Covering War at Home

Course Overview

Covering War at Home
Seminar Snapshot
This $29.95 course is free thanks to the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

About Seminar Snapshots

A Seminar Snapshot features video highlights that capture the key learning of a seminar presentation.

While the wire services and the biggest national newsrooms cover the front lines of war, telling the story on the home front falls primarily to the journalists in local newsrooms across the U.S. In this Seminar Snapshot from the "Covering War at Home" conference at The Poynter Institute, Poynter faculty and visiting professionals explore the issues surrounding the impact in the U.S. of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Featured visiting faculty in this conference (in May 2008) include David Maraniss and Anne Hull, of The Washington Post, Elana Newman and Bruce Shapiro of the Dart Center, and Byron Pitts of CBS News.

What Will I Learn:
  • Best practices of journalists who have been telling these important stories
  • How to find story ideas
  • Reporting techniques
  • How to find sources
  • How to do research using public records
  • To develop and tell compelling, significant stories

Who should take this course:

Journalist and others who want to tell stories about the impact of war on soldiers and their families, and their communities.


Anne Hull

Anne Hull is an enterprise reporter on the national staff of The Washington Post. She has covered immigration, class, race, Hurricane Katrina and the war in Iraq and at home. Hull and Post reporter Dana Priest and photojournalist Michel du Cillewon the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service with their work that exposed mistreatment of wounded veterans at Walter Reed Hospital.


David Maraniss

David Maraniss, an associate editor at The Washington Post and author of four critically acclaimed, bestselling books: "They marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967," "When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi," "First in his Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton," and "Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero." During his nearly three-decade career at the Post, he has won virtually every major award in journalism, including the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting.


Byron Pitts

Byron Pitts is a contributor to "60 Minutes" and chief national correspondent for "The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric."


Bruce Shapiro

Bruce Shapiro, executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. Shapiro is a veteran reporter on human rights, criminal justice and related issues, and he is a contributing editor at The Nation. For the past decade he has taught investigative journalism at Yale University. Shapiro was part of the team that founded the Dart Center and has launched a wide range of activites both in the U.S. and worldwide. His books include "Shaking the Foundations: 200 Years of Investigative Journalism in America" and "Legal Lynching: The Death Penalty and America's Future," with the Rev.


Elana Newman

Elana Newman, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology, director of graduate clinical training at the University of Tulsa. She serves as research director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma and is the immediate past president of the International Soceity of Traumatic Stress Studies.


Kelly McBride

Kelly McBride is the vice president at The Poynter Institute. She is a writer, teacher and one of the country's leading voices when it comes to media ethics. She has been on the faculty of The Poynter Institute since 2002 and is editor, along with Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute, of The New Ethics of Journalism : Principles for the 21st Century.

Her other work involves Poynter’s Sense-Making Project, a Ford Foundation project examining the transformation of journalism from a profession of a few to a civic obligation of many, the effects of technology on democracy, and the media habits of the millennial generation. She conducts workshops in newsrooms and at journalism conventions across the country. Twice she has traveled to South Africa to lead advanced reporting and writing seminars geared toward reporters working in a young democracy. You can follow her on Twitter at @kellymcb.


Bob Steele

Bob Steele is the director of the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics, DePauw University, in Greencastle, Ind., and is the Nelson Poynter Scholar for Journalism Values at The Poynter Institute.


Al Tompkins

Al Tompkins is The Poynter Institute’s senior faculty for broadcasting and online. He has taught thousands of journalists, journalism students and educators in newsrooms around the world. His teaching focused on writing, reporting, storytelling, ethics, critical thinking, photojournalism, social media and online journalism.

Tompkins has taught television news producers, reporters, photojournalists and managers in his workshops in 49 states, Canada, Egypt, Ecuador, Denmark, Cayman, Iceland and South Africa. He has taught and coached print newsrooms in the U.S. and abroad how to build interactive news websites, how to use video more effectively online and how to manage ethical issues that arise online.

Al is an FAA licensed drone pilot and has organized and lead drone journalism workshops around America that produced more than 325 graduates. He co-authored the drone ethics guide.

Tompkins is the author of the book “Aim For The Heart: Write, Shoot, Report, Produce for TV and Online,” which is being used by more than 125 universities as their main broadcast writing, reporting and ethics textbook.

He co-authored four editions of the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation’s “Newsroom Ethics” workbook. In 1998, Tompkins joined Poynter’s faculty from his job as news director at WSMV-TV in Nashville, Tenn. For 24 years, he worked as a photojournalist, reporter, producer, anchor, assistant news director, special projects/investigations director, documentary producer and news director.

Awards: During his two and a half decades as a journalist, and nearly two decades as a teacher at Poynter, Tompkins has been awarded many of journalism's highest honors.

Tompkins won the National Emmy, the Peabody Award (group award), the Japan Prize, the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel for Court Reporting, seven National Headliner Awards, two Iris Awards and the Robert F. Kennedy Award. Tompkins was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame and in 2008 was awarded The Governor’s Award, the highest honor given by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He has also been honored by the National Press Photographers Association and the Radio and Television News Foundation for contributions to journalism and journalism education.

Al is a juror for the Scripps Howard National Journalism Awards and served as a final juror on the duPont-Columbia Awards, and the Investigative Reporter and Editor awards.

Al earned a Master's Degree in Digital Journalism and Design from the University of South Florida and a B.A. degree in journalism from Western Kentucky University.

Consulting and Teaching in Newsrooms:

Among the hundreds of clients for whom Tompkins taught and/or consulted are: Harvard University Nieman Foundation, ABC Owned and Operated Stations, Telemundo Television Stations; Meredith Television Stations; Scripps Howard Television, NBC owned and operation stations Promotions Directors; Stations; Hearst Argyle Television Stations; Gannett Television Stations; Griffin Communications; NBC Owned and Operated Stations; New York Times Television Stations; Cox Television; Cox Cable, Cox Washington DC Bureau, RUV TV (Iceland), Belo Television Stations; Freedom Newspapers of Florida, Freedom Newspapers of North Carolina, The Raleigh News & Observer, Shurz Broadcast stations, Radio and Television News Directors Association; RTNDA Canada; Radio and Television News Directors Foundation; The Ford Foundation; Hampton University, Kings University, Marymount University, Scranton University, University of Kentucky, University of South Florida, Belmont University, Western Kentucky University, Middle Tennessee State University, The Sacramento Bee; The Scholastic Journalism Association; Global TV Calgary; Global TV Edmonton Ca, CBC Toronto, CBC Calgary, CBC Regina, CTV Toronto, Canada AM; Alabama Broadcasters Association; Arkansas Broadcasters Association; Oklahoma Broadcasters Association; Hawaii Association of Broadcasters; Texas Association of Broadcasters; Ohio AP Broadcasters Association; Pennsylvania Broadcasters Association; Illinois Broadcasters Association; Washington State Broadcasters Association; Georgia Broadcasters Association; Tennessee Broadcasters Association; Louisiana Broadcasters Association; New York State Broadcasters Association; West Virginia Broadcasters Association; Missouri Broadcasters Association; Virginia Broadcasters Association; North Carolina Broadcasters Association; South Carolina Association of Broadcasters; Wisconsin Broadcasters Association; Iowa Broadcasters Association; Oregon Broadcasters, North Carolina Press Association, Alaska Broadcasters Association, Montana SPJ, New Mexico Broadcasters Association; Illinois Press Association, North Carolina Press Association; Hoosier Press Association National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences — NATAS (Pennsylvania); PBS-Nightly Business Report, NATAS(Washington DC); NATAS (Miami); WMC-TV; WSB-TV;KXAS-TV; KHOU-TV; WNEM-TV; KPHO-TV; WEWS-TV; WPTV-TV; WESH-TV; WKMG-TV; WTVW-TV; WPBF-TV; WHO-TV; KWTV-TV; WZZM-TV; WNEP-TV; WTKR-TV; KTHV-TV; KCTV-TV; WGAL; WTVF; WSBT; Bay News 9; News 8 Austin; RNews, WTSP; KTHV; KVUE; WHO-TV, RUV-TV Iceland, WNBC, KCBS, WCBS, WMAQ, WBBM, WFOR, WBZ and WTVT.

Training Partner:

Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma

The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, a project of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, is dedicated to informed, innovative and ethical news reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy.

Technical Requirements:

This Seminar Snapshot contains audio. Please make sure you've got your headphones and speakers adjusted.