Monday, October 22, 2012 12:00 AM

Annual Marquez conference brings together DP alumni, current staff

The 27th edition of the DPAA’s Stephen A. Marquez Journalism Conference brought together alumni from four decades on a late-September Sunday afternoon to educate and inspire the next generation of DP journalists.

More than 100 students engaged with alumni on a variety of traditional topics, ranging from reporting and editing to design and photography. This year’s conference also looked to the ever-changing future of media, focusing on the latest platforms for sharing journalism and engaging readers. A standing-room-only crowd gathered for the keynote session entitled "The News 2012: the tools and technology of journalism today."

Recent graduates Julia Rubin ’10 and Michael Gold ’11 shared their first-hand experiences managing the social media presences for major organizations -- Rubin at Teen Vogue and Gold at the Baltimore Sun. They were joined on the panel by Adam Rubin ’95 of ESPN, Jane Havsy ’96 of the Daily Record in New Jersey and Jonathan Tannenwald ’06 of Panelists discussed the practicalities and ethics of reporting via Twitter, blogs and other new forms of communication. The panel was moderated by Jeff Shafer '06, who organized this year's conference.

Later, students broke into groups focused on different DP editorial departments. Amy Rosenberg ’84 of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Yochi Dreazen ’99 of the National Journal discussed the fundamentals of news reporting. Dreazen, previously a foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, shared stories of his unexpected encounter with Gen. David Petreaus. In the adjoining room, Rubin and Alan Schwarz ’90 of the New York Times met with members of the DP sports department.

Students also learned the ins-and-outs of visual journalism from two pros: Anne Neborak ’82, photo editor from the Delco News Network in suburban Philadelphia, and Christopher George ’05, news designer at the Washington Post. George, who recently left the Arizona Republic to return to the east coast, illustrated principles of good newspaper design by displaying and talking about pages from the DP, the Post and Republic, and other newspapers.

A panel on investigative and enterprise reporting delved into topics including how to dig deeper to find big stories and how to use data to explain the issues. Schwarz, Robin Fields ’89 of ProPublica and Cezary Podkul ’06 of Reuters led the discussion. Schwarz, who gained national attention for his reporting on head injuries in football, spoke about the skills needed to tell the difficult stories, especially those involving difficult interviews.

The afternoon's concluding session focused on careers in journalism, with eight of the DP alumni offering their insights on how to get internships, application and interviewing skills, and career paths in journalism.  Despite several years of dire headlines about the state of professional newspapering, an overwhelming number of students raised their hands when asked if they wanted to go into journalism after they graduated. Q&A from the session continued well past the conclusion of the program, as several dozen students lingered to chat one-on-one with the alumni about how to get started in journalism careers.

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

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