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SPJ Conference Panels- Schedule



SPJ Region 12 conference

Crowne Plaza

Lafayette, La.

March 30-31, 2012



Registration 3-8 p.m.

Opening night reception, 6-8 p.m. Seafood gumbo, red beans and rice, cash bar and Cajun and zydeco music by JoJo Reed and the Happy Hill Band

Hospitality suite




Breakfast speaker: Alejandro Junco de la Vega, publisher of El Norte in Monterrey and Reforma in Mexico City, living in self-imposed exile in Austin, Texas, because of death threats from drug traffickers.

Buffet: Coffee, juices, scrambled eggs, bacon, grits, mini-muffins and biscuits



Survivor! (Newspaper style)

Publishers and editors of newspapers of varying size markets and ownership examine the business model they believe newspapers will, or should, embrace in the coming decade to remain viable.

          Moderator: TBA

          • Cherry Fisher May, co-publisher of The Independent, free-circulation, locally owned weekly in Lafayette.

          • Will Chapman, publisher of The Daily Iberian (circ. 14,400) in New Iberia, La. (Wick Communications)

          • Carl Redman, executive editor, The Advocate, (circ. 83,200) in Baton Rouge, urban daily locally owned by Capital City Press.

          • Dwayne Fatherree, platforms editor of The Daily Advertiser (30,400 circ.) in Lafayette, Gannett- owned urban daily


The Relevance of Radio: Where Does it Go from Here?

          Radio has had to adapt to new realities twice before, once with the advent of television, now with the arrival of the Internet. What will radio’s niche be in journalism in the digital age?

          Moderator: Bill Davie, Ph.D., broadcast professor, UL Lafayette

          • Jim Engster, president of the Louisiana Radio Network and host of “The Jim Engster Show” on WRKF-FM, NPR affiliate in Baton Rouge

          •Dave Spizale, general manager, KRVS-FM, NPR affiliate, UL Lafayette

          •Suzanne Ferrara, former radio and TV reporter



 Sports Celebrities and Journalists

          Platforms and technologies may be changing, but sportswriters and athletes still have to deal with one another. Hear about the relationship from both sides.

          Moderator: Scott Brazda, former sports director, KATC-TV3, Lafayette and adjunct journalism professor, UL Lafayette

          •Chris Gannon, former tight end for the New England Patriots and San Diego Chargers

          • Cavan Bordelon, former sports director, KLFY-TV10 in Lafayette and current sportscaster for the Louisiana IceGators hockey team

          • Kevin Foote, sports editor of The Daily Advertiser and host of the radio sports program in “Footenotes” Lafayette

  Reflections on the 2012 Campaign

          A pollster and a political scientist and media consultant offer their assessments of the 2012 campaign a week after the Louisiana primary and three weeks after Super Tuesday and offer suggestions that could improve media coverage this fall.

          Moderator: Robert Buckman, Ph.D., UL Lafayette journalism professor and freelance political reporter

      •Kurt Corbello, Ph.D., director of the Southeastern Poll at Southeastern Louisiana University

          •Pearson Cross, Ph.D., head of political science department, UL Lafayette, and political consultant for KATC-TV3 in Lafayette



Mark of Excellence Awards Luncheon

Speaker: John Ed Bradley, author of such popular novels as Tupelo Nights and his non-fiction memoir on LSU football, It Never Rains in Tiger Stadium; former reporter for The Washington Post and regular contributor to Sports Illustrated and Esquire.

Buffet: Tossed green salad, chicken and sausage jambalaya, crawfish étouffée with rice, corn maque choux, smothered green beans, baked rolls, bread pudding with bourbon sauce, iced tea and coffee



Plenary Session: Dark Clouds Over Sunshine Laws

A press association lobbyist, SPJ’s Region 12 sunshine chair, a media attorney and two reporters with horror stories discuss growing threats to public access and how to fight them.

          •Sherry Lee Alexander, Ph.D., Loyola University communication professor and Region 12 Sunshine Chair; author of Covering the Courts, The Media and American Courts and Courtroom Carnival: Famous New Orleans Trials

          •Pam Mitchell, executive director, Louisiana Press Association

          •Jim Hashek, media attorney and faculty adviser for the Driftwood, University of New Orleans.

          • Elizabeth Hill, reporter for KATC-TV3 in Lafayette, who fought a public records access battle with St. Landry Parish over files of pending rape cases.

          • Heather Miller, reporter for The Independent Weekly in Lafayette, who won a public meetings battle with the mayor of St. Martinville, La., while she was a reporter for the Daily Iberian



The BP Oil Spill Plus Two: Lessons Learned

It became a national mega-story, right here in our back yard. Four experts who dealt with the disaster discuss what the media did right and what it did wrong—in case it ever happens again.

          Moderator: Derek Albert, freelance environmental writer, St. Martinville, La.

          •Mark Schleifstein, Pulitzer Prize-winning environmental reporter, The Times-Picayune, New Orleans

          •Robert Twilley, Ph.,D., vice president of research, UL Lafayette, and an expert on coastal restoration, who was interviewed by NPR during the spill

          •Charlie Whinham, news anchor, host of “Louisiana: The State we’re In” on Louisiana Public Broadcasting

          •Sandy Davis, reporter, The Advocate, Baton Rouge


 The Relevance of Photojournalism: Do Still Photographs Have a Future?

          Some of the most iconic images since the Civil War have been still photographs. With media websites increasingly using video, will old-fashioned shutter-snappers still have a role?

          Moderator: Alice Ferguson, communication professor, UL Lafayette

          • Peter Piazza, veteran of more than 34 years as a photojournalist with The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette.

          • Philip Gould, renowned freelance photographer and illustrator of several books on Louisiana culture


ALSO: Book signings, résumé critiques and a roundtable where staffers of college newspapers, broadcast stations and websites can meet and exchange ideas


Hospitality suite! Watch the Final Four with some free beer and food (no, seriously!)


Times, moderators and additional panelists to be announced

Keynote Speaker: John Ed Bradley


JOHN ED BRADLEY is the author of six novels, including Tupelo Nights and Restoration. Sports Illustrated named his seventh book, the memoir It Never Rains in Tiger Stadium, the Best Sports Book of the Year in 2007.

Bradley is a former staff writer for The Washington Post. His books have been translated into seven languages and his magazine writing has been widely anthologized, appearing in such volumes as Best American Sports Writing, The Greatest Football Stories Ever Told, and Sports Illustrated: Fifty Years of Great Writing.

Bradley is a former contributing editor at Esquire, and he worked as a special contributor at Sports Illustrated from 1993 to 2009, writing feature stories about some of the top sports stars and events of our time. He also has written for GQ and the New York Times’ Play Magazine, and he has appeared as a guest commentator on ESPN Classics, CBS Sports, and ABC’s Wide World of Sports

Bradley grew up in Opelousas, Louisiana, the son of a football coach and elementary school teacher. He was an All-State center in high school and a four-year letterman at LSU. In 1979, his senior year, he was a team captain and named All-SEC as well as Academic All-SEC. He graduated from LSU in 1980 with a BA in English (Creative Writing).

He lives today in Mandeville, Louisiana, with his wife Kimberly and daughter Hannah.

Breakfast Speaker: Alejandro Junco


Alejandro Junco has made it his life’s work to achieve true freedom of speech in the country of his birth.

Born in 1948, in Monterrey, Mexico, he was educated both in Mexico and the United States, obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin in 1969.

In 1973, when he became publisher of the family newspaper in Monterrey, El Norte, Mr. Junco hired one of his former UT journalism professor, Mary Gardner, to train his young reporters in journalistic techniques and ethics.

This initiative was, in time, to change the face of journalism in Mexico.

The newspaper cast aside all the practices that had compromised and muzzled a free press in that country. The strategy was an outstanding success.

Despite numerous setbacks and increasing danger to himself and his journalists from the cartels, Alejandro Junco de la Vega and his defiant editorial practices have raised the quality of Mexican journalism and increased public awareness.

El Norte grew from 17 local reporters to more than 800 nationwide and the quality of journalism of those new reporters was to not only transform a #2 local newspaper into a #1 national chain but would subsequently play a pivotal role in bringing democracy to a nation.

Junco has built one of the most powerful newspaper conglomerates in Latin America, with dailies in Mexico’s three largest cities: Mexico City (Reforma) – which today ranks  number one among Mexico’s elite readership – Guadalajara (Mural), and Monterrey (El Norte).

Aside from his accomplishments in establishing an independent press, Alejandro Junco has also opened greater access to public information by promoting access laws. 

Junco is presently focusing much of his efforts to education.

He is presently working with the University of Texas for  The Alejandro Junco Scholarships for Study of US – Mexico Social Problems. A program to research social problems of deep contemporary importance to Mexican Society and bilateral relations between Mexico and the United States.

He has also joined forces with the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW)  in San Antonio to develop a program for UIW doctoral candidates to encourage them to focus on micro-issues plaguing Mexican life, from dysfunctional legal practices to education, health and energy.

Grupo Reforma, as his seven daily newspaper publishing group is known, has been the most instrumental factor in the evolution of journalism in the country in the last 30 years.