By Scott Leadingham
SPJ Communications Department
T-MINUS ONE WEEK. It's hard to believe, but there's only one short week until SPJ celebrates 100 years of journalism advocacy. There's still time to attend the Centennial Celebration, April 17 at DePauw University, SPJ's birthplace. The day will be packed with recognitions of SPJ's history and intriguing speakers, including radio host Bob Edwards and broadcaster Jane Pauley. See the full schedule of events and a list of all speakers at the SPJ Web site.
But wait...there's more! If you can't join us in person, join us electronically. Portions of the day's events will be available by live Web cast. Final details and instructions on accessing the stream will be available next week in Leads and by direct e-mail. And for you Twitter fanatics out there, follow the day's events with SPJ (@spj_tweets).
MENTORS, PLEASE. The SPJ Mentor Match-up program is in full swing and seeking mentors to help young journalists. In particular the program needs mentors with radio, television or Web development experience. Through the program, experienced journalists are matched with young professionals, with the hope the two will develop a relationship of teaching and learning. If interested, review the program details on the SPJ Web site and submit an application. E-mail Heather Porter with any questions.
WORK THE CONVENTION PRESSES. Time is running out for students to apply for The Working Press, a daily tabloid paper that will cover the SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference, Aug. 27-30 in Indianapolis. Photographers, designers and writers are invited to apply for this unique internship experience. Hurry — the application deadline is April 17. Successful candidates will receive free Convention registration and lodging. Get all the application instructions on the SPJ Web site.
BORED? JOIN THE BOARD. What better way to serve your profession than by serving the association that improves and protects journalism? SPJ encourages all eligible members to consider running for one of 13 open seats, ranging from students representative to president-elect. The president-elect automatically becomes president at the conclusion of his or her one-year term. All open positions are elected at the 2009 SPJ Convention, Aug. 27-30 in Indianapolis. The term of office begins on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009, following the installation banquet. See all the details about the positions and declaring candidacy at the SPJ Web site.
LAST CHANCE. Regional spring conferences have already wrapped up in the most areas, but there's still several "hanging chads" left. And if you're in these areas — or live nearby and want another chance at awesome programming — consider attending one. Click the region number for more information. Region 1 (Northeast). Region 7 (Midwest). Region 10 (Northwest). See states in each region here.
NOMINATION STATION. Don't forget to submit nominations by April 15 for the Wells Memorial Key, the highest honor given by SPJ. 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, which recognizes exemplary service, and any member or chapter can submit nominations. See the SPJ Web site for complete details about this truly outstanding honor.
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 service and dedication in one of four categories:
Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Member. More info.
Julie Galvan Outstanding Graduate in Journalism. More info.
David L. Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser. More info.
Regional Director of the Year. More info.
DON'T LET YOUR EDITOR PROOF THIS PIECE. Do you know a truly great editor, one who inspires thoughtful investigations and is an advocate for his or her reporters? Consider nominating a distinguished editor for the 2009 Mimi Award from the Dart Society. The award, which carries a $1,000 cash prize, is named for Mimi Burkhardt, an editor for The Providence Journal who died in 2004. Nominations are due June 1. The award presentation will take place Aug. 28 at the Dart Society Reunion and Symposium in Indianapolis, held in conjunction with the SPJ Convention. Get the award criteria and nomination forms at the Dart Society Web site.
TEA AND CRUMPETS TIDBITS. In connection with the Wales Smithsonian Folklife program, three international organizations are joining forces to offer a professional exchange and development program for North American arts journalists, critics and writers. The deadline to apply is April 20. Designed to develop coverage and critical discussion of Welsh arts, the program offers participants the opportunity to join intensive transatlantic workshops focused on developing their critical abilities. The program involves two workshops, the first in Wales from May 24-30 and the second in Washington, D.C., June 23-29. The application process is competitive and most costs will be covered. See the program Web site for complete application details.
STRUCTURE YOUR SUBMISSION. InfrastructureUSA, a new Web site initiating dialogue of civil infrastructure issues, is about to launch. The site's founders are seeking written, photo and video submissions to add to the site. Is there a local infrastructure issue that you would like to write about? Share a captioned still image. Shoot video. Report on dangerous roads, crumbling bridges, neglected schools and more. Several leading national nonprofit organizations have already contributed content, including the American Federation of Teachers, Regional Plan Association and Urban Land Institute. Interested contributors are already submitting letters, reports and video messages. Submit content at the InfrastructureUSA Web site or e-mail Joe Gentle, content coordinator.
DON'T FLIP THIS. Reality remodeling TV shows such as "Flip This House" may be popular (or at least were before the housing market slowed), but have you ever heard of "Flip This Newspaper"? Though not a real TV show (not yet, anyway), some media company executives have treated newspapers as assets to be leveraged and quickly sold, according to Slate columnist Daniel Gross. This practice, Gross argues, is extremely detrimental to the vital roles newspapers serve. He concludes: "All newspapers — all print media — have been hit hard in this recession. All face an existential crisis and may ultimately face the prospect of bankruptcy. Those whose owners saw papers as assets to be flipped, leveraged and stripped are already bankrupt."