monday, Sept. 19, another past president, Jason Parsley, is running Covering the Transgender Community — a detailed session on a relatively new topic in mainstream media. 12:30-1:30 p.m. Grand Chenier, 5th Floor.

Covering the Transgender Community


Hear how to best cover issues surrounding the transgender community. From what terms to use to common misrepresentations. Journalists and transgender activists discuss how journalists can cover stories involving the community, suggested story ideas, and issues that may be coming next.

Speaker: Jason Parsley

jasonJason Parsley is a past president of the SPJ Florida Pro Chapter. As president he oversaw the expansion of SPJ South Florida to include the entire state. He’s an award-winning reporter. He currently works as the editor-in-chief associate publisher of the South Florida Gay News. He graduated from Florida Atlantic University. While in school, he served as the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, the University Press. This is his second year as VP of Membership of SPJ Florida.

See the full list of EIJ16 sessions.

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