Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference returns virtually with spotlight on journalism’s mission of ‘Bringing Truth into Focus’

Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 10:21

DENTON (UNT), Texas — In its 16th annual Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, the University of North Texas will gather some of the nation’s top journalists, writers, authors and storytellers to share their best practices in accurately telling compelling stories that inform and educate the public.

Hosted by UNT’s Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism and Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism, the Oct. 16-18 conference comes during a tumultuous period — journalism has been in the crosshairs of public opinion, and journalists are facing enormous pressures to remain relevant. The conference theme, “20/20: Bringing Truth into Focus,” especially resonates this year as journalists work to cover a historic global health crisis and a movement for social justice and police reform.

Due to health and safety concerns with the ongoing pandemic, the 2020 conference will be held virtually. Attendees will hear the stories behind the headlines, learning how journalists gain the trust of sources and weave together captivating narrative and dialogue. Sessions will focus on everything from reporting on the coronavirus and health care issues in rural America to sports, presidential politics and racial injustice.

The Mayborn also has helped launch many aspiring writers. Each year, it offers opportunities for writers to publish their work or win recognition and cash awards for their outstanding stories. Since 2006, the Mayborn Conference has awarded more than $230,000 in prizes and writer support.

“We have been working tirelessly over the past several months to produce a conference that offers engaging programing and interactivity. I’m excited about the wonderful journalists and authors who are eager to share their stories. Expect to learn, meet new people and have some fun along the way,” said Neil Foote, conference director and principal lecturer in the Mayborn School of Journalism.


Sarah Broom, a journalist, “New York Times” bestselling author and UNT alumna, whose National Book Award-winning memoir “The Yellow House” reflects on her family and their home in New Orleans East. Broom has contributed to the “New Yorker,” “New York Times Magazine,” “Oxford American” and “O, The Oprah Magazine,” among others.

Major Garrett, a CBS Chief Washington Correspondent and “CBS News” host and creator, who has reported extensively on presidential actions to confront ISIS, Ebola, nuclear negotiations with Iran and U.S.-European efforts to confront Russia in the standoff over Ukraine. Garrett also covered the Obama administration's handling of the rollout, numerous policy failures at the Veterans Administration and President Obama’s ongoing efforts in 2014 to address racial strife and criminal justice reform.

Gene Weingarten, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for “The Washington Post,” who writes the nationally syndicated weekly humor column "Below the Beltway." Weingarten’s work includes a Pulitzer-winning feature piece about parents who accidentally kill their children by forgetting them in cars and another chronicling world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell’s experiment performing in a Washington D.C. metro station.

Peter Baker, a longtime White House reporter for “The New York Times” who has covered three other presidents for the “Times” and the “Washington Post.” He also co-authored, “The Man Who Ran Washington: James A. Baker III.”

Susan Glasser, a staff writer at “The New Yorker,” and former editor at several Washington publications including “Politico” and “Foreign Policy.” She also co-authored, “The Man Who Ran Washington: James A. Baker III.”

Other featured presenters include: Doug J. Swanson, author of “The Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers;” Andrea Valdez, editor of; Julian Aguilar, who covers politics and border affairs for “Texas Tribune;” Esmeralda Bermudez, a “Los Angeles Times” reporter; Gromer Jeffers, political reporter for “The Dallas Morning News” and Alfredo Corchado, U.S.-Mexico Affairs reporter for “The Dallas Morning News.”


What: “20/20: Bringing Truth into Focus,” 16th annual Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference

When: Held online Oct. 16-18 (Friday – Sunday) 

Cost: Tickets are $99. Register at

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