2018 Conference Schedule

Thursday-Sunday, June 7-10, 2018

Kingsgate Marriott Conference Center at the University of Cincinnati

151 Goodman Drive, Cincinnati, OH

NSNC Conference Chair:  Bonnie Jean Feldkamp

Register Here

Thursday, June 7, 2018 – The NSNC Nightly Brews

(Optional Social)

Meet in the hotel lobby at 5:30 p.m. for a group walk to nearby Mecklenburg Gardens restaurant and bier garten, 302 E. University Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45219 (about 1/2 mile from hotel).

The NSNC is holding a 6:00 p.m. group dinner reservation.  Mecklenburg Gardens was voted #1 America’s Best Beer Garden by Travel & Leisure Magazine and “Top 5 Best Outdoor Dining” by Cincinnati Magazine. There will be special NSNC picnic seating and menu; pay is on your own. RSVPs required: (director@columnists.com). 

Friday, June 8, 2018, The Kingsgate Marriott (Morning Segment) Amphitheater 2

7:30 – 9 a.m. Breakfast Buffet

Sponsored by the

Greater Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists

8:00 a.m. Welcome by President Lisa Smith Molinari and Conference Chair

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp

8:15 a.m.

Roll Call of the States – Samantha Bennett

9:00 – 9:45 a.m.

How to Overcome News Saturation With Readers – Rochelle Riley

(Co-sponsored by the Cincinnati Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists)

How do you avoid sounding like everyone else or fight the assumption that social justice columnists sing only one tune?  Avoid negative labeling, news saturation, and readers growing numb. Discover writing that strengthens supporters and reaches out to new audiences.  Columnist and author Rochelle Riley of The Detroit Free Press is  the 2017 recipient of the Pulliam Fellowship by the Society of Professional Journalists, and has received other major journalism awards for a career that crusades for children, government accountability, and improved race relations.

10:00 – 10:45 a.m.

When Celebrities Enter Politics – Jerry Springer

Jerry Springer will share his thoughts about celebrities running for public office and lessons learned during his colorful career. Recently, the Democratic party in Ohio ran a poll showing significant support for Springer if he were to run for governor. His popular podcast, “Tales, Tunes and Tom Foolery”, is in its third year and is live most Tuesday nights at the Folk School Coffee Parlor in Ludlow, KY. He is the host of “The Jerry Springer Show” (now in its 27th year), and the national tour of “The Price Is Right, Live.”  He served as a Cincinnati councilman and mayor during the 1970’s. Later he was a news anchor for NBC Cincinnati for 10 years, and then went into show business.  www.jerryspringer.com


10:45 – 11:00 a.m.  Break

11:00 – 11:45 a.m.

Future Book Publishing Trends – Jim Azevedo

Jim Azevedo, marketing director for Smashwords, reveals the top publishing industry trends and contemporary issues that are transforming the future of authorship. Learn how the playing field isn’t just level – it’s tilted to the indie author’s advantage.  Learn why the former stigma of self-publishing has been replaced with growing pride and professionalism as indie authors pioneer the best practices of tomorrow and scale all the international bestseller lists. This program will arm writers with the knowledge necessary to confront challenges with confidence, and to take full advantage of the amazing opportunities in book publishing today.


11:45 a.m. -12:45 p.m.

Lunch With Nick Clooney, Kingsgate Marriott

Photo By Dr. Blofeld

Keynoter Nick Clooney, regional Emmy® Awards winner, national Emmy® Awards nominee, and Cincinnati icon will share observations from his successful life as a columnist, anchorman, TV host, and perhaps snippets of his personal life as the father of George Clooney and the brother of Rosemary and Betty Clooney.



Afternoon sessions and Friday night dinner at The Cincinnati Zoo, 3400 Vine Street (1/2 mile walk).


1:00 p.m.

The Tree Tops at The Cincinnati Zoo:  “Sundae Service” by Graeter’s Ice Cream

Dessert and Discussion sponsored by Graeter’s Ice Cream and The Cincinnati Zoo


1:15 – 2:15 p.m.

The Interview: Getting Real Answers From the Unwilling – Howard Wilkinson

Learn the art of the interview.  How do you get a “real answer” instead of a “set response,”especially from public figures who are both guarded and practiced against self-revelation? Such lessons can be applied to any interview, a mainstay for most columnists and bloggers.  Political writer Howard Wilkinson writes “Tales from the Trail,” and “Politically Speaking” for WVXU.org.  He will share advice from his 44 years of interviewing politicians and sports celebs.


2:15 – 3:00 p.m.

Descriptive Writing and the Cincinnati Food Scene – Polly Campbell

Critique skills can translate to all genres. Consider how taste is made real beyond using words like “delicious” or “yummy.”  Metaphors and sensory engagement bring readers into the experience.  Often food is linked to memories and a sense of place.  Popular food writer Polly Campbell of The Cincinnati Enquirer shares her writing secrets and dishes on the eating scene in Cincinnati.


3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Free Time:  Explore The Cincinnati Zoo

Free admission for NSNC attendees to visit this world-renowned site is sponsored by The Cincinnati Zoo. (Note: The zoo closes at 5 p.m.)

Humanitarian Award Night!

6:00 p.m.

Cocktail Reception at Giraffe Ridge, The Cincinnati Zoo

7:00 p.m.  

Dinner at The Tree Tops, The Cincinnati Zoo

8:00 p.m.  

The Will Rogers Humanitarian Award presented by Robert L. Haught on behalf of the Will Rogers Foundations


8:30 p.m.

Keynote by Jose Antonio Vargas, Founder and CEO of Define American.

Mr. Vargas will talk about the power of story to change hearts and to emphasize

the humanity in controversial issues, such as immigration reform.


Post-Dinner: NSNC Hospitality Suite (Presidential Suite) back at the Kingsgate Marriott

Saturday, June 9, 2018, Kingsgate Marriott (all day)

7:30 – 9:00 a.m. Breakfast Buffet

9:00 – 9:45 a.m.

What Goes Into Award-Winning Writing – Peter Bhatia

Executive Editor Peter Bhatia of The Detroit Free Press, formerly with The Cincinnati Enquirer, has won multiple Pulitzer Prizes and Hall of Fame awards for leading investigative news teams.  He will inspire us with stories of team collaborations and what goes into award-winning writing.



10:00 – 10:45 a.m.

Flash Class on Writing: Build a Huge Fan Base With Writing That Surprises – Dave Lieber

The Dallas Morning News “Watchdog” columnist Dave Lieber shares practical, immediately usable tips about writing, researching, editing, and presentation in various formats (including social media) that will make you a much stronger written communicator. Dave has been a columnist for 30 of his 42 years as a newspaperman. Takeaways:

– Hear unusual ideas that help you grow as a writer.

– Gain tips about how to do quickie journalism that make you an expert.

– Use storytelling techniques that allow you to “show and not tell” your important stories.

– See how to put emotion and passion into everything you write.

– Learn editing techniques that perfect your writing every time.


11:00 – 11:45 a.m.

Hyperlocal Stories:  It’s How the Strong Survive – Carol Robidoux

As huge publications try to be all things to all readers, the advantage goes to local publications. Readers want to know what’s happening written by those who can convey the nuances of their town or city culture.   It’s Darwinian: only the strong survive and Carol Robidoux is an evolutionary journalist going for the “hyperlocal” angle as publisher and Chief Instigating Officer of ManchesterInkLink.com, an online daily news site for New Hampshire’s largest city.  She shares her take on adaptability, being resourceful, and the agility required to stay steps ahead in a fast-changing industry.


12 noon – 1:30 p.m. Lunch.

Keynoter Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune columnist

The NSNC Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award recipient (2007) and Pulitzer Prize winner (1989) talks about truth, facts, and fake news.  What columnists need to do to elevate our craft and inspire trust with readers.



1:45 – 2:30 p.m.  

Connect With Literary Agents

Last year’s successful meet-and-greet with accomplished literary agents is back by demand.  Sam Hiyate of The Rights Factory and Alice Speilburg of Speilburg Literary Agency represent award-winning authors of different genres.  Get your questions answered.  Their experience, ideas, and know-how can spark a book project or refine your book proposal.  Journalists and columnists are a fertile field and the agents are eager to give advice and to hear book pitches in a separate session. (More agents TBA)


2:30 – 3:30 p.m.  

Pitch to Literary Agents – (Storm Room)

This separate session will allow attendees to meet one-on-one with a literary agent for ten minutes to pitch a book proposal. Joseph Parsons, Alice Speilburg, and Sam Hiyate  (More agents TBA.) Advance sign-ups required.


2:30 – 3:30 p.m.  

Facebook for Writers – Bonnie Jean Feldkamp

(Note:  This session will run concurrently with the “Pitch to Literary Agents” session.)

Do you know the difference between a Facebook page and a Facebook profile? Do you wonder why you’re not getting likes, comments, or shares?  In this session, Bonnie Jean Feldkamp, NSNC Communications Director and 2017 Ohio SPJ winner for Best Overall Blog, will talk about how to curate your Facebook page for creating a community of readers, how to “boost” a post to reach more people, and how to create ads that will reach your audience whether they “like” your page or not.

Bonus: Bonnie will also reveal how members can take advantage of their NSNC memberships and reach an even larger audience with a brand-new membership benefit.


3:30 – 4:30 p.m.  

Cornhole Tournament emceed by NSNC VP Chris Carosa  

After learning how to do things smarter, better, and faster, it’s time for fun and prizes!

Awards Night!

6:00 p.m.  Cocktail reception – Kingsgate Marriott – Salon A, Ballroom

7:00 p.m.  NSNC Awards Banquet

8:00 p.m.  Presentation: 2018 NSNC Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award to Connie Schultz

8:45 p.m.  Awards:  NSNC Column Writing Competition (Still time to enter your columns and blogs HERE)


See you in the Hospitality Suite  (Presidential Suite)

Sunday, June 10, 2018 – General Membership Meeting

Breakfast on your own

9:00 a.m. NSNC Membership Meeting

(Officers Election, 2019 Conference, Buffalo, New York, and 2020 Conference site suggestions.)

Adjournment.  See you in 2019 in Buffalo, NY!

The 2018 NSNC Planning Committee thanks you:

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp, Chair

Dave Astor

Chandra Bozelko

Chris Carosa

Eric Heyl

Chuck Keller

Mike Leonard

Lisa Smith Molinari

Mike Morin

Suzette Standring

Jerry Zezima

Register Now

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