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Home > Reading Room > Sigma Delta Chi Foundation Makes an Impact with Some Out-of-the-Box Thinking

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The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation has been known to fund such great causes as SPJ’s annual Convention & National Journalism Conference, the Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship for Editorial Writing, Ethics in Journalism Week and Training on the Go newsroom seminars.

But the out-of-the-box-thinking of SPJ board member Michael Koretzky will put one of SPJ’s core missions, ethical journalism, into the hands of today’s working and aspiring journalists
thanks to a $750 grant from the foundation.
It’s been dubbed "Ethics Hold 'em" poker, a tournament where players use customized decks of cards with tenets of SPJ's Code of Ethics printed on the face of each card. The game is designed
to stimulate discussion on ethical journalism while playing poker.

Ethics Hold ’em was introduced during Region 3's 2007 Ethics Week. The South Florida chapter later hosted a tournament at the 2008 SPJ National Convention in Atlanta.

Each ace in the deck represents one of the four major headings of the Code, and those entries are color-coded to aid players in finding the matches and to emphasize the scope of the Code. But there are more cards than ethics rules, so some are repeated. While playing a normal game of Ethics Hold ’em, players can win 100 extra chips or various prizes for finding the duplicate rules. A printed set of rules and suggestions is included with each deck.

The response to the 2008 tournament in Atlanta was overwhelming, and in an effort to provide the custom playing cards to interested chapters, Koretzky requested and was granted $750 from the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.

The grant will pay for 50 more decks of cards to be printed and distributed to chapters that participated in the tournament at the convention. The Foundation leadership considered this grant a unique way to spread one of SPJ's core missions -- journalism ethics -- at little cost or risk. Grants such as the one for Ethics Hold 'em are direct benefits of philanthropic donations to Sigma Delta Chi Foundation. Make your gift today online at to show your support of SPJ.
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