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By Scott Leadingham
SPJ Communications Department
COME ON OUT TO GREENCASTLE. What are you doing Friday, April 17? How about coming to a birthday party? This party, complete with cake and candles, is especially important, as it is the Society's 100 anniversary. On that day we're returning to the place of our founding — DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. — to celebrate our past and toast our future. There's a full line-up of activities, including a panel examining the past, present, and future of journalism and a keynote address from veteran broadcaster (and 30-year SPJ member) Jane Pauley. Get the complete schedule and travel details on the SPJ Web site.
And if you can't attend, consider hosting a chapter event in your area to coincide with the celebration on April 17. If you do hold a chapter event on that day, e-mail Scott Leadingham so we can promote it in Leads and Quill. And be sure to take plenty of pictures!
THAT'S TWITTERIFIC! Some people use Twitter as a way to keep close friends up to date on all the latest (and sometimes banal) updates in their lives. Others use it as an aggregation tool for news, a de facto RSS feed. Ron Sylvester (@rsylvester) is using it as a court-reporting tool, and a very pioneering one at that! Sylvester, vice chair of SPJ's Digital Media Committee and former Region 7 director, is a reporter for the Wichita Eagle. He's sending live courtroom updates over Twitter — called Tweets — to anyone following him on the micro-blogging service. The move isn't entirely new for courts in general, but it's almost unheard of in federal criminal trials — and it's all brought to you by a dedicated SPJ member. Follow his updates on Twitter.
But for those who think Twitter is just for journalists and adults, think again. SPJ member and WLBZ anchor/reporter Kara Matuszewski (@karamat) filed a story about a class of second graders using Twitter for instructional purposes and social networking. The story was picked up by CNN today. Follow her updates on Twitter.
THOSE WHO DO GOOD GET WELLS. Nominations are now open for the Wells Memorial Key, the highest honor bestowed upon a member of the Society. The award is named for Chester Wells, the Society's second president, who died in office in 1913. Any current SPJ member is eligible for this award that recognizes extraordinary service, and any member or chapter can submit nominations. The deadline is April 15. See the SPJ Web site for complete details about this truly outstanding honor.
WELLS, THAT NOT ALL, FOLKS. The Wells Key may be the highest honor given to a member, but it's certainly not the only one. April 15 is also the deadline to nominate members for exemplary service and dedication in one of four categories:
Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Member — for a professional member who has made significant contributions to his or her chapter or region. More info.
Julie Galvan Outstanding Graduate in Journalism — honors a graduating student member whose commitment to community and the study of journalism has benefitted SPJ. More info.
David L. Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser — recognizes a campus chapter adviser who has made exceptional contributions to students and the chapter he or she advises. More info.
Regional Director of the Year — given to one of 12 current regional directors for extraordinary contributions to their region and the Society. More info.
AND NOW, THE END IS NEAR. As if the above member-specific recognitions aren't enough to keep awards coordinator Lauren Rochester busy, there are a number of other national honors open for nomination. And you'd better hurry — the deadline is March 18 to submit nominations for these outstanding awards, which are not reserved solely for SPJ members:
— Fellow of the Society. More info.
— Helen Thomas Award for Lifetime Achievement. More info.
— Historic Site in Journalism. More info.
— Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award. More info.
— First Amendment Award. More info.
— Sunshine Award. More info.
— Ethics in Journalism Award. More info.
THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR... ...getting to the Ted Scripps Leadership Institute, June 5-7 in Indianapolis. Those who will serve as chapter presidents during 2009-10 are encouraged to apply for one of 50 spaces. The Institute is an innovative and dynamic SPJ program that offers student and professional chapter leaders sessions focused on interpersonal and organizational leadership skills, as well as sound chapter management practices. The all-expenses paid weekend retreat takes place in Indianapolis June 5-7. Applications are due March 16. Questions? E-mailHeather Porter or call 317-927-8000 ext. 204. The Ted Scripps Leadership Training Institute is funded by a generous grant from the Scripps Howard Foundation.
WRITE GREEN TO MAKE THE GREEN. If you happen to be in Knoxville, Tenn., on March 27 — or if you will be now because of this announcement — consider attending a mini environmental journalism conference hosted by the East Tennessee Pro Chapter. For only $15, SPJ members will get a full day of sessions on topics such as environmental law and coal mining in southern Appalachia (the nonmember price is $20). The fee includes lunch with a keynote address by Jim Detjen, director of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University. The conference schedule and registration details are at the chapter Web site.
A BRIGHT IDEA. Sunshine Week, March 15-21, is almost upon us, and you're invited to take part in all the activities. Created by the American Society of Newspaper Editors and supported by a Knight Foundation grant, Sunshine Week is a collaboration between journalism and freedom of information groups. The SPJ Freedom of Information Committee has been hard at work collaborating with other planners to bring you a wealth of resources. Check out the SPJ Web site for tips on how you and your chapter can be involved.
FREELANCE+FOI=FUN (AND INFORMATIVE). On March 6 the Western Washington Pro Chapter hosted
"All Access Pass," a half-day workshop and networking session of freelancers, at the REI flagship store in downtown Seattle. The sold-out event featured several afternoon sessions, including a panel with Michelle Goodman, author of "My So-Called Freelance Life."
While freelancers on the West Coast were preparing their clips, the SPJ Bluegrass Chapter was busy finalizing a March 9 informative program about open records and a recent investigation by the Lexington-Herald Leader. A capacity crowd came out to hear how the investigation into airport officials misspending public money led to resignations and a criminal investigation.
Consider hosting similar events with your chapter, and you can submit a recap to Scott Leadingham for inclusion in SPJ Leads or Quill. For the May issue of Quill, please send 100-word items by March 20.