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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > Awarding Excellence, Axing Holiday Parties, Pundits Go To School

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SPJ Leads | 10/30/2008
Awarding Excellence, Axing Holiday Parties, Pundits Go To School


By Pierce Presley
Freelancer, Temp Editor, Student

THE ISSUE THAT WON'T GO AWAY. In September, SPJ sent a strong admonition to administrators at Quinnipiac University for their attempts to curb student press freedoms and threaten the campus SPJ chapter. Nearly two months later, editorial boards are still weighing-in on the issue. This week, The New York Times editorial board wrote in opposition to the university's actions. "Such intimidation does not speak well of Quinnipiac's commitment to freedom of speech, open-mindedness or academic inquiry," the board wrote. Much of the credit for bringing this issue to light and supporting the student chapter over the past two months belongs with the Connecticut Pro Chapter, especially past president Steve Kalb, and Neil Ralston, SPJ Vice President of Campus Chapter Affairs. Way to go!

INTERVIEW CANCELLED, BLOG ON. SPJ President Dave Aeikens was scheduled to appear on MSNBC Thursday afternoon to discuss the LA Times' refusal to release a video of Barack Obama with Rashid Khalidi. However, the segment was nixed due to other news items. Dave responded by writing a brief blog post about why he thinks the Times is doing the right thing by not releasing the video.

STUDENT HONORS. It's Mark of Excellence time! Soon, SPJ will award outstanding collegiate journalism in 39 categories across print, broadcast and the Web. See the MOE Awards page. Postmark deadline is Jan. 21, 2009. E-mail Awards Coordinator Lauren Rochester for more information.

EVEN MORE AWARDS. The Sigma Delta Chi Awards recognize the best in professional journalism in 53 categories, covering print, radio, television, newsletters, photography, online and research. Get complete details on the SDX Awards page. Entry postmark deadline is Feb. 4, 2009. Contact Awards Coordinator Lauren Rochester for more information.

SHIELD LAW TRUMPS TRUMP. A New Jersey court ruled that an author's sources who said Donald Trump was a mere millionaire are protected by the state's shield law despite the breezy style used by New York Times reporter Timothy L. O'Brien in his book, "TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald." The ruling overturned a lower court's order that the book was entertainment and thus fell outside the law's aegis. Trump is seeking $5 billion for damage to his reputation.

ABC CUTS COSTS, HOLIDAY PARTIES. David Westin, president of ABC News, sent out an e-mail to staffers announcing that the economic downturn means that the network was canceling all holiday parties. Additional cost-saving measures include executives travelling on cheaper flights and staying in cheaper hotels, the cancelling of all print subscriptions in favor of online access, and keeping conference and convention attendance to a minimum.

MOVIES, SKITS, MORE IN COLORADO. There's plenty to do in the mile-high city. The Denver Press Club and Colorado SPJ will co-sponsor the Colorado premier of "Stop the Press The American Newspaper in Peril" at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16 in the auditorium at the Denver Newspaper Agency. A limited number of $10 tickets are available by contacting John Ensslin. Thursday, Nov. 6 sees Bad Press Release Theater, a series of light-hearted improv skits. A discussion will follow the skits. The event is free, but you must RSVP.

OTHER CURRENT EVENTS. Get your video on as the Western Washington chapter presents "How to Shoot and Edit Video for the Web" in Seattle on Monday, Nov. 3. RSVP by e-mailing chapter president Dana Blozis. The workshop is free for members, $10 otherwise. Western Washington continues the new media goodness with "Using Social Media as Reporting Tools" on Monday, Nov. 10; same price, same contact. Finally, learn to blog with the chapter's "Blogging 101" on Monday, Nov. 17; same bat price, same bat contact.

If you like these program ideas but can't attend, try repeating them in your area with your local chapter.

FINISHING OTHERS' SENTENCES SCHOOL. With the 24-hour news cycle demanding more of pundits, and more pundits, some are going to school to learn to be better attackers-with-a-smile. The New York Times weighs in on the growing number of pundits attending classes at outfits such as The Leadership Institute, which offers courses from a $75 lecture to $1,500 intense, one-on-one training in the fine art of appearing wise on television. At least one pundit disputes the utility of the concept. MSNBC's Tucker Carlson says it's pretty simple: "Don't wear white, show up sober and try to speak in complete sentences."

HOW TO NAME A NEWSPAPER. Journalism technology blog "10,000 Words" reports that "News" is the most popular word in newspaper names, followed by "Daily," "Times" and "Herald" which begs the question, would the ultimate newspaper name be The Daily News Herald-Times? (FYI, this is the same blog where we found the Google Maps-powered newspaper endorsement map mentioned in last week's Leads.)

TWEETING FOR WRETCHES. Blogger Amy Gahran posts an introduction to Twitter for journalists. Twitter is a short messaging service that allows users to post 140-character "tweets" to others who follow them. Tweets can be anything from what one had for breakfast to what stories one is writing. Want to know even more? Check out the story about Twitter in the October/November issue of Quill magazine, coming soon to a mailbox near you!

WANTED: JOURNALISM LAB RATS. Researchers at the University of South Alabama are trying to understand what shield laws and source protection mean to journalists. They are looking for journalists to participate in research about protecting the identities of confidential sources. Participants should be journalists who have had experience protecting their sources. Journalists will be asked to participate in a recorded telephone interview. Identities of all participants will be kept confidential. Anyone interested in participating can contact Michele Bush Kimball, Ph.D.

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