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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > Celebrating the Centennial, Get Your Conference On

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SPJ Leads | 2/5/2009
Celebrating the Centennial, Get Your Conference On

By Scott Leadingham
SPJ Communications Department

COME ONE, COME ALL. SPJ's Centennial Celebration is in full swing, having wrapped up one event at the beginning of the year in Milwaukee. Get your calendars in order for April 17, the official 100th birthday of the Society. On that day we'll assemble at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., to commemorate the day 10 young journalists founded what has become the largest journalism association in the country. And we're pulling out all the stops!

The event will kick-off with a panel examining the past, present and future of journalism — moderated by Bob Steele, the Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism at DePauw, Poynter Institute faculty member and journalism ethics guru. On the panel will be Newseum president (and former USA Today editor) Ken Paulson, J-Lab executive director Jan Schaeffer, Poynter president Karen Dunlap, veteran Denver-area newscaster Suzanne McCarrol and First Amendment attorney Bruce Sanford. We will then enjoy a ceremony commemorating the founding of SPJ before breaking for an anniversary dinner. Following dinner, broadcaster Jane Pauley will deliver a keynote speech ahead of her induction into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame. All in all, the day will be one for the records books, just like the Society's 100th anniversary.

More information will be available shortly on the SPJ Web site. And don't worry — if you can't join us, we're encouraging local chapters to hold anniversary events on the same evening. We're also looking into Webcasting the events for all to experience.

NATIONAL NOMINATIONS. The nomination deadline for SPJ's National Honors is March 18. The multiple awards celebrate a variety of accomplishments for members and nonmembers, including those who have made strides in the areas of ethics and open government; journalism educators who have gone above and beyond to help students; and outstanding contributions to the profession. Nominate someone today for the following awards:

— Fellow of the Society is an honor bestowed upon journalists for extraordinary contributions to the profession. More info.

— Helen Thomas Award for Lifetime Achievement honors individuals for a lifetime of service to the journalism profession. More info.

— Historic Site in Journalism honors individuals, news organizations and places of national historic journalism interest. More info.

— Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award honors an outstanding journalism educator who has made a significant contribution to the profession and/or journalism education, and to maintaining the highest standards of the profession. More info.

— First Amendment Award recognizes extraordinarily strong efforts to preserve and strengthen the First Amendment. Note: This is different from the Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award and the Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment Award. More info.

— Sunshine Award recognizes those making important contributions in the area of open government. More info.

— Ethics in Journalism Award honors reporters, editors or news organizations that distinguish themselves by performing in an outstanding ethical manner as defined by the SPJ Code of Ethics. More info.

SPRING IS IN THE AIR. Everywhere we look around at SPJ Headquarters, we see more evidence of some important upcoming events in your area. That can only mean one thing — it's time to get ready for the SPJ Spring Conferences, coming to a region near you! Each of SPJ's 12 regions is hosting a spring conference, complete with professional development sessions, amazing speakers and Mark of Excellence Awards ceremonies. And the conferences aren't just for members, so tell your friends and colleagues to register. Although, with discounts for members, the regional conferences are always great ways to entice people to join. Each conference is planned by separate committees in each region, with different events and pricing structures. Direct any questions to the conference contact in your region. Specific dates and more information are located here.

MENTORIFIC. The SPJ Mentor Match-up program is still accepting mentees to be matched with experienced newsroom veterans. The program is free and aimed at young professionals developing a working relationship with older mentors. Of course, you eager up-and-coming reporters can teach a few new tricks to your mentors. Getting into the program is quick and easy — and takes less time than updating your Facebook and Twitter profiles. Just sign up online and SPJ will make the match for you. Please note: Priority in placement is given to mentees who have graduated college and are working in a professional capacity.

NO, NOT TONY — IT'S NATHAN. Congratulations are in order for SPJ member Randy Gener, who was recently named the recipient of the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism. The honor recognizes the best piece or series of critical review during the theatrical year, July 1 through June 1. As senior editor at American Theatre magazine, Gener brought attention to the international theatre scene and wrote about the future of theatrical criticism. The award carries a $10,000 prize, which, according to the award committee's Web site, makes it "the richest and one of the most distinguished in American theatre."

WORTHWHILE ENDEAVORS. The SPJ Events Calendar is full of upcoming deadlines, events and professional development opportunities — some of which may be happening in your neck of the woods. Take, for example, these two programs sponsored by local chapters:

— On March 6 the Western Washington Pro Chapter will sponsor an all-access event for freelancers at the REI flagship store in downtown Seattle. Experts in media and technology will give tips, followed by a freelancing panel led by Michelle Goodman, author of "My So Called Freelance Life."

— The East Tennessee Chapter is "going green" on March 27 when it sponsors a mini-conference on environmental journalism. The one day conference will address issues in environmental reporting and include a keynote speech by Jim Detjen, director of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University.

Can't make these or any of the other events on the calendar? Encourage your chapter to sponsor similar events. And you can always submit them for inclusion on the calendar by e-mailing them to Scott Leadingham.

GUINEA PIGS... ER... VOLUNTEERS NEEDED. Michelle Selig, professor of visual journalism at the University of Miami, is looking for the input of SPJ members and other journalists for a study on the economic viability of traditional news media transitioning to the Web. The survey is online and final results are available at your request. It should take 15 minutes or less to complete. Participation, of course, is voluntary and all responses anonymous. Click here to access the survey. (Disclaimer: Clicking the link is considered consent to participate.)

FORGET "AMERICAN IDOL" — WATCH THIS! "Engineers now predict the day will come when we get all our newspapers and magazines by home computer, but that's a few years off."

No that's not the latest media industry news — it's one of the closing lines of a 1981 TV news report about a system for delivering newspapers to home computers. In a word, the nostalgic video is simply hilarious (and that's to say nothing about the clothing and hairstyles featured in the video). Credit belongs with the Tech Crunch blog and many other bloggers for highlighting this very worthwhile video.

NOT WITHOUT A FIGHT. Of course, newspaper reporters, editors and publishers think their products are important for more reasons than a paycheck. There's much more intrinsic value to papers and the investigative watchdog roles they serve. Now, a group of concerned newspaper executives have banded together to present their case to the public. A new Web site, www.newspaperproject.org, will "feature stories and commentary about the value of newspapers ..." reports William Ketter, Vice President of News for CNHI and a member of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation board of directors.

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