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July/August 2015
Volume 103, Number 4
View as PDF: Click to download

From the President
As EIJ15 draws closer, I am reflecting on the year behind me. It sounds more like lyrics to a Billy Joel song than a year as SPJ president: FBI, Ferguson, Charlie Hebdo, ISIS, the U.S. Forest Service, Brian Williams, Rolling Stone, Hillary Clinton and Indiana’s RFRA. These are just a few of the headlines ...

The Virtue of Being a Failure
Circa, a mobile news app where I was the chief content officer for three years, shut down in June. I joined Circa after leaving Spot.Us, a non-profit I ran for four years that was acquired by American Public Media; the ...

Ten with Fiona Macleod
Beneath the hot sun, a group of small, colorfully billed Sub-Saharan birds perches on the backs of large mammals, feeding on ticks and other parasites. These birds are oxpeckers, the avian inspiration behind South African journalist Fiona Macleod’s environmental journalism watchdog organization of ...

Member Profile: Chris Delboni
“New media, old values.” That’s what Chris Delboni believes journalism should be about today. This concept helped shape her career as a journalist and is how she now molds new journalists as an instructor at Florida International University. Delboni left her home in Brazil to study journalism ...

Words and Language Toolbox
An editor asks: “What’s with journalists and the verb ‘sunk’? We’re getting it wrong all over the place. Her spirits sunk, slowly the truth sunk in — like that. I learned to conjugate 'sank' in the third grade!” That editor and I must have had the same third-grade teacher. I’ve noticed this error, ...

Narrative Writing Toolbox
I’d just returned from SPJ’s New York City JournCamp program in June when I received an email that serves as a reminder of why on-going training is vital for those of us in this business. Hi, Tom. I don’t know if you remember me. My name is Elisha Sauers, and we met at SPJ in Nashville. I participated ...

Generation-J Toolbox
In a perfect world, your sources will tell you the information you need clearly and truthfully, but in the imperfect world we live in, you might not even get your sources to speak at all. If the clock is ticking, if your word count is nowhere near where you need it to be, and if your source seems to ...

Freelance Toolbox Column
We freelancers live in our own world. So the concept of a shared office space, where individuals and small companies produce from one happy hub — working alongside one another but not necessarily with each other — seems ideal. It seems especially ideal to have access to an office at a discounted rate, ...

FOI Toolbox
State open government laws and the federal Freedom of Information Act won’t help journalists seeking information directly from Native American tribal governments. As sovereign nations, the 566 federally recognized tribes operate apart from those statutes. Only because Maine’s unique statutory framework ...

Ethics Toolbox
One of the reasons I enjoy being a health reporter is that there are few topics that apply to everyone on such a personal level. Health is important for many reasons, including that it will likely dictate how long a person lives. But health is also tied to people’s career success. For athletes, health ...

Education Toolbox
The Bible can serve as a rich resource for journalists, providing references ranging from “apple of your eye” (Psalm 17) to Zacchaeus (Luke 19). In some newsrooms and classrooms, though, biblical concepts can get lost in translation. Here are six potential pitfalls: 1. Fruit of Eden Example: ...

Diversity Toolbox
Among the many problems facing journalism today is the great divide developing between newsrooms and the communities they serve. It is fairly certain that a growing number of newsrooms and their managers are not and will not be prepared to deal with America's changing landscape. Recent events in ...

Digital Media Toolbox
Travel journalists who want to cover foreign countries and produce compelling multimedia for visitors face challenges such as language barriers, unknown customs and unfamiliar geographies. Besides having a passion for exploring exotic locales, meeting the inhabitants and discovering unique facets ...

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