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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > Institutional Reporting, Dodging the Press

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SPJ Leads | 9/25/2008
Institutional Reporting, Dodging the Press


By Scott Leadingham
SPJ Communications Department

COME ONE, COME ALL. Applications are now being accepted for SPJ's Reporters Institute being held November 9-12 at The Poynter Institute. The program is designed for print journalists who have been working in the field for three years or less. During the program, participants will go through a crash course in the characteristics and techniques of exceptional journalism. The program is funded by a grant from the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation. Check out the complete details and apply today! Contact professional development coordinator Heather Porter with any questions.

MONEY MAKES YOUR CHAPTER GO ROUND. SPJ will invest $5,000 to fund local chapter programs during 2008-2009, and your chapter could receive up to $500 for your program or activity. Grant applications are due by midnight, ET, on Sept. 29. Any SPJ chapter in good standing is eligible to apply. Eligible chapters must have filed a 2007-2008 annual report with the national office by the deadline. Contact Professional Development Coordinator Heather Porter for more information.

JANE COPY EDITOR? We know you're Jane Smith. A bit of a mailing debacle has resulted in incorrect address labels appearing on the past two issues of Quill. Our printer switched to a new mailing software program and voila you're suddenly Johnny Producer. Quill offers sincere apologies and reassurances that yes, we promise, we do know who you are and the problem is being addressed.

MAINSTREAM VS. ALTERNATIVE, ROUND 1. By now you're aware of the protests of the Republican National Convention that resulted in the arrests of many journalists. SPJ spoke out against the arrests and called on the city of St. Paul to drop charges against journalists and the city did! Now SPJ is trying to get to the bottom of what happened. One insightful event was held this week by the Minnesota Pro Chapter. And the up-to-the-minute blogging of the forum by Minnesota Public Radio is quite intriguing. Read through the breakdown of the two-hour meeting, which featured city officials and arrested journalists, and notice the angst between mainstream and alternative media. Hey aren't we all on the same team?

IN(skeep) THE HOT SEAT. You might enjoy the pleasant musings of Steve Inskeep on your daily commute. He's the co-host of NPR's "Morning Edition." This week he found himself face to face with one of the world's most outspoken heads of state, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The contentious leader was in New York to address the U.N. General Assembly, and Inskeep took some time to speak about everything from the freedom of Iranian elections to what kinds of Western music the president enjoys (if any). Ahmadinejad even made a point to welcome President Bush to speak with Iranian media. Perhaps he'll fit that in before January.

QUINNIPIAC VERSION 2.0? The Quad News, an independent news We site started in opposition to Quinnipiac University's attempts to control content of the student newspaper, has had some difficulties lately. The university hasn't been too welcoming of the off-shoot news organization. Administrators have even restricted athletics department staff from speaking with The Quad News. Is it catching? Inside Higher Ed reports that writers at The Daily Nebraskan are having a tough time speaking with administrators at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. At the crux of the debate are FOIA requests the paper has made in hopes of obtaining university documents. The university doesn't seem to be in a hurry to honor the requests and is limiting reporters' access to administrators.

TAKE COMFORT, NEWSPAPERS... IT'S NOT JUST YOU. It's hard to go a week without hearing about another troubled newspaper. It's not so often you hear about the declining magazine industry, but it's certainly happening. From 2003 to 2008, the number of news magazines fell from 75 to 45. That's a 39 percent drop! Interestingly enough, it's the smaller niche magazines that cater to local and regional audiences that are doing better. Sounds similar to newspapers. If you are a loyal reader of newsweeklies, look on the bright side: less competition means a lower price. Wait, is that right? We'll check. Good thing The Economist is still in print.

(FORMERLY) CANDID CANDIDATE. John McCain used to be known as an "off the cuff" kind of guy, the type that would hang with the press for long periods of time and speak very candidly with them. That style of interaction has changed significantly since he secured the Republican nomination, even more so since he announced Sarah Palin as his VP pick. However, Barack Obama isn't necessarily one to schmooze with the press. In fact, Obama's distance from the "fourth estate" is well-known. Oddly enough, McCain's more regimented approach to press opportunities might be helping him in the polls. Plus, a recent Politico article suggests that local media, not national, is the favored venue for McCain.

GET THE FACTS FROM FACS. SPJ is partnering with the Foundation for American Communications on Oct. 1 and Oct 8 to present two tele-seminars examining disparities in education. These seminars were inspired by "The Measure of America," a recently published compendium of data on how Americans live, broken down in detail by locality, race and gender. It finds many communities lacking what's needed for kids to learn and flourish.Participation is free for working journalists, but advanced registration is required. Registration allows you to participate in both tele-seminars. Get more information and register at the FACS Web site.

A ROOKIE MISTAKE. Last week's edition of Leads had a good luck blurb for Luke Russert, who is following in his father's footsteps at NBC. But Luke didn't get too far into his broadcasting career before having to make amends. On Wednesday, the 23-year-old, who is covering youth issues in this election, said on NBC's "Today" of the University of Virginia: "The smartest kids in the state go there so it is leaning a little bit toward Obama." He later admitted it was a mistake and that he was not implying unintelligent people go to other schools in Virginia. Nor did he mean smart youth vote for Obama. Welcome to live TV, Luke!

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