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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > Remembering journalists and last-minute details

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SPJ Leads | 8/20/2009
Remembering journalists and last-minute details


By Karen Grabowski
SPJ Communications Department

ON VACATION, BUT NOT OUT OF TOUCH. Try to hold your tears, but your favorite membership e-newsletter, SPJ Leads, will be on hiatus next week during the 2009 SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference. In the meantime, you can follow all the SPJ action at the convention even if you can't attend by visiting the homepage Aug. 28-30. Convention news, via The Working Press interns, will be posted during that time. And, of course, all those on Twitter can follow convention buzz by using hashtag #SPJ100.

Roxana Saberi, the freelance journalist imprisoned in Iran from Jan. 31 to May 11, will be the keynote speaker at the Mark of Excellence Awards Luncheon on Friday, Aug. 28. Saberi, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Iran, had lived in Iran for six years prior to her arrest. While in the country, she was pursuing a master's degree in Iranian studies and was a freelance journalist, reporting for news outlets such as the BBC, NPR and FOX News. Read more here.

FACE-TO-FACE. The SPJ headquarters staff is excited to see you at convention! And if you haven't signed up yet, don't think that you've missed out on registering. You can still register on-site at The Westin Hotel. For more information about convention, you know where to go: We'll see you in Indianapolis!

BEYOND THE SPREADSHEET. Excel is not just a database full of lines and numbers, it is a tool that will enhance and support your reporting and overall story package! Mark Nichols is a database expert from The Indianapolis Star, and he will be sharing his knowledge with the select few who are the first to sign up for his Half-Day Workshop: "Beyond the Spreadsheet: How to Look for Trends and Patters in your Database." This is database analysis at its best, so don't hesitate! Register for the workshop, which takes place from 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday.

TO JAIL OR NOT TO JAIL? Or you can be a kind journalist and bail out your fellow convention attendees. Don't forget about the Legal Defense Fund Jail-N-Bail. Start thinking about who you will want to put behind bars for one of SPJ's great causes: assisting journalists in their fight to protect the freedom of speech and the press and the First Amendment.

BIDDING WARS. The SPJ headquarters staff has been eyeing the incredible donations that have been flowing in for the Harper Memorial Fund Auction. You, too, can see what will be on the auction block. See here a list with images of the items you can bid on during the convention's Opening Night Reception. Remember that the auction includes silent and live portions.


Robert Novak
SPJ is saddened after losing friend Robert Novak to cancer on Tuesday. He was 78.

Novak, a longtime columnist and former co-host of CNN's "Crossfire," presented the session "Watching the Watchdogs: Ethical Implications of the Entangled Roles of Journalists in the Scooter Libby Case" at the 2007 SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference in Washington, D.C. Joined by former Time, Inc. editor-in-chief Norman Pearlstine, Novak discussed important ethical questions journalists face when they are central players in a criminal prosecution and scandal. Novak had first-hand experience with those matters as he was subpoenaed by the grand jury for the classified information he published in his column "Mission to Niger," disclosing Valerie Plame Wilson's CIA agent status.

Novak became a visible household name when he began working for CNN at its conception in 1980. He was a regular commentator for CNN for 25 years, including his work on "Crossfire." From 1963 to 1993, he and Rowland Evans wrote the nationally syndicated column "Inside Report" six days a week. When Evans retired in 1993, Novak continued the column three times a week until a brain tumor led him to retire in August 2008. Novak was an SPJ member from 1950 to 2001 and is a member of the D.C. Pro Chapter's Hall of Fame.

Don Hewitt
Journalism lost another great yesterday. Don Hewitt, the man who redefined television news with the creation of "60 Minutes," passed away from cancer. He was 86.

The stalwart journalist started his journalism track in newspapers; he was a copyboy at The New York Herald Tribune for $15 a week. When he switched over to television programming with CBS, according to The New York Times, Hewitt said, "Whata-vision?" But it soon became clear that he was a natural in broadcast and understood what his audience wanted a television magazine that married hard news with soft news and was essentially a televised version of Life magazine. "60 Minutes" brought celebrities and politicians, feature stories and investigative pieces into the homes of Americans around the nation. Hewitt also influenced the careers of several brilliant broadcast journalists including Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite. Click here to read The New York Times tribute to Hewitt, the man who changed broadcast television as the world changed around us.

Robin Marshall Glassman
SPJ was further saddened to learn of the loss of member Robin Marshall Glassman, who passed away Tuesday at age 83.

Glassman worked for more than 50 years in the journalism industry as a newspaper reporter; managing editor; newspaper writing coach; news service correspondent; and film, TV and magazine writer. Her work appeared on network TV and in leading publications such as Atlantic Monthly and Harpers. But Glassman also gave to the industry as an educator. She founded the journalism department at Southern Connecticut State University where she was professor emeritus and had taught classes from 1968 to 1995. In 1989, Glassman was honored with SPJ's national Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award. The SPJ Connecticut Pro Chapter gave Marshall-Glassman its Lifetime Achievement Award when she retired. She is also honored as a member of the Connecticut Journalism Hall of Fame.

VISAS STILL NEEDED. Politico's Josh Gerstein noted SPJ's Media Visa Campaign in his Aug. 11 story, "Obama team echoes Bush on journo's visas." SPJ's International Journalism Committee started the Media Visa Campaign to lobby for the revision of the Visa Waiver Law to include journalists. As Gerstein points out in his piece on the upcoming G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh, foreign journalists still need to attain a valid "I" visa or work visa ("Green Card") to work in the U.S., even if for a short period. Interestingly, tourists and businesspeople are allowed to stay in the U.S. for up to three months without a visa, but journalists are not included in this policy.

A FRESH PIECE OF NEWS. On Tuesday, Aug. 18, Alex S. Jones, a Sigma Delta Chi Foundation board member, spoke on NPR's "Fresh Air" about his concerns for the journalism industry and about his book "Losing the News." In the interview, as in his book, Jones expounds on the fear he feels for the loss of the news he believes in and how that loss affects us all. A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Jones' involvement and experience in the industry are vast. He grew up in a newspaper family and has worked in all capacities and mediums of journalism. In "Losing News" he writes, "... the times we live in trigger an unsettling cascade of questions about journalism and news." His major concerns include how newspapers struggle to survive, how investigative journalism gets cut as budgets shrink and how it appears opinion journalism overshadows impartial journalism. Click here to listen to the interview and learn more about his book. Jones is the director of Harvard's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.

LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. Last week's quiz proved to be another hard one as we dug deep into SPJ history. Here, again, is the question:

Who was the last person honored with the title, "National Honorary President," and in what year was that person recognized as such by the Society of Professional Journalists, then known as Sigma Delta Chi?

The correct answer is Nelson Poynter, 1970.

Congratulations to Bill McCloskey for doing the research and coming up with the correct National Honorary President. That was a difficult question as one of the few places that may actually have that bit of history resides on the desktops of SPJ Headquarters staff: the book "Talent, Truth and Energy" by Bert N. Bostrom. The well-researched book was published for SPJ's 75th anniversary.

THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. This year, Nelson Poynter was named a Fellow of the Society, one of the highest honors SPJ bestows upon a journalist. Awarded alongside him for extraordinary contributions to the profession were two other prestigious journalists. All three will be recognized during the President's Installation Banquet on Saturday, Aug. 29. Can you name them?

Submit your answer to Karen Grabowski.

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