Plenary Sessions

Please note that all speakers are confirmed, but the program may change without notice.

Crisis Communication in a Digital Age
Preconference • Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wednesday, June 26

12:30–1:30 p.m.
Navigating the Web of Tweets, Texts, IMs, Alerts, Posts, and More in a Campus Crisis
Media representatives will analyze complex digital communication channels and discuss crisis coverage, indicating what they found when campuses went on “red alert.”

Natalie DiBlasio, breaking news reporter at USA TODAY, has hosted USA TODAY’s webbroadcast segment, “USA NOW.” She wrote about colleges in two states that legalized pot and reported their students’ views on smoking marijuana. She is a graduate of the University of Vermont.
Peggy Fox is a three-time Emmy-awardwinning, multi-media journalist who reports and anchors the news for WUSA 9 TV in Washington, DC. She covered her alma mater, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), during its tragedies in 2007 and 2011.
Jenna Johnson writes about higher education for the Washington Post and pens the blog, “Campus Overload.” A graduate of University of Nebraska, she covered last summer’s leadership crisis at the University of Virginia.

Moderator/Speaker: John Finn, Director of Public Information, The College of Wooster

4:30–5:45 p.m.
How the Media Covered the News at Penn State
Participants will discuss how they navigated the digital era’s news gathering processes during the indictment and trial of a former Penn State football coach. Journalists and a campus PR veteran relate how the media asked questions, investigated issues, and identified facts on the run—analyzing what the historic campus crisis might mean for other universities and colleges nationwide.
Mark Scolforo, an Associated Press reporter based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has written and contributed to more than 100 stories about the Jerry Sandusky case since the arrest in fall 2011.
Susan Snyder covers higher education for the Philadelphia Inquirer. She has covered education crises for years and shares a Pulitzer Prize that she earned as part of the Inquirer’s five-reporter investigative team on violence in the city’s public schools.

Moderator/Speaker: John Wall, Director of Media Relations, Juniata College
6:00–7:30 p.m.
(Sponsored by The Chronicle of Higher Education)
How the College of Tomorrow Can Communicate Its Value
Education in a digital age promises new paradigms and likely will take diverse forms. A panel of academic and media insiders will consider the ways that future students will learn, where and how they will attend college, and how faculty will cope with their demands. The panel also will discuss how marketing and communications officers can convince the public of the value of their institutions. The new book by Jeffrey Selingo, College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students, will form the basis for the panel discussion. All participants in the conference will receive a complimentary copy of the book.

Kathleen deLaski, member of George Mason University's Board of Visitors, is president of The deLaski Family Foundation, a leading Washington area grant-maker in education and the arts. Previously, she was founding president of The Sallie Mae Fund, the non-profit arm of student lending leader, Sallie Mae.
Richard Ekman, president of the Council of Independent Colleges, has led this national organization of nearly 700 colleges, universities, and organizations since 2000. He previously held senior positions at Atlantic Philanthropies, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and National Endowment for the Humanities.
Jeffrey Selingo is author of College (Un) Bound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students and editor-at-large, Chronicle of Higher Education. He has spent 14 years at the Chronicle.

Moderator: Jacques Steinberg, former higher education reporter for the New York Times, now works with Say Yes to Education, a national nonprofit education foundation committed to increasing high school and college graduation rates for urban youth.

Communicating with Journalists: The Key to Coverage
Conference • June 27–28, 2013

Thursday, June 27

8:30–9:30 a.m.
Getting Coverage for Your Institution
Tom Evelyn is St. Lawrence University’s vice president for communications. Previously he was senior director of news and media relations at Bucknell University and directed the news and information operation at University of Central Florida.
Candace Smith, executive director of the Office of Media Relations at George Washington University, is a former national and foreign broadcast and print news correspondent. She worked for Associated Press in Washington, DC, for several years covering local and national stories, including the anthrax scare and September 11 attack on the Pentagon.

Moderator: Kate Worster, Executive Director of University Relations, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
9:30–10:45 a.m.
Serving New Models: Online Publications and Blogs
Laura Helmuth is science and health editor for Slate magazine. Previously, she was the science editor for Smithsonian magazine for eight years. She holds a PhD in cognitive neuroscience from University of California at Berkeley.
Christopher Shea, a freelance writer and higher education blogger, has been a reporter, editor, columnist, or blogger at the Chronicle of Higher Education, Boston Globe, and Wall Street Journal. He contributes to many publications, including the Atlantic, Washington Post, and Smithsonian magazine.
Rachel Sklar is a writer, social entrepreneur, and co-founder of She covers media, politics, culture, and technology and was a founding editor of Mediaite and Huffington Post. She was listed in Forbes’  “Women Changing the World.”

Moderator: Anita Thomas, Vice President of Government and Community Relations, University of Baltimore
11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
How National Publications Cover the News
Jane Bennett Clark is a senior editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. She has covered college financing for several years and supervises the magazine’s annual rankings for best values in public and private colleges and universities.
Jacques Steinberg was a journalist at the New York Times for 24 years. He initiated “The Choice,” the Times’ college admissions and financial aid blog, and is author of The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College.
James Warren is Chicago editor-at-large for NewsBeast, national correspondent for the Atlantic, and an MSNBC analyst. He also now serves as Washington bureau chief of the New York Daily News. He is a frequent radio commentator and former managing editor and Washington bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune.

Moderator: Hilary Hurd Anyaso, Law and Social Sciences Editor, Northwestern University
2:00–2:30 p.m.
Public Policy and the Year Ahead
Erin Hennessy, assistant vice president of public affairs and publishing for the American Council on Education (ACE), has been at ACE since 2007. Previously, she served as press secretary for U.S. Rep. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

Moderator: Lucy Himstedt, Assistant Vice President of Marketing and Communications, University of Evansville
2:30–3:45 p.m.
Winning Placements: Pitching Successfully to the Media
Michael Smart, president of MichaelSmartPR and former national news director at Brigham Young University, has trained more than 4,000 PR professionals from Frankfurt to Tokyo on how to boost publicity results. He previously spent 14 years in campus media relations.

Moderator: Arlethia Perry-Johnson, Vice President for External Affairs, Kennesaw State University
4:15–5:30 p.m.
Pitching Television Stories and Ideas that Sell
Sarah Baker, a CNN booker/editorial producer based in Washington, DC, since 2008, has worked at ABC News with Ted Koppel, Sam Donaldson, and others. A Smith College graduate, she also studied at University College London.
Mary Bruce covers the Obama administration as a White House producer for ABC News. Previously she served as ABC’s education producer, covering the U.S. Department of Education and education reforms and innovations. She is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis.
Vivian Fel is a 12-year veteran of the popular morning NBC TV show, Today. She produces live and taped segments for all four hours of Today, ranging from breaking news stories to the show’s popular concerts on the Rockefeller Plaza.

Moderator: Doug Cook, Director of News and Media Relations, Bowdoin College

Friday, June 28

11:15 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Approaching the Education Journalists
Steve Drummond is the Senior National Editor for NPR News. He oversees the network's national news coverage and a team of more than 70 reporters, producers and editors in Washington and NPR's domestic bureaus, including coverage of business and economics, national security, and the arts.
Melissa Korn
has been a reporter at the Wall Street Journal in New York for two years. She covers higher education with a focus on business schools. A graduate of Cornell University, she also holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Janet Lorin has covered higher education for Bloomberg News since 2008 with a focus on college admissions and financial aid. She has covered the nonprofit testing industry, university presidents on corporate boards, and the impact of the economy on university finances.

Moderator: Benjamin Marvin, Director of Media Relations,
The College of Saint Rose