8:00 AM – 8:30 AM – Registration & Continental Breakfast
8:30 AM – 9:15 AM – Welcome & Keynote
Russell Contreras, UNITY Board President; Neal Justin, Planning Committee Chair, Don Heider, Ph.D., Dean, School of Communication, Loyola University Chicago.
AM Keynote: Teri Arvesu, News Director, Univision
“The Power of Partnerships”
Description: As audiences become more fragmented and newsrooms face challenges in resourcing, effective partnerships not only help offset deficiencies, but can also amplify messaging in order to be a catalyst of change.
9:15 AM – 9:30 AM – Break
9:30 AM – 10:45 AM – Sessions 1 & 2
Workshop #1 – Wintrust Hall
“Forecasting the Future of the Media”
Panel: Ray Hanania, Columnist, Southwest News Group newspapers, Managing Editor, TheArabDailyNews.com and Owner, Urban Strategies Group Media Consulting; Blanca Rios, Assignment Desk Editor, ABC 7 News Chicago; Tracy Baim, Publisher & Executive Editor, Windy City Times. Moderator: Ameet Sachdev, Vice President, Res Publica Group.
Description: News media is changing every day, from information gathering and sourcing through social media, to opting out of desktops and into mobile devices. Everything points to covering and writing about issues faster and with more content. A candid discussion on how reporters balance the pressure of ‘feeding the beast’ while staying grounded on journalism principles of fact gathering and reliable reporting.
Workshop #2 – Room 1001
“The Power of Startups: Starting Your Own Media Company”
Panel: Eric Ortiz, CEO, Evrybit and Managing Editor, Truthdig; DeShuna Spencer, CEO, kweli TV and EmpowerMagazine.com; Barbara E. Allen, Filmmaker and Executive Director, Middle Passage Productions, Inc.
Description: Startups are changing the way media is created and consumed amid a changing landscape. Learn how these entrepreneurs are putting their ideas in action and promoting their plan.
10:45 AM – 11:00 AM – Break
11:00 AM – 12:30 PM – Luncheon Forum “Our Stories, Our Voices: How We Diversify the News”
Panel:Margaret Holt, Standards Editor, Chicago Tribune; Leah Hope, Reporter, ABC 7 News Chicago; Adriana Cardona-Maguigad, Investigative Producer/Reporter, Univision Chicago; Moderator, Neal Justin.
Description: Newsrooms need to be representative of the communities they cover. See how media organizations are reaching emerging audiences and strengthening coverage of race, identity and inequality.
12:30 PM – 12:45 PM – Break
12:45 PM – 2:00 PM – Sessions 3 & 4
Workshop #3 – Wintrust Hall
“Community Violence: Beyond the Streets and into the Coverage”
Panel: Susy Schultz, President, Public Narrative; George Villanueva, Assistant Professor of Advocacy and Social Change, School of Communication at Loyola University of Chicago; Jamie Kalven, Invisible Institute; Brandis Friedman, WTTW; Lorraine Forte, The Chicago Reporter.
Description: Among the challenges covering community violence is getting to the heart of the story through effective community engagement. This workshop shares those challenges and discusses strategies from those who have delved into the issue.
Workshop #4 – Room 1001
“Harassment In and Out of the Newsroom”
Panel: Lucy Westcott, Reporter, Newsweek; Tracy Samantha Schmidt, Founder, sociallyauthentic.com; Bill Plante Chair in Leadership & Media Integrity, Loyola University Chicago. Moderator, Jill Geisler.
Description: Accusations of inappropriate, and often illegal behavior while reporters are trying to do their jobs continue to emerge. Yet most accounts go unreported. How much progress, if any, has journalism made in regards to dealing with sexual harassment in its own shops, on the beat and on social media? What steps should employees take when facing such an ordeal?
2:00 PM – 2:15 PM – Break
2:15 PM – 3:30 PM – Sessions 5 & 6
Workshop #5 – Wintrust Hall
“Nifty Tools to Hold Powerful People Accountable”
Panel: Aimee Levitt, Reporter, Chicago Reader; Darryl Holliday, Editorial Director, City Bureau, Producer, Invisible Institute and Founder of Illustrated Press; Maryam Judar, Executive Director and Community Lawyer, Citizen Advocacy Center; Moderator, Stan Zoller, President, Chicago Headline Club.
Description: From public records to web scraping to video apps to plain old dogged reporting, what tools and techniques can journalists use to keep the powerful in check and to engage all members of the community?
Workshop #6 – Room 1001
“When disadvantage is systematic: Digging beyond the surface”
Panel: Manny Gonzales, Communications Manager, Latino Policy Forum; Paul Street, Author, Social Critic, Political Commentator; Alden Loury, Director of Research and Evaluation, Metropolitan Policy Council; Geoff Smith, Executive Director, Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University; Moderator Fernando Diaz, Center for Investigative Reporting/Reveal, Former Managing Editor of Hoy.
Description: Provide your audience with context and analysis that goes beyond the heat of the news cycle. Experts on housing, health and education will discuss how to cover some of Chicago’s most complex issues including segregation, income inequality and the vexing challenge of creating and maintaining affordable housing and communities.
3:30 PM – 3:45 PM – Break
3:45 PM – 4:30 PM – Closing Remarks & Keynote -Wintrust Hall
Russell Contreras, UNITY Board President
PM Keynote: Karyn J. Taylor, Trial Consultant, The Strategic ImageSM; former Producer for CBS News 60 Minutes, ABC News Close-up and 20/20, and PBS Frontline.
“Journalism Reboot: Looking Back to Chart a New Way Forward”
Description: The news business has changed drastically since the late 1970s when the first wave of journalists of color breached the lily-white, all male bastion known as network television news. Those first pioneers came of age as producers, correspondents, and anchors in an industry defined by Cronkite, Sevareid, and Brinkley, but one mired in all the racism, sexism, and cronyism of the day. In a no-holds barred (but strictly off-the-record) analysis of how they succeeded and where they failedx`, we’ll use their 20/20 hindsight to explore how we can chart a new course for our industry, short circuit the violence in our communities, and make our voices truly count.
Adriana Cardona-Maguigad is a Colombian journalist based in Chicago. She currently works as an investigative producer and reporter for Univision Chicago. Adriana is a former Pritzker fellow with Chicago Public Media/ WBEZ and was part of the inaugural class of Northwestern University’s Social Justice News Nexus fellowship program where she investigated and co-produced an audio documentary for WBEZ and NPR’s This American Life about unregulated drug rehab centers in Chicago drawing people from Puerto Rico. She received a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism for the work and was later awarded three Peter Lisagor Awards. She is also a co-recipient of a 2015 Sigma Delta Chi Award with the Society of Professional Journalists and a 2016 National Edward R. Murrow Award. Adriana is the co-founder and former editor of The Gate newspaper, a hyper-local and bilingual community news publication in the Southwest Side of Chicago. Her work has also appeared in Truthout magazine, Hoy Newspaper, and NACLA magazine.
Aimee Levitt is a staff writer for the Chicago Reader where she covers culture, loosely defined as art, ideas, and all the other things that people use as the organizing principles of their lives. In practice, this has ranged from exposing the extensive record of abuse within a storefront theater to researching the history of hipsterdom in Chicago to covering a My Little Pony convention.
Ameet Sachdev recently joined Res Publica Group as a vice president after an accomplished career in newspapers, most recently at the Chicago Tribune. He was a business reporter for more than 20 years and lived through the digital transformation of newspapers. Ameet also served on the national boards of the Asian American Journalists Association and Unity, leading efforts to increase diversity in the news media.
Barbara E. Allen is an award-winning filmmaker and entrepreneur. She produced and directed the three-time, Emmy Award-winning documentary, “Paper Trail: 100 Years of the Chicago Defender” and broke PBS pledge records, with her award-winning film “DuSable to Obama: Chicago’s Black Metropolis.” Allen’s commitment to multicultural perspectives in media led her to found Middle Passage Productions, a non-profit media enterprise. As part of the Kellogg Foundation’s Racial Healing Initiative, Middle Passage Productions produced the award-winning film “Colorblind: Rethinking Race.” Awarded a 2013 Knight Fellowship at Stanford University, Allen worked in the virtual reality lab creating immersive journalism.
DeShuna Spencer is the Founder/CEO of kweliTV, a video-streaming platform offering indie films, documentaries, web shows and news programming for the global black community. For more than six years, Spencer has been the founding publisher of emPowermagazine.com. Spencer is also the producer/radio host of emPower Hour on DC’s 89.3 FM WPFW.
A Memphis native, Spencer graduated from Jackson State University where she studied communications and journalism. She has worked for The Clarion-Ledger and the The Oakland Tribune, and has written for the Crisis Magazine, AOL and the Washington Examiner.
A former AmeriCorps*VISTA, she is an alum of the Chips Quinn Scholars Program, a competitive fellowship program for young journalists of color. In 2012, she was named 40under40 by The Envest Foundation for her entrepreneurial and philanthropic achievements. Recently, Spencer received the “Who’s Got Next” award by the National Action Network as a future leader in civil rights. Spencer, a budding filmmaker, recently completed her first documentary, Mom Interrupted. Follow her on twitter @deshuna.
Eric Ortiz is a journalist, innovator and entrepreneur. He is the managing editor of Truthdig, an award-winning progressive website that focuses on politics, current events and culture. Ortiz also is the founder and CEO of Evrybit, an all-in-one app for live mobile storytelling and reporting. Prior to founding Evrybit, he was a 2014 Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University, the founding editor of NESN.com and an editor at ESPN.com. He is a champion for media diversity and a lifetime member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Stanford.
Esther J. Cepeda is best known as an opinion columnist for the Washington Post Writers Group, which is nationally syndicated to over 125 media outlets, including The Dallas Morning News, Denver Post, Indianapolis Star, Las Vegas Review-Journal, NBC Latino, San Diego Union-Tribune and The Star Tribune. Esther focuses largely on U.S. Latino/Hispanic issues, politics, education, health and an array of cultural topics based on the American experience.
Additionally, Esther is a professional communicator, storyteller and active public speaker for a plethora of organizations and media outlets, including CBS Channel-2 Chicago. Esther shares her trusted voice as a marketing/communications expert, social media strategist/influencer, keynote speaker, panelist, political analyst and educator.
Esther received her Bachelor’s degree in advertising/journalism (with minors in music and psychology) from Southern Illinois University before being awarded a full scholarship to the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. In 2002, Esther began bilingual teaching in low-income grammar and high schools in the suburbs of Chicago, while working toward a Master’s degree in Special Education from Roosevelt University.
Esther jumpstarted her journalism career by becoming a prolific writer of “Letters to the Editor” to various local and national publications. In 2006, she joined the Chicago Sun-Times as a reporter and later became Chicago’s first Hispanic metro columnist where she covered news, politics and sports. Following her time with the Chicago Sun-Times, Esther held executive marketing positions with two of Chicago’s most influential non-profit education-focused organizations before going into a private consulting practice alongside her bi-weekly column.
Jill Geisler is an expert in leadership and management. She teaches and coaches media leaders from Boston to Bhutan. Jill holds the Bill Plante Chair in Leadership and Media Integrity at Loyola University Chicago. Previously, she spent 16 years guiding the leadership and management programs of the Poynter Institute. She is the author of the book “Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know,” writes a monthly management column for the Columbia Journalism Review, and just launched her latest podcast: “Q&A: Leadership and Integrity in the Digital Age” on iTunes U. The new podcast builds on the success of her “What Great Bosses Know” podcasts, which have been downloaded millions of times. Jill’s first career was in broadcast journalism. Way back in the 1970’s, she became one of the first women TV news directors in the United States and had the joy of building a strong and successful newsroom culture over her 25 year newsroom tenure. Jill holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and a Masters in leadership studies. Her management mantra is: “Life’s too short to work with jerks.”
Leah Hope is an award-winning reporter for ABC 7 News in Chicago. Prior to joining ABC 7 in 1997, Hope worked at KATU-TV, the ABC affiliate in Portland, Ore., as a weekend anchor and weekday reporter. Previously, she held the same positions at WISH-TV in Indianapolis, Ind. Hope began her broadcasting career as a general assignment reporter at WBOC-TV in Salisbury, Md. She also is a visiting faculty member at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. She is a Journalism Advisory Board member at Columbia College and belongs to several journalism organizations, including Investigative Reporters and Editors Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, American Women in Radio and Television and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Hope received her B.S. degree in Broadcast Journalism/Political Science from Syracuse University in New York.
Margaret Holt is standards editor of the Chicago Tribune. She has a particular interest in urban issues and diversity of coverage and regularly meets with community leaders and groups. A member of the Native American Journalists Association, Holt is a Tuscarora Nation member and has represented NAJA on the board of UNITY, which seeks to advance diversity and inclusion in media coverage and staffing. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri and has held a variety of reporting and editing positions in several newsrooms. She joined the Chicago Tribune in 1993 as sports editor.
Paul Street holds a doctorate in U.S. history from Binghamton University. He is former vice president for research and planning of the Chicago Urban League. Street is also the author of numerous books, including “Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis” (2007), “The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real World of Power” (2010), and “They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy” (2014), and a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Z Magazine/ZNet, Black Agenda Report and teleSUR English. He has taught American history at several Chicago-area colleges and universities and currently lives in Iowa City, Iowa.
Ray Hanania is a former journalist who covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 including for the Chicago Sun-Times. Currently, he writes Opinion and Commentary for the Southwest News Group newspapers covering Chicago and the suburbs, and he serves as managing editor of the online news site, TheArabDailyNews.com, which provides original news, features and commentary on American Arab and Middle East issues. Hanania also provides media consulting services and is president of Urban Strategies Group. Hanania has published several books on American Arab history including “I’m Glad I Look Like a Terrorist: Growing Up Arab in America” (1996) and “Arabs of Chicagoland” (2005). He is the recipient of four (4) Lisagor Awards from the Chicago Headline Club and the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi award for writing (2009). He was named Best Ethnic American Columnist by the New America Media (2007).
Richard Prince is an award-winning, veteran journalist who writes “Richard Prince’s Journal-isms,” the leading news column on diversity issues in the news media. It appears on journal-isms.com and on TheRoot.com three times a week. Prince chairs the Diversity Committee of the Association of Opinion Journalists, formerly the National Conference of Editorial Writers, and for many years, chaired the Media Monitoring Committee of the National Association of Black Journalists. Prince also has worked at The Washington Post, Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, N.Y.) and Center for Public Integrity. He is a graduate of New York University.
Teri Arvesu serves as News Director for Univision Chicago. Under her leadership Univision Chicago became the first Spanish language television station in that market to be awarded the Emmy for Best Evening Newscast. She previously was Executive Producer for the Univision Miami station, where she managed a team of more than 50 journalists and supervising the day to day operations & special projects in the newsroom.
She is the recipient of an Edward R. Murrow, 10 Emmy’s Awards (Investigative Reporting, Politics, Series Reporting and Religion).
Teri holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Florida International University and a master’s of Science in Management with a focus in Leadership from the Wayne Huizenga School of Business at Nova Southeastern University. In 2007, she was selected to be a McCormick Tribune Fellow through the Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management & the Medill School of Journalism. Teri recently completed the International Center for Foreign Journalists “Líderes Digitales: Creating a New Generation of Spanish-Language Multimedia Trainers” program.
While her primary focus has been local news, in 2009, she was the Executive Producer of the 50 minute documentary highlighting 50 years of Cuban Exile “50 Años de Exilio”. In 2010, she produced the Senatorial Debate (Rubio, Crist, Meek) and both primary and general election Gubernatorial Debates- overseeing production and research/content.
Before arriving at Univision, she worked for more than 10 years at Telemundo. During her time at the Telemundo network and at the local affiliate in Miami, she launched the AM and Weekend Newscasts.
Teri currently serves on the Chicago Headline Club & National Academy of Arts & Television Midwest Chapter Board and previously served on the Suncoast Chapter. She is one of three co-founders and chair of Univision Miami Women’s Leadership Council and actively involved in Chicago.
Tracy Baim is publisher and executive editor at Windy City Times, a weekly LGBTQ newspaper which she co-founded in 1985. Baim received the 2013 Chicago Headline Club Lifetime Achievement Award for her 30 years in journalism. In 2014, she was inducted into the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Hall of Fame. She has won numerous gay community and journalism honors, including the Community Media Workshop’s Studs Terkel Award in 2005 and several Peter Lisagor journalism awards. Baim’s most recent book is Barbara Gittings: Gay Pioneer. Her other books include Gay Press, Gay Power: The Growth of LGBT Community Newspapers in America; Obama and the Gays: A Political Marriage; and Out and Proud in Chicago. Baim was executive producer of the lesbian film Hannah Free, starring Sharon Gless, and Scrooge & Marley. She is creator of That’s So Gay!, an LGBT trivia game. Baim is the founder of the Pride Action Tank.
Tracy Samantha Schmidt began her career as a journalist for Time Magazine in 2006. She covered a range of topics, including the rise of Facebook, and was among the first journalists in the world to successfully use social media during breaking stories.
In 2008, while working as a reporter at the Chicago Tribune’s hyperlocal start-up, Tracy developed the idea for creating a social network within the Tribune. That idea led to the creation of ChicagoNow, of which Tracy served as editorial director until 2010. ChicagoNow remains one of Chicago’s largest websites.
Tracy went on to create a social media education program for Tribune Company, in which thousands of readers and clients participated nationwide.
In 2012, she became the social media director of Crain Communications, which publishes titles including Crain’s Chicago Business, Advertising Age and Automotive News. A passionate educator, Tracy also teaches at the University of Chicago.
Karyn J. Taylor is a Trial Consultant and Master Storyteller with 25 years’ experience crafting award-winning, emotionally compelling stories for television, film, print, and court. She is a former staff producer/director/writer for CBS News’ 60 Minutes, ABC News’ 20/20, and ABC News’ Close-up, and a former free-lance producer for everyone from PBS’s Frontline and Life & Times to Rysher Entertainment’s Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. A magna cum laude graduate of Wellesley College, Karyn has won over fifteen journalism and filmmaking awards and has been nominated for two EMMYs, a Writers Guild Award, a Humanitas Prize, and an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award. She received a John S. Knight Fellowship from Stanford University in 1987, taught broadcast journalism at UCLA Extension in 1995, and in 2004, became a Finalist (top 10 out of 6,073 entries) in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting—the equivalent, for a budding screenwriter, of being nominated for an Oscar by the very people who give out the Oscars.
It was while covering a product liability lawsuit for 60 Minutes that Karyn was introduced to the field of trial consulting. She joined the Los Angeles-based litigation graphics firm, Litigation Sciences, Inc., in 1992; the national jury consulting firm, DecisionQuest in 1997; and gathered her own team of experts and visual storytellers to launch The Strategic ImageSM, a trial consulting and strategic communications firm, in 2003. She has since worked on high-stakes patent infringement, construction, entertainment, business contracts, insurance bad faith, medical malpractice, professional malpractice, employment, and sexual harassment cases and is pleased to have been on the winning side in the vast majority.
Best known for her ability to make the complex simple, Karyn has used visual storytelling to help clients win record-setting verdicts time and again. She produced a computer-animated tutorial on the ring laser gyroscope to help Litton Industries win a record $1 billion patent infringement verdict in Litton vs. Honeywell; used an animated timeline to help a small contractor win a record $40 million dollar construction
claims verdict against Exxon in Enserch vs. Exxon; and designed 700 graphics, 24 computer animations, and two videos to explain structural engineering and earthquake code to a jury on the island of Guam, winning a record $146.8 million construction defect award at the conclusion of a 13 month trial (Kawasho vs. Mitsui).
Karyn is a member of the American Bar Association, the American Society of Trial Consultants, and the Writers Guild of America, west, and has been a featured speaker at events sponsored by the Illinois Institute of Continuing Education (IICLE), the Securities Experts’ Roundtable; the Chicago Bar Association (Labor & Employment and Financial & Investment Services sections); the American Bar Association (Litigation, Minority Lawyer, and Forum on Construction sections); the State Bar of California’s Intellectual Property Institute; the Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB); the San Diego Inn of Court, and numerous local bar associations and law firms. She has written articles for The Jury Expert and for Decision by Trial; has co-authored a book of business and marketing advice (Create the Business Breakthrough You Want: Secrets and Strategies from the World’s Greatest Mentors) with well-known business gurus, Mark Victor Hansen, Brian Tracy, and Robert G. Allen; and most recently edited, designed, and published her father’s 436-page memoir, Two Steps from Glory: A WWII Liaison Pilot Confronts Jim Crow and the Enemy in the South Pacific.
As the driving force behind The Strategic ImageSM, Karyn is dedicated to helping her clients use the science of persuasion and the power of visual storytelling to maximize their ability to win in court, in business, and in their careers.