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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Reinhardt

Stellar speakers, workshops planned for Gateway to Success

Artificial intelligence, media literacy, niche publishing, and photography among the topics to be explored at the annual conference, June 20–22.

photos of Lynne Jackson, Jody Sowell, Ruth Thaler-Carter and Jessica Z. Brown

Missouri Professional Communicators (MPC) recently released the list of confirmed speakers and workshops for Gateway to Success, this year’s National Federation of Press Women (NFPW) conference to be held in St. Louis, June 20–22.

Kicking off conference programming on Friday, June 21, will be keynote speakers Dr. Jody Sowell, president and CEO of the Missouri Historical Society, and Lynne M. Jackson, president and founder of the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation, who will discuss “History in the Headlines.”

A panel discussion, “AI: Partner or Pestilence?” will enliven Friday’s lunch conversation. Mary Ann L. Wymore, partner at UB Greensfelder law firm in St. Louis and adjunct professor of media law at Saint Louis University, will lead the panel.

Afternoon workshop sessions start at 1:15 p.m. Participants can choose between “Effective Storytelling through Photography,” with Cris Blackstone or “Launching a Freelance Communications Business,” with MPC’s Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, an award-winning freelancer.

At 2:30 p.m., attend the panel, “Vital Importance of Media Literacy,” led by MPC’s Jessica Z. Brown-Billhymer, founder and president of Gateway Media Literacy Partners, or hear Anne Shaw Heinrich discuss “Surviving Nonprofit PR Professionally and Personally.”

The day concludes with the Author’s Alley and the Communicator of Achievement banquet. Affiliates wishing to congratulate their nominees can purchase an ad in the conference program. Prices start at $25 for a ¼-page ad. For more information, contact Deborah Reinhardt.

Saturday, June 22, will begin with breakfast and the 2025 conference announcement, followed by the President’s Roundtable, “Challenges of Local Journalism.” Julie Campbell has lined up NFPW member Nancy Krier, a freelance journalist with in Thurston, Washington; Jacqueline Duty of the Collinsville Daily News in Illinois; and Peggy Scott of Leader Publications in Festus, Missouri.

Learn how to conquer your inner critic at the 10:30 a.m. presentation, “Liar, Liar: Jailbreak Your Life,” with Rita Ernst, psychologist and author.

The results of the High School Communications Contest will be featured as Director Teri Ehresman leads the Student Awards Luncheon. At 12:30 p.m., panelists including Debbie Miller, NFPW board treasurer; Mitch Eden, 2015 National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year and former adviser to the journalism program at Kirkwood High School in St. Louis; representatives of the Webster University School of Communications; and possibly others, examine trends in journalism education. 

Saturday afternoon programs include a workshop, “Getting the Most from Social Media,” with Adair Wilson Heitman, and an alternative journalism panel with Tim Rowden, editor of the St. Louis/Southern Illinois Labor Tribune newspaper, and Chris Keating, owner of Sauce magazine and the Riverfront Times. At 3 p.m., authors Elizabeth Donald and Nicole Evelina/Niki Burgdorf will talk about writing and publishing books.

The day concludes with Author’s Alley and Communications Awards banquet.  


Register for the conference before May 20 to receive $100 off the conference fee. Visit the website for details. For those visiting from outside St. Louis, the Frontenac Hilton has given NFPW an attractive rate of $145 per night. Make your reservations now.

Enjoy more of what St. Louis offers by registering for pre- and post-conference tours on June 19, 20, and 23. We’ll be visiting some of the area’s best attractions, and lunch is included in each tour. More information is on the website.  

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