Capitol Crash Course

An insider’s guide to how Pennsylvania’s state government works…and doesn’t.

Created especially for journalism students at Pennsylvania colleges and universities who want to learn about reporting on state government.

Initially scheduled for March as a two-day hands-on training program, the Capitol Crash Course has been reinvented as a partial day of webinars.  We might not be able to safely meet in Harrisburg in 2020, but valuable information will be shared virtually through a series of sessions.

November 12, 2020 – Tentative Schedule:

8:30 to 8:35 a.m.              Welcome

 8:40 to 9:20 a.m.              Lobbying in Harrisburg

Holly Lubart, Director of Government Affairs, PA NewsMedia Association

Lubart is an award-winning legislative, advocacy, public policy, communications, marketing and broadcast professional with nearly 20 years of experience.  In her role, she fights in support of legislation that increases transparency, expands open records, protects advertising and public notices, as well as other industry-related topics.

9:30 to 10:10 a.m.           Transparency and The Right to Know Law

Erik Arneson, Executive Director, PA Office of Open Records

Arneson leads the Office of Open Records which decides appeals under Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know and serves as a resource for citizens, public officials, and members of the media in understanding how the law works.

10:20 to 11 a.m.               Capitol Communications

Jenn Kocher, Communications Director, PA Senate Majority Leader

Kocher serves as the lead communicator for Majority Leader Sen. Jake Corman and the Senate Republican Caucus on issues related to legislation and policy as well as strategies for messaging the majority’s position on subjects.

 11:10 to 11:50 a.m.         Next Question Please…

A legislator TBD talks about working with the press.

11:50 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Break

12:30 to 1 p.m.                 Reporter’s Notebook I

John Micek, Editor-in-Chief, Pennsylvania Capital-Star

Micek is a an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years’ experience in the news business.  Before joining the Capital-Star, Micek spent six years as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News, Harrisburg. Prior to that, he spent 13 years covering Pennsylvania government and politics for The Morning Call, Allentown.

1:10 to 1:40 p.m.             Reporter’s Notebook II

Additional reporter TBD.

No applications and no registration fees.  Any interested students and advisers may participate.  Simply complete the registration form A confirmation with GoToMeeting log in instructions will be sent to each registrant one or two days prior to the sessions.

Questions? Contact the PNA Foundation at

This project is sponsored by the PNA Foundation Fellows Fund for the Future with support from PennLive/The Patriot-News.