The annual Alaska Press Club Conference provides community for all workers in fields of media


The Alaska Press Club will be having its annual conference this April 20, 21 and 22 at UAA and Alaska Public Media. Every year, the Alaska Press Club hosts a conference for individuals all over the state who work in the media or are looking to pursue a career in media, to come together and learn, educate and celebrate the field of journalism and media production.

“We invite people from all over the state who work in media productions, radio, TV, print and online journalism. We bring them here to Anchorage to do some networking and continuing education to have discussions about things relevant in our field and to hear from some national speakers,” Rosey Robards, director at the Alaska Teen Media Institute, said.

The Alaska Press Club Conference is not limited to journalists but welcomes any individual interested in learning more about the field.

“We have it once a year in April and it’s really available to anybody who is interested in the field of journalism, media production, photography, blogging, anything like that,” Robards said. “Journalists are the main people who attend the Press Club conference, but other people who might be semi-connected to the field or have interested in hearing from some of the speakers can also be invited as friends to the Press Club.”

Thursday, April 20 is the radio day of the conference and will continue on the following Friday till noon. This is a chance for all the radio reporters of Alaska to come together and share what they’ve learned with others.

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska regional news director, helped organized the radio aspect of the Alaska Press Conference.

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“We’ll have sessions on radio storytelling, audience engagement, collaboration, audio editing techniques, handling breaking news and social media ethics,” Schoenfeld said. “I love watching reporters get excited about their craft and inspired to try new techniques and directions. It’s also fun to meet the people behind the voices, talk shop and share stories.”

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For this year’s conference, there will be 10 guest speakers from publications from all over the U.S. to share their knowledge and expertise with the Alaska-based press core. Every year, the Alaska Press Club provides an impressive keynote to speak at the conference, this year’s keynote is highly anticipated.

“This year, we have Jenna Johnson from the Washington Post that is going to be the keynote. She followed along the Trump campaign trail,” Robards said. “She went to 35 different states and she went to over 170 rallies and she completely covered the Trump campaign, so she has a lot of insight there.”

Journalism and Public Communication students are encouraged to attend the conference to learn from the speakers and workshops.

“I’m basically requiring my students to go. Some of the speakers will also be in JPC classes on Tuesday. There are national leaders in the field of offering workshops all day for two days for $15,” Julia O’Malley, vice president of the Alaska Press Club, said.

As technology changes, media changes along with it. With journalism evolving, these conferences allow individuals to discuss the direction the field is headed.

“The goal of having this kind of conference is to make sure that we are looking ahead and also celebrating the past and really making sure that we’re upholding those values and ethics that we have in journalism and that we remember and talk about those things, but then we’re also looking forward to the future,” Robards said.

Not only does this conference give journalist the ability learn from others and share their knowledge, but gaining the feeling of unity with fellow colleagues.

“The conference breaks the isolation for small community journalists. It gives people new ideas and techniques,” Schoenfeld said. “It also generates a sense of solidarity, that we are all in this together. That’s important at a time when so many journalists are under attack from people and groups that don’t want the truth to be told.”

This conference provides a variety of ways for each and every member to be able to leave learning something new.

“I love all of it, we really calibrate it to the needs of our members and try to make it as useful as possible across the widest field,” O’Malley said.

Learn, educate and celebrate with members in the field of journalism and media production at this year’s Alaska Press Club Conference on April 20, 21 and 22. There will be 10 guest speakers along with keynote speaker Jenna Johnson, workshops, awards, food and the chance to meet with colleagues. A detailed schedule of events will be released closer to the date of the conference.