We are offering four sessions that include two panel discussions, and two breakout sessions, and we will have a speaker during lunch.  Please choose which breakout sessions you wish to attend when you register.

Panel Discussion – (Everyone)

“How To Be A Successful Freelancer:  What Editors Expect”

These seasoned editors will discuss what editors look for in covering the arts:  how to cover an event, how to approach editors, what to pitch, how to pitch, and how to bring passion, fresh ideas and new angles to your arts stories.

This panel will be moderated by Rick Thames, executive editor of the Charlotte Observer, and will be lead by some of the city’s top editors and freelancers:  Glenn Burkins of Qcitymetro, Mark Kemp of Creative Loafing, Rick Thurmond of Charlotte Magazine, freelancer Mary Curtis, formerly of the Charlotte Observer, and freelancer Michael Solender of Charlotte Viewpoint.  

Breakout Session – (Choose One)

“Writing Across All Forms Of Media”

Convergent Journalism professor August Grant, from the University of South Carolina’s School of Journalism, will provide an in-depth exploration of techniques for writing across media.  Includes basic differences among print, broadcast, on-line, and social media writing, along with discussion of processes to adapt content from one medium to the others.

“How to Avoid Ethical Conflicts”

Charlotte observer executive Editor Rick Thames and president of Charlotte Viewpoint Marc Gustafson, who is also an attorney, will lead a roundtable discussion of ethical issues facing arts journalists.  Topics may include:  arts organizations advertising in your publication, accepting free or reduced price tickets from arts organizations, ethics in arts reviews and objectivity.

Lunch Speaker – (Everyone)

“Reviewing The Performing and Visual Arts”

Lawrence Toppman of the Charlotte Observer will condense 33 years of experience as a critic into 60 minutes and have room for questions. LOTS of questions. He’ll talk about how to apply critical standards, how to separate biases from ideas, how to look for subtext, how to express yourself in a review, how to avoid common errors as a critic (i.e. the ones he made) and why you must never, NEVER make a box-office prediction. He did that once, in 1977, and he never did it again.

Breakout Session – (Choose One)

“Making Great Video For TV And The Web”

WCNC- TV’s Jeremy Markovich will lead this session.  Everybody has a camera. But few people understand how to tell a compelling story with video. In this session, you’ll find out the tools of the trade to help you write for the ear, get great shots and compelling audio, and turn your story from amateurish into awesome.

“How To Write An Arts Feature For Radio”

Lead by Greg Collard, news director of Charlotte NPR affiliate WFAE, this session will focus on sound-gathering and the importance of writing for the ear.  There are differences between print and radio – some significant, and some subtle, yet all important.  This session will address what makes a good radio story and what doesn’t, the angles to take, how to separate yourself from the journalism pack and any other industry-related questions you have.

“Writing Arts Features”

Who is the best subject for a profile? What’s an ASF? When do you go long? Where do you put the nut graf? Why are you writing this story? How do you get great material? We’ll unlock the secrets to successful arts writing in this action-packed interactive seminar, lead by the Charlotte Observer’s Michael Weinstein.

Panel Discussion – (Everyone)

“Trends In The Arts”

CAJA wraps up the conference by asking a panel of Charlotte’s cultural insiders to discuss new directions in artistic expression – both locally and nationally. What current challenges, innovations and perspectives are guiding artists as they create and present their work? What role does arts journalism play in the interpretation of these trends?  

This panel will be moderated by Meg Whalen of UNC Charlotte and will be lead by influential local artists:  Anne Lambert, Crista Cammaroto, Ken Lambla, Jacomo Rafael Bairos, and April Berry. 

Pitch Pit – (Everyone is invited to pitch an editor!)

After a day of training, questions and thought-provoking conversation, this is the time to take what you’ve learned and pitch your best art story ideas to local editors. At the minimum you’ll get great feedback, and at best you’ll get hired to write the story!


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