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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > SPJ Leads: Success in the courts, March Membership Month

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SPJ Leads | 2/22/2012
SPJ Leads: Success in the courts, March Membership Month

By Abby Henkel, SPJ Communications Department


CHARGES DISMISSED AGAINST LDF GRANTEE. Good news from the SPJ Legal Defense Fund: Charges against freelance photojournalist Douglas Higginbotham, who received a $1,000 grant from the LDF, have been dropped. Higginbotham was arrested while covering an Occupy Wall Street protest, but his attorney successfully proved the arrest was unlawful.

SPJ issued a statement last November condemning journalist arrests at protests.

MARCH MEMBERSHIP MONTH. While inviting new members is important year round, next month is SPJ's first official Membership Month. Throughout the month of March, each chapter will host a membership recruitment/retention program. This is a chance to spread the word about the great things SPJ does on a local and national level, and it just might pump some fresh energy into your chapter by getting members to think about what SPJ means to them.

If you're interested in helping to plan or promote your chapter's event, talk to your chapter leaders today. President John Ensslin sent chapter leaders ideas and information to make March Membership Month programming a success. With your help, we can grow SPJ and continue to improve and protect journalism.

LETTER TO MEMPHIS POLICE: PUBLIC SPACE IS PUBLIC. SPJ President John Ensslin recently sent a letter to Memphis police chief Toney Armstrong protesting the treatment of a photojournalist who was briefly detained and whose footage of an arrest on public property was deleted. This action by the police officers clearly violates the right of the public to record events done on public property and without obstructing justice. The letter also offers support in the police department's investigation of the incident.

Read Ensslin's letter here.

SPJ BLOGS NETWORK. Latest updates to the SPJ blogs network:

Violence claims two more journalists in Syria by International Journalism Committee member Butler Cain
Keeping your sanity outside of work by Gen J Committee member Mike Brannen
Jeremy Lin story, ESPN snafu expose latest diversity challenge for journalists by Diversity Committee member George Daniels
NYU story about NBA player Jeremy Lin gets hit with racist comments by Diversity Committee member Rebecca Aguilar
Ecuador libel verdict upheld by Butler Cain
Mourning Anthony Shadid's passing by Butler Cain

STUDIO SPJ: FEB. 29. Tune in Wednesday, Feb. 29 at 1 p.m ET when the next webcast of Studio SPJ will feature a talk with the author of a new book on the assassination of Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey.

The guest will be Thomas Peele, an investigative reporter for the Bay Area News Group, whose new book is "Killing the Messenger: A Story of Radical Faith, Racism's Backlash, and the Assassination of a Journalist." Bailey, the 57-year-old editor of the Oakland Post, was shot to death on Aug. 2, 2007 as he walked to work. The book tells the story of Bailey's murder, the history of the Black Muslim movement and the Oakland cult to which his killers belonged.

Peele became one of the lead reporters for the Chauncey Bailey Project, a consortium of news organizations, freelance journalists, educators and students who investigated the shooting. The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation contributed a $20,000 grant toward the project.

Listen to the live BlogTalkRadio show here, Feb. 29 at 1 p.m. ET.

OFFER FOR SPJ MEMBERS. Student SPJ members have an incentive to visit New York City in March (other than it being a fun place to visit).

The March 18-20 spring convention of the College Media Association is quite the informative (and fun) event for student journalists and college media advisers. Student SPJ members are eligible for $25 off the registration fee, thanks to convention director (and SPJ Region 3 Director) Michael Koretzky. To take advantage of the offer, email Koretzky.

But wait, there's more...

New York Times media columnist David Carr will be the keynote speaker March 20, 1-2 p.m. If local or visiting SPJ members want to drop in for Carr's address, they can do so for free. Let Koretzky know if you'd like to hear Carr speak.

NEW MEMBER PROFILE: JEWEL MIDELIS. Please welcome one of SPJ's newest members, Jewel Midelis, a journalism student at the University of Florida. Her favorite news sources are The New York Times and CNN, her favorite journalist is Rick Bragg, and her favorite journalism movie is "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days." The book Midelis read most recently is "Lullaby" by Chuck Palahniuk.

Midelis says she joined SPJ because she has "wanted to become involved with other local journalists and become more active in my community." She adds, "I also feel that I will learn and grow as a journalist by becoming an SPJ member."

SPJ is pleased to welcome all new members. Thanks for becoming a part of the SPJ network!

SPJ REPORTERS INSTITUTE: APPLY BY 3/15. SPJ invites journalists in their first three years on the job to apply for the June 10-13 Reporters Institute, a hands-on training weekend at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla. If you plan on applying, give yourself time to talk with your supervisor and apply before the March 15 deadline.

Share this "For the Bosses" page with your supervisor. When you're ready to apply, complete the online application form. Contact Heather Dunn with questions at

EXPENSE-PAID STUDY TOUR OF JAPAN. The Scripps Howard Foundation and the Indiana University School of Journalism offer a chance for undergraduate journalism students to visit Japan on an expense-paid trip through newsrooms and landmarks in four cities: Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hiroshima. Tentative dates are June 15-23, 2012. View the program brochure (PDF).

Led by IU School of Journalism Dean Brad Hamm, participants travel to Japan to study journalism in other cultures, visiting media organizations as well as cultural and historical landmarks. Roy W. Howard, a pioneer in international reporting and a past leader of United Press International and Scripps Howard Newspapers (plus an honorary SPJ president), also had made such journeys as a journalist.

The Roy W. Howard National Collegiate Reporting Competition is open to full-time undergraduate journalism/communication students who will return as students for the fall 2012 semester. The entry deadline is Feb. 29. For more information, click here or contact Sue Porter at or 1-800-888-3000 ext. 3030.

LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. Which popular TV show was made a subject of some tongue-in-cheek fact-checking this week?

Answer: PolitiFact checked a statement Ricky Martin made on "Glee" that "the U.S. Census believes that by 2030 the majority of Americans will use Spanish as their first language." Read more from Poynter.

And the winner is... Marisa Mendelson, an investigative reporter at KOKH-TV Fox 25 and member of the SPJ Oklahoma City Pro chapter. Congratulations, Marisa! Your fabulous prize is in the mail! Don't worry -- you don't have to admit whether you knew the answer from "Glee" or PolitiFact.

THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. Rumors are floating that what online (and print) news outlet might establish a TV channel?

Submit your answer to Abby Henkel.

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