MPI Presents: Google Tools For Your Newsroom

Join us for this one-day workshop to learn how all of the free Google tools can help your newsroom build interactive charts, maps, visualizations and more.

Tools we’ll cover include Google Trends, MyMaps, Earth Pro, Earth Engine Timelapse, Google Scholar, and data scraping with Google Sheets.

Join us Friday, June 29, in Champaign, Illinois by registering here
Join us Friday, October 5, in Bloomington, Indiana by registering here


Lead by Mike Reilley, founder of The Journalists’ Toolbox, this one-day workshop will also cover how to use Google’s Image Search/verification.

Coffee and lunch will be provided.

Mike Reilley is an Society of Professional Journalists digital trainer who has taught Google News Lab tools to more than 3,000 journalists and educators for more than two years. When he’s not on the road doing trainings, he teaches data and multimedia journalism at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

A former reporter at the LA Times and web editor at the Chicago Tribune, Reilley served for 13 years as a faculty member at Northwestern, Arizona State University and DePaul University, teaching digital journalism to hundreds of students and professional journalists.

He holds journalism degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (undergrad) and Northwestern University (masters). Mike founded and updates the research site The Journalist’s Toolbox ( for SPJ.

Find him on Twitter @journtoolbox or reach him via email:


MPI Presents: Great Bosses Boot Camp

Join the Mid-America Press Institute on Saturday March 24 for a workshop on how to be a great newsroom boss.

Lead by management expert Jill Geisler, this one-day interactive event will cover key topics from managing change, tough conversations, workplace integrity and creating an audience-focused culture.

Saturday, March 24, 2018 from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM CDT
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 333 West State Street, Milwaukee, WI 53203.
Register today at

The workshop will be hosted from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, located at 333 W. State St., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and includes sessions on:

Ten Things Great Bosses Know: A look at what sets the top managers apart from the others – in everyday, practical choices that pay big dividends

Creating an Audience-Focused Culture: An interactive exercise that will help you see how well your team is doing and what you can change. Bonus: You can use this exercise to improve other aspects of your newsroom culture, too!

Managing Change – Five Key Accelerators: How do you turn your good new ideas into action – quickly? These keys will help you succeed.

Tough Conversations and Workplace Integrity: As a leader, it’s your job to tackle tough issues – from mediocrity to misconduct. How do you find the words, the tone, the timing to have the all-important difficult conversations? We’ll use real-world issues for real-time practice.

Geisler is the Bill Plante Chair in Leadership and Media Integrity at Loyola University Chicago and an internationally recognized expert in leadership and management. She is also the author of “Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know” and “News Leadership at the Head of the Class.” She writes a monthly management column for the Columbia Journalism Review. Her podcasts, including “Q&A: Leadership and Integrity in the Digital Age” have had millions of downloads worldwide.

Cost to attend $40 for MPI members and $50 for nonmembers.

Lunch is included.

For more information, please contact MPI co-director Pam Dempsey at or call (505) 409-7070.

Free online training: Building news bots

Join the Knight Center at the University of Texas for this free online training course. Building Bots for Journalism: Software You Talk With.

News organizations from around the world have been experimenting with news bots.

You can register early here for the free online course “Building Bots for Journalism: Software You Talk With,” taught by John Keefe, a journalist-developer from New York City. This four-week online course starts on February 12 and ends on March 11, 2018.

In this new course, you will learn how to create a bot, “a software program that responds to humans like a human, either through text or speech. You’ll then learn how to make that program accessible to others, including the general public, via several popular platforms, including SMS, Amazon Alexa, and Facebook Messenger.”

John works at Quartz as a developer in the Quartz Bot Studio and product manager of Quartz’s mobile apps. I consider Quartz one of the most innovative news sites in the world, and I am grateful that John will be teaching this Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for the Knight Center. John also teaches about bots and rapid prototyping at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

This course was meant for journalists but is open to anyone from anywhere in the world interested in the topic. For more details about the program, please visit the course page, where you can find also instructions on how to register:

National computer-assisted reporting conference to be hosted in Chicago

Join Investigative Reporters and Editors and the National Institute for Computer Assisted Reporting in Chicago for our annual conference devoted to data journalism, March 8-11, 2018 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile.

Come and learn about tools you need to dig deeper into stories and give readers, viewers and your online audience the information they’re demanding.

The Computer-Assisted Reporting Conference offers something for everyone, from beginners to those on the cutting edge of digital reporting. Its offer everything from the basics on using spreadsheets, databases and online mapping to data visualization and the latest technological advances.

You’ll come away with story ideas, plenty of inspiration and tools to help you overcome typical data hurdles. Bypass the budget issues in your newsroom by taking hands-on classes in free software.

Get a look at what the biggest names in data-driven reporting are using to make a major impact online. Learn from the best in the business in discussions and during hands-on training sessions.

The conference begins Thursday, March 8 at 9 a.m. and runs all day Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Sessions will end by 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 11.

Click here for more information.

Bots, drones, augmented reality to be featured at national mobile journalism conference

Top digital journalists, innovators and researchers from universities and news organizations across the nation will lead this year’s MobileMe&You conference, which is set for Oct. 20 and 21 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

MPI members save big! Register online at

MobileMe&You 2017 is a journalism and technology conference focused on storytelling on mobile media platforms while highlighting new and innovative techniques and best practices for newsgathering.

The presenters, who include journalists from newsrooms such as The Washington Post, CNN, Quartz, Univision and the Onion, will talk about informing and engaging new audiences in the mobile era. They will cover a variety of techniques and reporting tools, including bots, drones, augmented reality, virtual reality, 360 video and mobile platforms.

Speakers also will discuss geographically targeted place-based messaging, audience engagement and the latest mobile media research from the Pew Research Center.

This year’s conference will feature demonstrations from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, which is co-hosting the conference. The first major commercial web browser, Mosaic, was developed at the NCSA.

Donna Cox, director of the center’s Advanced Visualization Laboratory and the Illinois Emerging Digital Research and Education in Arts Media Institute (eDream), has helped with conference planning and is organizing the demonstrations.

She and her collaborators have created cinematic virtual tours through astrophysics, earth sciences, engineering and other data domains. The laboratory’s work is shared through venues such as international digital-dome museum shows, high-definition documentary television programs and IMAX movies.

Among this year’s speakers:

●       Ashley Codianni, CNN Worldwide
●       Megan Elliott, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
●       Joe Fullman, The Onion
●       Val Hoeppner, Val Hoeppner Media and Consulting
●       Christopher Meighan, The Washington Post
●       Raju Narisetti, Gizmodo Media Group, Univision Communications, Inc.
●       Dan Pacheco, Syracuse University
●       Aron Pilhofer, Temple University
●       Susan Poulton, Franklin Institute
●       Judd Slivka, University of Missouri
●       Aaron Smith, Pew Research Center
●       Almudena Toral, Univision News Digital
●       Matt Waite, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
●       Emily Withrow, Quartz Bot Studio

Since its inception in 2015, MobileMe&You has helped more than 400 journalists and students learn how to better use mobile and digital tools in reporting.

The conference is organized by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Knight Chairs in Investigative Reporting at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University, Univision News and The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, with generous funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the College of Media at Illinois, and the Knight Chairs.

MPI members save big! Register online at


IRE: 2017 Des Moines Watchdog Workshop

IRE will bring its acclaimed Watchdog Workshop series to Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, Sept. 30 hosted by the Des Moines Register.

Get a free one-year membership and all-day training on how to dig deeper.

IRE will offer several of its core sessions, designed to improve your ability to find information on the Web quickly, and point you to key documents and data that will help you add depth to your daily work and produce quick-hit enterprise stories. In addition, this workshop will give you tips on building a watchdog culture, navigating FOI and open records laws, and digging deeper on the Web with social media, search engines and more.

These sessions are designed for reporters, editors, and producers from small, midsize and large publications, TV, radio stations, Web-only news sites and news blogs. Freelancers, students and journalism educators are also encouraged to attend.

We’ll also offer optional computer-assisted reporting hands-on training Sunday, Oct. 1. These skills are crucial in a time when more and more data is available. You’ll learn how analyzing information with spreadsheets can better inform your reporting. The skills you’ll acquire can be put to work right away to helping you be a better watchdog. Seating is limited, so register early.

Registration includes a one-year IRE membership for attendees who meet the IRE membership terms and a one-year membership renewal for current IRE members. Some of the benefits included with IRE membership are access to reporting tipsheets, training resources and more. Please note that registration is limited, however, so sign up today.

Additional information including the schedule, pricing and registration details can be found here.

This program is made possible thanks to support from the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation.


MPI Presents: News Literacy, Fake News and the First Amendment

Join us Sept. 20 for a one-day seminar on increasing your news literacy to better report stories for your audiences.

The one-day seminar — “News Literacy, Fake News and the First Amendment” —  will cover how to recognize and verify news, the role of the First Amendment and how to combat fake news.

Deadline to register is Wednesday, Sept. 13. The seminar will be at Briar Ridge Country Club 123 Country Club Drive Schererville, IN 46375

Stephanie Craft and Ben Holden, both of the College of Media at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Peter Adams of the News Literacy Project in Chicago will lead the day’s sessions.

Cost is $30 for MPI members, $35 for non-members and $20 for students. Lunch is included. Register online at

For more information, please contact MPI co-director Pam Dempsey at

Peter Adams is the News Literacy Project’s senior vice president for educational programs and is based in Chicago. Peter began his career in education as a classroom teacher in the New York City schools through Teach For America. He has also taught in the Chicago public schools and at Roosevelt University and Chicago City Colleges’ Wilbur Wright campus. In addition, he has worked with the New York City Teaching Fellows Program, with After School Matters and as an independent education consultant.

Stephanie Craft is an Associate Professor of Journalism at Illinois. Her research addresses news literacy, press practices and journalism ethics. With funding from the McCormick Foundation, Craft and two colleagues developed a measure of news literacy and conducted research demonstrating a relationship between news literacy and political participation and conspiracy theory endorsement. Her work has appeared in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Journal of Mass Media Ethics, Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism, International Journal of Public Opinion Research and Journalism Educator. With Charles Davis, she is author of the journalism textbook Principles of American Journalism, published by Routledge. Before earning a PhD at Stanford University, Craft worked as a newspaper journalist.

Ben Holden teaches media law and news reporting in the Department of Journalism at the University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign College of Media and is a visiting faculty member at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada. He was formerly an associate professor and director of the Reynolds National Center for Courts & Media at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). The Center is an affiliate of the National Judicial College on the UNR campus. Mr. Holden’s media consulting work includes assignments in the former Yugoslavia (Kosovo) on behalf of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the U.S. State Department to aid judges, journalists, and public information officers in developing professional press coverage of the courts. Previously, he practiced law at the Bay Area media law firm Cooper, White & Cooper and was Editor-in-Chief of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer in Columbus, Ga., a McClatchy newspaper. He spent his daily news reporting career at The Wall Street Journal, where he was eventually the Journals national utilities correspondent.


For nearly 50 years, Mid-America Press Institute has trained hundreds of journalists and students in the Midwest through affordable seminars that connect experts, veteran reporters and industry leaders with its members to increase their skill set and networking opportunities. Visit online at or follow us on Facebook or Twitter @MidAmericaPress

New leadership, new home for Mid-America Press Institute

The Mid-America Press Institute, a newsroom training association approaching its fifth decade, has relocated to Champaign, Illinois, and is now under new management.

The move was finalized August 1.

The Mid-America Press Institute, a nonprofit offering low-cost training to mid-career journalists, built its membership from newspapers across the Midwest and had been located at Eastern Illinois University since 1994.

Management of MPI is overseen by part-time co-directors, Brant Houston, the Knight Chair in Investigative Reporting at the University of Illinois, and Pam Dempsey, the executive director of the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, an online, nonprofit newsroom covering agribusiness and related issues.

“As journalism faces greater challenges than ever before, it’s exciting to see MPI focused on the future with new leadership and a renewed commitment to providing affordable, relevant training for mid-career journalists. Brant and Pam are a solid team,” said Erin Orr, managing editor for The Times Media Co. and MPI board member. “With MPI’s move to Champaign and its involvement with the Knight Chair at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Brant and Pam’s leadership, we expect MPI’s presence to grow, our membership to become more vibrant and diverse, and our workshops to more deeply reflect the needs of today’s journalists.”

Before joining the university in 2007, Houston was executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors for more than decade and a database editor and investigative reporter at newspapers for 17 years. He is author of four editions of “Computer-Assisted Reporting: A Practical Guide” and co-author of two editions of “The Investigative Reporter’s Handbook”. He also has been involved in the growth on nonprofit newsrooms in the U.S.

He has organized and spoken at more than 400 workshops and conferences over the past 20 years.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to work with MPI and not only help to improve the skills of professional journalists, but also to bring students together with those journalists as we prepare the next generation for the newsroom,” Houston said.

Dempsey, a former reporter for The News-Gazette in Champaign, Illinois, is a veteran journalist covering agribusiness and has reported on local and regional government, health, housing and Native American government through investigative and enterprise stories. Dempsey has helped develop many community engagement projects and coordinate the start-up of two online newsrooms. She also helped organize and run national and regional workshops for reporters and worked closely with Illinois Public Media.

“We are very excited to be part of MPI’s next chapter to better serve its members as we build upon the strong efforts of years past through the expanded power of our combined networks and resources,” Dempsey said.

MPI is now housed within the offices of Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.

Long-time director, John Ryan, retired as executive director in July from MPI.

“John Ryan and Eastern Illinois University are the best friends MPI has ever had. And MPI has had many wonderful friends and supporters over its nearly 50-year history,” said Dan Corkery, managing editor of The News-Gazette in Champaign, Illinois, and current chairman of the MPI board of directors. “Whether he was organizing a seminar, lining up speakers or chasing down lunch, John kept MPI moving forward — even when newspapers unwisely cut back on training.”

MPI, along with its foundation, was previously located at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston where Ryan taught.

Ryan served nearly eight years as executive director.

During his tenure, Ryan organized, directed and oversaw dozens of training seminars, raised thousands of dollars in donations and provided a strong base of resources for journalists across the area.

MPI’s initial home was at Southern Illinois University between 1968 through 1992, when it moved to the journalism school at the University of Kansas.

In 1994, MPI relocated to Eastern Illinois University under the leadership of John David Reed, who retired from the faculty in 2004 but remains emeritus and continued to serve MPI until 2009.

John Ryan became executive director in 2009 and continued in the position, even after his own retirement from the university’s faculty in 2015. He now remains an emeritus professor.

“John Ryan played an instrumental role in helping MPI work through the period after the economic collapse of 2008-09, which saw many newsrooms suffer significant staffing reductions and the loss of money for training. Overnight, we had to move to a different workshop model that would allow MPI to continue to offer affordable, valuable mid-career training to journalists,” said Margaret Holt, standards editor at the Chicago Tribune, a former MPI board chair and a current board member. “John reached out to numerous partners in press associations as well as newsrooms across the heartlands to make this work. Whether it was helping focus a workshop or turning up with discount store pop and doughnuts at our seminars, John kept things going. His work was invaluable and will always be appreciated.”


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