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Muncie, Indiana, NewsTrain
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Train in social, video, mobile, data and beat mapping at the Muncie NewsTrain on Saturday, March 24, 2018, at Ball State University


The Particulars

When: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 24, 2018.

WhereSecond floor, L.A. Pittenger Student Center, 2000 W. University Ave., Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana. Here is a campus map.

Cost: Early-bird registration is just $75. The early-bird rate ends Feb. 24, with registration increasing to $85 on Feb. 25.

Special offer: Free AP Stylebooks -- a $22.95 value -- will be awarded to the first 20 registrants.

Scholarships for professional journalists, journalism students and journalism educators: Two types of competitive scholarships are available; apply for either one by Feb. 21, 2018. Successful applicants have their registration fee waived; they must pay their own travel expenses. Applicants will be notified as to their status by the early-bird deadline of Feb. 24:

  1. General scholarships are available to all professional journalists, journalism students and journalism educators. Apply for general scholarships. These scholarships are funded by the Hoosier State Press Association Foundation.
  2. Diversity scholarships are open to professional journalists, journalism educators or journalism students from a diverse background. Apply for diversity scholarships; be prepared to upload a current résumé and up to three of your best clips (published or unpublished) in PDF format or links to videos or an online portfolio. Journalism educators need not submit work samples. Diversity scholarships are funded by the Associated Press Media Editors Foundation.

Is this workshop for you? This workshop is for reporters, editors and other journalists from print, digital and broadcast newsrooms of all sizes, as well as journalism educators and students. Public information officers and public relations specialists have also benefited from attending NewsTrain. You do not have to be a member of APME to attend.

Registration for groups: Email Laura Sellers, NewsTrain program assistant.

Meals: Your registration includes light breakfast and lunch. 

What to bring: A fully charged laptop and smartphone for the exercises.

Parking: Free parking is in Lot G9, which is adjacent to the L.A. Pittenger Student Center, where the workshop will be held.

Lodging: Here are two hotel options:

  1. The Ball State University Hotel, 2000 W. University Ave., is on the third floor of the L.A. Pittenger Student Center, one floor above where the workshop will be held. It is offering a group rate of $68-$89.25, plus tax, for the night of March 23, depending on the number of guests and size of the room. Call 765-285-1555 and use code 1803APM for the discounted rate. Book by March 8. The rate includes free WiFi and parking in Lot G8, at Talley and University avenues, directly west of the student center.
  2.  Hampton Inn & Suites Muncie, 4220 Bethel Ave., is almost three miles from campus and offers a $109 rate, plus tax, for the night of March 23. Book here by March 2. 

Airport transportation: A bus is available from the Indianapolis International Airport to Ball State for $22 round-trip. To travel the 73 miles, it takes two hours and 15 minutes or two hours and 25 minutes one-way. Uber and Lyft also operate at the Indianapolis airport. An estimated Lyft fare to Muncie was $84 one-way.

Local donors: Indiana APME; Hoosier State Press Association Foundation; Ball State University College of Communication, Information, and Media; Ball State University Department of Journalism; Bob Heisse, editor, The Times of Northwest Indiana

SponsorAssociated Press Media Editors (APME). Please see the complete list of donors who support NewsTrain at the bottom of this page.

Hosts: Ball State University, The Associated Press, Indiana APME, The Indianapolis Star, Community Newspapers Holdings Inc. (CNHI), Indiana Public Radio, Hoosier State Press Association, Hoosier State Press Association Foundation, DePauw University

Questions: Email Laura Sellers, NewsTrain program assistant, or Linda Austin, project director.

Muncie NewsTrain will be a full Saturday of digital training on March 24, 2018, at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center on the Ball State University campus.

Training Sessions Include:

  • Shooting smarter video with your smartphone
  • Data-driven enterprise off your beat
  • Mobile newsgathering: better reporting with your smartphone
  • Better time management with beat mapping
  • Using social media as powerful reporting tools

Early-bird registration is just $75 and includes a full day of training, plus light breakfast and lunch. The early-bird rate ends Feb. 24, with registration increasing to $85 on Feb. 25.

Your Trainers

  • Linda Austin is  the project director for NewsTrain, a training initiative sponsored by Associated Press Media Editors.

  • Amy Bartnerdowntown reporter for The Indianapolis Star and its former social media editor and engagement manager.

  • Val Hoeppner, director of the Center for Innovation in Media at Middle Tennessee State University. 
  • Mark Nichols, data journalist on the national investigations team for USA Today.

You Will Learn How To:

  • Use social media for sourcing, spotting news trends and verifying user-generated content.

  • Turn your smartphone into a versatile, multimedia reporting tool in the field.

  • Identify a data set from your beat that will likely produce a story, and sort and filter in Excel to locate a potential story.
  • Discover how beat mapping can help you make the time for those stories that have the most impact.

  • Sequence your best five shots to produce video news clips of under one minute with minimal editing.



(Download a PDF of the agenda.)


The blue and green tracks on the agenda allow for smaller class sizes. All attendees receive the same instruction, just at different times.




More on Your Trainers

Linda Austin is the project director for NewsTrain, a training initiative sponsored by Associated Press Media Editors. She is also a 2017-18 Reynolds Journalism Institute Fellow at the University of Missouri; her project is to create bite-size lessons in digital journalism delivered via smartphone. Previously, she organized training events that reached more than 10,500 journalists globally as executive director of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Before that, Austin led three local newsrooms: Greensboro, North Carolina; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Lexington, Kentucky. She is a former visiting professor in the Global Business Journalism graduate program at Tsinghua University in Beijing and a former Fulbright Scholar, teaching journalism in Myanmar. @LindaAustin_

Amy Bartner became the downtown reporter for The Indianapolis Star in 2016. Before that, she spent five years in digital production and social engagement as The Star’s social media editor and then its engagement manager. She was responsible for ongoing social media education for the staff and is regularly invited to speak to journalists on social media. At The Star, she’s also covered education, police, local government, entertainment, things to do and social issues. The bio on her Twitter account, @AmyBartner, notes she is a “proud @michiganstateu grad,” with a degree in journalism.

Val Hoeppner is the director of the Center for Innovation in Media at Middle Tennessee State University. As CEO of Val Hoeppner Media & Consulting LLC, she trains journalists in mobile, social, video and multi-platform storytelling. She has been an instructor with the Poynter Institute, the Newseum Institute, Chips Quinn Scholars, Native American Journalism Fellowship, Innovation J-Camp and APME's NewsTrain. Hoeppner was multimedia director at The Indianapolis Star and later worked at the John Seigenthaler Center in Nashville as the director of education for the Diversity Institute, where she led digital journalism programs for professional and student journalists. She serves on the board of Teripixa mobile app that accelerates how users capture and publish photographs. @vhoeppner

Mark Nichols is a data journalist, based in Indianapolis, on the national investigations team for USA Today. He has worked as a data specialist for the digital-reporting team at WCPO-TV in Cincinnati and was the computer-assisted reporting coordinator for The Indianapolis Star for nearly 20 years. He also taught journalism as an adjunct instructor at Butler University and IUPUI in Indianapolis. @nicholsmarkc


Session Specifics

Better time management with beat mapping Frazzled and pulled in a million different directions? Want to make time for the stories that have the most impact yet that often get put on the back burner? Instructor Linda Austin shows how beat mapping is a proven technique to define the topics and issues that mean the most to your audience and to set clear expectations and priorities for beat reporters, including source development, to cover those issues.

Using social media as powerful reporting tools Social media can be used as powerful reporting tools, which are valuable whether you're facing a big breaking news story or an enterprise project. Learn from instructor Amy Bartner how to use social media platforms and complementary websites to locate expert and “real people” sources, crowdsource using Google forms, verify user-generated content and create a social dossier on a person in the news.

Mobile newsgathering: better reporting with your smartphone A smartphone, stocked with the right apps, is a powerful multimedia reporting tool. Learn from Val Hoeppner how to use it to shoot better photos, record interviews and dictate stories. Bring your smartphone for the exercises. 

Shooting smarter video with your smartphone Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism studied what makes for successful news video and recommended that reporters shoot fast, raw clips posted instantly from the field, leaving in-depth, more sophisticated video stories to highly trained video journalists. Val Hoeppner teaches reporters how to produce those clips of under one minute with minimal editing. Learn how to use a tripod and external microphone and sequence your best five shots to create news video – without getting in the way of your reporting. Bring your smartphone for the exercises.

Data-driven enterprise off your beat How do you fit enterprise stories around the many other demands you face as a beat reporter to write dailies, file web updates, tweet and shoot video? One way is to take advantage of the plethora of local data available online to spot and develop unique stories for your news outlet. All you need is either you or someone else in your newsroom who can download and sort databases in a spreadsheet program, such as Excel. Learn from Mark Nichols how to develop a data state of mind, find newsworthy data and begin to analyze data sets. Learn how to find and spot the enterprise stories in the numbers, whether your beat is sports, health, business, education, local government or cops and courts. Bring your laptop for the exercises. No previous data experience is required.

Our Donors

NewsTrain's recent donors include The Associated PressThe APME Foundation, the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, Scripps Howard FoundationGateHouse Media LLC, Pepper Hamilton LLPLevine Sullivan Koch & Schulz LLP, the Park and Sigma Delta Chi foundations and APME past and present board members. To join them in supporting NewsTrain, please make your tax-deductible contribution here

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