CJC 2020
April 11-12 | Chicago


Wednesday, April 10

6pm-8pm Welcome: cocktail reception (Ace Hotel)

Thursday, April 11

8:00am-8:30am Breakfast (on-site at Google)

8:30am-8:45am Opening Remarks

David Axelrod and Ann Marie Lipinski welcome attendees


8:45am-9:45am Reimagining Election Coverage

A big picture overview of what the upcoming election will look like and how to cover it, starting with a look-back at the successes and failures of 2016 coverage but focusing on what improvements could be made for 2020.


9:45am-11:00am Managing the Moment

Hear from experienced news directors on how they view the election to come, how management will be making decisions, what they want to see from the field, and how to keep the focus on real issues rather than over-reporting on the horse race

11:00am-12:00pm Primary Primer

A tutorial on the mechanics of the primary campaign, the calendar, debate oversight by the parties, and the delegate selection process.

  • featuring: Jeff Berman, former national director of delegate operations for Obama ‘08; and Julie Pace, Associated Press (moderator)

12:00pm-1:00pm Lunch

1:00pm-2:00pm The First Four: A Primer on Iowa, NH, SC, and Nevada

A look at the importance of the four early states: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada from key players in each of those states.

2:00pm-3:15pm Breakout Sessions

  • Option 1: Money

    A session on how to track money, what to look for, and where to look for it, from the role of Super PACs to compliance issues to keep in mind.

  • Option 2: Life on the Trail

    A guide to life on the trail for first-time reporters, from packing for the road to basic security measures to guarding against false narrative and getting stuck in the bubble.

  • Option 3: Social Media Verification

    The power of social media and how reporters can verify social media information before the spreading of fake news.

3:15pm-3:30pm Break

3:30pm-4:30pm Polling

A look at how polling has changed since 2016, how to evaluate polling, and how to use polling effectively without being beholden to it.

4:30pm-5:30pm Hacks & Flacks

What you need to know about how to speak with campaign officials, who to know, how to cultivate sources, and how to deal with spin.

5:30pm-5:45pm Cocktails

5:45pm-7:00pm Outlook (cocktails & hors d’oeuvres)

Key takeaways from the day’s panels, as well as the role that President Trump will play in the upcoming election and challenges reporters face in covering this president.


Friday, April 12

8:00am-8:30am Breakfast (on-site at Google)


8:30am-9:45am Demographics & Identity Politics

A discussion of covering key demographic groups such as Latinos and millennials and the issues that matter to them, as well as overall demographic trends that will impact the election.

9:45am-11:00am Data in Campaigns

A conversation about how data now equals power, how data works, how campaigns use it, its importance in voter targeting, and key indicators that reporters should pay attention to.

11:00am-11:15am Break

11:15am-12:30pm Paid & Social Media: How 2020 Campaigns Will Deliver Their Messages

A two-pronged look at how campaigns use advertising and social media messaging, the ins and outs of media ad buys, and the future and efficacy of TV advertising and the power of social media.

  • featuring: Tad Devine, former Sanders chief strategist; Laura Olin, Former Obama Social Media Strategist; Ashley Parker, Washington Post White House reporter (moderator); and Jeff Roe, Former Campaign Manager to Ted Cruz

12:30pm-1:15pm Lunch


1:15pm-2:30pm Bringing It Home

Closing out the conference with a session on how to cover the upcoming election in smaller markets while maintaining quality coverage.

2:30pm-2:45pm Wrap up and Closing Remarks

David Axelrod and Ann Marie Lipinski close out the conference