Association of Opinion Journalists Foundation and the Newseum Institute present the

2014 SEMINAR: May 1–4 APPLY for next seminar DEADLINE: March 23, 2015

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Association of Opinion Journalists is a nonprofit professional organization that exists to improve the quality of editorial pages and broadcast editorials, and to promote high standards among opinion writers and editors. MORE


Day 1

Reception and dinner with an address from a nationally recognized speaker

Day 2

Print and broadcast members of the Association of Opinion Journalists talk about the nuts and bolts of opinion writing as well as the institutional voice of a newspaper/station, what editorial writers do and why, and how editorial positions are formed.

Hands-on workshop offers a simulated editorial board meeting and actually writing an editorial. Participants meet in small groups with an outstanding staff of AOJ veterans as group leaders.

Day 3

Critiques of editorials by experienced opinion writers

Getting Your Words’ Worth, an interactive presentation by Rick Horowitz, a writing coach and syndicated columnist

Editorial board meeting/
writing session

Panel discussion on timely topic by minority opinion writers

Dinner with keynote address by a nationally recognized speaker

Day 4

Critique and evaluation session

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Keynote speaker is ‘Indy Star’ columnist Erika D. Smith

2014 Faculty

Vanessa Gallman

Editorial page editor, Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky, former Seminar director, past president of AOJ and AOJ Foundation

Andre Jackson

Editorial editor, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and, participant in 2008 seminar

O. Ricardo Pimentel

Editorial writer/columnist, San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio, Texas

Chuck Stokes

Editorial/public affairs director for WXYZ-TV/Channel 7 in Detroit, past president of AOJ and AOJ Foundation


Val Hoeppner

Digital journalist who trains journalists in mobile, social, video and multi-platform storytelling

Rick Horowitz

“Wordsmith in Chief” of Prime Prose, LLC, Emmy-winning commentator for Milwaukee Public TV, former syndicated columnist

Gene Policinski

Chief Operating Officer, Newseum Institute, Senior Vice President/First Amendment Center, AOJ Foundation board member

John Seigenthaler

Chair emeritus, The Tennessean, founder of First Amendment Center

Erika D. Smith, Metro columnist and innovative opinion writer at The Indianapolis Star, will give the keynote address at the opening session of the Minority Writers Seminar in Nashville, Tennessee, May 1. Full schedule

A dynamic speaker, she writes about diversity, neighborhood redevelopment and mass transit, said program director Tommy Denton, retired editorial page editor and past president of Association of Opinion Writers Foundation, sponsor of the annual seminar with the Newseum Institute.

Twelve experienced minority journalists will participate in the intensive seminar on opinion writing to be held May 1-4 at the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University.

Participants explore the nuts-and-bolts of writing opinion in a “boot camp” environment with veteran AOJ members leading simulated editorial board meetings and overseeing and critiquing the writing of two opinion pieces during the seminar.

Past participants praise the value of the writing exercises and the exceptional faculty.

Other speakers include Val Hoeppner, a digital journalist who will discuss social media skills in today’s communications world, and John Seigenthaler, legendary journalist, chair emeritus of The Tennessean and founder of First Amendment Center in Nashville.

Enrollment is limited to 12, and minority journalists who have been writing opinion less than two years may apply. AOJ Foundation pays for lodging and food at the seminar and reimburses up to $200 for transportation.

Click here to apply.