Covering Campus Conflict in the Time of Trump: Agenda
Atlanta • October 2–3, 2017

Monday, October 2, 2017

10 a.m.: (Optional) Journalists’ Tour of CNN

CNN has graciously agreed to give 20 EWA members a journalists-only tour of their newsroom, and a chance to talk with members of CNN’s newsgathering, digital and data analysis teams to learn about their state-of-the art techniques of building traffic. The tour will start at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 2 at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters, located at One CNN Center, Atlanta, GA 30303. Please be at the entryway at 9:45 a.m. so you can go through security. You’ll need to show a picture ID. The tour will be over by 11:30 to give you time to walk back to the EWA conference at Georgia State University by noon. Spots will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you want to join this tour, you need to pre-register here.

Welcome & Lunch
12:00–12:30 p.m.

Guiding At-Risk Students to Graduation?
12:30–1:30 p.m.

Georgia State University has drawn national attention for its efforts to help historically disadvantaged students succeed in college. Black males, for example, graduate GSU at a rate more than 50 percent above the national average for that population. What’s driving the university’s progress in closing racial achievement gaps? Learn about GSU strategies such as the use of predictive analytics, interventional counseling, and emergency microgrants for students. What’s the cost? What are the data on effectiveness? Are other schools pursuing similar strategies?


Political Speech on College Campuses
1:45–2:45 p.m.

At a time of deep political polarization, colleges are confronting fresh challenges in safeguarding free speech while protecting campus security. College presidents and other officials who’ve hosted controversial speakers without violence discuss how colleges can remain open to new ideas and heated debate without promoting hate speech or risking violent protests.

Coffee & Kvetch
3:00–3:30 p.m.

This is your off-the-record gripe session. Share with fellow reporters and EWA whatever annoys you about your job. What is stopping you from producing better stories? Help us brainstorm ways EWA can help.

Covering Racial Conflict on Campus
3:45–4:45 p.m.

Journalists who have covered racial tensions on campus share tips and advice on how to report and write on this sensitive topic.

Top Ten Higher Ed Stories You Should Be Covering This Year
5:00–5:45 p.m.

Inside Higher Ed co-founder and editor Scott Jaschik gives you a heads up about the hottest stories in postsecondary education, and the topics you’ll likely be covering this fall. We guarantee you’ll not only feel fired up with inspiration by the end of Jaschik’s spiel, but have lots of great story ideas scribbled in your notebook.

Reception and Dinner
6:00–8:00 p.m.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

8:30–9:00 a.m.

How to Cover the New Reality on Campus: Adult Learners
9:00–9:45 a.m.

The stereotype of the “traditional” college freshman — an 18-year-old just out of high school — is becoming outdated. Today, 44 percent of undergraduates are at least aged 22, and nearly one in five are over age 30. Experts explain how reporters can cover this new reality and ensure that their coverage reflects all students.Data files you’ll need:

Affirmative Action’s Next Big Test
10:00–10:45 a.m.

The U.S. Department of Justice has announced it will investigate long-standing charges that Ivy League and other elite schools impose de facto quotas on Asian-Americans. Hear firsthand from key players in this dispute. What does the data show? What’s the latest on legal developments? What are local angles reporters can pursue at other colleges?

How to Report on Undocumented Students
11:15 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

12:00–1:00 p.m.

Title IX Revisited
1:00–2:00 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recently announced plans to rework Obama administration rules governing how colleges respond to student allegations of sexual assault. Hear from attorneys and reporters who’ve worked on these difficult stories, including a series that won a Pulitzer Prize. Learn about reporting techniques and data to drive strong and nuanced coverage of this difficult subject.

Mining Consumer Polling Data For Stories
2:15–3:00 p.m.

How many people would sell an organ to pay off their student loans? Which college has been voted most Goth? Reporters are inundated with PR pitches for new survey data. But not all polls are created equal. Hear from experts about how to find and effectively use good polling data.

How CNN Gets More Clicks Than You

3:15 – 4:00 p.m.

Nearly every journalism outlet is under intense financial pressure to get more visitors to their website to earn more advertising revenues. So journalists should pay attention to the strategies that have propelled CNN into the winner’s circle for the traffic race. CNN boasts more than 105 million unique visitors a month, tops in the news business, thanks, in part, to Mike Toppo, vice president of CNN Digital. Toppo helped create CNN’s “digital war room” which combines edit, research, business intelligence and social staffers to “use real-time data to optimize site performance and leverage trending content.” He’ll give you insights you can take home to your editor about how CNN uses short videos, SEO, social media, and carefully tested headlines to attract bigger audiences to its website.

Hands-on Data Workshop: How to Turn Student-Debt Data Into Must-Read Stories

4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

“Student loans” is one of the most-searched education terms on Google. And no wonder, now that the $1.45 trillion national student debt load is the biggest consumer financial obligation outside of mortgages. We’ll give you a spreadsheet of federal debt data and show you how to use basic Excel functions to identify, for example, which colleges you cover are loading up students with unaffordable loans. And we’ll explain how to find debtors to tell the human impacts of debt. 


Confirmed Speakers

  • Sasha Aslanian, correspondent, American RadioWorks
  • Mark Becker, president, Georgia State University
  • Bridget Burns, executive director, University Innovation Alliance
  • Brandon Busteed, executive director of education and workforce development, Gallup
  • José Luis Cruz, president, Lehman College
  • Carol D’Amico, executive vice president for mission advancement and philanthropy, Strada Education Network
  • David Hawkins, executive director for educational content and policy, National Association for College Admission Counseling
  • Scott Jaschik, editor, Inside Higher Ed
  • Derek Kravitz, research editor of ProPublica and co-author of the Columbia Journalism School investigation into the Rolling Stone story, “A Rape on Campus,” concerning the University of Virginia.
  • Walter Kimbrough, president, Dillard University
  • Tyler Kingkade, national reporter, Buzzfeed
  • Meredith Kolodner, staff writer, The Hechinger Report
  • Michael Moore, vice president for academic affairs, University of Arkansas System
  • Debbie Osgood, former National Enforcement Director with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (from June 2012 to February 2016), now a partner with Hogan Marren Babbo & Rose.
  • Tiffany Pennamon, assistant editor, Diverse Issues in Higher Education
  • Lisa Pemberton, education reporter, The Olympian
  • Rachel Piper, digital editor, Salt Lake Tribune, and co-winner of a 2016 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of campus rapes
  • Tracie Powell, founder and editor, AllDigitocracy.Org
  • Timothy Renick, vice provost and vice president for enrollment management and student success, Georgia State University
  • Marlon A. Walker, education reporter, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • Yukong Zhao, president, Asian American Coalition for Education