Moneymakers and news-creators: we’ve got a conference lineup you won’t want to miss

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This year’s conference is jam-packed with sessions on craft improvement,the business of outdoor communication and panels on timely outdoor topics. We’ve even added some built-in exercise time for our OWAA runners.Here’s some highlights of the schedule so far. For the full agenda and up-to-date information visit the conference website
Friday, June 26
Newsmaker: Partnering for the
greater sage grouse 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Why is the sage grouse so important and what is being done to protect the iconic landscape it calls home? An unlikely collection of stakeholders have been working together to conserve the birds’ habitat across the West. At the same time the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service faces a Sept. 30 deadline to decide whether the sage grouse should be added to the endangered species list.
Smart Technology and Apps for the
Working Journalist 1:45 – 2:45 p.m.
Speaker: Earl Nottingham
The convergence of digital technologies has fostered numerous “smart” devices and apps that have become a two-edge sword for the outdoor communicator. While they can be extremely productive tools for the working journalist, their ease of use, quality and availability now open up a competitive era of “citizen” and “backpack” journalism.
100th Anniversary of the National Parks 1:45 – 2:45 p.m.
Speakers: National Park Service, National Park Foundation
The centennial of the National Park System will be celebrated across the country throughout 2016. Hear from the National Park Service and its partners about the most exciting stories and events as you plan coverage of this historic milestone.
Water Demo Day 3 – 6 p.m.
Water demo day starts with fishing from 3 – 4:30 p.m. at Fishing at World’s Fair Park. Step out the back door of the convention center to join our fishing and watersport manufacturers for product demos and new product displays. Test a rod for your next gear review or learn new techniques to share with your readers. From there head the Outdoorr Knoxville Adventure Center to dip your toes in the water or paddle around in a kayak from our watercraft manufacturers on the Tennessee River. See the newest outdoor gear and learn about the latest trends for getting people out on the water. The watercrafts demo runs from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Saturday June 27
Roll n Run 6 a.m.
All attendees are invited to run Saturday morning with other fleet-footed conference attendees rather than run solo in a new city. This is a no-fuss out and back run that will start and finish in the hotel lobby. Run a 5k or a 10k depending on how you feel at 6 a.m.
Natural History Walk 7 – 8 a.m.
Host: Rich Patterson, Ijams Nature Center
Join professional naturalist and former OWAA president Rich Patterson as well as a local expert from Ijams Nature Center on a one-hour non-strenuous walk to observe and learn about local flora and fauna. Many plants found in Knoxville have fascinating histories. Spread by people because of their ornamental, food or medicinal value, certain weeds have also developed a strong following. They’re also extremely adaptable. Expand your knowledge of plan life locally and abroad on this morning excursion.
Breakout Day 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
John Sevier Shooting Center
Co-sponsored by Nissan North America
Learn about and test the latest firearms and outdoor gear from OWAA supporters and local companies. Visit with outdoor destination representatives, take a test drive or brush up on breaking news from our outdoor organizations.
Newsmaker: Gulf of Mexico Restoration 2 – 3 p.m.
Five years ago America’s largest ecological disaster unfolded in the Gulf of Mexico as BP’s Macondo well spewed an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil into one of the world’s richest fisheries. The Deepwater Horizon spill came just five years after Hurricane Katrina barreled through the Gulf, inundating coastal cities and towns, killing more than 1,800 and profoundly illustrating the impacts of coastal wetland loss, especially in the Mississippi River Delta. The ecological disaster of the oil spill and the fines BP and others have been forced to pay give federal, state and local officials the opportunity to repair the ecological disaster of coastal habitat loss across the Gulf. Our speakers will give an update of restoration progress, priorities for the conservation community and how long fines and penalties will be litigated.
Ethics and Expectations: Comps, Demos, FAMs 2 – 3 p.m.
Speakers: Kelsey Dayton, Louis Dzierzak, Chris Hunt
Whether working on a gear review, writing about your favorite outdoor destinations or covering a news story, the cost to do the research is always a factor. Who pays for what and how does that impact the article? Understand how norms and expectations can vary across outlets and markets when it comes to comped activities, demo gear or familiarization tours.
Ethics in Wildlife Photography 3:15 – 4:30 p.m.
Speakers: Michael Furtman, Chris Madson, Paul Queneau
There are numerous ways to capture wildlife photography, but when it comes to things like baiting animals to get the perfect shot, do the ends justify the means? And what responsibility do photographers and editors have to inform their viewers about how a shot was obtained or whether a subject was captive or wild?
Newsmaker: Climate Change – The science, the politics and
the future 3:15 – 4:30 p.m.
Speakers: Hal Herring, Field & Stream; Todd Tanner, Conservation
Hawks; Cameron Wake, University of New Hampshire; Senator
Sheldon Whitehouse.
Sunday June 28
Access for journalists on federal public lands 8 – 9:30 a.m.
Speakers: Representatives USFWS, USFS, NPS, others TBD
OWAA maintains that journalists should not have to apply for permits from their government to do their jobs and has opposed efforts to require them. Balancing access with the need for stewardship of our public lands presents significant challenges for both journalists and the land managers. This panel, made up of representatives from the federal land management agencies, will explore the issues surrounding the requirement for permits for filming and photography on the federal public lands they manage and provide insights into ways to address these challenges.
The Cloud: Tools for Your Business 8:50 – 9:30 a.m.
Speaker: Paul Queneau
Cloud computing tools can make your life easier in any number of ways, but wading through the vast number of offerings and knowing how to evaluate similar options can be a job in and of itself. Learn not only the benefits of using the Cloud, but what other outdoor communicators are using and how to pick the right tools to meet your needs.
ATV Use on Public Lands 9:40 – 11:10 a.m.
Speakers: Tim Brass, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers; Bob Richards,
Tennessee Greenways and Trails Coordinator; Duane Taylor, Specialty Vehicle
Institute of America
Join us for a lively panel discussion of Off-Highway Vehicle use on public lands, one of the most contentious outdoor issues facing us today. Panelists will include an OHV industry representative, a land conservation advocate and a public lands manager. A wide-open Q&A session will follow short presentations by each panelist.
Pricing your freelance services 9:40 – 11:10 a.m.
Associations like OWAA are prohibited by antitrust laws from prescribing or recommending pricing for the services and products of their members. We are permitted to educate our members. Following an introduction by OWAA’s Legal Counsel, panelists will provide information about how some successful freelancers handle pricing their work and factors to consider when pricing your own services such as experience, market trends, type of client and more.
Drones and the Outdoors 11:20 a.m. – Noon
From hunting to photography and video, drones could have a profound impact for outdoor enthusiasts and outdoor communicators, but is this emerging technology a useful tool or an invasion of privacy and a disruption to the outdoor experience? Join our team of panelists as they examine the pros and cons of this technology as it becomes increasing available to the general public.
Sale of Public Lands 1:15 – 2:45 p.m.
“This land is your land, this land is my land”
Western legislators are driving attempts for states to place federal lands under state control. Some think a public land transfer is a good idea, while others fear it will result in land sales, loss of access and habitat degradation.  ♦

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