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TAB’S Fall Newsroom Webinar Series Features Four December Sessions

The final four sessions of this fall’s TAB newsroom webinar series focus on retaining quality staff, managing newsroom stress, sharpening interviewing skills, and reviewing the current legal landscape for Texas newsgathering.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER for TAB’s December newsroom webinars featuring Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute and Stacy Allen, a partner with TAB’s Texas legal counsel Jackson Walker LLP. 

TAB is offering the free hour-long sessions to newsrooms thanks to stations’ continued support of TAB’s Public Education Partnership Program (PEP) which generates funding for many of TAB’s member services.

Most sessions start at 11 AM CT and last an hour.

December TAB Newsroom Webinars

TAB’s Dec. 6 session, Managing Newsroom Stress and Trauma will address the stress and trauma affecting today’s journalists. 

It comes from all corners and is taking a heavy toll on newsroom staff. 

The Poynter Institute’s Al Tompkins, a favorite trainer amongst Texas newsrooms, will talk about self-care for journalists.

He will be aided in this session by his wife Sidney Tompkins, a licensed psychotherapist with decades of experience.

The Dec. 8 session, Keeping the Keepers, is for newsroom managers who are desperate to retain employees at a time when newsrooms are desperate to hire employees because of an extraordinary turnover rate in the last two years. 

Tompkins addresses the journalist burnout that is creating staff retention problems throughout the country.

In this session, newsroom managers will learn:

  • the key motivators for why people stay in a job and why they leave
  • new research on key life events that often lead to an employee deciding to leave their job
  • how different generations of employees have different reasons for staying or leaving a job
  • the one thing that 52 percent of people who left their job last year said might have convinced them to stay (it was not money)

In the Dec. 13 session, Interviewing Essentials, Tompkins covers the best practices for interviews in the newsgathering process.

Although journalists spend a lot of effort learning how to capture better video, how to write and edit, the core of all journalism is interviewing and listening. 

This session will:

  • show why “where” you talk with people can be nearly as important as what you ask them
  • explain how to avoid a “double barrel” question that usually produces a useless answer
  • demonstrate how some questions produce facts while others produce memorable soundbites
  • deconstruct an interview question by question to examine what works and why
  • teach ways to talk respectfully with vulnerable people including children, crime victims and people who experienced tragedy

Using examples and interactivity, Tompkins will focus on techniques that you can use on your next shift.

The Dec. 14 session, Texas Newsrooms and the Law, features Stacy Allen, a partner with TAB’s Texas legal counsel, Jackson Walker LLP, and co-author of the TAB Newsroom Legal Guide. 

The session is an excellent opportunity for newsroom managers and staff to learn how existing Texas law and recent court decisions have affected not only the newsgathering process but how news coverage is disseminated over-the-air, online, and digitally.  

Among the topics the webinar will cover:

  • 2015 Third Party Allegations statute, a legislative clarification to existing Texas libel law in response to the disastrous 2013 Neely v. Wilson court decision
  • 2013 Defamation Mitigation Act, Texas’ uniform corrections/retractions law
  • 2011 Citizen Participation Act (and its 2019 amendments), Texas’ anti-SLAPP litigation law for early dismissal from libel cases
  • 2009 Free Flow of Information Act, Texas’ reporter shield law protecting newsroom work product and preventing compelled testimony
  • 1993 Interlocutory Appeal statute, a pre-trial dismissal appeal mechanism for newsroom cases
  • The Texas Public Information Act and how it applies to various types of reporting

TAB has planned for plenty of Q&A time at the end of the presentation to answer attendees’ newsgathering legal questions on privacy, drones, trespass, illegal/improper photography, etc.

Final November Session Takes Place At 11 AM CT Today

There are still a few hours to REGISTER for today’s final November session, Covering More...With Less…Smarter, featuring Kevin Benz, a veteran of several Texas newsrooms and former RTDNA chairman.

This hour-long session is designed for newsroom managers who seek to pragmatically deal with the reality of having to do more with less staff and resources. 

Benz will discuss how newsrooms should be fundamentally changing news gathering approaches and rethinking how newsrooms are structured. 

Newsroom Webinars Archived For Online Viewing

The TAB fall newsroom webinar series is being recorded and archived online for later viewing in the Members section of

One webinar from October and two from earlier this month led by Benz and Tompkins have already been uploaded for viewing.  

Covering Polarized Issues, Knowing Your Story - Abortion, Immigration, Politics explored how journalists can better educate and inform audiences on polarizing issues, which will always be a part of the major coverage menu. 

Benz led the session using topics such as abortion, immigration, and political coverage as examples to explore best practices when reporting on tough topics.

A second Benz session, Making the Right Call - The Principles of Journalism and How to Use Them, used real examples from Texas and elsewhere to get attendees thinking and reflecting more deeply about how they gather news.

This session discussed the four principles of journalism as created by the Poynter Institute’s Bob Steele and offered a very simple set of questions to ask to hold a newsroom accountable for its news coverage.

In the first of four sessions he will present for TAB stations, Fighting Fakes and Truth Decay, Tompkins showed attendees how fakers fake and how journalists can protect themselves against getting suckered in by fake claims, doctored photos, tampered tweets, suspect studies, and polls that don’t hold water.  

Want to see them?

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Questions? Contact TAB’s Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.

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