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For more than 100 years the Society of Professional Journalists has been dedicated to encouraging a climate in which journalism can be practiced more freely and fully, stimulating high standards and ethical behavior in the practice of journalism and perpetuating a free press.
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Since its founding in 1961, the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation has promoted excellence and ethics in journalism. The SDX Foundation is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization that supports the educational programs of the Society of Professional Journalists and serves the professional needs of journalists and students pursuing careers in journalism.
Excellence in Journalism is the national journalism conference of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Radio Television Digital News Association. Join us in September in Nashville for training, networking, workshops and more!
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CENTENNIAL SOIREE. We've been putting the final touches on the Centennial Celebration that will take place April 17 in Greencastle, Ind. The event, held at DePauw University — the location of the Society's 1909 founding — will feature a panel of journalism greats, a commemorative ceremony and a keynote address from veteran broadcaster (and 30-year SPJ member) Jane Pauley. If you will be attending the event, please take a moment to fill out the RSVP form at SPJ.org. While there, be sure to sign up and pay for the anniversary dinner. Click here for more information. Note that all events are free except the dinner. If you can't make it to Greencastle, don't worry! We're encouraging chapters to hold their own celebratory events on that day to commemorate 100 years of SPJ. And if you attend such an event, don't forget your cameras (video and still) so you can share the memories in Quill and at the 2009 Convention.
SPEAKING OF 100 YEARS OLD... Call it a coincidence or divine intervention or something in-between, but the SPJ staff had a positively enlightening experience this week. While preparing to mail members their 10, 15, 25, 35 and 50-year pins, one staffer asked, "Why aren't there 75-year pins?" It seemed that, unfortunately, there was little need. Enter reality check from stage right. One hour later membership coordinator Linda Hall received a phone call from the daughter-in-law of Mr. John F. Gallaway, who turns 100 this year. John had recently moved and was concerned about getting his copy of Quill. He's been an active member since 1930 — almost 80 years!
THE SHIELD EFFECT. As you likely know, SPJ has been at the forefront of the effort to pass a federal shield law to protect journalists. The bill was reintroduced in the U.S. House last week and we asked members to contact their representatives to voice their support. If enacted, the law would grant protection to journalists for refusing to reveal confidential sources when compelled by federal prosecution. SPJ President Dave Aeikens spoke to Fox News about the need to protect both journalists and the public's right to know. "The public needs to be able to give information to the media without fear of retribution," Aeikens said.
SPRING INTO A CONFERENCE. Everyone's favorite groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, may have predicted six more week of winter on Feb. 2, but SPJ predicts spring is just around the corner. Why? The regional spring conferences are rapidly approaching. Between the end of March and April, the 12 conferences, from Montana to Pennsylvania, will offer outstanding professional development and networking opportunities. Students and professionals, members and nonmembers, journalists in all forms of media are welcome to attend. See the spring conference Web page to find the location nearest you.
UPSETTING THE INVERTED PYRAMID. There are more ways to write effectively in newspapers than the traditional inverted pyramid. The Narrative Writing Workshops led by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tom Hallman will show you how. Held in five locations from May to July, the workshops will teach participants how to write captivating stories for print and online publications. Cost is $60 for SPJ members and $80 for nonmembers. But hurry — space is limited and these are very popular programs. Click here for locations, dates and registration information. E-mail Heather Porter with questions or call 317-927-8000 ext. 204.
COME WORK THE PRESS. What up-and-coming student journalist, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, doesn't have dreams of working the press room at a major political convention, such as the RNC or DNC? Now's your chance to get your feet wet by covering the SPJ Convention, Aug. 27-29. Twelve positions are available for motivated and hard-working student SPJ members to staff The Working Press, a daily tabloid newspaper that covers the convention activities. Writers, photographers and designers are invited to apply for these select positions. Click here for more information and application instructions. E-mail Heather Porter with questions.
THIRD TIME'S A CHARM. This may be the third week in a row you've seen this ad, so by now you should get the point: Nominate someone today for SPJ's National Honors! The nomination deadline 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. Nomination is open to any qualified person. The National Honors include:
— Fellow of the Society — 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.
FAHRENHEIT FELLOWSHIPS. In small-town America, it's often said that without the weather there would be nothing to discuss. So, too, would local news broadcasts be cut prematurely short without the weather report. In light of the vital role weather reporters and meteorologists play in informing the public, the National Press Foundation is offering all-expenses paid fellowships to attend its workshop "Understanding Violent Weather." The program will feature topics taught by top scientists at the National Weather Center and journalism educators from the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma. It all takes place April 19-22 at the National Weather Center in Norman, Okla. Journalists will learn about the fundamentals of forecasting, the latest science behind all types of violent weather, and the relationship between climate change and violent weather. Space is limited, and funding applications are due by March 3. Contact Maha Masud at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-663-7285 for more information.
VIEW FROM THE IVORY TOWER. "The future of journalism does not turn on the means of production. However consumed, good news involves good reporting, good writing, and good editing. Whether that product is scrolled down a BlackBerry screen or spread across the kitchen table is irrelevant to the cost..."
So writes Rob Fishman on the Huffington Post. The Columbia Graduate School of Journalism student presents his case for why outlets such as The New York Times were too altruistic to provide all Web content for free. In Fishman's view, whether reading news on a Web site or in a printed newspaper, a product is being consumed, and the producers of that content should be compensated fully.
LINE BY LINE. Multiple writers composing a story line by line can certainly be an aggravating exercise. Perhaps you participated in such writing in your 10th grade English class. The staff of INside, the Indiana University student magazine, asked readers to do just that with a recent fiction piece. The result, as expected, is humorous and entertaining. Referring to the final product, the magazine staff offers this assessment: "It's charming, it's bizarre — it kind of makes us rethink reader participation... . We love every word."