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Home > Local Connection > Grants > Chapter Grants > 2012-13 Recipients

Local Connection
SPJ Chapter Grants:
2012-13 Recipients


The following chapters received Chapter Grants to fund programs that will take place in 2012-2013.


SPJ DePaul

SPJ DePaul received $500 from a November Chapter Grant to help fund their upcoming program, Twitter for Journalists with Mark S. Luckie. The manager of journalism at Twitter, Luckie will visit the campus in late January to do multiple sessions depending on experience levels.

Here’s what SPJ DePaul had to say about the program:

A Knight study released in late 2011 showed that only one in four high school journalism students get any online media training before starting college. Even fewer know Twitter. This training would help our younger members get the fundamentals they need and learn how to use the medium in a professional, ethical manner.

The advanced training would help our more experienced student members learn how to embed Twitter into not only their reporting but also how to use Twitter’s API (application programming interface) to build social media tools into their blogs and websites.

Truman State

The campus SPJ chapter at Truman State University will be taking an in-depth look at crime reporting during their upcoming program “Inside look: Crime and emergency response reporting.” The chapter was awarded a $250 grant to partner with area emergency responders, including the University police, local police department and Sheriff’s office to “host a panel and a mock press conference to help the community better understand what happens during a criminal investigation as well as an emergency response situation.


University of Arizona

The University of Arizona was awarded a grant for their upcoming program, the Future of Investigative Reporting — With a Pulitzer Prize Winner, which features Ryan Gabrielson, a Pulitzer Prize winner for Local Reporting in 2009. Gabrielson and another University of Arizona Journalism School alumnus reported on Arizona’s controversial sheriff Joe Arpaio. According to Susan Knight, who applied for the grant on behalf of the chapter:

Their reporting on the sheriff’s illegal-immigration operation showed that other crimes, such as sexual assaults, were going un-pursued. In addition to winning the Pulitzer, the package of stories titled “Reasonable Doubt” won the George Polk Award for justice reporting, the Best of the West first place award for investigative reporting and the Arizona Press Club’s Don Belles award.

The chapter will invite Gabrielson to host a workshop on investigative reporting, give a public lecture and speak to several reporting classes about doing investigate journalism and new economic models in the news industry.

Alabama Pro

Alabama Pro, the second chapter awarded a grant for the month of January, “makes no bones about the fact that we are stealing this idea from the Minnesota chapter.” They plan to host their program, Freelance Love, in response to massive layoffs in their area, an effort to help people over the difficult hump. In their grant application, the chapter notes:

Alabama just suffered massive layoffs in the newspaper industry and there are more freelancers looking for work than ever. The Birmingham News, Huntsville Times and Mobile Press-Register laid off hundreds of people last summer, so the media industry here is in a state of shock.

The program aims to connect freelancers with potential employers and will be held at DISCO, a program in an “underserved neighborhood that helps students write, and keeps them off the streets.”

Ithaca College

Ithaca College is welcoming David Cay Johnston, a career investigative reporter with the likes of the San Jose Mercury, Detroit Free Press and the LA Times, to name a few. Johnston is also the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for work at The New York Times, an IRE Medal and the George Polk Award. He’ll meet with two classes at the college, speaking with them about investigative reporting and his experience as Investigative Reporters and Editors president. Cay will also be present at a dinner with Ithaca chapter members before he gives a keynote presentation in the evening on Nov. 13.


Maryland Pro

The Maryland Pro chapter is hosting “The Benefits of a Diverse Newsroom” on Nov. 9. The workshop will bring the chapter together with two surrounding universities -Salisbury University and University of Maryland Eastern Shore. David Burns of the Maryland Pro chapter says the program will challenge all SPJ members to confront journalism’s dreadful past with regard to diversity in the workplace and freely discuss our industry’s present and future.


Connecticut Pro Chapter

Our members are increasingly asking us for programming that will help keep them up to date on various multimedia tools that can help them with their journalism. We are very excited to be offering "Google for Journalists," which will teach members and prospective members the many ways in which the search engine can help them in their work. This event will take place at Southern Connecticut State University, in conjunction with the university's SPJ chapter, and the featured speaker will be Google's Dan Russell.

With the fast pace of journalism today, reporters, photographers, videographers and editors need to be able to find useful, accurate information quickly. This program will teach participants how to find what they need more quickly, and expose them to the huge array of information available on the world's largest search engine. Having someone from Google, who knows the ins and outs of it and has an inside perspective, will be extremely valuable. We hope and expect this program will help our members and guests become better journalists.


Rio Grande Chapter

The Rio Grande Chapter of SPJ was awarded a chapter grant to hold the program “Simplifying Science” in September.

Bringing together scientists, reporters and the public, the event will discuss better ways of communicating complex, important scientific research. It will feature a panel of four scientists and four experienced science writers, each offing tips about how scientists can communicate more effectively with the media and vice versa.

Because New Mexico is home to two national laboratories, Intel and three top research universities, the chapter realized the complexities that some reporters face when covering entrepreneurs developing cutting edge robotics, renewable energy systems, software and much more.

The chapter plans to webcast the event for members who can’t attend and will post tips and video to their website as well.

Update: More than 40 attendees packed the TVC McCorkle Center at the University of New Mexico on Sept. 26 for an eight person panel discussion on covering science. Here’s a portion of the recap posted to the chapter’s blog:

There were a lot of thought-provoking questions for our 8 panelists and great responses from them. Perhaps the finest journalist idea came from Albuquerque Journal science reporter John Fleck who suggested what is needed is a “slow journalism” movement (ala the slow food movement). Take a step back, he said, and remember it took years for a scientific breakthrough, six months more for the research paper to be peer reviewed and published. Don’t be in a rush to publish a news story about the research paper because the story is more likely to be wrong, Fleck suggested. “Breaking news” in science is different from other types of breaking news. Scientists seemed to agree with him on the point.

Attendees received tip sheets full of information about accurate reporting on science issues along with some great refreshments. The program was so popular that the chapter plans to hold another similar event in a different city.

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