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Open-mic journalism: How The Arizona Republic found success with storytelling events
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Feb. 19, 2009, 12:05 p.m.

Easily the best reason to visit New England in late March: A deal on our annual Narrative Conference

I’m really excited about the upcoming Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism, which’ll be March 20-22. It’s the biggest event we throw each year at the Nieman Foundation: hundreds of writers interested in narrative and storytelling descend on Boston to hear from the best practitioners of their form, to meet their journalistic kin from around the world, and to revel in an environment where — we promise! — no one will be laid off during the keynote address.

While the conference is planned by our talented organizational siblings in the narrative program, the Lab will be out in full force. And we have a special conference discount just for you handsome Lab readers. (More about that below.)

First, some of the many other talks I’m excited to see:

— Richard Koci Hernandez and Amy O’Leary talking about storytelling in video and audio online (Amy was great at last year’s conference, and I’m a big fan of Richard’s);

— NPR’s Adam Davidson talking about public radio’s brilliant coverage of the financial crisis, including the power of podcasting and blogging;

— Jon Lee Anderson and Amy Davidson talking about the narrative process at The New Yorker;

— The brilliant Adam Hochschild on using suspense in narrative;

— Pulitzer-winner Amy Harmon and Jennifer Kahn on the ethical challenges of narrative in science reporting.

Alongside all those brilliant people, I’ve somehow snuck in. (Clerical error.) On Friday, I’ll be moderating a panel discussion on blogging, with three exemplars of the form by my side: Sewell Chan of The New York Times’ great City Room; the excellent career-blogger Marci Alboher, who you know from the Times and her book; and the terrific hip-hop blogger and journalist Jeff Chang. I’m really excited to get their thoughts on where blogging is going and how it interacts with more traditional journalistic forms.

Then on Saturday, I’ll be giving an hour-long talk on building new story forms for readers online. It’ll be taking as a jumping-off point my talk last year at the conference, which Roy liked, at least.

I’d love to see some Nieman Journalism Lab readers at either. And we’re working on some sort of meetup for people interested in our obsessions during the conference. More to come on that.

It costs a little money, and there’s never enough to go around these days. But I can speak from experience: The folks who come each year leave happy. And, as promised, I’ve got a way for you to save a hundred bucks.

The regular registration rate is $425. You can register for just $325 by doing the following:

— Email me (joshua_benton@harvard.edu) with the subject line “Narrative deal.”

— In the body of the email, include a link to and a sentence or two about your favorite online narrative of the past year. It could be a traditional narrative story, a video piece, a podcast, a radio show — whatever.

I’ll email you back a discount code that you can then use to get $100 off the cost of registration.

(Warning: I may secretly expect you to buy me a beer once you’re here. After all, I did just make you a hundred bucks via one measly email.)

If you find email hopelessly gauche, you can go ahead and register at the regular price.

POSTED     Feb. 19, 2009, 12:05 p.m.
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