SPJ Reading Room
For the newsie on your gift list
By Christine Tatum
Immediate Past President
I'm a collector of journalism stuff — and cool stuff made by journalists. This time o' year, I'm naturally trolling for presents for family, friends — and the occasional SPJ member who's been extra nice. Some of the neat things out there that have caught my eye include:
SPJ schlock. The Society's online store features a couple of funny T-shirts. I have a "Top 10 Reasons" shirt that never fails to score a grin or two when I'm at the gym or grocery store ... And while I'm thinking about it, heck, consider giving someone an SPJ membership.
Typewriter-key jewelry. My trademark? My X and O typewriter-key earrings and a matching watch. Some of my best purchases have come from Uncommon Goods. This online store offers an array of interesting gifts. Fruit made from newspaper, anyone?
Newspaper jewelry. Yesterday's newspaper is forever your adornment thanks to artist Holly Anne Mitchell. I have some of her earrings and just love them. While showing off her goods in Denver, Mitchell told me she designs custom pieces featuring a journalist's byline or the headline of a favorite story. See Mitchell's site, NewspaperJewelry.com.
Newspaper vases. I have a lovely vase made from recycled newspaper, and it would be one thing I'd actually try to save if my house were aflame. The Art Institute of Chicago is selling similar vases made by Vietnamese craftspeople.
Vintage publications. Second thing I'd try to save from that house fire (aside from the vase, my wedding photos and a cloth-covered book my great-grandmother gave me)? My May 1936 edition of Fortune magazine. What a riot it is! There are ads galore touting typewriters, old printing presses — and even the "new and glorious" air conditioning system installed for the "good men" working in the Chicago Tribune Tower. A fun place to browse for original newspapers is Newspapersremembered.com.
More goofy apparel. Search under only the term "journalist" on CafePress.com, and you're sure to find a design you like. And just think, you can have it slapped on hats, T-shirts, postcards, tote bags, teddy bears ... SPJ's Snake River Pro Chapter sells items emblazoned with classic comic book characters, such as the one and only Brenda Starr. And SPJ's Middle Tennessee chapter's "Mainstream Media" goods never fail to crack me up for some reason.
Custom velvet. Jill Sherman, a former colleague of mine at Tribune Media Services, founded Sunflower Velvet Accessories. She'll emboss interesting designs (think letters and words for your special newsie) on a wide range of velvet goods.
Sassy (and free) e-cards. We've all seen the great work SPJ's Web administrator, Billy O'Keefe, has done with the Society's site. But did you know Billy is behind MrBilly.com, where you can find quite a selection of, uuuummm, "interesting" electronic greetings? As Billy notes on his site, "Animated greetings require Flash, which almost everybody has. So send with reckless abandon."
Texts for the young and curious. While scanning Amazon.com recently, I stumbled upon a decent collection of books suggested for high school students (and heck, many pros could stand to read these as well).
Anything by Digital Eye. Chris Badowski, a former colleague at Tribune Interactive in Chicago, has always had a knack for photography and digital media. She has combined her hobby and professional skills to create an online store featuring designs that can be applied to a wide range of items.
Pens. Pens. More Pens. Nowhere are you reminded more that writing is a timeless art than at Nostalgic Impressions, where you can find the coolest Quill pens.
Pulp purses. Pulp magazine covers (OK, so it's not exactly journalism, but every reporter chick I know really digs these purses by Maddie Powers) from the '40s and '50s have been crafted into "book bags" that never fail to get attention. My own, crafted from a book titled "Tough Doll," depicts a sultry, sulky blonde.
One killer news rack. My home features modern and contemporary furnishings, and one of my favorie places to look for accessories is Chiasso. Check out the ultimate magazine/newspaper rack for journalists. And, for what it's worth, many of my photographer friends have oogled Chiasso's "Photofall Tree," which stands 61 inches high and provides a clever way to show off great images — and decorate a room.
Newspaper to hold your, um, newspaper. The Container Store is selling fun baskets made from recycyled newspaper. And also take a look at these cool watebaskets crafted from Japanese newsprint.