October 9, 1998


Hands-On, Hi-Tech newsrooms for Reporters at Journalists' Convention

Today's journalists can try out tomorrow's newsroom at the Society of Professional Journalists' National Convention and Job Opportunities Conference, Oct. 22 through 24 in Universal City, Calif. The nation's top technology companies are equipping a state-of-the-art, "Newsroom of the Future" at the convention where journalists from across the country can test-drive the latest high-tech software and hardware in a real working newsroom.

The newsroom will produce daily print, broadcast and online convention coverage. Nearly 1,000 journalists are expected at the convention. Those who sign up (at SPJ. ORG) to work a shift in the newsroom will collect and report convention news using the digital tools that will soon be standard in American broadcasting and publishing.

Professionals and students will get one-on-one instruction from experts while working in small groups at stations using the tools of tomorrow's journalism:

* image-processing

* pagination, non-linear online editing of audio and video, computer-assisted reporting,

* database reporting and creating and operating web-sites.

The leading companies in media technology are providing equipment, software and personnel to create and run the newsroom. Associated Press, Apple Computers and Intergraph Co. will provide hardware, and Microsoft, ESRI, RealNetworks, Netscape, Adobe and Imation will power it with software; Earthlink will provide high-speed connections to the Internet.

Skilled users will guide novices in the use of spreadsheets, databases and geographic information systems. Journalists will broadcast online from the site using the latest Internet audio and video technology.

Universities including USC, Brigham Young, La Verne, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge, Columbia and San Francisco State are providing instructors to augment those supplied by the technology companies. Students chosen in a national competition will feed audio, video and print stories to the newsroom from the convention.

Los Angeles Times publisher Mark Willes will give the convention keynote address. Authors including Ray Bradbury, TV star Dick Van Patten and local anchor Kelly Lange will be on hand to sign their books, and the master of ceremonies for the annual awards will be Gary Owens.

The Newsroom of the Future will operate in conjunction with INFOMART `98, a major display of products and services for journalists. The newsroom and INFOMART are in adjoining sections of the main ballroom of the Sheraton Universal Hotel and open at 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22.

In addition to the Newsroom of the Future and INFOMART, the convention offers more than 50 panels and workshops, with sessions at both the Sheraton Universal and the adjoining Universal Hilton. And this year the California Chicano News Media Association is holding its annual Job Opportunities Conference in combination with the SPJ convention. The Job Opportunities Conference runs from Oct. 21 through Oct. 24 at the same hotels. Recruiters from more than 70 newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations including the major networks will conduct interviews. A reception to mark the opening of INFOMART `98 and the Newsroom of the Future is set for Thursday afternoon, Oct. 22 at 4 p.m. at the Sheraton.

Courses Available in the Newsroom of the Future

Images: More Important Than Ever as Media Become More Alike

Learn the basics of Adobe Photoshop software to manage photos and other graphics in a "digital darkroom." Experiment with a Minolta MPEG1 digital camera. Process and transmit images for web pages, print and broadcast using Associated Press digital cameras and the AP editing system.

Using Computer Spreadsheets to Dig Out the Facts

Sort data lists, compare budgets and analyze political spending using Microsoft Excel. (Learn more by attending the workshop "Just click on NEWS: Census Bureau Data for Reporters Now and After the Census," 9:15-10:30 a.m. Saturday in Sheraton, Terrace B.)

Making Sense of two Many Numbers With Database Software

Use Microsoft's Access database software to mine very large data sets for potential stories. (Learn more by attending the workshop "Just Click on NEWS: Census Bureau Data for Reporters New and After the Census," 9:15-10:30 a.m. Saturday in Sheraton, Terrace B.)

Geographic Information Systems: Multipurpose Media Tools

You can use GIS for the three major needs of publications — news, circulation and advertising. With GIS you can analyze and understand social, political and business systems and make them understandable to your readers. Learn how to use the power of GIS in newspaper, magazine and broadcasting newsrooms and also in your advertising, circulation and marketing departments.

Graphic Information Systems With Your Desktop

Learn to make maps for analysis and illustrations right on your own computer. If you've used a spreadsheet, that's all the background you need for this one-hour, hands-on session to introduce you to the basic concepts and tools of mapping.

Added Power for Graphic Information Systems

Those already experienced in GIS programs, can learn new, high-end programs such as ArcView and Business Analyst Pro and analyze urban growth patterns, crime statistics or data affecting political issues. One-hour, hands-on sessions are taught in groups of six to ten.

Writing for New Media

Brevity and clarity are even more essential than ever in the new media. Writers and editors face special demands but also have new opportunities. Learn and polish the skills you need; then find out how to protect what you produce. (Learn more by attending the panels "Who Owns What You Do in Cyberspace? Copyright Issues Online," from 2:15 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Friday, Sheraton, Terrace A, and "News Media —More Inclusive, or Less?" from 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m., Thursday, Sher-aton, Terrace A.)

Research on the Internet

Get the most out of the all those Internet resources without getting "stung" by their shortcomings. (Learn more by attending the panels "How to Trust What You Find On-Line," from 2:45 p.m. Saturday, Sheraton Terrace B, and "Seeking Truth On-Line, On Air, On Guard," from 10:45-Noon, Saturday, Hilton Club Room.)

Page Layout With Quark-XPress (Macintosh)

Get tips, tricks and basic instructions on using Quark-XPress for newspaper and magazine pagination. (Learn more by attending the lecture "Tomorrow's Newspapers, Alive and Well," from 10:15-11:30 a.m. Friday, Sheraton, Terrace C.)

Page Layout With Wright Design (PC)

Get tips, tricks and basic instructions on using Wright Technologies software for newspaper and magazine pagination. (Learn more by attending the lecture "Tomorrow's Newspaper, Alive and Well," from 10:15-11:30 a.m. Friday, Sheraton, Terrace C.)

Website Design

Learn to building web pages and websites. Sessions include a survey of HTML (hypertext mark-up language) editors and other software. (Learn more by attending the panels "Weber You Like it or Not: Preparing Students for Convergence," from 3:45-4:45 p.m. Friday, Sheraton, Terrace D, and "Improving Your Student MediaOnline Presence," from 10:45-Noon, Saturday, Sheraton, Terrace D.)

Video and Audio Broadcasting Online

Broadcast over the Internet using digital audio software. Learn to create and edit programs by audiocasting convention activities on the RealNetworks system. (Learn more by attending the panel "Zines, Screens & Youth Scenes," from 9:15-10:30 a.m., Saturday, Hilton, Club Room).

Staying in Control of Digital Material

In jargon, it's "assets management," but it's not a course for your broker. Learn to store, track, and retrieve digital images and test —a must for tomorrow's newsroom— using Media Manager software. (Learn more by attending the panel "Managing Online Publications: Views from the trenches," 10:15 p.m.-11:30 p.m., Friday, Sheraton, Terrace A.)

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, the Society of Professional Journalists is the nation's largest and most broad-based journalism organization. SPJ is not-for-profit organization made up of 13,500 members dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism; stimulating high standards of ethical behavior; and perpetuating a free press.

For more information about the convention or to make a reservation, write: SPJ Headquarters, 16 South Jackson St., Greencastle, IN 46135-1514, visit online at www.spj.org or phone 765-653-3333 or fax 765-653-4631.

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