For the 28th consecutive year, DP alumni gathered on the Penn campus on an early-fall Sunday afternoon to engage, educate and inspire current DP staff members at the DPAA’s Stephen A. Marquez Journalism Conference.
Seventeen alumni -- spanning five decades, from the 1970s to the 2010s -- met with nearly 100 students on a wide-ranging array of topics, from investigative reporting to feature writing to visual storytelling.
Conference organizer Jeff Shafer '06, a marketing executive at magazine publishing powerhouse Bonnier Corp., kicked off the event by introducing the DP alumni network and talking about the relevance of influence of the DP on campus today.
The keynote panel, "Telling the Big Story: Enterprise and Investigative Reporting," brought together a prestigious group of DP alumni: Peter Canellos '84, editorial page editor of The Boston Globe; Robin Fields '89, managing editor of ProPublica; Chris George '05, news designer at The Washington Post; and Mark Hosenball '78, a senior investigative correspondent at Reuters.
In the first set of break-out sessions, alumni tackled news, sports and feature writing. A news reporting panel consisting of Sabrina Eaton '85, Washington correspondent at The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Zoe Tillman '09, reporter at The National Law Journal/Legal Times, and Eric Tucker '01, reporter at the Associated Press, talked about "Developing great stories from College Hall to City Hall."
Adam Rubin '95, the Mets beat writer at ESPN New York and Jason Schwarz '07, a senior editor at Boston Magazine, spoke on "covering the game, the team and the side stories that make sports fun."
A feature writing panel on "long-form profiles and engaging features that get people talking" consisted of Sabrina Rubin Erdely '94, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, and Loren Feldman '78, small business editor at The New York Times.
The second hour of breakout sessions focused on a deeper dive into skills and problem solving for DP staff members. One panel looked at "Visual Storytelling with data and design: graphics, interactive features, and layouts — telling the story with more than just words. Washington Post page designer George was joined by Cezary Podkul '06, a financial data and investigative reporter at Reuters, and Albert Sun '10, an interactive developer at The New York Times.
A "Beat Reporting 101" panel discussed "everything you need to know about working a beat, developing sources and getting what you need from government." Eaton and Tillman were joined by Anthony Campisi '09, who recently switched from reporting for the Bergen Record to being an investigator for the City of Philadelphia's Office of Inspector General.
Keynote panelists Canellos, Fields and Hosenball sat with a small team of DP reporters and editors for a hands-on workshop to help with several enterprise stories the students are currently working on.
In the conference's final hour, one session focused on "Social media for journalists: how to use today's tools to deliver the news, report the stories and engage your community." Emily Babay '10, a breaking news producer at Philly.com and Michael Gold '11, community coordinator at The Baltimore Sun, were joined by New York Times interactive developer Sun. All the other remaining alumni panelists came together for a discussion and Q&A session about careers in journalism and how to break into the field.
The annual conference was named in memory of Steven A. Marquez ’79, a former DP Managing Editor who was a reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News when he died in 1987 at the age of 29. Marquez, a native Philadelphian, was a strong supporter of the city’s local communities and was widely praised for his neighborhoods coverage while at the Daily News. He had maintained close contact with the DP, and had been elected to the DP Alumni Association Board of Directors just before his death.
To see dozens of additional photos from the Marquez Conference, click here to visit the photo gallery on the DPAA Facebook site.