Block 1  |  Thursday, April 16  |  9:40 a.m. – 10:35 a.m.

Photography for the Ages

Gary Fong | Founder/President, Genesis Photo Agency

How do your pictures communicate in context to history? Some, but not all photos, stand the test of time. What we record in words or pictures is a micro-moment of world history. How can we keep the historical perspective during coverage?

What you will learn:
• How to understand the depth of your story
• How to project the interest of the story for years or generations to come

Race, Grace & Forgiveness: Writing Our Way to Racial Healing

Patricia Raybon | Author and Journalist

A candid and interactive exploration of how writers of every background can help heal racial wounds by writing truthfully about our racial struggles and journeys. But what’s required? How does one start? What narrative and spiritual elements make a “racial” story work for both writer, editor, and reader? Patricia Raybon, whose award-winning writing includes racial reflections in the New York Times, Newsweek, In Touch Magazine (In Touch Ministries), Our Daily Bread, Christianity Today, (in)courage at DaySpring, the Washington Post’s Acts of Faith — and whose memoir “My First White Friend” is a winner of a Christopher Award and a Books for a Better Life Award — shares personal and practical wisdom for courageous, reflective writers willing to take on the urgent conundrum of race.

The State of Christian Magazine Publishing (panel)

Lou Ann Sabatier (Moderator) | Media & Communications Consultant
Tim Dalrymple | CEO, Christianity Today
Ron Hunter, Jr. | CEO, Randall House Publishing
Kevin Martin | CEO, World News Group

Three evangelical magazine publishing executives talk about the present and future of Christian magazine publishing. How do current socio-political trends impact our industry? What is the key to staying relevant in a post-Christian world? What are the challenges we will be facing in the coming years and how do we prepare for them? Moderated by Lou Ann Sabatier, a former publishing CEO and a leading magazine consultant for both secular and Christian periodicals.

Operating in a Digital World with Influence and Impact

Edric Sng | CEO, Thirst Collective

Digital/social media gives publishers a borderless platform with a potential audience many times larger than their subscriber base, organization supporters or denominational membership. Drawing from more than a decade of experience growing multi-million-follower mainstream digital newsrooms, Edric has transferred the expertise to build influential Christian discipleship and outreach portals in Singapore, with a view to regional expansion in the coming years. Come learn how to build your digital platform to save souls and impact the nations.

What you will learn:
• How to build a Christian online newsroom
• Core values for an effective digital strategy
• How to harness digital media for evangelism
• How to forge Kingdom partnerships for digital impact

Overcoming Creative Challenges (roundtable)

Dan Stelzer (Moderator) | Art Director, Answers in Genesis
Sarah Gordon | Art Director, Christianity Today
Brian Mellema | Art Director, Focus on the Family Magazine
Tamara Welter | Journalism Chair, Biola University

A moderated panel of respected designers will share their experience about what it takes to create a successful publication. This interactive forum will bring designers together to discuss the various challenges they face in their work and how they work to overcome them. Learn valuable insights from designers and come prepared with your own questions and solutions to share during a roundtable discussion.

We’ll be covering a range of questions, including:
• How do you best work with your editors?
• Where do you turn for inspiration?
• What are some tricks you have learned to make the most of a limited budget?

Writing Powerful Stories

Anne Marie Winz | Writing Coach, Cru

Stories connect our readers with our mission, and they inspire people to join us in our work. Discover how can you write more compelling stories.

What you will learn:
• How to uncover three levels of conflict
• How to structure your work toward action
• How to add background so your readers care about the story
• How to write like you’re on location

  Block 2  |  Thursday, April 16  |  11:05 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Rhythm & Flow: Taking Your Writing to the Next Level

Joyce Ellis | Freelance Writer and Author, Encourage Communications

Poor rhythm and flow in our writing can distract readers and even cause them to quit reading—something we never want to do. In this workshop we’ll look at ways to enhance our readers’ pleasure by varying sentence structure and length, creating emphasis where desired, and employing other tools in the writer’s toolbox to create harmonious balance.

Photography for Non-Photographers

Gary Fong | Founder/President, Genesis Photo Agency

Yes, editors and writers can take serviceable photos. Sometimes a snap shot can show a fragment of the story, but with today’s more sophisticated visual palette, the image must expand and enlighten the message.

What you will learn:
• How to take great photos even if you are not a professional photographer
• How to understand where the eye flows in composition
• How to identify the components of a story-telling image

Going Digital?

Greg Hahn | Engagement Architect, IT Hands
Tom Orsat | Engagement Architect, IT Hands

It is the digital age, and most people are receiving content on the go through digital devices. You want your audience to be able to receive your content at their convenience, but going digital can be a daunting task if you aren’t a technical person. In this session, we will walk through how to create a digital strategy by starting small and scaling at a comfortable pace. Tom and Greg work with a business as mission web development shop. They will discuss the best platforms for your goals and audience, how to optimize your digital reach, and how to find digital talent to help your organization have a greater impact.

What you will learn:
• Whether you already have a digital presence and are looking to grow your footprint, or are new to the digital space, you will learn insights from the tech community to help you grow your organization.

Rebirthing a Magazine

Pamela Maynor | Editor, Peer, The Salvation Army

Generation Z learned how to swipe a device before speaking their first word. This technologically-savvy, diverse, multitasking generation is the largest population in the United States—yet is it understood? This workshop will dive into defining characteristics of Generation Z, while sharing practical strategies The Salvation Army has adopted to engage this generation, through the redesign of their national youth publication, Peer magazine. Referred to as the first truly “post-Christian” generation, we are moved to focus our attention on how to reach Generation Z for Jesus.

What you will learn:
• How to understand defining characteristics of Generation Z
• How to explore print and social media strategies implemented by The Salvation Army, to reach Gen Z
• How to share and learn effective ways to reach Generation Z from ideas shared by attendees

The Biggest Decision You Ever Make … Deciding WHAT to Publish

Dean Merrill | Author/Collaborator

Our days are filled with decisions: how much to spend on this article or that design … who should be hired … what promotions to launch … which overhead costs are mandatory, and which aren’t. But at the core of our work is the biggest of all: WHAT TO PUBLISH. To quote the esteemed John P. Dessauer: “Publishers must never forget that they are injecting live matter into the cultural bloodstream.” How do we do this intelligently, responsibly, and in a way that God can honor?

What you will learn:
• Four make-or-break questions we must ask ourselves every time we decide to run a piece of copy

As Honest as the Bible: How to Investigate and Share Bad News About Christians

Bob Smietana | Editor-in-Chief, Religion News Service

Churches and other Christian groups are filled with people who want to do the right thing. But being human, they sometimes fail. And at times, leaders misuse their power and the resources at their disposal for their own gain. This session is a primer on how to investigate the finances and practices of faith groups and Christian leaders that may have gone astray.

  Block 3  |  Thursday, April 16  |  2:35 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Optimizing Online Opportunities: Keys to Increasing Impact and Generating More Income

Mark Dreistadt | President & CEO, Infinity Concepts
Jess Dolgin | CEO, J Global Media

A publication’s website is its gateway to the world. All too often, the tools needed to optimize online monetization and growth opportunities are neglected or even unknown. As a result, a publication’s full potential is never realized. Money is left on the table—web visitors disappear. In this practical workshop we will explain the fundamental tools of the trade and how you can make them work for you—right away.

What you will learn:
• How to monetize your website through content-filtered remnant advertising
• How to reach everyone who ever visited your website on multiple platforms
• How to utilize Big Data for more effective marketing
• How to leverage your EPA membership for stronger advertising sales
• How to discover the one thing you can do to generate more revenue for your publication in the next 30 days

Context, Context, Context: Shooting Environmental Portraits

Gary Fong | Founder/President, Genesis Photo Agency

A photo should communicate to the reader much more than just what the subject looks like. The mug shots of yesteryear only allowed the reader to identify the subject, as in a police lineup. But today’s readers want to understand the context the subject has to the story.

What you will learn:
• How to recognize what light does for the subject
• How to appreciate body language
• How everything flows in context of background and what the subject is doing

How Editorial and Design Collaborate

Sarah Gordon | Art Director, Christianity Today
Ted Olsen | Editorial Director, Christianity Today

We all know editors and designers depend on each other to produce each issue of a publication, and we can all probably agree it’s not always rainbows and puppies. CT’s Editorial Director and Art Director will share how we work through the tough stuff and what weird things make us better collaborators.

What you will learn…
• How to foster good relationships
• How to navigate conflict
• How to celebrate with and encourage each other

Reporting on Religion: Truth seeking and accountability through hard questions, research, verification, and investigation (panel)

Steve Rabey (Moderator) | Author and Journalist
Paul Asay | Senior Associate Editor, Plugged in, Focus on the Family
Bob Smietana | Editor-in-Chief, Religion News Service
Sevil Omer | Editor-in-Chief, World Vision Magazine

Veteran reporters who have served both Christian and mainstream news outlets show how they’ve covered religious leaders and organizations, highlighting “good news” while exposing concealed sin, deception, hypocrisy, financial fraud, sexual abuse, and other problems. At a time when some complain of “fake news,” reporters show the challenges and rewards involved in the dogged pursuit of truth.

What you will learn:
• Learn different approaches to reporting the news
• See how reporters follow the money trail
• How does reporting hold religious leaders and organizations accountable?
• Examine models of investigative reporting

We All Get Burned: Leading through Crisis and Challenge

Sid Webb | Founder and President, Sharpened Focus, LLC

Each one of us has burn marks from a crisis or other challenge in leadership. The Black Forest, Colorado wildfire in 2013 destroyed my home and my work. As I navigated the fire experience I learned valuable lessons about handling challenge and leading through crisis. I’ll walk you through them with vivid photos and supernatural stories. I’ll equip and encourage you to not only survive but thrive.

What you will learn:
• How to better prepare for a crisis
• Tips on staying centered when crisis slams you out of the blue
• Motivation to better protect your work
• Above all, a staggering challenge: If you lost everything, would your life and work still have significance?

The Business of Freelancing (roundtable)

What is involved with being a freelancer? Do you need liability insurance? What about having to sign releases to satisfy publishers? Find answers to these and other questions about freelancing from your freelancing colleagues.

  Block 4  |  Friday, April 17  |  9:40 a.m. – 10:35 a.m.

3 Keys to Engaging Gen Z

Axis Team

Dig deeper into the life and culture of Gen Z and look at the importance of engaging their culture. This session will show how to utilize pop culture artifacts in everyday conversations to demonstrate how the life-changing Truth and Love of the Gospel applies to every area of their lives. We’ll take a more in depth look at and discuss three key factors to consider as you engage with and disciple GenZ.

How to Build a Better Website

Brian Erickson | Co-Founder, King Grizzly Marketing & Design
Robb Erickson | Co-Founder, King Grizzly Marketing & Design

Hoping to build a more effective website? Join Brian and Robb as they show you a step-by-step process for building better websites. From strategy to implementation—this session is packed with specific ways to help your next project succeed.

What you will learn:
• Easy ways to get to know your customer before you build your website
• Tips on using SEO to analyze competitor websites
• A simple design process that gives stakeholders multiple opportunities for input/feedback
• Helpful tools for assessing your website’s performance”

Anatomy of a Picture Story

Gary Fong | Founder/President, Genesis Photo Agency

Like a written story in which each additional paragraph contributes to the development of the story thread, pictures can follow the same story thread or highlight the most important elements of the narrative. We’ll discuss the components and developmental process in creating effective visual stories.

What you will learn:
• How to create tight, medium, and overall coverage for a more comprehensive narrative
• How each visual component contributes to the overall story
• How page design and sequencing is vital to the presentation

M&M — Can Ministry and Marketing Be the Same?

Chris Maxwell | Freelance Writer

Why do we select the words, stories, and titles we choose? Maybe to get attention. Maybe to keep attention. Maybe to tell the best stories and most relevant news reports possible. But as we write and market what we write, how does ministry fit? What makes EPA different from the general market? This workshop investigates motives, and offers ideas for quality work — for both ministry and marketing.

Stop Procrastinating and Start Writing

Diane McDougall | McDougall Editorial

You might have heard some version of the saying, “I hate to write, but I love to have written.” Is that true for you? Once you’ve completed your research and conducted your interviews, what are your tricks for getting past the inertia and assembling the raw material? Bring with you a new assignment or something recently published, if you can.

What you will learn:
• How an “elevator pitch” can help you narrow down your focus
• Advice from experts for making your first draft a strong one, rather than a throw-away
• A few tips for taking draft 1 to draft 2

Local Color: Design Trends from South America

Rick Szuecs | Graphic Designer, Rick Szuecs Design

Creative minds are always looking for a new source of inspiration. This workshop is an immersion in creative design work by designers and artists from vibrant places like São Paulo and Santiago. We will look at how to embrace elements of our own local culture in our design work, as well as learn from other cultures to find truly unique inspiration.

  Block 5  |  Friday, April 17  |  11:05 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Erasing the Stigma of Mental Disorders: A Biblical Response

Nicholas Ellen | Senior Professor of Biblical Counseling, College of Biblical Studies

Mental health care is rooted in Scripture. Evangelicals need to be addressing mental illness. The Church should become the place people go when looking for help and hope when experiencing mental disorders. How can Christian periodicals write about the issue biblically? In this workshop we will discuss the origin of the term mental disorders and how a biblical worldview grid is essential to evaluating mental health.

What you will learn:
• A biblical perspective on mental health
• A biblical approach to write about mental health

Content Marketing Trends and Strategies for 2020

Brian Erickson | Co-Founder, King Grizzly Marketing & Design
Robb Erickson | Co-Founder, King Grizzly Marketing & Design

Find out what the experts and evidence are saying about the state of content marketing and what you should do about it. Plus, how to create content that stands out from the crowd and why that matters more than ever.

What you will learn:
• Get content marketing insights (and recommendations) from King Grizzly and other industry leaders
• Learn helpful tips for creating compelling content
• Understand the role content channels like social media and e-mail play in content marketing

Photographic Illustration: When a Picture Can’t Replace a Thousand Words

Gary Fong | Founder/President, Genesis Photo Agency

When the story goes beyond photographic reality, shooting some story concepts may not be practical, (i.e., what might heaven and hell look like?) However, blending the conceptual disciplines of a photographer/illustrator can produce explanatory Images that bring lofty concepts down to earth.

What you will learn:
• Concepts and collaboration between the editor/writer/photographer/illustrator
• When and where not to use photo illustrations

Becoming a Fearless Editor

Jerry Jenkins | Best-selling Author

Jerry Jenkins’ Ultimate Self-Editing Checklist urges writers to become ferocious self-editors—and it works as well for publication editors. Apply these tips and tricks to your copy until you’re happy with every word.

What you will learn:
• How to edit with a reader-first mentality and the confidence to make bold choices.

Christians and Cancel Culture: Resisting the Allure of Power and Seeking the Good of Our Neighbor

Jason Thacker | Creative Director, Light Magazine, ERLC

In our divisive and broken culture, we increasingly see people being canceled or publicly outed for one thing they said in the past or because of a single position they hold. Everything they have said and done is called into question, often leading to their public demise. One tweet or offhand comment has the potential to ruin one’s career or family, especially in the hands of those who seek to discredit someone. How do Christians navigate our increasingly diverse but divisive society? How do we model convictional kindness as we stand for truth and model gracious dialogue?

What you will learn:
• How to engage differing opinions with truth and grace
• How to respect those with whom we disagree
• How to apply the gospel to pressing issues of the day

Brainstorming Secrets of a Theme Park Designer

C. McNair Wilson | Corporate Creativity Coach

Most brainstorming sessions are NOT brainstorming. More likely it’s playful arguing with snacks on the table. McNair Wilson has observed this dysfunctional “system” in professional groups at all levels. “Even at Disney Imagineering (when I first got there) we had no system for team creativity!” Typically one team member’s idea is immediately met with a host of reasons why it won’t work.

McNair’s highly effective “7 Agreements of Brainstorming®” are simple-to-learn, fun-to -use principles to transform your team into a creative force. Implement them quickly to design, plan, invent, launch, redesign, create, develop, or solve any challenges while make your wildest dreams a reality.

McNair’s process was used to create the world’s best 40th birthday party and design five new Disney theme parks and a haunted hotel elevator!

What you will learn:
• How to create using all five senses
• How to handle negative thinkers
• How to realize big ideas on tiny budgets”

  Block 6  |  Friday, April 17  |  2:35 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Taking a Manuscript from Good to Great

Dean Merrill | Author/Collaborator

Almost every writer thinks they’ve delivered a masterpiece. And every editor knows it could be even better, with some judicious help. This session will deal with: MACRO-EDITING—six key questions to ask at the start, then four improvements to consider … followed by MICRO-EDITING—the many details that prevent future embarrassment; how much tightening to attempt; and what to do about third-person singular pronouns (he/him/his and she/her/her vs. they/them/their)!

What you will learn:
• The importance of polishing text until the reader can’t put it down
• An orderly checklist of editing tasks so as to avoid missing vital responsibilities

A Global Snapshot of Christian Media: Why It Matters, What Works, and How You Can Help (panel)

Jeremy Weber (Moderator) | Director of CT Global, Christianity Today Int’l.
Esther Nyaga | Editor, Leadership Today Africa (Kenya)
Edric Sng | CEO and Editor, Thirst Collective (Singapore)
Rick Szuecs | Graphic Designer, Rick Szuecs Design (Brazil)

Three Christian media veterans from Brazil, Kenya, and Singapore explain how they found their calling and why Christian media is essential to their nation; reflect on their successes and failures; and advise EPA’s American attendees on how they can better serve fellow believers overseas. Moderated by Jeremy Weber, director of CT Global, whose visits to 40 countries have greatly shaped and improved his own service to the church through media.

What you will learn:
• How to better connect your readers to the global church with more accuracy and less harm
• Why you shouldn’t take Christian media for granted
• Renew your inspiration for why the vocation of Christian media is both beautiful and needed

Resourcing Photography for Publication Design

Tamara Welter | Chair of the Department of Media, Journalism, and Public Relations, Biola University

Seeing is a significant part of the magazine experience for a reader. Great design resources images in fundamental and creative ways that enhance the story experience. Join us as we explore strategies for collecting and resourcing images in magazine design to enhance the communication of messages to impact the people of our world for Christ.

What you will learn:
• Creative strategies to resourcing images for publication design
• How to dentify powerful images for design use
• Ethical decision-making when resourcing photos for design

Go Viral: Marketing on Social Networks

Terry Whalin | Author and Blogger

Social media can seem like a huge waste of time—and it can be without a plan. Terry Whalin spends about 30 minutes or less a day on his social media and has over 200,000 Twitter followers, over 17,000 LinkedIn connections and over 4,900 Facebook friends. In this workshop, Terry reveals his inside secrets and tips for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn so you too can grow your platform and presence without wasting hours of time.

What you will learn:
• How to grow your presence without consuming lots of time
• Discover the tools for effective engagement”

Capturing Your Creative Spirit

C. McNair Wilson | Corporate Creativity Coach

Are there only a few creative (gifted) people, while everyone else is merely a spectator? Why do children exhibit more uninhibited creativity than “grown ups”? Maybe, everyone is born with a creative spirit (as standard equipment) that gets diminished, devalued, and tramped down over time. How do we fix this and Recapture Our Creative Spirit?

McNair challenges deeply-held myths that creativity is exclusive to a select few. These lies block us from accessing and implementing our natural curiosity and imagination. This is McNair’s now-famous TED Talk/keynote featured at hundreds of major conferences. This is the foundation for all of McNair’s work. Your creativity may just be a bit rusty. Here’s your tune up. Time to punch the RESET button and reignite our original “Creator spirit” and start living life “actual size”—even in the workplace!

  Block 7  |  Friday, April 17  |  3:50 p.m. -4:45 p.m.

Visualizing Data for Impactful Communication

Jon Hirst | Director of Program Innovation, SIL International

We are surrounded by data but often don’t know how to bring it to life. Learn how to work with designers, researchers and data providers to take that spreadsheet and bring it to life in the form of infographics, data visualizations and compelling graphs. The session will be very practical, focused on examples and heavy on tips you can use as you work with others to bring data to life.

Building a Readership Community through Social Media

Haley Jersey | Social Media Strategist, Focus on the Family

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube…. the list goes on. Everyone tells you that in order to be successful in the digital age, you must be a part of the social media world. But what is the best way to connect your written content with social media? How do you best engage with you readers?

What you will learn…
• How to effectively and efficiently use social media to create an engaging community for your readers to enjoy
• Best practices for using Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Twitter

Migrants, Refugees and Your Market: Readership You Might Be Missing (panel)

Michael Longinow (Moderator) | Journalism Professor, Biola University
Geoff Peters | Chief Marketing Officer,  Mobilisation
Jeremy Weber | Director of CT Global, Christianity Today Int’l.
Tamara Welter | Journalism Chair, Biola University

Your readership is changing. Census data shows us that people from other countries have been flooding into this country from across national borders. This has made evangelical faith in this country a much more complex cultural mix. Increasing numbers of your readers are looking at your publication through the lenses of another country, another language (or languages) and cultural customs of faith. This session will help you think through better ways to target this complex readership and media audience.

Ethical Issues in Publishing

Marshall Shelley | Editor, Association for Doctor of Ministry Education

The EPA Code of Ethics provides a framework for helping editors and designers, managers and advertisers (among others), make decisions that are sound and honest and fair. The challenges, of course, are in the details and how to apply them to specific situations. If that were always easy, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. This workshop will deal with the stories of trying to make ethical decisions in the very real world.

You will learn…
• Knowing what the key ethical standards are in publishing
• Acknowledging the messiness of situations when trying to apply them

Deadline Writing and Ways to Cut Corners but not Sacrifice Accuracy

Michael Ray Smith | Journalism Professor

The formula works. That’s the key to deadline reporting. Internalize the formula and your article will nearly write itself. Know the formula. Gather the facts. Check your information with your sources and you can turn the raw information into a published piece in two hours, maybe less. This session draws on your ministry of remembrance. It will remind you of all the tips and ideas that you know but may have forgotten.