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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > Call your senators today — support the shield bill!

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SPJ Leads | 9/17/2009
Call your senators today — support the shield bill!

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By Karen Grabowski
SPJ Communications Department

TELL YOUR SENATORS YOU SUPPORT A FEDERAL SHIELD LAW. We have more time to voice our support for a federal shield law!

Today, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee delayed the discussion of and vote on bill S. 448 — the Free Flow of Information Act. There is currently no timetable for the next markup of the bill on the Committee's calendar, so the Society has strongly encouraged the Committee to reopen discussions and vote without delay. However, the stall means there is more time for YOU to call your senators and let them know how important S. 448 is to maintaining a free and independent press.

Read here SPJ's statement from today encouraging the Judiciary Committee to take up the shield law legislation quickly.

SPJ is calling on you to help the Society fight to uphold the free flow of information. The nation's journalists need your voice. Contact your senators by phone or e-mail and let them know how important S. 448 is to a free press and well-informed citizenry. Thank you for continuing to help us fight for this legislation! Your dedication and efforts make all the difference.

A BLOGGING UPGRADE. SPJ's blog network just got a whole lot better! Through WordPress, our blog network is now a friendlier and more powerful platform that will benefit all members and encourage stimulating and thought-provoking conversation. Check out all the blogs on the SPJ Web site and join the conversation now!

SEX, ETHICS AND REPORTING. On Monday, Sept. 21, the SPJ Bluegrass Pro chapter and the University of Kentucky student chapter will sponsor a session where three of Kentucky's leading journalists will discuss how they broke the story of a woman who allegedly attempted to extort University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino. The journalists — Lexington Herald-Leader sports columnist Mark Story, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal courts reporter Andrew Wolfson and Louisville's FOX 41 Candyce Clifft — will focus on the ethical dilemmas they faced in reporting the news.

The forum is free and open to the general public. It will be held at the University of Kentucky's William T. Young Library Auditorium, 401 Hilltop Ave. in Lexington. For more information, contact John Stamper or Al Cross.

CLUE-IN WITH LOUISVILLE. It's all happening in the Bluegrass State this month! On Saturday, Sept. 26, a two-part program on sharpening your job detection skills will be held in Louisville from 9-11:30 a.m. The event, "Clues for Your Communications Job Hunt," is sponsored by the SPJ Louisville chapter. Experienced in corporate human resources, author-educator Lori A. Moore will host the first session, and the second session will be led by professional writer Robyn Sekula Davis. From 9-10 a.m. with Moore, explore networking, résumé creation, job search opportunities and interview etiquette. Then at 10:20 a.m., reinvent yourself with Davis, who will help attendees dissect their talents and apply them to employment opportunities. Seating is limited, so register soon! The program costs $5 for SPJ members and $10 for non-members. For more information, or to register, e-mail kit.fullenlove@gmail.com.

PORTLAND HAS THE WRITE STUFF. Don't just report the story; tell it like it is. SPJ Narrative Writing Workshops are perfect for early career reporters and front-line editors who are looking for ways to expand and improve their writing styles. On Sat., Dec. 12, Portland, Ore. will be a host city for one of these innovative workshops. Join one of the nation's premier narrative writers, Tom Hallman Jr., as he imparts his writing wisdom upon journalists for one day — and one day only!

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and reporter will host the workshop from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Portland State University. Bring a specific project or a clean slate. Hallman will discuss several topics including strategies for your newsroom, reporting for narrative, long-form storytelling and how you can apply narrative techniques to your daily reporting. Registration for the session is open to everyone! The cost, which includes lunch, is $60 for SPJ members and $80 for non-members.

Register online and learn more about the workshop and Hallman at the SPJ Web site. Contact Heather Porter with questions.

BAY CITY NEWS FOUNDER IS REMEMBERED. SPJ was saddened to learn that one of its past members and founder of Bay City News, Dick Fogel, passed away Sept. 9 at age 86. Fogel was a key player in the creation of the Freedom of Information Act, an issue he worked on and advocated for tirelessly and passionately, according to the San Francisco Examiner. A firmly established and revered journalist in the Bay Area, Fogel had been recognized with several honors throughout his life, including the Northern California Radio-Television News Directors Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. One of Fogel's early journalistic pursuits was in college when he served as night editor for the Stanford Daily at Stanford University. From Stanford, he received a bachelor's degree in journalism and moved forward to work for United Press International and the Oakland Tribune. Fogel is noted for his focus on the open access of information, and he served as chair for SPJ's National Freedom of Information Committee in the early 1970s. In 1978, Fogel helped launch Bay City News Service, a wire service that covered local news and events in the San Francisco area. Fogel is survived by his wife of 60 years, three children and three grandchildren.

BE A BROADCAST FELLOW. Are you a student who loves broadcast? Then this might be for you! The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication is joining forces with The Meredith Corporation's Phoenix television station, KPHO CBS 5, to offer a week-long fellowship program for top minority broadcast journalism students. The Meredith-Cronkite Fellowship Program allows a student to spend a week in January working at the news station with reporters, producers, editors, videographers and instructors from the Cronkite School. About 12 fellows are selected each year, and students from universities outside of the region receive a $2,000 stipend each while Cronkite students can receive a $500 stipend. The program will be Jan. 4-9, 2010. The deadline to apply is Oct. 12, 2009. To learn more about the fellowship and how to apply, visit the program Web site.

THE AGE ISSUE. Attention Floridians and members in the southeast: The Association of Health Care Journalists has a wonderful training opportunity on Oct. 17-18 at the University of Miami on the topic of America's aging population. The workshop, which also includes a reception, breakfast and lunch, costs only $30 for students and $45 for all others. Learn more about the training and how to register by visiting www.healthjournalism.org/aging.

CNN DOCUMENTS A NOTED JOURNALIST. There are times journalists find themselves part of the story. This is the case with Margaret Moth, a pioneer in the television news industry who was injured, almost fatally, in 1992 when snipers in Sarajevo shattered the lower part of her face. CNN International will air a documentary about the journalist, called "Fearless: The Margaret Moth Story." In the piece, CNN correspondents Christiane Amanpour, Matthew Chance, Michael Holmes, Hala Gorani and others who were close to Moth share stories about the journalist that has been called "courageous" and "remarkable." The documentary will air several times between Tuesday, Sept. 22, and Sunday, Oct. 4. See your guide for the correct times. For more information, visit www.CNNPressroomAsia.com.

MEDIA SCORES LOW IN PEW SURVEY. The Pew Research Center released the results of a survey that shows Americans' trust in new media has fallen to a new low. In July, the center interviewed 1,506 people and, according to The New York Times, received the worst marks for the media Pew has ever recorded: "63 percent of respondents said news articles were often inaccurate and only 29 percent said the media generally 'get the facts straight."' Read more about the survey and the results here.

FOI ACCES IN THE SOUTH. The Lone Star state upheld journalists' rights earlier this month. The Texas Open Meeting Act was applied to a case in a federal appeals court, and those wishing to disclose their city council business e-mails, lost the suit. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and 23 other news organizations, supported the act in an amicus brief that stated that open meetings laws extend First Amendment rights by assuring citizens have access when public officials debate policy.

LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. We keep it timely here at SPJ. Last week's quiz asked you to send us the name of S. 448:

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee discussed the shield law bill in their executive business meeting. Senators Arlen Specter, D-Pa.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., are original co-sponsors of the bill as well as Judiciary Committee members. To be next week's star winner, name this bill.

And the SPJ rockstar of last week was Doug Schlatter from Pennsylvania, who correctly answered "Free Flow of Information Act." Congratulations, Doug! And thank you for following such important legislation that is pivotal to free press.

THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. Sticking with the shield law — which we hope the Senate will do, too! — for this week's quiz, we ask you to name 10 states that currently protect journalists and sources by privilege statues or administrative rules.

Submit all answers to Karen Grabowski.

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