#PMJA2024 Call for session proposals - Deadline November 13!

Session proposal FAQ

The theme of #PMJA2024 is "Local News, Strong Democracy."  We want to focus attention on how local news plays a vital role in strengthening democracy and build the capacity of public media journalists as they cover the 2024 elections.

"Local News, Strong Democracy" is about informing and engaging communities while building trust and understanding. It is a call to hold candidates, elected officials and institutions accountable while combating misinformation and disinformation.  It aims to amplify the voices of marginalized groups.

#PMJA2024 seeks proposals for conference sessions of all kinds that will help public media journalists improve and excel in their work whether they’re at the start of their career journey or are already established in the field.

Learn about what PMJA members said they need to improve their election coverage this year and consider it as you craft your proposal.

After conducting a thorough retrospective of the 2023 conference and reviewing evaluations, the PMJA Board and Conference Committee set the following goals to consider when creating the schedule for #PMJA2024:

  • Double down on skills development
  • Increase focus on early career staff
  • Require defined take-aways for each session
  • Increase the number of hands-on sessions
  • Create space for inspirational listening

As you craft your session proposal, consider how your session will help us reach those goals.

Review the full set of conference goals here.

Read the full conference report here.

The primary target audience for session content is public media journalism professionals.  Expect between 250 - 300 attendees in person plus another 100 online.

The most common attendee job roles are:

  • News Director
  • Reporter
  • Producer
  • Host
  • Editors

Other attendees include content directors, senior management, podcasters, students , consultants and industry staff.  Also consider audience needs by station size and career stage.

Proposals are enthusiastically welcomed from anyone with an interest in sharing about public media journalism, from any professional role, inside or outside of the newsroom, academia and students. Vendors may be included in presentations as subject matter experts. All are encouraged to submit proposals.

Attendees learn differently and presenters have different styles.  Sessions are formatted to make content more accessible to learners and flexible for presenters.   

Think about short bites of learning, deeper dives into topic areas, learning labs to incite action, thought leader discussions, or something else completely.  We want to meet you where you are as a presenter and help you take attendees where they want to be. 

Session types: 

  • 20 minute breakout - a quick talk offering insights and practical tips
  • 60 minute breakout - a blend of interaction, lecture-based instruction, case studies, and peer learning
  • 75 minute breakout - engaging presentations or panels designed to develop essential skills through presentation and dialogue
  • Learning Lab - a hands-on workshop that provides the opportunity to learn new skills or techniques in a supportive and interactive environment, ideal for topics that can be best learned by doing
  • Keynote/General session - big ideas, trending perspectives, sharing unique experiences, knowledge, and ideas for all attendees
  • Pre-conference workshop - 4-6 hour interactive workshops focused on collaborative learning
  • Peer or Affinity group - roundtable gathering for thoughtful conversation while sharing ideas, information, and experiences
  • Networking - one-to-one opportunities, small meetings, technology shares or some idea we've not even considered

Learning Levels:

  • Foundational: focus on awareness and factual recall; appropriate for those with limited experience of the subject area seeking introductory understanding.
  • Applied: focus on understanding and comprehension; appropriate for those with some experience seeking to build on, apply, or enhance existing knowledge using content in practical applications to master concepts.
  • Strategic: focus on application and implementation of highly technical, detailed or big-idea topics; appropriate for those seeking the most up-to-date information to heighten expertise. 
  • Scheduling: The conference will be held June 5-7, 2024, in Washington, DC in the Eastern time zone. All presenters for accepted presentations must attend the conference in person as registered attendees. 
  • Proposed session title & description: Write these as if they will be used as the public description of the session in the conference program.  
    Suggestions - We may ask for adjustments to your proposal or even ask that you join forces with another session if they're similar. After all, it is about the strength of collaboration.
  • Submission & Presenter Limits: We do not limit the number of proposals any one person may submit. We may limit the number of sessions that include any one presenter. The maximum number of presenters for a session is 4, including a moderator.
  • Correspondence: The person who submits the proposal is the primary contact and is responsible for all communications and coordination on behalf of all co-presenters. You may be paired with a PMJA board member for coordination.
  • Logistics: All presentations will be delivered entirely in person at the conference venue in Washington, DC. Some sessions may be streamed and include a virtual audience or be recorded for archived access.
  • Technology: PMJA will ensure that session rooms have Wi-Fi, projectors, displays and cameras as needed. If you require a laptop or other technology, you will need to provide it.
  • Speaker Remuneration: PMJA does not pay or reimburse travel or hotel expenses for conference presenters other than keynote speakers and pre-conference trainers although we do provide a discounted registration rate. If your proposal is accepted, you must register to attend the conference. If you only intend to attend for your session, you can register as a "presenter-only" at no charge.
  • Recording & License: Unless an exception applies, session recordings will be released to PMJA conference attendees and members following the conference. Authors retain copyright but agree to grant nonexclusive publication rights to the conference.
  • Commercial content: Proposals that feature tools, products, or services available for purchase are not appropriate to submit through this process. The sponsor prospectus will be available soon outlining options for vendors. Vendors may propose sessions and be included in presentations as subject matter experts.

November 13, 2023: Submission Deadline

Mid-December, 2023: Acceptance Notifications

Mid-January, 2024: Tentative Schedule Published

March 1, 2024: Presenter Bio & Headshot Deadline

May 5, 2024: Presenter Registration Deadline

May 29, 2024: Digital Handouts Deadline

June 5-7, 2024: Conference