‘Beyonce of Books,’ SOS’ Shankman, and Champion of Change to Keynote ASJA 2024 Conference

Three media leaders whose work distinguishes them as luminaries and trendsetters will headline the ASJA 2024 conference in September. They are:

  • Krishan Trotman, author and founder of Hachette Book Group’s Legacy Lit imprint
  • Peter Shankman, serial entrepreneur, founder of the new Source of Sources service, and long-time freelance supporter
  • David W. Brown, Temple University assistant dean and communications professor, award-winning speaker, student advisor, columnist, and part-time pastor 

ASJA’s 2024 ‘Conference From Anywhere’ takes place online Sept. 24 to 26. It will be held in conjunction with the members-only networking opportunity, Client Connections 2024 – A Virtual Event!, which runs Sept. 26 and 27.

2024 conference keynote speakers

Here’s more background on the ASJA 2024 virtual conference keynote speakers:

Krishan Trotman

Krishan Trotman. A self-described “Beyonce of Books,” Trotman spent the past 15 years publishing works by and about multicultural voices and social justice. In 2020 she started Hachette’s Legacy Lit imprint to focus on works by writers of color. Recent Legacy Lit titles include “Undiplomatic,” by former White House social secretary Deesha Dyer, and “Madness,” a New York Times Editor’s Pick by Antonia Hylton. 

When Trotman spoke to the New York Times for this February 2024 article about the ongoing lack of diversity in publishing, she was one of only two Black publishers at Hachette. “It has been harder for brown folks in publishing to find mentors at the executive level,” she told the Times.

Trotman co-authored the Queens of Resistance book series released in 2020 celebrating four of Congress’ “most beloved boss ladies” – Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Elizabeth Warren, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Trotman’s keynote on the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 24, kicks off the conference.

Peter Shankman. You may have heard a collective cheer from long-time freelancers this spring when media entrepreneur Peter Shankman launched a free source-finding tool for journalists reminiscent of his original media matchmaking service, Help a Reporter Out (HARO). 

Peter Shankman

Much like HARO, the new site, called Source of Sources (SOS), helps journalists find sources and helps companies, nonprofits, and other sources get publicity. SOS fills the hole left when Cision, the global PR company, retired HARO earlier in 2024. Shankman started HARO in 2008 and sold it in 2010 to a company that Cision merged with in 2014. 

Read this LinkedIn post by Shankman explaining why he launched the new service, which he initially called “Help Every Reporter Out” before changing the name to SOS.

Shankman is no stranger to ASJA. He spoke at the organization’s annual conference in New York in 2010. His keynote takes place on the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 25.

David W. Brown. Temple assistant professor of instruction and assistant dean for community and communications David W. Brown is the ultimate multi-hyphenate. In addition to teaching, Brown advises the school’s Black Public Relations Society student chapter, and is a frequent columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer and other local newspapers. He also serves as a part-time pastor. 

David W. Brown

According to Brown, writers must maintain their integrity in a media industry roiled by AI and other changes. In his keynote, Brown expects to touch on that as well as on the value of storytelling, the importance of ethics and the human touch in the era of AI, and the future of content. 

Brown previously was general manager of 900 AM WURD, Pennsylvania’s only black-owned talk radio station. The Obama administration named him a “Champion of Change” for his work in faith, private, and public communities. Among his many accolades, Brown is a past Pennsylvania Communication Association Speaker of the Year, and was inducted into the Philadelphia Public Relations Association’s PR Hall of Fame. His 2010 book, ”Freedom Drawn from Within: A History of the Delaware Annual Conference,”  examines the historic role that African Americans played in the formation of the modern United Methodist Church.

Brown will speak at the conference on the morning of Thursday, Sept. 26.

Registration and other AJSA 2024 conference news

Registration for the ASJA 2024 conference opens Tuesday, July 9. Information about early bird prices and other details will be available when registration opens. Subscribe to the ASJA Weekly newsletter to keep up with conference news and updates about other ASJA events and benefits.

The ASJA 2024 conference features separate tracks focused on books, journalism, and content marketing writing. It also includes cross-track sessions on topics that all freelancers will find helpful regardless of the genre they write in, including how to run a freelance business. All conference sessions emphasize national markets and content that lends itself to a screen-based format, and will be recorded.

The conference is hosted on the Airmeet technology platform, which offers attendees the chance to gather online informally before, during, and after scheduled programming during the run of the conference.

Once again this year, ASJA will offer full scholarships to freelancers and students from historically underrepresented populations to attend the full conference for free. Stay tuned for more information about scholarship eligibility and deadlines coming soon.

The ASJA 2024 conference is open to members and nonmembers. 

Client Connections 2024 updates

Client Connections 2024 will offer ASJA professional members opportunities to schedule short meetings or pitch sessions with editors, agents, publishers and other potential clients. 

The lottery for Client Connections 2024 appointments opens Sept. 5. Only ASJA professional members can participate. Read more about Client Connections here. Stay tuned for more information.

For a chance to attend the ASJA 2024 conference and Client Connections 2024 for free, enter the Client Connections client recruitment contest. The ASJA professional member who recruits the most registered clients for the networking event wins. To participate, you need to be an ASJA professional member in good standing, and invite the most editors, content managers, or agents who sign up to attend by August 20, the client registration deadline.