ASJA 2019 Annual Writers Conference
Highlights from the 2019 Annual Writers Conference!


ASJA's 48th Annual Writers Conference

Collaboration Nation

As freelance journalists and authors, we collaborate with editors, agents, publishers, designers and multimedia experts. At the 2019 conference, we explored the ways collaboration helps us succeed.

We had four tracks of interactive, dynamic programming focused on journalism, content marketing, books, and the business of writing, with sessions for freelancers at all phases in their careers. We also launched a new members-only mastermind program for small groups led by freelance experts.

With more than 1,200 members, ASJA stands as the country's leading and most prestigious association of successful journalists, authors and nonfiction and literary nonfiction writers, and we’ve never had a better time to talk about collaboration and networking.

There were a plethora of networking opportunities, and besides the special refresh lounge, we offered a subject-area roundtable session so you could find your tribe. 

New this year, BOTH days of the conference were open for non-members, which gave an extra day to network and learn. ASJA is excited about expanding this opportunity to those who want to learn more about the world of journalism and literary nonfiction.

Keynote Speaker: Camille Pagán
Camille Pagán is the #1 Amazon Kindle bestselling author of six novels, including I’m Fine and Neither Are You, Life and Other Near-Death Experiences, which was recently optioned for film, and the forthcoming This Won’t End Well (Lake Union, 2/20). Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages. A journalist and former magazine editor, Pagán has written for the New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, Parade, Real Simple, Time, and many others. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her family. You can visit her online at

State of the Freelance Union


Milt Toby

Rachel Nuwer

Adam Pawlus
Caitlin Pearce
(Freelancers Union)

ASJA invited leaders from other national journalism organizations to give a “State of the Union” on freelance life and business. Led by ASJA President Milt Toby, the keynote session included speakers from the Freelancers Union, NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists and The Society of Environmental Journalists. They discussed topics such as the First Amendment, “fake news,” #freelanceisntfree, reporting with diversity, and covering news during turbulent times.

Conference Co-Chairs

Carolyn Crist is a health and medical journalist based in Georgia whose stories have appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Magazine, Reuters, U.S. News & World Report and Wired. Her forthcoming book, The New Science of Narcissism, will come out in fall 2020. Carolyn also co-chaired the 2018 conference.

Jodi Helmer is a North Carolina-based writer covering the intersection between food, farming and business. Her newest book, Protecting Pollinators: How to Save the Creatures That Feed Us, will be out in 2019. A longtime ASJA member, Jodi also co-chaired the 2015 conference.

Become an ASJA Member and Reap the Rewards

Click here for more information about membership.