Victory in Gettysburg: PA Press Conference recognizes top journalists, spurs conversation on important industry topics

  • Jun 03, 2015

Nikki Rhoads, communications director

The 2015 PA Press Conference, “Connect with your community: Modern newsrooms and the push for high-impact journalism,” was held in Gettysburg May 29-30.

The event was jam-packed with awards presentations, informative sessions, and countless opportunities to learn from and meet with colleagues from across the Commonwealth.

Highlights of the 2015 event included:

Comprehensive coverage of the event by three Online Reporter Project interns

The PNA Foundation, with the support of PSNE, offers a unique internship for college students enrolled in journalism or communications programs in Pennsylvania. Over the course of two days, student interns covered the 2015 Press Conference and awards presentations for the Online Reporter Project. This year’s interns were Stephanie Kulikowski from Clarion University, Rachel Makansi from Juniata College, and Gabriella Santoliquito from Penn State University. They were mentored by Albert Stumm of the Associated Press and Liz Allen of the Erie Times-News (pictured below).


The interns' coverage of the event is at, and they contributed to the social media conversation by live-tweeting with #Keystones2015. Their reporting includes an article on Susan Baldrige, an investigative reporter for LNP whose ongoing coverage of the area’s heroin epidemic has earned her recognition, a Q&A video with former PA Office of Open Records head Terry Mutchler, complete coverage of a 3 a.m. fire alarm at the hotel, which roused conference attendees from their slumber, and more.

The Online Reporter Project is partially funded by a silent auction held during Press Conference. Auctioned items are donated by news media organizations from across the state and bid on by attendees. This year’s auction raised $1,655.

Sessions on topics of critical importance to the news media industry

PSNE-Breaking-News-2Sessions and speakers covered a wide variety of content, including:

  • Covering breaking news – with journalists sharing actual experiences from the Eric Frein manhunt and the 2014 stabbings at a western PA high school
  • The next generation of journalists and the future of the newsroom – panelists shared experiences about changes to their newsrooms, and Billy Penn’s Chris Krewson talked about Billy Penn’s new model
  • What readers are really telling you – panelists talked about using metrics on a daily basis to inform strategies, and how to balance audience growth with journalistic integrity
  • How 2015 Keystone Awards winners earned recognition – honorees shared the projects they were recognized for and the process they used to get to the final product

Keystones-1The Keystone Press Awards banquet

The Saturday night event recognized hundreds of outstanding writers, editors and photographers from across Pennsylvania. Special award winners addressed the crowd, while sweepstakes winners shared acceptance videos. Watch video submissions from The Citizens’ Voice (Wilkes-Barre), Philadelphia City Paper, Central Penn Business Journal, Reading Eagle, Philadelphia Daily News, and Indiana Gazette on PNA’s YouTube.

PAPME-Awards-6Multiple awards and scholarship presentations

In addition to the Keystone Awards, outstanding journalism was honored at the PAPME News Excellence and Newsphoto Contest Awards, PAPBA Awards, PWPA Awards, and the SPJ Awards.

PAPME also announced that Avery Maehrer, a senior journalism major at Temple University, won the 2015 Ralph Flamminio Memorial Scholarship, and PWPA announced that Jenny Schouppe, a junior communication major with a focus in journalism and electronic media at Waynesburg University, won its Teresa Spatara Memorial Scholarship.

The annual two-day Pennsylvania Press Conference covers issues of importance to editors, reporters and broadcasters, and is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society of News Editors (PSNE) and the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors (PAPME), in conjunction with the Pennsylvania AP Broadcasters Association (PAPBA), Pennsylvania Women's Press Association (PWPA), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).

Check out photos of the 2015 PA Press Conference on PNA’s Flickr.

Related: Read our recap of Friday morning’s PNA Foundation “Readership Workshop: Take a Closer Look at Your Audience.”

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