Symposium goes digital November 19

11/09/21 (Tue)

Symposium goes digital November 19

If you'd like to watch a replay of the Witham Symposium sessions, please visit our "Videos" page. The full recording is available, as well as an additional video that was created during breakout sessions for Jack McDonald's Open Meetings/Open Records session. 

Video page can be found here.

The Donovan and Betty Witham Symposium on Excellence in Newspapers will be held virtually on November 19 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT, featuring a variety of sessions aimed at helping newspaper members from across the state come together and sharpen their skills.

The event, sponsored by the North Dakota Newspaper Association Education Foundation, will include a series of workshops, including a sports huddle, writing and photography sessions, and trainings on sales and deciphering government lingo for your readers. Over the lunch hour, attendees will have the chance to view a streaming webinar on covering the North Dakota Supreme Court featuring Jack McDonald, NDNA legal counsel. 

The symposium is free to attend, and a Zoom link and invite will be sent to members and interested people prior to the event. Those who sign up early will have the chance to receive a free customizable snack pack to enjoy as they participate during the educational workshops. 

First up is a session from 10-11 a.m. featuring Jim Neubauer, city of Mandan administrator, and Chuck Haga, UND professor and longtime journalist. The two will host “How to translate government speak into understandable language,” sharing tips for making everything from mill levies to municipal bonds easier to explain to readers. 

From 11 a.m. to noon, Cole Short of the Hillsboro Banner and Mike McCleary of the Bismarck Tribune will lead “Polish up your photography skills,” sharing tricks of the trade for taking top-notch photos. The pair will help attendees approach everything from sports to candid shots with new skills to make their pages more engaging. 

Following the Supreme Court webinar at lunch, from 1:30-2:30 p.m. will feature “Crafting your craft: Tips for making your writing shine.” Chuck Haga, veteran journalist and UND – Grand Forks professor, will lead this workshop focused on helping attendees tackle the tough tales. From the most tender feature to the stalest government meetings, Haga will help members learn how to keep readers engaged and excited to read beyond the headline.

From 2:30-3:30 p.m., concurrent sessions will be held: McDonald will lead “Nuts and bolts of open meetings/open records,” highlighting what you need to know to get access to all public records and meetings. Kelsey Majeske of Mobridge Publishing and Gary Adkisson of the Bismarck Tribune will also lead “Sales tips: Take your sales to the next level,” sharing ideas and spotlighting changes to the sales landscape.

The symposium will round off from 3:30-4:30 p.m. with a “Sports huddle” featuring Cole Short of the Hillsboro Banner and Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald, who will offer tips and tricks for providing the kind of sports coverage that parents and athletes love. 

Everyone is invited to attend, and the symposium will also be recorded and offered for viewing after the event. Those with questions or who would like to request a Zoom invite may email 

For further information, contact Sarah Elmquist Squires,
NDNA Executive Director,
866-685-8889 or