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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > Off to Atlanta, Piping up About Pepsi, Back to Beijing

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SPJ Leads | 8/28/2008
Off to Atlanta, Piping up About Pepsi, Back to Beijing

Willie Schatz
Washington D.C. Pro Chapter

HEADING TO HOTLANTA! SPJ Leads will take a break next week due to the 2008 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference. If you can't be with us in Atlanta (and you can still register on site), keep up with all the convention action at spj.org.

CHAPTER HELPS COLLEGE PAPER. After student editors at the Quinnipiac Chronicle fought with university officials over control of content, editor-in-chief Jason Braff decided to one-up the competition. Braff and other former editors and writers left the paper and have launched their own online news source. The Connecticut Pro Chapter donated $1,000 to help defray start-up expenses for the Quad News, which bills itself as Quinnipiac University's "Independent Voice."

PAPER CUTS HURT THE WORST. Paper cuts sure hurt, especially newspaper cuts that involve your job. The Southern Florida Pro Chapter recently sponsored a program called "Paper Cuts: Surviving and Preparing for the Layoff/Buyout." You can listen to the audio online. Consider it a little first aid for that nasty cut.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU'RE RED OR BLUE. Journalists often face a tough dilemma: How to balance one's professional ethics with one's actions as a private citizen? For example, should a reporter volunteer on a political campaign even if he or she doesn't cover a political beat? Joe Grimm of Poynter tackles the topic in his "Ask the Recruiter" column. He references the SPJ Code of Ethics, and we didn't even pay him to do so (which would be very unethical, of course).

WHAT'S IN A NAME? From Seattle's Safeco Field to Indianapolis' new Lucas Oil Stadium and even to Chicago's historic (nearly venerated) Wrigley Field, it's hard for sports fans to avoid commercialism and product placement at the ballpark. But what about in the newspaper? The term "Pepsi Center" has become familiar as the media covers the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Al Tompkins at Poynter wonders if journalists have to keep using company names in stories, posing the question, "What's wrong with the Denver Convention Center?" He even lists the feedback of other journalists and news outlets struggling with the same question. The debate will likely strengthen tonight (Thursday, Aug. 28) as Barack Obama addresses thousands of delegates and supporters at Invesco Field, or is it Mile High Stadium?

WHAT'S NEW(S) ABOUT THE "NEWSCASTER"? Jon Stewart is known for his humorous, somewhat irreverent, take on the news and politics. And it's a well-known fact that more and more young people (read: voters) are getting their news from Comedy Central's Daily Show and Colbert Report. One can't help but wonder if Stewart would have poked fun at a recent profile of himself in The New York Times, which drew the critical ire of Jane Kim in a Columbia Journalism Review piece. Stewart's own program often highlights the underlying criticism of the media that some items reported in the news just aren't newsworthy. And that's exactly what Kim argues — the Stewart profile was, well, unnecessary. What do you think?

GET BUSY. Business journalists and those covering other beats who wish to learn more about covering business are invited to a free "Business Journalism Boot Camp" in Knoxville on Tuesday, Sept. 16. The program covers: understanding financials, deciphering government filings, covering private companies and writing effective profiles of companies and CEOs. The workshop is sponsored by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism and hosted by the University of Tennessee School of Journalism & Electronic Media, UT College of Communication and Information, Knoxville News Sentinel and the East Tennessee Pro Chapter. Register now!

IT'S NOT THE OLYMPICS, BUT IT IS BEIJING. The Reuters Foundation, in collaboration with the Iowa-based Stanley Foundation, is accepting applications from U.S. journalists to participate in an all-expenses-paid journalism training workshop in Beijing, Nov. 10-14. The weeklong course will pair six American journalists with six Chinese journalists in a workshop aimed at helping reporters develop their international news-writing skills with a specific emphasis on U.S. and Chinese audiences. Guest speakers, reporting field trips and classroom training will be an integral part of the course. The deadline to apply is Sept. 12. Check out Reuters' Web site for more information and an application.

IOWA FLOODED BY DONATIONS. After the state of Iowa was ravaged by a string of natural disasters, the Iowa Newspaper Foundation launched its most aggressive fundraising effort to date with the establishment of the INF's Iowa Newspaper Employees Disaster Relief Fund. The fund was established to benefit newspaper employees who had been displaced and lost their homes and/or belongings due to the tornadoes and floods that had besieged [the] state this summer. To date, more than $55,000 in contributions has been received from 40 states. For more information, visit the INF Web site.

(From the August issue of Forward, the Iowa Newspaper Foundation's newsletter)

LOVE FOR LINGUISTS. The Linguistic Society of America is developing a program for journalists that will focus on the research methods and findings of linguistics and their applications in society. Driving the program is the thought that well-informed journalists can help increase public awareness of the scientific foundations of linguistics and their role in everyday life. Seminars are currently in development for summer 2010 with venues across the country. The LSA is seeking feedback from journalists about the idea. Specifically, LSA would like to know:
1) Would you be interested in such a course or know colleagues who might be?
2) If interested, what problems might you or others have with attending?
3) Any other comments you might have about the program.

Send feedback to or request more information from Allison Reed. Please use subject line: Linguistics Program for Journalists.

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