Journalism is a civic act (and you’re invited)

National parks, NASA and the CDC have gone rogue on Twitter. Media organizations are coaching public employees how to safely leak information. “1984” is the top-selling book on Amazon. News literacy and the ability to assess information have become vanishing, but critical, skills.

The Daily Tar Heel’s 124th birthday is coming at a time of radical change. Please join us at the DTH’s 2017 Conference as we share skills and ask what’s next — for all of us.

Register to attend here.

Fellowships and travel stipends, supported by Democracy Fund, are available. Apply here. Look at a map of Carroll Hall here.

Friday, Feb. 17:

2 p.m. WHAT’S NEXT? Part 1: What’s the big idea?
Freedom Forum, Carroll Hall, UNC Campus

Innovative thinkers, including Ariel Zirulnick of The New Tropic, Fiona Morgan of Free Press, Daniel Malloy of OZY and other innovators will present their ideas and provocations in a lightning-round session, and then will host breakout conversations to discuss how other people can use or adapt their ideas. Moderated by Daily Tar Heel executive director Betsy O’Donovan
Got a cool project or provocative idea to pitch? Email

3 p.m. Rape and the Campus
Freedom Forum, Carroll Hall, UNC Campus

Susan King, dean of the UNC School of Media and Journalism, moderates a discussion with DTH Editor-in-Chief Jane Wester, Duke Chronicle editor Claire Ballentine, the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Sarah Brown, Roanoke Times’ Sara Gregory, UNC media law expert Cathy Packer, and Monika Johnson Hostler of N.C. CASA about the challenge and responsibility of covering sexual assault.

4 p.m. News: The Entrepreneurial Generation
Freedom Forum, Carroll Hall, UNC Campus

They began working in journalism during or immediately after the Great Recession, when the journalism world was blowing up. And now they are blowing up journalism, by pioneering new ways of telling stories, new business models for news, and new ways of finding audiences, with The New Tropic’s Ariel Zirulnick, Reuters’ Emily Stephenson, Charlotte Agenda’s Andrew Dunn, and the Center for Community Self-Help’s Ricky Leung. Moderated by Daily Tar Heel visual managing editorJosé Valle.

6 p.m. Happy Hour at Linda’s Bar & Grill
Downstairs at 203 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill

Meet your fellow journalists at the Daily Tar Heel’s unofficial annex for a reception sponsored by Democracy Fund

8 p.m. Authority: A story slam
VENUE CHANGE: Linda’s Downbar, 203 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill,

Join The Daily Tar Heel for a night of true stories, told live, without notes, at TRU Wine Bar. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; storytelling begins at 8 with DTH historian Ken Zogry.

The Daily Tar Heel was once known as the cradle for the “baby radicals” of the campus and the state. In honor of that history, our inaugural story slam’s theme is “AUTHORITY.” The best true, five-minute story on that theme will win a $25 cash prize. Bring your game. No notes allowed. Tickets: $7.50/person

Saturday, Feb. 18:

8:30 a.m.: Coffee with Democracy Fund
Freedom Forum, Carroll Hall, UNC Campus

Conference registration, raffle tickets, merchandise for sale, etc.

9 a.m.: Media skills beyond the newsroom
Room 253 Carroll Hall, UNC Campus

Everything you ever wanted to know about using your journalism skills in new places. We’ll include freelance tips, career changes, business management and your Q&A. Ricky Leung (online communications manager for Self-Help), and photographer Grant Halverson. Moderated by DTH opinion editor Tyler Fleming.

9 a.m. More than spellcheck: How to be an audience-first editor
Room 283, Carroll Hall, UNC Campus

Want to be an editor? Some of the best in the business — Courtney Rukan from the Washington Post, Jenny Abella from the Washington Post Magazine, and Jen McDonald, a former editor at the New York Times — will discuss how to advocate for readers and make stories shine. Moderated by Daily Tar Heel managing editor Hannah Smoot.

9 a.m.: Pulitzer standards, local stories.
Freedom Forum, Carroll Hall, UNC Campus

A sharp, hard look at what community newsrooms can do to practice world-class reporting with the resources on hand. With Roanoke Times’ Sara Gregory, ProPublica’s Adriana Gallardo, WAMU’s Bec Feldhaus Adams and Fiona Morgan of Free Press. Moderated by The Daily Tar Heel’s Kiana Cole.

10 a.m.: Coffee and Pastries with Democracy Fund
Freedom Forum, Carroll Hall, UNC Campus

10:30 a.m. Truth and Trust: Covering the Trump Administration
Freedom Forum, Carroll Hall, UNC Campus

CNN’s Eugene Scott, Huffington Post’s Julia Craven, Reuters’ Emily Stephenson, the Boston Globe’s Matt Viser, the Washington Post’s Peter Wallsten and other notables who are covering Donald Trump and the presidential transition will discuss how their coverage has evolved to accurately report on an unprecedented president-elect. (Submit questions in advance.) Moderated by Daily Tar Heel state and national editor Corey Risinger.

12:15 p.m. WHAT’S NEXT? Part 2: What’s your problem?
Freedom Forum, Carroll Hall, UNC Campus

Civic media matters — but how to start? Innovators including the Fayetteville Observer’s Matt Leclercq, DTH senior advertising account manager Payton Collier and others will get candid about their problems in a lightning-round session, and then will break out into brainstorming sessions. Moderated by Daily Tar Heel newsroom adviser and brand studio director Erica Perel (DTH EIC ’98). Want to present your “problem”? Email

12:15 p.m.: Fellowships and funding
Room 283, Carroll Hall, UNC Campus

Winning money to work on a dream project, taking your journalism skills outside the newsroom, and more. Fellows and foundation pros, including 2013 Nieman fellow Jen McDonald and Democracy Fund’s Teresa Gorman and Hodding Carter, former president and CEO of the Knight Foundation, will offer advice. Moderated by Daily Tar Heel online managing editor Danny Nett.

2 p.m. Lunch at Hickory Tavern
370 E. Main St. #110, Carrboro

Conference attendees are invited to have lunch together at Hickory Tavern in Carrboro. We’ll also take your best ideas for the DTH’s 125th birthday celebrations. (Note: This was originally supposed to be a game-watching party, but tip-off is now Saturday evening.)

6:30 p.m. Dinner/Awards at R&R Grill
137 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill

We will honor our 2017 Distinguished Alumnus, give updates on the current state of the Daily Tar Heel, and raffle off prizes, as alumni from multiple generations have a chance to reconnect over dinner. Banquet tickets: $35 for non-alumni.