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Home > SPJ News > Sigma Delta Chi Foundation awards $217,000 in grants to improve journalism

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Sigma Delta Chi Foundation awards $217,000 in grants to improve journalism

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
5/13/2005


CONTACT:
Terry Harper, Executive Director, (317) 927-8000 or tharper@spj.org
Georgiana Vines, Grants and Awards Committee Chair, (865) 577-6612 or gvpolitics@hotmail.com

INDIANAPOLIS - The board of directors of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation of the Society of Professional Journalists approved grants totaling $217,024 at its May 1 meeting here.

Grant recipients included the Society of Professional Journalists, Western Kentucky University, University of Georgia Foundation, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, National Freedom of Information Coalition and Indiana Coalition for Open Government.

More than $168,500 were earmarked for professional development, with more than $37,000 going toward freedom of information issues and $11,000 toward journalism ethics programs. A previously allocated $20,000 will go to National Conference of Editorial Writers Foundation to help endow its Minority Writers Seminar.

"People always talk about the weather but they never do anything about it," said Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News and SDX Foundation president. "That's an old saying that applies to journalism, too. There are so many challenges, so many ethical lapses and threats to the First Amendment. I'm proud to say the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation is doing something about it. I just wish we could do more."

The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation awards most grants in the spring but other projects are considered at the fall meeting. Grants are awarded based on available funds, the relevance and value of the proposal and, for projects that are renewed, evidence of sound usage.

Funds going toward the Society of Professional Journalists will support educational programming at the national convention in Las Vegas, October 16-18, 2005, the Mark of Excellence awards for journalism students, educational programming for ethics week in journalism, educational support for SPJ regional conferences, funding to update its "Prison Access Project" that examines laws and policies regarding journalists' access to prisons, a new series of narrative writing workshops led by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Tom Hallman and production of a DVD highlighting the Society's prestigious Sigma Delta Chi awards.

Western Kentucky University will receive $3,000 in support of the publication of a textbook to be titled "Contemporary First Amendment Cases." It is anticipated that the book will serve as a primary textbook for high school and university courses.

A grant of $9,000 spread over three years was awarded to the University of Georgia in support of the "Annual Surveys of Journalism and Mass Communication." The survey provides key data on enrollments in journalism and mass communication programs, professional salaries and attitudes of journalism graduates.

The Indiana Coalition for Open Government received $3,500 in support of the 2006 National Freedom of Information Coalition conference to be held in Indianapolis.

The National Freedom of Information Coalition also received $10,000 in support of its 2005 conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press will receive $15,000 for publication of the fifth edition of "Tapping Officials' Secrets." The compendium was last updated in 2001 and the new version will reflect amendments to access laws. The publication is targeted for use by the news media as well as the public.

In addition to grant making, the Foundation supports ongoing educational programs including the $75,000 Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship for Editorial Writing and the $10,000 Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award. The Pulliam/Kilgore FOI internships provide two internships for a journalism student and a law student to conduct research and write about freedom of information issues.

Founded in 1961, the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) public foundation that is dedicated to ensuring that those who carry on the tradition of a free press are prepared for the challenge. Its goal is to support the educational programs of the Society of Professional Journalists and to serve the professional needs of journalists and students pursuing careers in journalism.

The Society of Professional Journalists works to improve and protect journalism. The organization is the nation's largest and most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.

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