What to Expect of RTDNA21

July 14, 2021 12:00

And now, for something completely different.

RTDNA21 is a new kind of journalism leadership retreat that marks a return to in-person connection as well as a restorative break necessary for the news community.

“This is not your father's or your mother's typical RTDNA annual conference,” RTDNA executive director Dan Shelley said. “This is an annual conference where we listened to what our members said they wanted in a post-pandemic world in terms of professional development. We have developed a curriculum that helps them restore, rejuvenate, refresh and find ways to be more productive, more satisfied, and more well-rounded as they practice the craft of journalism.”

Here is what news leaders can expect attending RTDNA21:

Hands-on training

Participants will learn from experienced trainers on a variety of topics relevant to representation and resilience, from self-care to inclusive language. These interactive and immersive sessions will provide skills attendees can immediately share and apply to their lives inside and outside their newsrooms.

“I think we as a group wanted to do our best again to give tangible tools to those who attend the conference and really have them feel as if they’ve walked away learning something new that they can take into their newsroom the next day and put into practice,” RTDNA chair-elect and WKMG-TV news director Allison McGinley said.

Building community and giving back

RTDNA21 is not only about connecting with peers, but also establishing a connection with the surrounding community. Attendees will give back to the city of Denver through supporting local businesses and in other ways.

“We really wanted this conference to integrate with the local host community and so we’re working with local Denver vendors on products, we're working to coordinate ways to give back to local community organizations and charities and really making sure that we’re bringing Denver in to the attendees, and that we're giving something back before we leave,” RTDNA chief staff officer Tara Puckey said.

Life outside of conference rooms

The RTDNA21 experience will not be limited to training sessions within conference rooms like traditional retreats. The conference will have multiple opportunities for bonding and fun, including an opening night reception at Dazzle Jazz & Blues, group exercise classes and a bar tour to help facilitate learning within relaxing and enjoyable environments.

“What I'm really excited about when it comes to Denver is the fact that we are coming out of a pandemic, we are still navigating that path and knowing that this is a gorgeous outdoor environment where people can gather safely at the hotel, safely in the confines of the conference but then also have amazing opportunities to have some outdoor activities to experience,” McGinley said.

“We've been really conscious in the planning process that education is important but also that peer-to-peer connection and information-sharing is really important as well and we've tried to build in a good mix of both,” according to Puckey.

A revitalizing experience

Overall, conference-goers can expect an immersive excursion that will help them grow and transform into stronger leaders within and outside the newsroom.

“We’ll be in a fantastic location with a fantastic program, great learning opportunities, great opportunities to interact with some of our sponsors, vendors, and exhibitors,” said Shelley. “It’s going to be a holistic reset and refresh of everything we do as journalists and everything we are as human beings.”

RTDNA21 will be held Sept. 23-24 in Denver, Colorado. Register today.


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