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September/October 2014
Volume 102 | Number 5

From the President
On the heels of a busy 2013-14 led by SPJ President Dave Cuillier, I am honored and eager to serve SPJ during the next year, continuing his good work and embarking on new projects and initiatives to better serve journalists. While journalists continue to face daunting challenges, including fighting ...

Ultimate Risk: Remembering James Foley and Steven Sotloff
There was no question that Steven Sotloff knew what he was doing. The 31-year-old journalist from Florida had worked for years in the Middle East. He spoke Arabic. He knew how to navigate the myriad dangers of enemy combatants, hostile government forces and the painful effects of war on civilians. The ...

Female on the Front Lines
These days, professional women don’t typically discuss their gender in the same breath as their job. The past few decades of progress related to protections for women in the workplace have at least made it possible in some countries to sue for things like harassment or discrimination. For journalists, ...

Always Question a FERPA Exemption
If you've ever submitted a public records request to a school, or you’re an education reporter, chances are you’ve heard of FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. FERPA mandates that schools that receive federal funds protect a student's "educational records" from disclosure under ...

Ten with Jason Leopold
Jason Leopold is an investigative journalist, recently hired by Vice News. Before landing his recent gig, Leopold freelanced and worked for many other outlets, including Truthout, Al-Jazeera America, Salon, the Los Angeles Times and The Huffington Post. He is best known for work primarily derived ...

Member Profile: April Dudash
She may not have always matched the color of her shoes or had the guts to approach people to interview, but with the help of SPJ and some comedy improv, her outlook changed. April Dudash was extremely shy as a child, so shy her mother had to force her just to talk on the phone with people. Most people ...

Chapter News
Will Write For Food 2014 Now in its sixth year, SPJ’s annual Will Write For Food program brought 21 college journalists to the Homeless Voice shelter near Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Over Labor Day weekend, they took over the nation’s second-largest homeless newspaper and completed a 28-page ...

Freelance Toolbox
Writing is hard. If writing comes easy, my guess is you’re either doing it wrong or you’re a genius, and I’ve never met a genius. Freelancers are faced with the toughest part of a tough job: finding the story. Beat reporters have the advantage — if you want to call it that — of tending small gardens ...

Ethics Toolbox
With an overwhelming chorus of “ayes” in September, delegates of the Society of Professional Journalists ushered in a new era of journalism ethics. After a year of work and debate, approved revisions to the SPJ Code of Ethics for the first time ...

Narrative Writing Toolbox
I returned hom from the SPJ/RTDNA Excellence in Journalism conference in Nashville with a sense that the future is in good hands despite the turmoil in our industry. At the same time, I’m convinced that journalists are going to have to work ...

Education Toolbox
Research show the people known as the millennial generation usually do not read news in print. Newspapers fall far, far behind social media, Comedy Central and other sources. The most recent Pew Research Center biennial news consumption survey shows that even with news available 24/7 through a variety ...

FOI Toolbox
When a public agency denies you a public record, don’t get mad; get busy. And get help. Organizations like SPJ can help you get information the public needs to adequately self-govern: SUNSHINE NETWORK SPJ's Sunshine Network provides resources ...

Diversity Toolbox
Let’s face it: The moment news gatherers take on a story that turns on racial justice, most of them contend with a severe lack of trust. Americans are only half convinced that the news media are ever worth their confidence, according to survey data. For communities of color, the reliability, credibility ...

Words & Language Toolbox
A friend told me he once heard a dinner speaker whose remarks were so disorganized and disjointed that at one point someone in the audience said quietly to those within earshot: “Let’s take up a collection and buy this guy a clue.” Readers are like that audience. They want a clue. They want what ...

Digital Media Toolbox
As digital journalists, we're used to operating within the ever-evolving sphere of cyberspace. We're continually forced to expand our arsenal of storytelling resources just to keep up with the influx of information and the lightning speed of the Web. Meanwhile, some of the most essential parts of ...

Generation J Toolbox
Public records and the information and data that come from them can be invaluable to your stories and can take your reporting to the next level. This is true for all journalists, but particularly important for young and early-career reporters trying to make their work stand out. Using public records ...

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