Journalism Track

Fall 2022 Virtual Conference: Journalism Track

We’re here to support your craft and career during a particularly challenging time in the journalism industry.

ASJA has a 70+ year legacy of supporting professional freelance journalists and their careers. Our conferences attract smart and accomplished independent journalists who work for some of the top news outlets in the world. Here’s your chance to learn from the best: through expert-led sessions and small-group discussions, as well as keynote speaker, Alex Liu, who branched out from traditional journalism into documentary. Whether you write hard news or lighter fare, this track is for you.

Keynote Speaker

Alex Liu, Documentarian and Journalist

Thursday, October 13, 11:00 a.m. – noon ET

In journalism, impartiality has always been paramount. The thinking was: if you reveal your biases, audiences will never see you as an objective arbiter of the truth. But as trust in institutions plummets worldwide—especially trust in the media—might some uncomfortable honesty about who you are be the only way forward?

Sessions: Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Tuesday Journalism Sessions

Pitch and Get Your Writing Noticed (In Real Time)

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. ET

Want to get the attention of an editor who assigns articles or essays regularly? And get their feedback to your pitches in person? Here’s your chance. In this workshop/pitch session, “All About the Pitch” columnist for Writer’s Digest, Estelle Erasmus has compiled a panel of prolific assigning editors, looking to fill their pages. Email your pitch to Estelle at and receive an analysis from the editors at the conference as well as Estelle’s Edge (publishing wisdom) as they discuss what works—and what to avoid—when trying to get published.

Estelle Erasmus is an award-winning journalist, writing coach, and longtime ASJA member. She writes  the “All About the Pitch” column for Writer’s Digest. and is an adjunct writing professor at New York University. Her work has appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe IndependentWIREDHuffington Post PersonalAARP the Magazine, Vox,Insider, Next AvenueGHMarie Claire and more. She is the Special Guest Judge for Writer’s Digest’s 2022 Personal Essay contest. Estelle’s articles for the New York Times and Washington Post have gone globally viral (with more than 500 comments on her NYT piece). She has appeared on Good Morning America, Fox News with Ernie Anastos and has had her articles mentioned on “The View.” Her book WRITING THAT GETS NOTICED: How to Find Your Voice, Become a Better Storyteller, and Get Published  is forthcoming from New World Library. Find her on Twitter: @EstelleSErasmus, Instagram: @EstelleSErasmus, TikTok: @EstelleSErasmus  and on her website at

Margaret Guroff is an executive editor at AARP The Magazine and a thesis advisor with The Johns Hopkins University’s MA in Science Writing program. She wrote the cultural history book The Mechanical Horse: How the Bicycle Reshaped American Life and created Power Moby-Dick, an online annotation of Herman Melville’s classic novel.


Anjuman Ali is deputy editor of the wellness section at The Washington Post. She supervises a team of staff writers and freelancers who create science-based service journalism focused on personal health topics. Anju is passionate about issues related to mental health, and mentoring journalists, especially journalists of color. She has worked for several publications, including the Wisconsin State Journal, the Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press. She has a PhD in political science.

Shannon Palus is a senior editor at Slate, covering science and health. She was previously a senior writer at The New York Times‘ Wirecutter. Her writing has also appeared in The Atlantic, Popular Science, and many other publications.


LinkedIn for Journalists

4:00 – 5:00 p.m. ET

We’ll take a look at how journalists can make the most of their time on LinkedIn – from finding sources to building a following to working with LinkedIn data. Attendees will be eligible for a 12-month subscription to LinkedIn Premium Business.

Jaren Anderson leads the LinkedIn for Journalists program at LinkedIn, helping journalists get the most out of LinkedIn. Last year the program welcomed more than 8,000 journalists and freelancers into the program.



Gorki De Los Santos is a senior manager on the corporate communications team at LinkedIn leading the team’s work focused on Equity and Inclusion. He’s also a leader in LinkedIn’s Hispanics of LinkedIn Alliance (HOLA) employee resource group. Prior to joining LinkedIn, he led communications efforts at Nielsen and The Coca-Cola Company.

Immersed in the Details: Journalism, Storytelling & the Changing Boundaries of the Immersion Genre

5:15 – 6:15 p.m. ET

At ASJA’s annual in-person conference, a panel presentation explored the changing boundaries of immersion reporting, and began to examine tools, tactics and complications the immersion practice brings to journalism. In this follow-up panel, we will examine ways to begin using immersion journalism in your own reporting through an in-depth Q&A with Seyward Darby, editor of Atavist and author of Sisters in Hate: American Women on the Front Lines of White Nationalism. From providing real-world practices to discussing the complexities and ethics of such intensive reporting, writers with an interest in exploring the tools of immersion journalism will walk away with tactics they can use now, and considerations for the future.

Laura Jane Willoughby Laura Jane Willoughby is a journalist with a portfolio that spans a 20-year-career. She spent two years immersed in the Sanctuary Movement at the Southern and Northern borders for a manuscript under development.

Seyward Darby has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper’s, The Los Angeles Times, and The Guardian, among others.

Sessions: Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Wednesday Journalism Sessions

Sports Feature Writing and Reporting–(hint: ideas and possibilities everywhere!)

12:15 – 1:15 p.m. ET

In this session, veteran sports feature writer Anna Katherine Clemmons will detail how to explore and pitch feature ideas tied to sports, whether the outlet is Longreads, Bloomberg Businessweek or ESPN. She will explore how to turn your general audience story ideas into a pitch with a sports-related focus, and how to turn your writing interests into great longform storytelling. She’ll also share the experiences of being a female sports journalist in a landscape that is still 90% male–what’s changed in the last 15 years, what hasn’t, and where we go from here.

Anna Katherine (Clemmons) Clay is a national freelance multimedia journalist and an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Media Studies at the University of Virginia. Prior to her teaching, she worked for a decade as a writer, reporter and producer for ESPN.

Make a Freelance Writing Living with Journalism Only

4:00 – 5:00 p.m. ET

As magazines and newspapers struggle, you may assume it’s impossible to make a living as a freelance writer who specializes in journalism. But fear not! It *is* still possible to have a career and make a comfortable living with only (or mostly) traditional journalistic assignments. Three veteran, award-winning independent journalists will reveal how they make it work and provide numerous tips on how you can too.

Tara Haelle is an author and freelance science journalist whose publication credits include National Geographic, The New York Times, NPR, Scientific American, O Magazine, Wired, Texas Monthly, Medscape, and others. She wrote the Kirkus-starred Vaccination Investigation: The History and Science of Vaccines and nearly a dozen children’s science books, and she coauthored The Informed Parent: A Science-Based Guide to the First Four Years. Tara frequently gives talks on vaccines, children’s health, and mental health, including the TEDx talk “Why Parents Fear Vaccines.” Tara lives in Texas with her husband, two sons, four dogs, and 16 (or so) pet rats.

Meryl Davids Landau is a longtime independent health and science journalist. Her work has been published in National Geographic, Prevention, Vice, the New York Times, Good Housekeeping, O magazine, MindSite News, Everyday Health, and many others. Her work has won numerous awards including an ASJA article award, National Health Information awards, and a nomination for a National Magazine Award. She lives in South Florida, where she also writes fiction in her spare time.

Randy Dotinga, former president of ASJA and current board member of the Association of Health Care Journalists, has been a full-time freelance journalist since 1999. On behalf of ASJA, he spearheaded the successful effort to quash the provisions of a 2019 California labor law that threatened to kill the careers of countless freelance writers. He specializes in health/medicine, politics, books, history, and the odd and unusual. His clients include The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, WebMD, Medscape, and many more.

Sessions: Thursday, October 13, 2022

Thursday Journalism Sessions

Reporting in Your Own Back Yard

12:15 – 1:15 p.m. ET

How can you put on a new lens to find stories in your backyard that resonate with a national audience? Often the best reporting comes from locals who reside in the area and know the rhythms, quirks and history. This can lead to a deeper, more immersive story for readers but not necessarily a difficult prospect for the writer as the many years of background and community connections are already there. Is there a micro-culture as it relates to food, art, design, true crime, nature or history you’ve grown up with and are itching to tell stories about? Learn from panelists who report and write often about their backyards and the fun stories they’ve found, and how they pitched and sold to editors.

Jack El-Hai, a past president of ASJA, is the author of many books. The most recent is the true-crime title The Lost Brothers: A Family’s Decades-Long Search (University of Minnesota Press), which he adapted into the podcast Long Lost. He has contributed articles and essays to The Atlantic, Smithsonian, GQ, Wired, Scientific American, DiscoverThe Washington Post Magazine, and other publications. He lives in Minneapolis.

Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Kristine Hansen covers travel, food/drink and art/design in the Midwest for outlets that include, and She’s also the author of two books about Wisconsin (Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook: Creamy, Cheesy, Sweet and Savory Recipes from the State’s Best Creameries; and Wisconsin Farms and Farmers Markets: Tours, Trails and Attractions) with a third publishing in 2023 (Frank Lloyd Wright’s Wisconsin: How America’s Most Famous Architect Found Inspiration in His Home State).

For more than 20 years, Karon Warren has covered stories in her own backyard for both local and national publications on a wide range of topics, including lifestyle, travel, business and more. Most recently, she leverage her knowledge of her own backyard to write her first book, “100 Things to Do in the North Georgia Mountains Before You Die.” She has been a member and volunteer with ASJA since 2010.

Solutions Journalism Tells the Whole Story

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. ET

Christopher Johnston has published more than 3,500 articles in publications including American Theatre, Christian Science Monitor, History Magazine, and Scientific American. His book, Shattering Silences: Strategies to Prevent Sexual Assault, Heal Survivors, and Bring Assailants to Justice (Skyhorse) was published in May 2018. He is a member of the Board of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. He has written and taught solutions journalism since 2015 and is a member of the Solutions Journalism Network.

Dana Amihere is a data journalist, designer and developer. She’s the founder/executive director of AfroLA, a new newsroom covering greater Los Angeles through the lens of the Black community that will launch in early 2023. She’s committed to solutions reporting that centers racial and social justice, especially through data-driven storytelling. Previously, Amihere worked in data, interactive design and news apps for KPCC/LAist, The Dallas Morning News, Pew Research Center and The Baltimore Sun. She owns Code Black Media, a digital media and data consultancy. She is a lecturer at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Julia Hotz is Solution Journalism Network’s Fellowships Manager: she created and leads SJN’s LEDE fellowship, is creating and will manage the organization’s first CTN fellowship, and is developing a larger fellowship strategy for the organization that can be replicated both internally and externally in service of the network strategy. She’s also a journalist reporting on systemic solutions to loneliness, anxiety, and depression, with bylines in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, WIRED, Scientific American, Bloomberg, TIME, and more.

James Samimi Farr is a media researcher, freelancer, and occasional op-ed writer. His work centers on evolving the norms of journalism to better serve the public.


Spice Up Your Stories with Statstics

5:15 – 6:15 p.m. ET

You don’t need to be a math wiz to know that adding statistics can make or break a story. What are the best ways to report data? How can you when statistics are trust-worthy? In this session, we’ll look at some good and bad examples of statistics in recent reporting.

Laura Laing has used her math degree as a journalist for more than 20 years. She’s the author of three books about math: Math for GrownupsYour Daily Math, and Math for Writers. She is the outgoing president of ASJA.

Snack Chats

Access Hollywood: How to Interview Celebrities

Tuesday, October 11, 2022, 2:45 – 3:45 p.m. ET

Separate registration required and is open now. Snack chats are $10 for members, $20 for non-members.

Registration limit: 25 people.

Have you ever wanted to interview your favorite musician, actor, or author, but had no idea how to go about doing so? In this Snack Chat, we’ll discuss how to pitch ideas, contact publicists, and snag your dream interview.

Sandra Ebejer is an independent lifestyle and entertainment journalist based in Albany, NY. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Shondaland, Next Avenue, Real Simple, FLOOD Magazine, Writer’s Digest Magazine, and AARP, among others. She has interviewed a number of authors and artists; among them, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Diane Keaton, Jenifer Lewis, Minnie Driver, Jennifer Grey, Jann Wenner, Melissa Gilbert, Bob Odenkirk, James Patterson, Robin Roberts, Julianna Margulies, Brian Cox, Carl Bernstein, Janis Ian, Valerie Bertinelli, Tom Morello, Ani DiFranco, and Hayley Mills.

How to Find, Write and Pitch Your Personal Essay

Wednesday, October 12, 2022, 2:45 – 3:45 p.m. ET

Separate registration required and is open now. Snack chats are $10 for members, $20 for non-members.

Registration Limit: 25 people.

Two essayists are happy to spill their formulas for coming up with ideas, drafting pitches, and finding a home for our stories—which are three separate jobs. During this Snack Chat, we will discuss ideas and strategies for writing personal essays and getting them placed.

Vanessa McGrady is a writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Refinery 29, Jezebel, and many, many other fine media outlets. Her memoir, ROCK NEEDS RIVER, began as a parenting essay in the New York Times.



Jaclyn Greenberg is a former tax accountant turned freelance writer who, in the past two years, has written for CNN, Wired, Huffpost, Parents, Good Housekeeping, Fodor’s, Business Insider, Popsugar, Scary Mommy, Motherwell, and other places. She is working on a memoir.


Have Journalism Ethics Changed in the 21st Century?

Thursday, October 13, 2022, 2:45 – 3:45 p.m. ET

Separate registration required and is open now. Snack chats are $10 for members, $20 for non-members.

Registration limit: 12 people.

While the basic tenets of journalism ethics remain clear — basically, to be fair and accurate, and to try your best to represent the objective truth — journalists have recently started to reassess some of the more nuanced elements of journalistic integrity. Many of the old rules have been tossed aside. In fact, whereas a decade ago journalists from marginalized communities were specifically prohibited from reporting on their own communities, today some believe that only people from those communities can offer a fair journalistic account of the issues that affect them. As movements like immersion journalism, solutions journalism, even gonzo journalism become more mainstream, it seems a good time to ask if the ethical guidelines of journalism have changed, what aspects of journalistic ethics remain sacrosanct, and how journalists should behave, both in their publications and in their social media accounts, to assure the public that they are behaving ethically and fairly.

Robin Marantz Henig is a longtime freelance science writer whose 9 books include Pandora’s Baby and The Monk in the Garden. She is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, The Atlantic online, and many other publications; an adjunct professor of journalism at NYU; and recipient of several fellowships and awards, including the 2009 ASJA Career Achievement Award.

Don’t miss out

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Full Registration: $190 Member    $275 Public

Track Registration: $85 Member    $125 Public

Session Registration: $25 Member    $35 Public

2022 Spring Conference Attendees: 50% off Full and Track Registration, Coupon Code: TWICEASNICE

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Learn from the best and most successful professional freelancer writers in the country

Our keynote speakers, expert-led sessions, and small-group discussions offer insight and connections in the worlds of freelance journalism, content marketing, and nonfiction books. Click below for full information.