Announcing AAJA15’s Lightning Talk Speakers!

We’re excited to announce this year’s lightning talks at AAJA! We’ve got a great lineup of speakers who will talk about everything from dressing sharp on a budget, to the art of networking, to reporting on a murder all too close to home. See you on Friday at 4pm in Grand Ballroom A!

Designing Your Career Outside the Box (Maggie Leung, NerdWallet)

How to think strategically about your career and give yourself more options. Why: more challenges, more freedom and more money (as a byproduct).

The Tech Tools Every Journalist Needs to Have (Nicole Nguyen, BuzzFeed Life)

A professional tech reviewer shares the best apps and gadgets for getting the story.

Covering Minority Issues As A Minority Journalist(Liz Mak, KALW / Freelance)

In 2013, I documented the family of Barbara Cough, whose great-grandfather was the first Chinese man in Maine to become a naturalized U.S. citizen. Barbara is only 1/8 Chinese, and looks white — but others in her family, like her brother, still proudly identify as Chinese. She and her partner adopted two Chinese daughters from the mainland. As a documentarian, I found the Coughs fascinating. But as a Chinese woman, I felt conflicted watching these girls being raised in a family I worried could not raise them with an “authentic” Chinese experience. I’d like to talk about POC journalists covering POC subjects: What is it like as a reporter to cover subjects who share your ethnicity, and yet, can’t relate to your culture (and vice versa)? How do we go about finding stories and subjects that represent the diversity and nuance and multiplicity of cultural experience?

How I Reported the Story of Jennifer Pan and Her Plot to Kill Her Parents (Karen K. Ho, Northern News Services)

What happens when a business reporter tries crime reporting for the first time, only the high-profile case is about a couple she knew in high school charged with trying to murder the woman’s parents? For more than a year, Karen K. Ho suspected she had a good idea for her first magazine pitch. She even workshopped it at her first AAJA national conference. But she never expected to be asked to cover the entire 10-month trial. And no one expected it to go viral around the world. In this lightning talk, Karen will give rapid-fire lessons about her experience jumping into an entirely different beat, the headaches when you undergo translation, figuring out how much of yourself you should put in the story and how to harness the power of social media with a longer feature.

How to Dress the Part When Your Wallet Is Thin (Hannah Bae, CNNMoney)

Here’s how to build a professional, high-quality wardrobe when you’re on a budget. I wrote a piece on this topic for CNNMoney, in which I share my secrets for shopping on a budget. My tips include checking the materials of clothes that I buy, digging through secondhand clothes, and shopping around.

A Guide to Taking Pro Photos With Nothing But Your Phone (Maya Sugarman, KPCC)

Nowadays, everyone has a high-resolution camera in their pocket at all times. From social media to news websites and blogs, we are inundated with images on the internet every day. It’s become ever-important to make good pictures to get your content to stand out. I’d like to give a talk on five simple steps to making better pictures on your mobile phone. 1. Get closer. 2. Clean background. 3. Angles. 4. Reading light. 5. Framing. I’ll make this hands-on by pulling two volunteers to take portraits of each other. I’ll give them tips in realtime and show the evolution of making a good photo.

Make Everyone In Your Newsroom Happy (So You Can Do Your Job) (Hilary Fung, Huffington Post)

As a journalist and a designer, I often find myself spending more time defending my decisions than actually creating new work. After too many repetitive and fruitless arguments, I’ve learned a few things and developed some strategies for getting past false dichotomies and “must-do-it-this-way” attitudes — both in my own thinking and with other people. In a short five minutes, I’ll talk about how to make everyone happier (which is basically a superpower!) and how that creates better stories and products. Even works outside the newsroom!

Quantifying The Seemingly Unquantifiable (Frank Bi, The Verge)

Five datasets you won’t believe existed and how to quantify whatever you want.

How To Instagram Your Way Around the World (Sonia Narang, Public Radio International)

So you think Instagram is just full of pictures of food, babies, and pets, not to mention selfies? Think again. In my fast-paced talk, I’ll guide you through the principles of using Instagram effectively to report and photograph stories around the world.

My Instagram followers tagged along with me as I posted images from mountain villages in Nepal to a truck yard in Pakistan to a volcano island in the Philippines. I’ll explain how to use this amazing tool to give your audience a sneak peek into your print or radio stories. You’ll also learn how to take compelling shots with your smartphone and build a discussion around your Instagram photos. After my five-minute pep talk, you’ll be able to unleash your inner-photographer and see Instagram in a whole new light!

“It’s Not What You Know, It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who Knows You!”: The Art of Networking (Archith Seshadri, CNN)

We talk about this all the time. We get business cards. We know we have to do it. But why are some people more natural at it? And why do others struggle with it? In 300 seconds, I want to share my networking 101 tips, and get other people in the room to share theirs. Networking is not about finding a job. It’s not about getting a promotion. So wait, what is it about? Well, find out at AAJA and how you can do it to improve your life personally, professionally and pitfalls to avoid!