January 31, 2022

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Teaching the teachers with Teacha

You’ve been so patient, and at last we can reveal our plans for Teachapalooza 2022!

The event is set for June 10-12 both at our St. Petersburg, Florida, campus and — bonus! — we’ll be streaming it live for online participants.

Registration is $199, whether you’re in person or online. Register here to ensure your spot, because there’s an important caveat: We are capping the in-person attendance for now at 50. (Online attendance is unlimited.)

We’ve also reserved hotel rooms at a rate of $139 plus tax. After you sign up, you’ll hear from our program coordinator, who will send you the booking link and other program information.

We decided to cap in-person attendance at 50 to ensure we can properly distance ourselves. That COVID-19 protocol is subject to change, and it’s our hope that we can potentially open up this event to anyone who wants to visit gorgeous, sunny, beachy St. Pete (OK I might be a little homesick for it myself!).

And a special bonus add-on: We are going to offer a pre-conference session for $499 to 20 applicants who want to attend Diversity Across the Curriculum. If you apply to DAC and are accepted, you’ll get $100 off your Teachapalooza tuition. Hurry! Applications to that program are due quickly.

Conceptualized more than a decade ago by Poynter senior faculty Al Tompkins, Teacha (as we call it) is more than a conference or a class — it’s a pioneering community of journalism educators who value practicality above all else.

Our schedule of events, which will be released soon, runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Friday, June 10 and Saturday, June 11. There are a few things planned for Sunday, June 12, but we’ll let you loose around lunchtime. There will be optional evening outings on both Friday and Saturday.

Teachapalooza’s goal is to educate, delight and refresh you. Dozens and dozens of past Teacha participants can attest to the power of this gathering. It’s practical, fast-paced and fun. We hope you’ll join us in person or online, and please let us know if you have any questions by reaching out to me at ballen@poynter.org or our customer service team, info@poynter.org.

‘You don’t know when you’re walking out the door what you’re going to encounter’

Nazera Mohamed poses for photos in a sunflower field. (Photo by Renee Jones Schneider/Courtesy of The Star Tribune)

I think this eight-minute video from the staff of the Minneapolis Star Tribune is a must-show to your students. It’s a great behind-the-scenes peek at the hardships and rewards of being a journalist — especially a visual journalist. Here is the staff’s collection of their photos of the year.

Campus free speech

Students protest at Arizona State University in December 2021. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Last week, the Knight Foundation released “College Student Views on Free Expression and Campus Speech 2022,” which “examines how attitudes towards speech and free expression have changed since the 2020 racial justice movement and presidential election.”

You can read Knight’s summary here, and this Chronicle of Higher Education story does a nice job highlighting the findings, as well.

‘The Worst Day Ever’

Jan Winburn and her students at the University of Montana, along with her dog, Boomer. (Courtesy of Jan Winburn)

My friend Jan Winburn is writing a series for Nieman Storyboard having to do with her experience teaching at the University of Montana last semester. Winburn was the Fall 2021 T. Anthony Pollner Distinguished Professor, and she designed and taught a seminar called “The Worst Day Ever: Writing about Trauma.”

Her first piece, “An editor’s sensitive guide to interviewing victims of trauma,” is full of gems, like this graph: “We studied how trauma changes brain chemistry and can affect memory. We learned that a survivor of tragedy craves what has been lost: control. And that a reporter can respond to that need in small but important ways, by asking: Where would you like to be interviewed? Do you want anyone there with you? Can we continue, or do you need a break? We discussed what journalists can do to care for themselves after exposure to violence or tragedy, because vicarious and secondary trauma are real. But the question that persisted in my classroom was this: Why do we ask survivors to recount their experiences? Is doing so ethically or morally sound?”

If you’re hearing a lot about trauma, you might be interested in this story from Vox that popped up on my timeline this week: “How trauma became the word of the decade | The very real psychiatric term has become so omnipresent in pop culture that some experts worry it’s losing its meaning.”

Always looking for a solution?

An alert reader sent me a link to the Solutions Journalism Educators Academy, hosted by the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, in partnership with the Solutions Journalism Network. This annual event is for university journalism faculty who want to know more about teaching solutions journalism.

From their page: “The Solutions Journalism Educators Academy is a two-day training on teaching solutions journalism at the collegiate level. The Academy covers teaching the four qualities; framing, sourcing and finding solutions stories; advocacy, rigor and impostors; community engagement and interviewing; story structure; creating learning goals and objectives; and refining assignments and instructional activities.”

The academy takes place July 12-13 in Portland and expenses are covered by a grant from the Solutions Journalism Network, with funding from the Enlight Foundation.

Sometimes you just need to talk


Like many of you, I’m worried about student mental health. That’s why I was interested to see this story in Inside Higher Ed, “Students Embrace Peer Mental Health Counseling.” I dug a little deeper and found this Forbes article that explains more: “The goal of peer counseling programs is not to treat symptoms or crises, but to provide a necessary form of community support and intermediate care that could prevent further escalation of poor mental health.” Does your school have such a program? Is it considering one? That might be an interesting story for student media or a class assignment.

Headlines about higher ed

Great journalism to share with your students

Diversity, equity and inclusion

This week in fact checking

John Stockton made headlines this week for some pretty bananas misinformation he spread about COVID-19. I thought your students might like to see how PolitiFact debunked his false claims.

The Lead

This week, we featured “How one student newsroom integrated sports and news,” a piece by Sarah Wallace of Western University in London, Ontario.

Subscribe to The Lead, Poynter’s weekly newsletter for student journalists, and encourage your students to do the same.

One last thing

Somebody at Weber probably had a bad day at work.

Resources for educators

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Barbara Allen is the director of college programming for Poynter. Prior to that, she served as managing editor of Poynter.org. She spent two decades in…
Barbara Allen

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