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The official site of the Iowa High School Press Association


The official site of the Iowa High School Press Association


The official site of the Iowa High School Press Association


IHSPA 2023 Conference Schedule



Welcome and Introduction

Michelle Sillman

8:40 a.m.; Main Lounge


Iowa’s Journalism Program

Melissa Tully

8:45 a.m.; Main Lounge


Keynote Speaker

Brandee Britt

8:55 a.m.; Main Lounge 

Session 1 — 9:30 a.m.

Critique Session

Bring your yearbook or newspaper for other advisors to review and give feedback. Use our Sign-up genius registration form to secure your spot. Be sure to email your items to your reviewer at least one week prior to the conference. Limited spots available.

Leslie Shipp and Lyle Muller

Main Lounge; Room 180

SNO Story Templates 101

In this session you will learn all about SNO’s new Story Template Editor, long-form story format, custom sidebars, custom headers, custom footers, and everything else you need to know to create visually appealing story pages on your site.

Kyle Phillips

Iowa Theater; Room 166

Video Storytelling 101

If recording and editing a video feels overwhelming, you might overthink it. In this session we’ll go over what you should think about when shooting video and why fancy cameras don’t really matter.

David Scrivner

Academics Room; Room 256

Improving Your Photography

The presentation will focus on making deliberate choices in our photographic practice, whether it be for professional or personal purposes. The talk will give practical advise about quality of light, composition and photo editing. Audience members will be able to implement the concepts directly into their own image making

Alex Scott

Divine Nine; Room 335

Journalism and Emerging Technology

Journalists have never faced greater responsibility than now in the effective use of emerging media technology. ChatGPT, immersive technology including VR, and the promise and perils of the metaverse all pose challenges for journalistic storytelling that affect our society, culture, and economy. This session explores how emerging communication technology has transformed journalism.

David Dowling

MGC; Room 337

Covering the Election Primer

Learn five things you can do to strengthen your campaign coverage.

Kylah Hedding 

Herky Room; Room 343

How to WOW judges and win scholarships with online journalism portfoliosing Contest Entries

In this session students will learn the basics of how to create an online portfolio of their work to submit for Iowa Writer, Photography an Designer of the Yeat contests. These websites can also be used for the Iowa Journalist of the Year contest for college applications. 

Jonathan Rogers

Homecoming Room; Room 345

How Brands Use, React To and Leverage Social Media to Expand Their Customer Base and How You Can Too!

Understand how major Brands use social media and content marketing to create a community of brand ambassadors through important examples and then discuss 5 ways you can leverage social media and content marketing in your school to help promote your Brand(s), be it your high school yearbook, newspaper, sports team or your high school itself.

Jeff Grisamore

Forty Seven Things Room; Room 346

Writing Great Book Reviews

Learn some tips that will help you confidently share your views and use evidence to support your opinions in well-written, well-thought-out reviews. 

Sajutha Sosale

Old Capitol Room; Room 347

Yearbook Topics/Desgins/Trends

Learn ways to take your yearbook to the next level with today’s designs and trends! You’ll learn everything from what’s new, how to use fonts and colors, mods, and how to do it while keeping your book cohesive. 

Kaitlin Haynes and Brad Hempstead

Big 10 Theater; Room 348

Sports Journalism and Politics

It is a common sentiment that politics should be kept out of sports. This presentation attempts to show how politics in fact shape coverage of sports in profound ways. 

Tom Oates

Student Leadership Room; Room 351

Building a social media strategy

Social media is a wonderful tool for reaching your target audience, but how do you create a strategy? In this session, Drake University professor Chris Snider will teach you a full 9-step process to building and refining a social media strategy for your publication.

Chris Snider

Black Box Theater; Room 360 

So You Want to Work in Broadcast? Join us in the Broadcast Studio! 

Experience the DI-TV newsroom. See how TV and radio news programs get pulled together. You’ll learn what happens behind the scenes – and what you have to know to be part of it. This session requires pre-registration and is capped at 12. Register now for this broadcast workshop.

Charles Munroe


Session 2 — 10:30 a.m.

DI Student Panel moderated by DI Editor Sabine Martin

DI and DITV student editors and reporters will talk about what they do, the benefits and challenges. How they got involved and how students coming to college can join these activities. Q&A at end.

DI Student Panel

Main Lounge; Room 180

SNO Site Design 101

This session will provide a brief overview of all the design tools available on SNO’s FLEX-Pro theme and explain how you can use those tools to customize the look of your homepage

Kyle Phillips

Iowa Theater; Room 163

What’s next in social media

The world of social media is constantly changing. And there is no shortage of new apps and features to use in 2023. Drake University professor Chris Snider will discuss the tools you should be using now and which ones are coming in the near future.

Chris Snider

Academics Room; Room 256

How to make a documentary in three simple steps 

From shorts to feature length movies, learn the key components every good documentary needs to have your audience saying “wow” when it’s over. We’ll also discuss some basics of camera gear and filming. 

Kelsey Kramer

Divine Nine; Room 335

Interviewing: the Three R’s.

A great interview is the key to producing fresh, relevant journalism. In this session, we’ll discussion three “R’s” that can help guide the process: 1. Research 2. wRiting good questions 3. Reporting clear and accurate information from the interviews.

Lillian Martell

MGC; Room 337

You’ve been named the Editor, now what?

This short course provides guidance on leading a news organization.

Gary Sawyer

Herky Room; Room 343

How to Use Canva for your Publication

From COB’s, to graphs, to templates learn how Canva can pump up your publications and make designing easier!

Joelle Sexton

Homecoming Room; Room 345

How to be a better story-teller

How to write better stories, tips for better story-telling and how to engage your audience.

JR Ogden

Forty Seven Things Room; Room 346

Writing Headlines for Search and Social

Once you’ve finished a story, the step is figuring out how to find your audience. This session will focus on what you can do to maximize your reach on search engines and social media.

Brian Ekdale

Old Capitol Room; Room 347

Letting Students Lead: Student panel discussing editorial leadership 

Students from City High will lead this panel and discuss their tips and tricks to student leadership. A Q&A will follow their presentation. 

Jonathan Rogers

Big 10 Theater; Room 348

Getting Better Story Ideas

Tired of rehashing the same stories that you did last year? Here’s a chance to generate so many new ideas that you won’t be able to do them all, but still excite your readers.

Lyle Muller

Student Leadership Room; Room 351

Yearbook student panel from Des Moines East High 

Have you ever wondered how to finish a yearbook by spring break and still have fun in the process? DM East yearbook editors will answer this question and more. Audience participation encouraged!

Natalie Niemeyer

Black Box Theater; Room 360

Advisor Workshop on Equity and Media Literacy

The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) is offering an opportunity to work with a team of researchers to develop a practical toolkit for media literacy practices and curricula that center equity and inclusion. The session will focus on creating educational materials that connect to the Field Guide for Equitable Media Literacy Practice. This workshop is for ADVISORS ONLY. Sign up for the Advisor Workshop on Equity and Media Literacy.

Melissa Tully

IMU North Room – First Floor outside the Main Lounge; Room 181


Session 3 — 11:30 a.m.

Becoming a Hawkeye

Thinking about life after high school? This session will provide information on the next steps as college nears and provide you with more information and next steps as college nears; including student life at Iowa, academic offerings, the application process, housing opportunities, and paying for college.

Office of Admissions

Main Lounge; Room 180

SNO Site Design 101

This session will provide a brief overview of all the design tools available on SNO’s FLEX-Pro theme and explain how you can use those tools to customize the look of your homepage

Kyle Phillips

Iowa Theater; Room 163

Conflict Management in the High School Newsroom

Being a yearbook or news editor isn’t just about getting publications done. This session helps you learn how to handle personality conflicts, staff members who don’t finish their work, and co-workers who make everyone around them miserable

David Schwartz

Academics Room; Room 256

Filling the Frame: Photo Composition Techniques

We’ll discuss the goals of composition in photojournalism, some basic compositional techniques, and how and why to use them. Then we’ll play “Composition BINGO” to test our skills. 

Carolyn Yaschur

Divine Nine; Room 335

Personality Has Power: How to write great profiles and personality sketches

The sociologist George Herbert Mead once said, “A multiple personality is in a sense normal.” Everyone has hidden depths, layers upon layers, and surprising experiences. In thsi session, you’ll learn about writing captivating, insightful, and multi-layered persoanlity profiles about anyone from a celebrity to the neighborhood food bank volunteer. 

Gigi Durham

MGC; Room 337

Free Speech, Free Press, and New Voices Laws in High Schools

“Tinker and Hazelwood are just the beginning. Bong Hits 4 Jesus? I [Heart] Boobies? Middle Finger on Snapchat? New Voices laws gaining steam? It’s a brave new world in the free speech and press rights of public high school students. Let’s dive in!

Brett Johnson

Herky Room; Room 343

Know Your School 

 Learn what public records are available and decipering what they say about the school. Aslo, be cautious on making comparisons to other school districts.

Gary Sawyer

Homecoming Room; Room 345

Visual Storyelling: The Beauty of Data

Our world is full of data. In this workshop you’ll learn about data, how to tell stories with data, and pitfalls to avoid. You’ll also find out how beautiful data can be!

Kevin Ripka

Forty Seven Things Room; Room 346


Sports Media and Culture

I will discuss the opportunities available for UI students pursuing the new Sports Media and Culture major through the School fo Journalism and Mass Communication. 

Travis Vogan

Old Capitol Room; Room 347

Yearbook Theme Planning Made Easy

Need some ideas on how to ensure your theme is present from the first page to the last? This session will include ideas on theme design, headlines, storytelling, and more. 

Ashley Cunningham

Big 10 Theater; Room 348

Interviewing With Care

Learn new perspectives on how to navigate sensitive situations with sources who’ve experienced challenging or traumatic events. We will talk over new guidelines and practice applying them in different reporting scenarios.

Rachel Young

Student Leadership Room; Room 351



Join us for a tour of the student-run KRUI radio station and studios. You must sign up to join us for this tour.

Tiger Slowinski

Big Ten Lobby/Board Room; Room 245

Lunch Break — 12:15 p.m.

Schools gather as groups

Huddle with your group to launch your next moves as a team. Media Advisors and students from their school will gather together to share insights gained throughout the morning.  Spend this time developing a game plan for the upcoming school year. Room assignments will be given at check-in.

1:30 p.m.

Award Ceremony

Award winners announced. Pick up your school’s certificates at the Information Table outside the Main Lounge as you leave for the day.

2:00 p.m.; Main Lounge; Room 180


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