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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > Learn new skills, win fellowships and gain experience

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SPJ Leads | 10/1/2009
Learn new skills, win fellowships and gain experience


By Karen Grabowski
SPJ Communications Department

AN LDF TESTIMONIAL. If you aren't convinced that the Legal Defense Fund assists journalists in a variety of ways, take it from one who really knows. Michael Anzaldi, who was arrested and charged with resisting and obstructing a police officer, was assisted by LDF and shares this about his experience:

SPJ and the Legal Defense Fund have provided precisely the support necessary to defend my wrongful arrest in Chicago. Without this financial backing there would be little chance of independent journalists like me to acquire competent representation to take on the resources available to local and state agencies that challenge our right to gather news. Journalists face extraordinary challenges while documenting news events. Having access to the SPJ network of professionals and the LDF is huge.

To learn more about the LDF and how you can donate to defend journalists, see the SPJ Web site.

GEN J. If you're a journalist fresh out of school, then you're in luck! Gen J Committee chairwoman Aiesha Little has your back. To help young journalists network, Little proposes that local chapters host a speed pitching event or series. It would be similar to a speed dating event, but you would invite local editors, news producers, radio producers, etc. and give each Gen J-er five to seven minutes with each of them. Participants could talk to them about whatever they want: they could treat the time like an interview, pitch story ideas, talk about the future of the business, etc. Read Little's blog post to learn more about her idea and how you can host a speed pitching event! E-mail her for more information.

LEARNING IN SEATTLE. If you're in the Seattle area, or you can get there, do not miss The Future of News conference on Oct. 10 co-hosted by the SPJ Western Washington Pro chapter. For one day and one day only several journalism workshops will be held at the Seattle University campus and all of them are dedicated to the future of news. Sessions include:

- The Future of Newspapers
- Building Your Brand as an Independent Journalist
- How is Technology Shaping the Newsroom of the 21st Century?
- Introduction to Investigative Reporting
- Online Content Management: Who's Using What and Why?
- Building Independent Online News Sites
- Career Transitions: Leaving Journalism Behind
- Covering The Recovery: A Primer On Business Reporting
- Online Options: CoPress and Stunt3
- Freedom of the Press: From state sunshine laws to the federal shield law, what's the status of legal issues impacting journalists in the Pacific Northwest?

Registration is $15 for students and unemployed journalists and $50 for all others. For more information, visit

SPJ REMEMBERS SAFIRE. SPJ was saddened to learn that member William Safire, well-known Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, died of pancreatic cancer Sept. 27 at age 79. Safire was an admired and criticized wordsmith who wrote for the Nixon administration, The New York Times, and fiction and nonfiction readers. The Times' Robert McFadden remembered Safire as "a pugnacious contrarian who did much of his own reporting, called people liars in print and laced his opinions with outrageous wordplay ... and made a lot of powerful people squirm." Safire began his career at a job with Tex McCrary, a columnist for The New York Herald Tribune. He remained involved in journalism and social activism while serving as chairman of the Dana Foundation; testifying at a Senate hearing in favor of a media shield law; and from 1995 to 2004 he was on the board that awards the Pulitzer Prizes.

FOI SUPPORTER WINS AWARD. Congratulations are in order for University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee student journalist Jonathan Anderson, who is the 2009 winner of the "College Press Freedom Award." The Student Press Law Center and the Associated Collegiate Press honored Anderson with the award for his tireless advocacy in pressing for greater access to public records from the university and its student government association. Anderson's efforts included submitting a 147-page memorandum to the Wisconsin Attorney General outlining the legal reasons that student governments statewide should be open to the public like all other government agencies, and bringing to light the fundamental flaws in the way educational institutions and the U.S. Department of Education interpret federal student privacy laws to block access to newsworthy public information.

GAIN EXPERIENCE WITH SPLC. The Student Press Law Center in Washington, D.C., the leading defender of student press rights, is now accepting applications for its spring 2010 internships. Positions are open to undergraduate and graduate students as well as recent college graduates with experience in news writing and an interest in media law. To apply, send a cover letter describing your interest in and qualifications for working with SPLC along with a resume, samples of your news writing and the names and telephone numbers of two professional or academic references. Application materials are due by October 16, 2009. Learn more at the SPLC Web site.

THE BUZZ ON BIZ IN PHOENIX. The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism is offering fellowships worth $2,000 for four days of study in business journalism Jan. 5-8 in Phoenix. Fellowships cover training, lodging, materials and most meals. Fellows receive a $500 stipend to offset travel and other costs. The seminars will occur during Reynolds Business Journalism Week at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Click here for more information on the seminars, including how to apply by the Nov. 2 deadline. If you have questions, e-mail Andrew Leckey or call 602-496-9186.

THE PEN IS MIGHTY. Get awarded an all-expenses paid trip to D.C. just for writing! But it's more than that UPI and the online magazine uwemp are offering a national writing contest for student journalists focused on what matters most: social interests, academic life and career goals. Here's your chance for national exposure and to be at the forefront of student journalism. The grand prize also includes a chance to be published on For more information on writing topics and how to apply, see the contest Web page.

GET PAID TO TRAVEL AND TALK. The Senior Journalists Seminar is a dialogue-and-travel program for journalists from the United States and Asian countries with substantial Muslim populations. The seminar offers an opportunity for senior journalists to engage peers on issues between these Asian countries and the United States. Participants will meet with government and business officials, community and religious leaders, educators and students, local journalists and others to gain insights on the many diverse perspectives among Americans and Asian Muslims.

Working print, broadcast and online journalists from the U.S. and Asian countries with substantial Muslim populations are encouraged to apply. The Study Tour for American Journalists includes Mumbai, India and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Study Tour for Asian Journalists is Washington, D.C., Nashville, Tenn., and Chicago. HURRY! The deadline to apply is Wed., Oct. 7. For more information and applications, visit the program Web site.

NEEDS FROM KNIGHT. On Friday, Oct. 2, the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy will present a report of 15 recommendations for sustaining democracy and meeting America's information needs. The presentation will feature three panels in an effort to begin a national dialogue on the Commission's findings and recommendations.

The event is from 9:30a.m.-1p.m. EST at the Newseum's Knight Broadcast Studio in Washington, D.C. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski and Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. Government Aneesh Chopra, and other government officials, will be present for the release of the information and to offer remarks. Several other participants and commission members will also be present from the media, including NPR, AmericaSpeaks, National Newspaper Association and the American Library Association. The event will be webcast live at

LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. As the battle for a federal shield law continues on Capitol Hill, we continue to test your knowledge of the pivotal legislation. Here is last week's question:

We have another shield law question for you: When was a federal shield law bill first introduced in the House of Representatives?

Congratulations to Aleksandra Wojtalewicz from Long, Beach California, who answered, "The federal shield law bill first introduced in the House of Representatives in 2005.

THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. Here's something new: Answer this week's quiz and you will WIN A PRIZE that is all about love and journalism.

What is the opposite of love?

Submit all answers to Karen Grabowski.

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