Power of Narrative

staying savvy, skilled and solvent in journalism's wired era

16th Annual Narrative Journalism Conference: April 4-6, 2014 at Boston University

Join reporters, authors, and new media figures discussing developments and best practices that build on the 40-year heritage of narrative journalism.

Join our mailing list for updates on the next conference, which will be held March 27-29, 2015.

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Conference weekend is also Red Sox opening weekend so we recommend taking public transportation or carpooling whenever possible.

Parking in the School of Management will be available for $40. That rate goes into effect at 10:30 AM on Friday and Sunday and 5PM on Saturday. To avoid the high Red Sox rates, consider parking in the Agganis Arena lot (925 Commonwealth Avenue) for $12 per day. Metered street parking will also be available around the building.

Download our app

This year, we're offering use of a dynamic mobile app for the conference. With the app, you'll create your own weekend schedule, download materials from speakers, follow the conference Twitter feed, and submit feedback after each session.

To log in, download EventBoard from the app store on any mobile device (or download and install from the EventBoard website). Once the app is installed, select "Current Conferences". You'll find Power of Narrative 2014 at the top of that list. To create your own schedule, simply select "All Sessions". If you see a session you'd like to attend, select that session and press the heart on the screen to add it to your personal schedule. You'll notice that keynote sessions and receptions are automatically included on your schedule. You can also sort sessions by speaker, time and tag.

Conference Themes

This year four keynotes and six bands of breakout sessions emphasize three main areas:

Who should attend?

Our audience is mainly mid-career practitioners already embarked on narrative journalism careers. They come from many other states and nations, and report in established print papers and magazines, write books, publish in innovative ways on the web, make podcasts, multimedia reporting, slide shows, and every sort of combination of media, sometimes pushing the boundaries with innovative start-ups. We hear from for the leading edge, while remaining true to the deep power and ethical values of telling public stories with a personal voice.

Keynote Speakers

Raney Aronson-Rath is the Deputy Executive Producer of the PBS public affairs series FRONTLINE. Much of her work involves re-imagining long-form documentary work and developing cross-platform journalism partnerships with premier news outlets. Her multiplatform storytelling projects include the Polk Award-winning Law and Disorder, Emmy Award-winner Big Money 2012, and most recently, Concussion Watch and League of Denial, which investigated concussions in the NFL.


Prior to managing FRONTLINE, Aronson-Rath produced several notable FRONTLINE films: News War, The Last Abortion Clinic, and The Jesus Factor. She has also worked as a producer at ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, and MSNBC. She received her master’s from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Aronson-Rath will present a talk on visual journalism in a digital age.

Jacqui Banaszynski worked in newspapers for 30 years, and now teaches journalists around the world. She is on faculty at the Missouri School of Journalism and the Poynter Institute. At the St. Paul Pioneer Press, her series “AIDS in the Heartland” won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. In 1986, her coverage of the African famine was a Pulitzer finalist. Her edited projects have won national awards for business, investigative, environmental, human interest, and sports reporting. She believes in the Green Bay Packers, the first snow of winter and the power of stories to help us see.


Banaszynski will present "These Three Things Endure: Craft, Courage, and Compassion." With thanks and apologies to Corinthians, a journalistic believer reflects on daring to care.

She will also lead the breakout discussion "The Art of the Interview: Turning Story Subjects into Storytellers." Beyond the Q&A to a vibrant dynamic dance of sparkling dialogue, memorable moments, put-me-there scenes and revelatory details.

Follow her: @JacquiB

Dan Barry is a national columnist for The New York Times who has reported from all 50 states. His work in recent years has included coverage of Hurricane Katrina, an execution in Tennessee, and a five-part examination, in multimedia form, of the shifting American dream as experienced by the denizens of Donna’s Diner in Elyria, Ohio. He joined the Times in 1995, and his column, “This Land,” has run in the Times since 2007, supplanting his earlier column, “About New York.”


He has written three books – Pull Me Up: A Memoir; City Lights: Stories About New York; and Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball’s Longest Game, which won the 2012 PEN/ ESPN Award for Literary Sports writing. Barry began his career at the Manchester, Connecticut, Journal Inquirer and then moved to the Providence Journal, where he was on the investigative team that won a Pulitzer Prize for exposing corruption in the Rhode Island courts. He has been a nominated finalist for the Pulitzer twice, and has won other awards, including the American Society of Newspaper Editors award for deadline reporting.

Barry will present a talk on storytelling, from the brevity of a newspaper column to the expansiveness of a book. The session will involve an interview with two writers who have worked in both forms: Dan Barry and Adam Hochschild, an author and historian who writes narrative stories within varied frameworks.

David Carr is a business columnist and culture reporter for The New York Times. Every Monday, his Media Equation" column explores the implications of the changing media landscape. He also writes about film, television, music and theater for the culture pages. Carr is the author of The Night of the Gun, a New York Times bestseller that applied the tools of reporting to the genre of memoir. When he’s not too busy on Twitter, he writes, blogs and makes videos on various topics at the Times. He has done his share of big heaves - that's what newspaper hacks call long form - on subjects ranging from Neil Young, to Harvey Weinstein, to Ruth Shalit.


Carr will present "Storytelling: The Killer App." Business models in journalism are morphing, technologies are evolving at a high rate, and practitioners of the craft are adding to their tool belt. (And workload). This talk, in conversation form, will explore the ways storytelling persists across and thrives in an evolving landscape.

Follow him: @carr2n

David Finkel is a journalist who writes about often-overlooked lives. His most celebrated pieces include stories of refugees in Kosovo, worldwide patterns of illegal migration, political and religious opponents in Yemen, and counterinsurgents in Iraq. His reporting in Yemen won a 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting.


In his critically acclaimed 2009 book, The Good Soldiers, Finkel chronicles the eight months he spent imbedded with a U.S. Army infantry battalion in Baghdad. He brings readers deeply into the soldiers’ difficult experiences, taking readers beyond the conventions of traditional news writing. The work won the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize. His recent book, Thank You For Your Service, shows us the psychological and physical ailments that soldiers struggle with after they return from war and step away from the bonds of their units. He was awarded a 2012 MacArthur Fellow “genius award” in recognition of his empathic, discerning work as staff writer at the Washington Post.

In Finkel's presentation, titled "'That's my toe,' he said", he will tell the story of the most difficult sentence he has ever written in three decades of narrative journalism.

Adam Hochschild is speaking at his 15th narrative journalism conference this year. He started his career as a daily newspaper reporter, and went on to become a magazine writer and editor, and one of the co-founders of Mother Jones. He gradually turned to writing books – his many titles now include the memoir Half The Way Home and the historical narratives Bury the Chains and King Leopold’s Ghost.


Hochschild has been a finalist for the National Book Award and twice for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His most recent book, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize-winning To End All Wars, focuses on the First World War and its opponents. His writings have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Harper’s, The Atlantic, Granta and elsewhere. He teaches a narrative writing class at the University of California at Berkeley and has taught narrative workshops for working journalists in five countries.

In addition to the keynote conversation he shares with Dan Barry, Hochschild will offer an additional talk titled "Biography of a Book in Progress," in which he will address choosing characters, events, and point of view in the process of crafting and revising a book he is working on.

Visit our Speakers page for more.

Speaker Bios


Boston Globe Poynter Boston University College of Communication