Itching to travel: The nuts and bolts of the coveted reporting trip

Itching to travel: The nuts and bolts of the coveted reporting trip

Producing the best journalism — truly transcendent pieces of writing that bring readers to the heart of the story — sometimes demands reporting from the field. Absorbing sights, sounds, tastes and smells; being with sources as they do field work; getting insights into the personalities of characters — these are the ingredients of unforgettable storytelling. Sometimes, reaching those stories in words requires physically reaching the places they come from.

Traveling for a story is one of the most exciting parts of journalism for many writers. But securing travel assignments can be challenging. Writers may struggle to find publications with travel budgets. Once in the field, more questions arise: How much time will you need? What gear should you bring? How do you keep track of expenses? How do you keep your reporting wits about you in an unfamiliar or uncomfortable environment? Do you need a fixer? What if nothing happens? What if everything goes wrong? Is this even safe?!

This panel will offer anecdotes and advice from writers and editors about how to land an assignment in the field and make the most out of the trip. We'll cover the nuts and bolts of pitching with an eye on convincing a publication to fund travel and formulating a budget to cover the details you might not immediately think of. We'll tackle the nitty-gritty of planning, packing and dealing with unpredictable events in the field.

And we'll explore some of the ambiguous and ethical issues of how best to interact with sources on expeditions. Are you allowed to become friends? What if you don't like them as people? We will also offer a thorough list of publications that fund travel so that attendees can leave the session with a practical plan for getting into the world on someone else's dime.

Time:
Saturday, October 26th, 1:45 pm to 3:00 pm
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Speaker(s):
Kevin Krajick
  Senior editor for science news at Columbia University's Earth Institute, New York, N.Y.
Apoorva Mandavilli
  Founding editor and editor-in-chief of Spectrum; science journalist, New York, N.Y.
Dean Robinson
  Story editor, New York Times magazine, New York, N.Y.
Wudan Yan
  Freelance independent journalist, photographer, and fact-checker, Seattle, Wash.
Moderator(s):
Emily Sohn
  Freelance journalist, Minneapolis, Minn.
Jessica Wapner
  Freelance writer, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Organizer(s):
Emily Sohn
  Freelance journalist, Minneapolis, Minn.
Jessica Wapner
  Freelance writer, Brooklyn, N.Y.