Friday, July 19

8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Writing Workshops
(Only for invited participants)

5:30 - 6:30 p.m.

6:30 - 9:30 p.m.
Southwest Soiree
(Official Opening of the Conference – open to all conference registrants and ticket holders)

Keynote Speaker: Nikole Hannah-Jones
Tonight, she’ll share her insights about her work and how you report, write and tell stories about inequities and injustice in our school districts and housing policies around the country during a conversation led by Cheryl Thompson, a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter, NPR correspondent and president of the Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE).

Saturday, July 20

7 a.m. - 8 p.m.

8 - 8:25 a.m.
Session 1: Race, Violence, and Sam Peckinpah
W.K. “Kip” Stratton’s book is the Los Angeles Times bestselling author of “The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, a Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Legendary Film” and eight other books. Stratton discusses how he describes the making of this classic film made in the heat of the desert with the help of Mexicans and Mexican Americans.

8:30 - 9:25 a.m.
Session 2: The Hate You Breathe, Smell & Drink
While the world tends to focus on climate change, many communities in this country are battling environmental disaster intertwining race, class and injustice.


  • Moderator: Randy Loftis, lecturer, Mayborn School of Journalism and award-winning environmental journalist
  • Naveena Sadisivam, staff writer, Observer
  • Brantley Hargrove, author, “The Man Who Caught the Storm – The Life of Legendary Tornado Chaser Tim Samaras”

9:30 - 10:25 a.m.
Session 3: Art of the Old-Fashioned Magazine Crime Story
Who doesn’t love a good crime story? Well, these two journalists are the best in the business in bringing to life the horrific tales of serial killers and other delinquents.

A conversation between Skip Hollandsworth and Jeff Maysh.

10:30 - 11:25 a.m.
Session 4: When Should Journalists Become Activists
Brought to you through a partnership with PEN America

Sonia Nazario shares an insightful analysis of covering the nation’s immigration crisis and the precarious role journalism plays in telling this story.

11:30 a.m. - 12:25 p.m.
Session 5: Sensational or Sensationalism? Avoiding Exploitation in True Crime Stories
Brought to you through a partnership with ABOTA (America Board of Trial Advocates)

Pamela Colloff has written about some of the most egregious wrongful convictions and high-profile crimes in America. Her work has received a slew of awards and global attention, and has led directly to multiple exonerations. The secret isn’t just dogged tenacity. She approaches every source and every story with sensitivity and compassion. In this session, Colloff will talk with Laura Beil, host of the “Dr. Death” podcast, about the right–and wrong–ways to report on the American justice system.

12:30 - 2:00 p.m.

12:45 - 1:45 p.m.
Session 6: Unveiling the Mystery: Writing, Editing, and Publishing for the Literary Market


  • Moderator: Rachel Monroe
  • Farley Chase, Chase Literary Agency
  • John Parsley, Dutton/Penguin Books
  • Jim Donovan, Jim Donovan Literary
  • BJ Robbins, BJ Robbins Literary Agency
  • David Patterson, Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency

2 - 2:55 p.m.
Session 7: Beautiful Country Burn Again: Democracy, Rebellion, and Revolution
Brought to you through a partnership with PEN America
Author Ben Fountain’s book is a gripping story that explores the 2016 presidential election and how what happened is a harsh reflection of America’s troubled history steeped in political divineness. A conversation led by Tom Huang, Assistant Managing Editor for Journalism Initiatives.

3 - 3:50 p.m.
Session 8: My Friend, The Murderer
Walter Kirn is the author of eight books and an e-book. His most recent is “Blood Will Out,” a memoir of his friendship with the con artist and murderer, Clark Rockefeller. His other books include “Up in the Air” and “Thumbsucker” (both of which have been made into feature films). His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The New Republic, Q, New York, and Esquire, among other publications.

A conversation led by Dan Goodgame, editor, Texas Monthly and former Washington bureau chief for Time Magazine.

4 - 4:30 p.m.
Session 9: When Journalism meets Justice
Brought to you through a partnership with ABOTA (America Board of Trial Advocates)

Michael Lindenberger, veteran journalist and now deputy opinion editor at the Houston Chronicle, engages in a conversation with Karisa King, investigative editor at the Dallas Morning News and a representatives from the America Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) who will deconstruct their sometimes friendly, yet contentious relationship.

4:35 - 5:25 p.m.
Session 10: FEATURED One-on-One with Margot Lee Shetterly, author of “Hidden Figures”
The story of America’s unsung female human computers has become a lifelong mission and passion for today’s featured speaker. Shetterly will discuss how her extensive research and narrative have led to a movement to get more women and girls in science.

Lesa Roe, chancellor of the UNT System, leads the conversation with Shetterly. Roe, during her tenure at NASA, served as the first woman Director of NASA Langley Research Center and Manager of the International Space Station (ISS) Research Program at the Johnson Space Center.

Literary Lights Dinner

6 p.m.
Receptions / Bar Opens

7 p.m.
Guests seated / Opening remarks
Emcee: Sam Baker, KERA

7:45 p.m.
Awards presentations

8 p.m.
Literary Lights Dinner Begins

Emcee: Sam Baker, KERA
Conversation led by Kevin Merida, senior VP, E:60/OTL/TheUndefeated

Keynote Speaker: Taylor Branch
Taylor Branch is an American author and public speaker best known for his landmark narrative history of the Civil Rights era, America in the King Years. The trilogy’s first book, “Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63,” won the Pulitzer Prize and numerous other awards in 1989. He has traveled the world telling his stories about King’s work and the Civil Rights movement. Branch also has been passionate about how student-athletes, who generate billions for universities and private companies, should be paid.

Conversation led by Kevin Merida, ESPN senior VP, The Undefeated/Investigative & News Enterprise

9 - 10 p.m.
Book signings

Sunday, July 21

8:30 - 9:30 a.m.
Session 1: BLOOMBERG Speaker Series
Julia Flynn Siler, New York Times best-selling author, “The White Devil’s Daughters: The Women Who Fought Against Slavery in San Francisco’s Chinatown,” will lead a conversation with Susan Berfield, an investigative reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek magazine and Bloomberg News. Her first book, “The Hour of Fate: The Story of Theodore Roosevelt, JP Morgan, and the Battle for America’s Future,” will be published in May 2020.

9:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Session 2 with Q&A: Scam of Amateurism: What We Talk About When We Talk About Sports


  • Moderator: Patrick Hruby, LA Times contributor
  • Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize winning author
  • Ken Bensinger, author, “Red Card”
  • Albert Samaha, investigative reporter, Buzzfeed

10:30 - 11:25 a.m.
Session 3 with Q&A: When Medicine Kills
Most people put their trust in their doctors – until something happens. That’s when it far too often becomes an issue of life and death.


  • Moderator: Stella Chavez, KERA
  • Laura Beil, health and scientist journalist, reporter for the “Dr. Death” series and top-downloaded podcast
  • Beth Macy, author, “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America”

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Closing Keynote Speaker: Hampton Sides
History & Heroes: Putting Right What Once Went Wrong

Journalist Ben Montgomery gets Hampton Sides to take us on a journey through history as chronicled in his many books, including his latest, “On Desperate Ground,” a harrowing tale of heroism involving the U.S. Marines in 1950 in Korea.

Wrap-up / closing remarks.