- This event has passed.
Pro Tips: Writing Workshop 2019
November 1, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT
Whether you’re a journalist or a nonfiction author–or you aspire to be one–you’ll leave this multi-session half-day workshop with concrete skills that will help you take your work to the next level.
Participants will create the program that best suits their interests and needs, selecting from a choice of sessions for each of four hour-long time slots, running from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Confirmed sessions include:
How to make an investigative story go viral. How do you get readers to stick with you through a hefty, lofty, longform investigative piece? By writing it with them in mind. Washington Post investigative reporter Amy Brittain will share her tips for writing for readership and engagement–what works, what doesn’t, how strategies have changed over time, and using metrics to help guide you. Learn how to create tension and suspense, pick the right quotes, build a narrative arc, write to a destination and more.
How to write online. When you write for a digital audience, you’re vying for the attention of readers with a near-infinite array of choices at their fingertips–literally. Learn how to compete–and win–on the electronic playing field, whether you’re writing a story, a blog post, a headline or a tweet. Journalist and Vox.com engagement editor Nisha Chittal will help you learn how to identify your target audience, and then reach and engage them with online-savvy choices on everything from structure to tone.
How to get people to read what you write–and then do what you want. Think persuasive writing is just for the op-ed pages? If you’ve ever crafted a lede hoping people would read on, sent a story pitch or query aimed at sparking interest in your idea or manuscript, or fired off an email seeking a reply, you’ve engaged in persuasive writing (or at least tried). Trish Hall, the author of “Writing to Persuade” and former op-ed editor of The New York Times, will share her tips on how to break through and get the response you want — or at least get your point across without blowing your chances. Learn how to understand your audience, how to identify what tools to use to reach them, and how to persuade tough targets by using techniques such as speaking from the value systems of those with whom you disagree.
Magazine feature writing: Make the leap. Magazine features play by their own rules. What makes for a successful one? Richard Just, editor of The Washington Post Magazine, will break down how magazine features work–including how they differ from news features and other forms of nonfiction writing–and how to conceive, pitch, plan, report, structure and fact-check them to satisfy the most demanding editor.
When you really are the story. You haven’t set out to write from personal experience–you’re there to tell the story, not be part of it. But then suddenly something consequential happens to you. What do you do? Washington Post national correspondent Wesley Lowery, who was arrested in a McDonald’s while covering the Ferguson protests, will share his thoughts on when and why to break the frame, how to do it effectively when you’re not used to writing about yourself–and how to manage the potential fallout.
How to get out of the weeds and back on track. You’ve lost your way, and you know it. Now what? Steve Padilla, editor of the Los Angeles Times showcase feature Column One, will share concrete tools to help you diagnose and fix the problem—as well as strategies for focusing ideas and choosing the right story form to help you avoid the problem in the first place.
Writing tips you’ll use forever. Straight-to-the point advice you can put into practice now–and use your entire career. Steve Padilla, editor of the Los Angeles Times showcase feature Column One, shows how to strengthen your writing technique, with practical tips on crafting anecdotes, using verbs, capturing dialogue, writing descriptions and more. These tips work for long-form stories as well as quick dailies for the web.
How to bulletproof your story when “fact” is a four-letter word. Want to make sure your stories don’t unravel under scrutiny? Yvonne Rolzhausen, research chief at The Atlantic, will share her insights on how magazine fact-checking works, what accuracy looks like in a “post-fact” era and how to make sure your stories pass muster, including: false equivalency and how to “weight” information fairly; accurate facts, false narratives; and when both sides are right–and wrong.
How to publish a bestselling book: Two agents & one author share their tips. Got a book in you (or in a file drawer)? Literary agents Gail Ross, of the Ross Yoon Agency; Raphael Sagalyn, of ICM; and New York Times best-selling author Lynne Olson will share their insights and answer your questions about how to get your manuscript out of the slush pile and onto the New York Times bestseller list.
Making every word count (on a deadline). You can write short if you’ve got time and fast if you’ve got space–but what happens when you’ve got to turn out tight, clean copy under pressure? Politico cybersecurity reporter and morning newsletter writer Tim Starks will share tips on how to quickly spot (and fill) the holes in your understanding, find your focus and your target audience, polish your prose–and do it with style.
Workshop participants will also gain admission that evening to the 42nd annual Book Fair and Authors Night, a D.C. tradition and fundraiser for the National Press Club Journalism Institute presented in partnership with landmark local bookseller Politics & Prose. Come meet your favorite authors and browse for books in a variety of genres at the Club’s headquarters from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The National Press Club Journalism Institute promotes an engaged global citizenry through an independent and free press, and equips journalists with skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire civic engagement. As the non-profit of the National Press Club, the Institute serves as a beacon for journalism in the public interest.
National Press Club
529 14th Street NW (14th & F Streets)
Washington, DC 20045
Friday, Nov. 1, 2019
1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
$50 for NPC members; $75 for general public
**Please note**: No outside books or other author & book paraphernalia are allowed into the Fair. All books must be purchased onsite.