Workshops 2023 Schedule

Download a copy of the 2023 EPA Convention Program

  Block 1  |  Thursday, April 13  |  9:40 a.m. – 10:35 a.m.

 Publication Redesign: Strategies for Success

José Reyes | Creative Director, Metaleap Creative
Nikolle Reyes | Managing Director, Metaleap Creative

Publications need to regularly consider if their design is keeping up with the quality and relevance of the content and with its readers’ creative expectations. As creative director at Metaleap, José Reyes has spent 20 years redesigning publications large and small. He will share suggestions for when to do a redesign, what to consider throughout the process, and evaluating success when all the work is done.

What you will learn:

• When to tackle a redesign
• How to think about a redesign
• Key workflow and process considerations throughout

 Reporting on Misconduct Allegations and Findings—Issues and Constraints

Theresa Lynn Sidebotham | Attorney, Telios Law PLLC

Allegations of abuse or misconduct in a ministry make the news, and the public expects a certain level of transparency. Reporters can be frustrated in trying to get information from organizations, and sometimes end up with only one side of the story, from the alleged victims. This session explores what reporters can expect organizations to make public in light of legal requirements, fiduciary duties, confidentiality of personal information, and possible litigation. Ignorance of these issues increases the risk of damaging outcomes to survivors and organizations as well as hampering your ability to get a story.

What you will learn:
• What level of transparency can a reporter expect from a ministry facing misconduct allegations
• What’s an acceptable standard of independence for an investigation into misconduct
• What litigation risks do ministries face from misconduct allegations and how should this affect your expectations

 Interviews – Preparing, Practicing and Pivoting

Warren Smith | President, MinistryWatch

Warren Smith has written more than 3,000 articles over a 40-year career and has conducted more than a thousand interviews that have been broadcast or podcasted. He is currently president of MinistryWatch, where he leads the editorial team.  He has also served in senior editorial leadership at WORLD Magazine and The Colson Center for Christian Worldview.  This workshop will draw on Warren Smith’s longtime experience of interviewing a wide array of famous and grassroots sources.  It will cover the benefits of preparing for interviews, how practice increases the ability to have a successful interview, and how important it is to be flexible since an interview can veer into an unexpected direction.  We’ll talk about how to ask tough questions in ways that don’t shut down the interview.  We’ll also talk about the value of silence in an interview.  We’ll look at some “legendary” interviewers (Terri Gross, Tim Russert, Bob Woodward, and others) to pick up some tips that can make our interviews better.

One Body, Many Members: Diverse Voices in Magazine Publishing

Jerome Blanco | Editor-in-Chief, Fuller Magazine

Drawing from lessons learned in producing Fuller Seminary’s FULLER magazine, this seminar explores the editorial responsibility—as well as the blessings and challenges—of representing diverse voices, in areas of academic training, vocation, age, gender, race, geographical location, language, and beyond.

 Optimizing Your Social Media Strategy

Jason Goff | Digital Consultant

What are the best practices for optimizing your personal and business-related social media profiles, so you can be found on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter? In this session, we’ll discuss the importance of having a consistent brand across all social media platforms–including profile pictures and bios. We will explore strategies for crafting effective and compelling content. We’ll cover some basics of search engine optimization and how that applies to your social media profiles. We’ll touch on the use of hashtags and other tactics to increase visibility and reach. Finally, we’ll touch on how you can use social media analytics to track the success of your efforts so you can make better informed decisions about your social media strategy.

  Block 2  |  Thursday, April 13  |  11:05 a.m. – 12:00 noon

Strengthening our Ethics in Writing, Publishing, Photographing, Managing (panel)

Milyce Kenny Pipkin (a.k.a., Dee Dee Sharp), moderator | Broadcast Journalist, former PBS Talk Show Host
Mike Cosper | Director of CT Media, Christianity Today, Int’l.
Warren L. Maye | Editor-in-Chief, SAConnects/Salvation Army
Radha Vyas | Photographer

What does it look like for our faith to inform how we manage, write, publish words, and produce visual ? Three industry experts interviewed by an award-winning moderator will help us consider how to treat other workers, determine what we publish, craft stories, push back against celebrity culture, and expose evil.

Hope with Teeth: Bringing Solutions Journalism into your Reporting

Keith Hammonds | President, Solutions Journalism Network

People crave a more hopeful view of their world — relief from the non-stop narrative of fear and brokenness that pervades much of today’s news. Solutions journalism presents a path to that more aspirational and constructive storytelling: It’s critical and rigorous reporting that acknowledges what’s wrong, but also surfaces and assesses how individuals, communities and institutions are responding to those challenges. This session will explore how to heighten audience engagement by bringing the solutions approach into your news organization.

What you will learn:
• What are the fundamentals of solutions journalism?
• How to identify and report solutions stories
• How to heighten audience engagement with solutions stories

Take Your Podcast to the Next Level

Stephanie Rousselle | Podcaster, Founder, Gospel Spice Ministries

You have launched your podcast, and you are now actively managing it. This workshop will tackle the various areas of challenges you face to generate brainstorming and ideas to keep growing your existing podcast.

You will learn:
• Growth strategies — how to keep marketing and promoting your podcast
• Networking — tools and avenues available to network among peers
• Social media — how to make your show stand out
• Community — why and how to grow interactions with your audience in a community setting
• Monetization — strategies and tips that work

Bonus: The episode playbook to make it easier to manage your show. Time permitting, there will be a group conversation and Q&A.

What’s the Plan? The Business of Publishing

Lou Ann Sabatier | Media & Communications Consultant, Sabatier Consulting

It’s not enough to have a worthy cause or a passionate team. Even money doesn’t guarantee your publication or media will succeed. A poorly written business plan or no business plan at all can be catastrophic. Developing and following a sound process makes planning a normal business activity. It aligns your management behind a single vision and helps ensure each department achieves its required goals so that your media can thrive.

This interactive session will cover creating a business plan with four steps: prepare, assess, strategize and follow-up. The benefits of sound planning for you and your team include:

• Outline your goals and objectives to achieve your mission
• Understand your current situation and your target market
• Identify roadblocks before you run into them
• Determine how you’ll avoid challenges and capitalize on opportunities
• Build awareness for your mission
• Raise funds from donors
• Attract board members, volunteers, and supporters easier
• Inspire your team to reach milestones
• Hold yourself accountable

Beautiful Design

José Reyes | Creative Director, Metaleap Creative

Publication design requires a commitment to rise to the challenge with each issue and to strive to master one’s craft. Achieving mastery involves having an open mind, observing the world, seeking new experiences, and being determined to continuously learn and grow. The pursuit of mastery is what sets successful designers apart from those who simply create functional designs. By focusing on pursuit of mastery, designers can create work that is not only functional but also beautiful and innovative.

  Block 3  |  Friday, April 14  |  9:40 a.m. – 10:35 a.m.

Design: Global Trends and Local Culture

Ricardo (Rick) Szuecs | Rick Szuecs Design

In this digital and globalized world, designers from any cosmopolitan cities like São Paulo, London or Chicago share, on a daily basis, the same visual influences and references, no matter where they are based. This is a good thing! Anyone can have access to the best material that is being produced around the world. But, living in this new reality, how does a designer interact with his/her own past, culture and tradition? And how do you get the most out of these worlds? Brazilian designer Rick Szuecs will help you discover great work from designers around the world, and how to incorporate visual elements from different cultures into your own artwork.

Telling Stories of Abuse with Care

Wade Mullen | Consultant, Pellucid Consulting

Stories about abuse have deep and lasting impacts on those who bear those stories and the communities involved. Those who have a role in reporting such stories need to take a responsible and ethical approach that demonstrates care for all those involved and honors the integrity of the story. Attendees at this workshop will learn principles and practices for carefully telling stories of abuse in ways that promote healing and safety.

What you will learn:
• How to identify storytelling pitfalls and mistakes that can impede healing or contribute to further harm
• Values and attitudes that can help guide careful storytelling

Writing for Social Change

Tim Morgan | Journalism Professor, Gordon College

Well-crafted writing makes a point with a purpose. Discover how to deploy positive and negative narratives in your articles so readers will aspire to play a role in the healthy growth that our churches and society need.

Diagonals: Innovative Paths to Exponential Growth

Ron Forseth | CEO, America’s Top Lists

This training explores five paths both businesses and ministries take: Productive Grooves, Deteriorating Ruts, Accelerating Diagonals, Perilous Shortcuts and Surging Parabolas. The session is filled with vivid examples and stories of famous and not-so-famous brands, as well as examples of historical and contemporary diagonal innovations. The training exemplifies and cultivates “diagonal thinking” in leaders in order to escape ruts, improve grooves and multiply growth in pursuit of exponential impact. Learn innovative business strategies with a special focus on digital marketing and church engagement, along with some elements of fundraising.

Finding, Nurturing, and Training Freelance Writers

Warren Smith | President, MinistryWatch

Remote work is nothing new to journalists. We’ve been doing it for centuries.  Correspondents both foreign and domestic have been sending their dispatches to editors via ships, or telegraph, or telephone. Today, though, such remote relationships are not exotic. They are the norm. How is it possible to find and retain great writers in such an environment? How can an editor maintain the standards and voice his or her publication?  How can you build community, teamwork, and “over the water cooler” learning and idea exchange? This session will provide road-tested advice from an editor who has built and been a part of “virtual newsrooms” for decades. This session is also great for freelancers who want to know what editors want and need, and how to become your editor’s favorite freelancer.

  Block 4  |  Friday, April 14  |  11:05 a.m. – 12:00 noon

Top 10 Ideas for Adding Video to Your Digital Strategy

Tami DeVine | CEO, Divine Family Entertainment

More publications are adding video to their digital content strategy. Learn creative ideas for using video in social media, on your website, or in e-mail communications. Plus, we’ll cover best practices in creating effective videos for various strategies.

What you will learn:
• Why video is important
• How to use your cellphone for quality videos
• How to get quality audio How to incorporate closed captioning

The Troubling Trend of False Teaching in the Church

L.L. (Don) Veinot, Jr. | President, Midwest Christian Outreach

The worldview of many who attend church is largely shaped by outside influences through a sort of intellectual osmosis. Information comes largely unfiltered through books, magazines, radio, television, social media, and peer groups. Pastors often have limited opportunity to influence the worldview and biblical literacy of the sheep they are attempting to shepherd. For example, the late Gwen Shamblin, who was in over 60,000 churches through her Weigh Down Workshop, was published by Thomas Nelson and promoted by Christian media despite teaching salvation by works and denying the deity of Christ and the Trinity. The Enneagram was birthed in the occult and is embraced now by millions of Christians. The question is: how can evangelical media promote a biblical worldview and avoid aiding in the spread of false teaching unintentionally?

What you will learn:
• How to identify narrative truth that is contrary to biblical truth
• How Christian media can combat false teaching

Reorganized Religion: The Reshaping of the American Church

Bob Smietana | Senior Editor, Religion News Service

The United States is in a remarkable moment of transformation into what Pew Research has called The Next America: a multi-ethnic, pluralistic, increasingly secular nation where the fastest growing religious tradition is the so-called Nones: those who have no religion. At the same time, many congregations are shrinking, aging, and ill-prepared for this new world. We’ll study what this new world looks like, the factors shaping it, and what might come next.

Harnessing Attention: Design that Captivates your Readers

Jared Boggess | Senior Designer, Christianity Today

How do you leverage the relationship between word and image? How do you find the right visuals to put content into context? We’ll explore ways to capture your readers’ imagination through art and design so they keep coming back for more.

What you will learn:
• How to generate ideas and craft concept-driven design
• How to design for attention vs. attraction
• How to cultivate anticipation in your readers

Elevate Your Social Media with the Metrics that Matter

Brooke Miles | Social Media Consultant, Delaware ShoutOut

Is your current social media program a flop…or a success? And how can you leverage your analytics to enhance your posts and enjoy better results? 

What you will learn:
• Which social media metrics to pay attention to and which ones to ignore
• What is considered “successful” on the major social media platforms
• How to use your analytics to make smart decisions and outshine the competition on social media

This seminar focuses on the free analytics tools built into the major social media platforms. You’ll walk away with lots of practical information you can use right away for positive results!

  Block 5  |  Friday, April 14  |  2:35 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Writing to a Multicultural and Multilingual Audience

Warren L. Maye | Editor-in-Chief, SAConnects/Salvation Army

Publishing in multiple languages can be a daunting task. In 2015, our staff was charged with launching such a publication that would successfully incorporate English, Spanish, and Korean between the covers of a 32–page magazine. The theme of that premiere issue was on the topic of marriage. Today, eight years later, we continue to grow from our trilingual perspective on ministry. This workshop will show how, with clear goals and an empathetic team of writers, editors, and translators, you can enjoy a similar outcome. Discover how to communicate a biblical, multilingual message through the language that really counts—the love of Christ.

What you will learn:
• Five ways to identify your audiences
• How to read between the lines of any language
• When to use separate magazines for each language
• When to use one magazine for two or more languages

How to Tell Dangerous Stories

Heather Pubols | Editor, Evangelical Missions Quarterly

Psalm 96:3 (NLT) says: “Publish [God’s] glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.” But how do you tell stories of the glorious deeds God does when doing so could jeopardize safety? Many decide not to share these stories or only to tell them to very select audiences. However, that can inadvertently communicate to the Church that God is not doing anything in hard places. More of these stories need to be told to provide the Church with a holistic picture of God’s work. In this workshop, Heather Pubols shares key techniques to help you successfully share sensitive stories without compromising safety.

What you will learn:
• Factors that make stories sensitive
• Several techniques, including one called, “framing,” to share information and tell stories safely

Adapting to the New Religious Landscape (panel)

Bob Smietana, moderator | Senior Editor, Religion News Service
Carol Pipes | Director of Communications, Lifeway Research
Paul Glader | Executive Director, ReligionUnplugged
Sarah Kropp Brown | VP of Communications and Marketing, NAE

As the American religious landscape and culture changes before our eyes, many congregations and Christian groups are struggling to keep up with this new reality. This panel will be a discussion with journalists and experts on how congregations and faith groups are adapting, and what the future might look like.

Personal Branding: Own Your Brand. Grow Your Career

Hilary Sutton | CEO, HSL Digital

Personal brand isn’t just self-promotion and influencer antics. It’s a strategic tool you can use to take control of your career, open doors, and attract opportunities. This talk lays out a step-by-step guide to build a thoughtful personal brand both online and in person.

What you will learn:
• How to audit your online presence
• How to get clarity on the building blocks of your personal brand
• How to determine what you need to do in the next 90 days to build your brand
• How to use content like blogging, videos, and podcasting to grow your personal brand

The Power of e-Newsletters to Increase Readership and Subscriptions

Andy Walker | Director of Integrated Communications, Infinity Concepts

This session will focus on how e-Newsletters can strategically provide publishers with a recurring source of readers and the opportunity to convert e-Newsletter subscribers to paid subscribers. Additionally, creative strategies for growing e-Newsletter lists.

  Block 6  |  Friday, April 14  |  3:45 p.m. – 4:40 p.m.

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

Jeremy Weber, moderator | Director of CT Global, Christianity Today Int’l.
Esther Nyaga | Editor, Leadership Today Africa (Kenya)
Tomáš Coufal | Editor-in-Chief, Life of Faith (Czech Republic)
Ricardo (Rick) Szuecs | Rick Szuecs Design (Brazil)
Surinder Kaur Lal | South Asia Editor, Christianity Today (India)

Christian media veterans from Brazil, Kenya, India, and the Czech Republic 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

Managing Corrections, Feedback and Reader Trust with Your Newsroom

Paul Glader | Executive Director, Religion Unplugged/The Media Project

How do you build trust with your audience when trust in the news is at a historic low? Journalism professor and entrepreneur Paul Glader, founder of VettNews, will explain simple methods and tools your news organization can use to build trust with its audience. One zone is to improve the way you manage corrections and feedback from your audience. The VettNews Cx tool helps newsrooms improve this process and it is being offered at a discount to EPA members.

What you will learn:
• How to better label content as news, feature or opinion.
• How to create better incentives for readers to help you improve accuracy and fix mistakes

• How these kinds of methods can help a newsroom improve loyalty from readers

Leveraging Video Content in your Social Media Strategy

Jeff Raymond | Visual Storyteller, ABWE

Are you rattled by the constant messages that “Video is king!” and “Social media is the key to audience engagement”? How do you put those two things together? Or better yet, how do I find time to think about either of those things when I already have a dozen balls in the air? Where do I even start when video is not even my thing? If you find yourself with these kinds of questions, this session is for you. We will address topics designed to help get you unstuck and moving forward in producing simple, relevant video content for your social media channels.

What you will learn:
• Top 5 tips for producing video when you are not a videographer
• Key strategies for the most impactful video content
• How to Identify what is most meaningful to your social media audience

Stop Looking at Your Peers and Start Making a Better Magazine

Aaron Cline Hanbury | Editor, Common Good

To be honest: too many magazine makers — creative directors, editors, designers, publishers — make average or boring publications because they model their work after poor examples, examples that set low creative standards and muddle key factors like audience and tone. This isn’t what you want. To avoid this, makers need to establish clear, virtually permanent aspirant brands, and allow those brands to inform design (and editorial) decisions. But how? In this session, we’ll look at how to choose titles to which to aspire, and how to use them. In the process, we’ll walk through a case study of how we built Common Good using the aspirant model.

What you will learn:
• Learn the difference in aspirant brands and mere examples
• Discover about aspirant brands in the development of creative products
• Explore the use of aspirant brands in the creation of or re-imagining of print magazines
• Observe a real-world case study in developing a print title using aspirant brands

Articles to Books: Repurposing Backlists and Clip Files

Ann Byle | Freelance Writer/Author

Magazines may have thousands of articles in the archives and freelancers have vast clip files, but why let those assets sit there? This workshop will help you see the big picture in those smaller articles. We’ll look at grouping articles by theme and topic, editing processes, rights, publishing options including denominational houses, and more in this workshop that will help you turn your article backlist into front list books.