By Karen Grabowski and Scott Leadingham
May 28, 2009
SPJ Communications Department
START YOUR ENGINES — AND GET GOING TO INDY. Few would contest that now — more than ever — is the time for journalists to convene, join forces and forge ahead. After all, when the going gets tough, the tough get going! So with that bit of motivation, get going to the 2009 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference, Aug. 27-30 in Indianapolis. Register now so you don't miss all the career, networking and learning opportunities.
From informational programs to dynamic speakers, there is something for everyone. In fact, no matter where you are in your career — a student just starting out or a seasoned vet of the newsroom — a six-step program for career success is available, and it includes a complimentary massage. But more than that, the program offers sessions that focus on enhancing journalists' skills and preparedness for the future. A dozen practical, career-related professional development sessions will have you leaving the convention armed and ready for everything in store in journalism's future.
NOMINATE YOUR WATCHDOG FOR THE PULLIAM AWARD. The Founding Fathers viewed the basic freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment not as a luxury, but as a necessity. Thomas Jefferson once claimed, "A democracy cannot be both ignorant and free," and we at SPJ and the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation wholeheartedly agree as defenders and advocates for free speech. James Madison's immortal words continue to be upheld and defended by ardent watchdogs in and out of the journalism community. That is why the Foundation funds the Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award for efforts of a group or an individual. The award honors those who have fought to protect and defend the First Amendment and all its components. With a prize of $10,000, the recognition is truly a prestigious honor and will be presented during the 2009 SPJ Convention. Transportation and lodging is provided for the winners. Submit nominations by July 1. See the SPJ Web site for complete details and an application.
GRAB GOODS BEFORE THE GAVEL FALLS. Don't miss your chance to bid for amazing items, network with hundreds of journalists and support the Legal Defense Fund all at the same time. During the Opening Night Reception at the Convention, attendees will be able to bid at both a live and silent auction for journalism and campaign memorabilia, original artwork, autographed books, tear sheets and more! Proceeds will help the Legal Defense Fund continue to provide journalists with legal or direct financial assistance. Donations for the auction must be received by July 31, 2009. Click here for more details on how to donate and how to win. If you have questions, please contact Awards Coordinator Lauren Rochester by email or by phone at 317-927-8000 x 210.
SPJ MEMBERS: YOUR OPINION COUNTS. Current SPJ members are encouraged to offer comments on the members and professionals nominated for honors such as the Sunshine Award, Ethics in Journalism Award and Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award. The awards will be presented during the President's Installation Banquet at the Convention. Log on to SPJ.org to see the nominees and offer your thoughts. (Note: Requires username and password. For your security, SPJ staff does not have access to forgotten passwords.)
INVEST IN YOUR FUTURE. Take the next step in your career with us. SPJ's Job Bank has expanded to give its members an even greater benefit. By partnering with an outside company, Boxwood Technology, all SPJ members can now post résumés and career profiles. These profiles are accessible to registered employers and recruiters who are seeking candidates. No matter what your current career stage may be, posting your information in our secure database can give you an upper hand in this ever-changing career climate. Click here to get started.
15 SECONDS OF SPJ FAME. Actually, for three minutes and 58 seconds, SPJ Region 6 Director Gordon Govier captured his firsthand experience of the SPJ Centennial Celebration on video and shared it on YouTube. A long-time radio guy, Gordon's first video editing experience not only highlights different events that took place, but also includes an interview with current SPJ President Dave Aeikens. We at SPJ Headquarters applaud Gordon and hope all members will try their hand at something new and share with us their SPJ adventures! Don't hesitate to send us your videos or pictures of SPJ events. Disclaimer: We will be proud, and you may find yourself, as Gordon has, right here in Leads.
Remember, you can review other video of the April 17 Centennial Celebration, including Jane Pauley's full keynote, at the SPJ Web site.
ON EDITORS AND ULCERS. Your editor may be a friend, confidant, mentor or source of ulcers. But all writers and reporters know the value of a thoughtful and challenging editor. Too often, though, editors stay behind the scenes, foregoing recognition for work that is indeed collaborative. If your editor inspires you and your work, consider nominating him or her 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.
PLAYFUL MUSINGS. That newspapers are dying is only a half-truth according to Roanoke Times editor Carole Tarrant. It's true that the closing, downsizing or financial struggles of papers in Denver, Seattle, Minneapolis and Philadelphia, among others, yield a dire outlook for the state of print journalism. But, says Tarrant, the reasons for paper closings and troubled outlooks " ... are unique to each market." Mid-size and small market papers, she argues, are less plagued by the debt loads of larger companies. Leading and anchoring her column are correlations to "State of Play," the political and journalism murder mystery starring Russell Crowe. In the end, it's the lessons of the movie that sum up Tarrant's argument: the fundamentals of journalism, and the need to keep politicians in check, remain extremely necessary.
WINNING IS EVERYTHING. Despite what your little league baseball coach told you, winning IS everything, at least when it comes to the weekly Leads quiz.
Last week's question: When visiting Indianapolis for the SPJ Convention, Aug. 27-30, you might bump into a plaque commemorating the location of what iconic singer's last concert? Plus, what was the venue?
It wasn't John Denver, James Brown, Kurt Cobain or Freddie Mercury, the favorite departed musicians of the SPJ staff. No, it was the King himself, Elvis Presley, who performed his last concert in Market Square Area on June 26, 1977. It's not clear whether Matt Repino, a Penn State University student, prefers 70s gospel or 90s grunge. But one thing is certain: He was bored enough to submit an answer. And that's the most important point.
THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. Maybe you're bored enough to answer this glaring question: While celebrating the 100th anniversary of SPJ during the Convention, you can also mark the centennial year of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But auto racing isn't the only sport that takes place there. The speedway is also a notable venue for what sport?
Submit your answer to Karen Grabowski. One lucky person will have his or her answer selected at random from among all the correct submissions. Submissions need not accompany a $10,000 money order, but it certainly can't hurt your chances.