Welcome to the
Orange County Press Club!

The Orange County Press Club exists to support, promote, and defend quality journalism in Southern California. We believe that a free press is crucial to a free society.

The Excellence in Journalism Day conference is now FREE!

The conference begins at 9 a.m. in Memorial Hall, with attendees dispersing about 9:20 a.m. for breakout sessions in Argyros Forum.

Excellence in Journalism Day workshop schedule

Argyros Forum

Room 206A

9:30 a.m.

Norberto Santana, Jr.

Taming Local Government: A How-To Guide for Covering a Government Beat

How to source and get documents at public agencies and make even the most powerful politicians take your phone call. A session on general tips for covering local city halls and countywide mega agencies delivering critical health and human services, law enforcement as well as providing transportation and recreation facilities.

10:30 a.m.

Terry Wimmer

Math for dummies, er , journalists

If you thought going into journalism was a way to avoid math, well you got it wrong. Numbers are key to high level reporting. Employers demand it. So, be done with that number phobia. 

11:30 a.m.

Michele Nicolosi

Digital Tools for Journalists

If you're regretting the fact that you haven't done much yet with Twitter and other online tools yet, this is the session for you. This presentation will tour of a number of digital tools that can help you get started on a new beat, can help you track down sources quickly when news breaks and help you discover new sources and stories on your beat. We'll cover how to find and connect with sources on Twitter and Facebook, how to use Twitter to search for sources and news within 15 miles (or five) miles of your city, how to find sources who witnessed a breaking news event, or know someone involved in a breaking news event. We'll briefly discuss using Linked In to track down sources. We'll also look at how to search for just images on Google, and how to search for news and blog items in just the past few days -- to narrow your results if you're trying to track down something recent. We'll also talk about how to search sites -- for example, the site of the city you are covering -- for just Excel documents or just pdfs. This kind of search can turn up reports you didn't know about. Always worth a try. We'll also look at a few sites that make it easy to share your portfolio with sources and others. 

2 p.m.- 4p.m. Special double session

Claudia Rowe

Solutions Journalism: Covering What Works Without Advocacy or Fluff

For a lot of reporters, the term Solutions Journalism suggests advocacy or, worse, fluff. But real Solutions Journalism is hard-edged reporting that shines a light on quiet successes with the potential for system-changing impact. These stories don’t read as dewy-eyed 'happy news'. They work on any beat from business to transportation and when done correctly, raise hard questions about leaders bent on ignoring real-life answers to costly social problems. Better yet, readers respond to solutions stories. They activate. They see a reason to engage – both with their communities and their newspapers. This session covers the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of Solutions Journalism: what kinds of topics lend themselves to a solutions lens, and how to find them, vet them and tell them well.

Room 206 B

9:30 a.m.

Joe Little

Surviving & thriving as an MMJ (aka a multimedia journalist) 

Small, quick, and efficient is the name of the game in the modern need-news-now era.  However, that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice quality. This lecture will be perfect for reporters willing to gather video on their own.  Participants will learn tips on shooting creatively, managing time, and a writing style that promotes creativity and personal relationships with the viewer.  Joe Little will also make you smile.

10:30 a.m.

Keith Esparros

Investigative TV Journalism -- Why It still Matters

In a world of fractured audiences, instant access to all information, and amid the digital revolution—investigative and enterprise work still matters and can "move the needle."It's more important than ever to do important stories that make differences. Excellence may indeed be its own reward, but the reward is wider, when investigative and enterprise journalism is produced at its best. Investigative reporting transcends time in the digital universe.



11:30 a.m.

Michele Gile

Get on the air, get it right and get the big one

Any television reporter will tell you one of the worst sins is to miss slot! We'll explore how to drum up compelling and visual stories on a slow day. And how to manage those days when you're moved to three different breaking news stories, have the lead piece and still have to crank out a package!

2 p.m.


3 p.m.

Charles Apple

Graphics for Word People

What is an infographic? What kind of story really needs to have a graphic with it? More importantly, what kinds of graphics should we NOT do as journalists? We'll give you a primer and show you examples of interesting visual journalism and non-narrative ways to tell a story.

Room 206 C

9:30 a.m.

Samantha Dunn

This is The Voice

Great writers are said to have a "voice," but what does that mean for journalists and the idea of being objective? This workshops explores techniques for developing a voice that both engages readers and deserves their trust.


10:30 a.m.

Gustavo Arellano
Turning Your Work into a Book (or Movie. Or TV Show. Or Play. Or...)

We all think our finest work should make us into the next David Simon -- but how do you get there? How do you get your features onto the radar of Hollywood, or the book agents of New York? This workshop shows you how, featuring tips from someone who's had his work sold in virtually every format imaginable (but no show yet -- hmm...)


11:30 a.m.

Gary Metzker & Michelle Zenarosa

Student journalists making Waves

VoiceWaves is a Long Beach youth-led journalism and media-training project. The youth, ages 16-24, are learning to report, write, and create digital journalism content. Their reports will raise awareness of healthy community issues and activate change action. New America Media, with the support of The California Endowment, the Knight Foundation and in partnership with Building Healthy Communities, launched VoiceWaves in May 2011. The project, based at 741 Atlantic Avenue trains youth to use digital photography, video, radio and social media as community engagement tools to produce a Healthy Long Beach. They are gaining skills that will help them throughout their life, and earn experience that they can turn into a career.

2 p.m.

Don Bartletti

Telling the never-ending story of immigration – A photojournalist’s view

Powerful images help shape the public’s memory of events both mundane and historic.  Photojournalist Don Bartletti will share both – and he’ll show important moments from his ultra-long-term devotion to the causes and consequences of undocumented immigration between Latin America and the U.S.  “Over the past 40 years I’ve learned not to be timid, an egocentric artist or a crackpot with an agenda. Courage, humility and compassion kept me focused on this topic because it deserves contemporary reflection and historical preservation.”  He’ll share anecdotes about how he confronted people under stress and adhered to a code of ethics that can work for all journalists.  He’ll show how he struggled to find both substance and style that helped certain photographs “read” like a finely crafted narrative.” He will detail the value of a photojournalist / reporter team and why he occasionally worked independently -- and his reporters were better off doing the same.  And his illustrated lecture will amplify why he steadfastly photographs the good, bad and the really ugly, but avoids cheerleading for either extreme of this socially-complex and politically-charged topic. “It’s the reader’s job to change the world.”

3 p.m.

Rob Curley

Community Newspapering: What Serving an Audience Really Means

Rob Curley joined the Orange County Register in June 2012 with a clear mission: build communities and make people’s lives better by expanding and enhancing the Register’s community newspaper portfolio. Hear how he coaches his team to re-energize stories told in traditional fashion into an interesting and creatively packaged “works of art” that delight print and digital readers. He is a key leader in the Register’s subscriber-focused business model, focusing his energies on what modern-day community newspapers can do exclusively (which Curley refers to as “Google-proofing content”) or better than other media.


Room 209 A

9:30 a.m.

Martin J. Smith

10 Hours a Week -- How to Balance Your Day Job and a Writing Career

Do you aspire to write a book, but can’t figure out how to find the time amid your day job and other life demands? It can be done! Find out how with practical advice that acknowledges the reality of working a job to pay the bills, but also chasing the bigger dream of writing more substantial stuff. Martin J. Smith has written four crime novels and three nonfiction books, all without quitting his day job as a journalist. How does he do it? The editor-in-chief of Orange Coast magazine talks about how to manage parallel careers, all in just 10 extra hours per week.

10:30 a.m.

Caitlin Rother

How Much Violence is Too Much?

Although some fiction writers incorporate details of graphic violence into their books, the handling of such topics in narrative non-fiction often doesn't play as well for readers because it's so real. NYT bestselling author Caitlin Rother will discuss how to write about sensitive topics such as murder, abuse, trauma or illness by going for the emotional and psychological angles rather than focusing on the violent details. 


11:30 a.m.

Amy DePaul

Working the Beat for Enterprise Stories

Tips, strategies and discussion on the best way to report on beats for enterprise stories that stay relevant beyond the 24-hour news cycle. We’ll talk about how to develop stories that question conventional wisdom, examine complex social problems and give voice to overlooked communities. Some techniques include combing data for surprising, high-impact facts and using ethnographic and participatory approaches in research. I’ll draw on my experiences covering public health and immigrant health issues in Southern California and will encourage participants to share their own successes, with a focus on sociological reportage that fuses data, storytelling and analysis – not to mention strategic use of multi-media elements.

2 p.m.

Martin Dugard

From Journalist to Author ... And Back Again

Using the lessons and skills of the journalistic world to make the transition into the world of nonfiction books. Dugard will explore how he was able to apply his journalism skills to become a successful author – and what he learned from book writing that can be applied to become a better journalist.

3 p.m.

Abigail Goldman

Navigating Your Newsroom – Patience and Persistence Can Pay Off

Abigail Goldman was a young beat reporter with an idea developed with another beat reporter for an in-depth examination, but their editor rejected it. So Abbe and her colleague went back to pounding their beats, reworked the pitch and were ready when their editor moved on. They pitched the new editor, who loved their idea and gave them time and encouragement. The resulting work won a Pulitzer Prize. While persistence and patience are valuable traits for journalists during newsgathering, they’re also invaluable traits inside the newsroom. Acquire tips on managing your newsroom relationships wisely – and thrive.

Room 209 C

9:30 a.m.

James V. Grimaldi

The Seven Deadly FOIA & CPRA Sins

Confessions of an investigative reporter who has filed hundreds of Freedom of Information Act and Public Records Act requests over the years. As he admits his mistakes, he gives you lessons and strategies on how to get the documents you need to make your investigative, enterprise or even feature story.

10:30 a.m.

Susan Kelleher

Going deep, quickly

Take your reporting to the next level by learning how to turn even routine stories like candidate profiles and the weather into quick investigations. Using a few real-life examples, we’ll show how asking the right questions, finding the right experts and going after documents can change the world.

11:30 a.m.

David Hasemyer

It’s as easy as doing the obvious

Next time you’re tempted to go to the county Health Department for that quick hitter on restaurant sanitation grades, take a little detour and check the county’s Hazardous Materials Division instead.  A bad grade for a cockroach is one thing, but a bad grade for a leaking container of radium is another. As part of the investigative reporting session you’ll get an overview of researching out-of-the-ordinary topics.

2 p.m.

Jeff Gottlieb & Ruben Vives

Corruption in Bell: A Case Study

How the Los Angeles Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into the massive corruption in the southeast L.A. County city of Bell can be used as a primer for investigating wrongdoing in government and even in the private sector.



3 p.m.

Kim Christensen, Susan Kelleher, Terry Wimmer

Covering local stories with national implications: The fertility fraud scandal

It has been almost 20 years since the Orange County Register won the Pulitzer Prize for revealing the theft of eggs and embryos from UCI's Center for Reproductive Health. Much has changed in the egg harvesting business and much has changed in the lives of the people who broke the story. Join three members of the reporting and editing team as they share how they broke the story and its consequences.












 Eleven Pulitzer Prize winners, Emmy-winning broadcasters and New York Time best-selling nonfiction authors will provide inspiration and share their skills during a day of workshops.

The conference is open to everyone

Who’s presenting so far:

Claudia Rowe, education solutions reporter, The Seattle Times

 Gustavo Arellano, editor, OC Weekly, author, commentator

Charles Apple, Focus Page editor, Orange County Register

Norberto Santana Jr., editor-in-chief, Voice of OC

Keith Esparros, investigative reporter, KNBC/4, Los Angeles

Don Bartletti, Los Angeles Times photographer, Pulitzer Prize winner

Michele Gile, Orange County bureau  chief, KCBS/2,KCAL/9

James V. Grimaldi, The Wall Street Journal, Pulitzer Prize winner

Susan Kelleher, The Seattle Times, Pulitzer Prize winner

David Hasemyer,  freelance investigative journalist/InsideCliimate.com, Pulitzer Prize winner

Michele Nicolosi, The Orange County Register, Pulitzer Prize winner

Martin Dugard, nonfiction author of three New York Times best-sellers with Bill O’Reilly

Amy DePaul, nonfiction author, UCI literary journalism program

Caitlin Rother, nonfiction author, UC San Diego Extension

Ruben Vives, Los Angeles Times, Pulitzer Prize winner

Abigail Goldman, LA Times, Pulitzer Prize winner

Gary Metzker,Chapman University, Pulitzer Prize winner

Joe Little, multimedia journalist, KGTV/10, San Diego, Emmy winner

 Gary Reynolds, senior director of production operations, ESPN

Rob Curley, editor, Orange County Register

Kim Christensen, Los Angeles Times, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner

Jeff Gottlieb, Los Angeles Times, Pulitzer Prize winner

Terry Wimmer, University of Arizona journalism professor, Pulitzer Prize winner

Martin J. Smith, editor, Orange Coast Magazine, nonfiction author

Samantha Dunn, writing coach, author, journalist, freelancer

Join us for a day of inspiration and learning more about the craft!

 Join the Orange County Press Club!

Student Membership / $10

Working Journalist / $25

PR Membership / $50  
OC Press Club Membership

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