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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > Remember shield law, propose convention programs and be a judge!

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SPJ Leads | 10/22/2009
Remember shield law, propose convention programs and be a judge!

By Karen Grabowski
SPJ Communications Department

WE HAVEN'T FORGOTTEN. And neither should you. The Free Flow of Information Act, S. 448, continues to be held over for discussion by the Senate Judiciary Committee while senators remain in negotiations. But just because they aren't talking openly doesn't mean we can't. If you feel strongly about a federal shield law, we encourage you to call and write the Obama administration and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Contact the White House directly using this online form. If you want to contact the Committee members, visit the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Web site for their contact information. We will continue to speak out and keep you updated as information becomes available.

SPJ JOINS SGI AGAINST PHOTO BAN. SPJ supports the statement the Sunshine in Government Initiative released Tues., Oct. 20, that expressed disappointment for Congress' action to make an exception to FOIA. The exception allows the Department of Defense to withhold hundreds of photographs documenting the treatment of detainees held by U.S. forces. However, SPJ also joins SGI in applauding the Senate for adopting statutory language requiring future FOIA exceptions to mention the subsection of the law that permits such exceptions (5 U.S.C. 552(b)(3)). SGI called on the Obama administration and Congress to continue building on the Open FOIA Act and do more to protect the Freedom of Information Act from harmful, overbroad cuts. Read the SGI press release here.

BE A PART OF CONVENTION. The Call for Programs has begun for the 2010 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference in Las Vegas Oct. 3-6. SPJ wants your ideas! If you have an idea for a convention session and are interested in taking part, submit your proposal today.

SPJ is searching for professional development programs that match certain tracks; contain leading-edge information; and emphasize training, learning and performance. Click here to learn more about the tracks and guidelines, conference schedule, registration, and the submission and acceptance process. Please note that SPJ will NOT accept proposals that attempt to promote a product or issue.

Submit proposals here until Jan. 3, 2010.

YOU BE THE JUDGE. Help SPJ recognize excellence in journalism! Volunteer to judge the Mark of Excellence or Sigma Delta Chi Awards, two awards contests that recognize the best work published or broadcast in 2009. The MOE Awards honor the best collegiate journalists and the SDX Awards honor outstanding work by professionals.

NEW THIS YEAR: Most entries will be submitted, viewed and judged online, a format that will help judges easily and fairly review material. Potential judges for the collegiate MOE Awards must have three to five years professional experience. Potential SDX Awards judges must have at least 10 years professional experience. If interested, e-mail a bio detailing your professional experience and area of interest (print, television, radio, photography or online) to awards coordinator Lauren Rochester. Replying to this message does not guarantee a judging assignment. For more information on the contests, please visit the SPJ awards page.

GREAT DEAL OUT WEST. If you're in the great Northwest, don't forget about the SPJ Narrative Writing Workshop Dec. 12 in Portland, Ore. The newly reduced price ($40 for members; $60 for non-members) is a steal for all the program offers. Join Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tom Hallman Jr. to learn the benefits narrative writing can bring to your reporting and newsroom. Register online and learn more about the workshop here. E-mail Heather Porter with questions or call 317-927-8000 ext. 204.

SPJ REMEMBERS JOURNALIST AND ADVOCATE. Jack Nelson, retired Washington Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times and a co-founder of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP), died Oct. 21 of pancreatic cancer. He was 80.

Nelson was an award-winning journalist from Alabama who also paved a path for an organization that has become a national clearinghouse for information and legal help for reporters. While working as a journalist in D.C. in 1970, the federal grand jury subpoena served on New York Times reporter Earl Caldwell spurred Nelson and other reporters to create RCFP. Nelson's work also led to the creation of the Student Press Law Center, which aids student journalists. He leaves behind a strong legacy and even stronger memories with his contemporaries and colleagues who remember him as a leader who respected a free press and the public's right to know.

FLORIDIANS SHARE SUCCESS STORIES. Nationally, as metros bleed circulation and lay off talented journalists, those journos are opting to stay in journalism by starting their own news sites. In Florida, the SPJ South Florida Pro chapter is bringing together speakers who will share how they became publishers -- and obtained critical start-up funding -- and advice from the Knight Foundation on how to get a piece of their grants. The event is at the Hollywood Beach Culture & Community Center on Thurs., Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. The event is free and organizers request that you send an e-mail to RSVP. For more information, visit the chapter Web site.

Does this sound like a useful program for your area? Consider sponsoring a similar event. E-mail South Florida chapter president Julie Kay with questions.

DOW JONES INTERNSHIP REMINDER. There's still time to apply for the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund's internship programs for 2010. You have until Nov. 2 to apply for programs in multimedia, news/sports copy editing and business reporting. All majors are invited to apply. Learn more about the submission process at the program Web site.

CHIMING IN ON THE FUTURE. There is no doubt that "The Reconstruction of American Journalism" by Leonard Downie and Michael Schudson sparked conversation and debate. Almost immediately after the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism released the report, buzz began about the proposals made for new steps to support quality public affairs and local news reporting. One reaction came from J-Lab founder Jan Schaffer, who has contributed to SPJ in the past, including as an essayist for the "100" book. Click here to read the report and more reactions.

EARLY RESULTS FAVOR SMALL PAPERS. The National Newspaper Association, working with the research arm of the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism is completing its fourth year of research on the readership patterns of America's community newspapers. Early data show that community newspapers continue to thrive with their audiences. Click here to read more about the study and to track additional information as it is posted.

LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. Here again is last week's quiz:

The Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal is awarded annually to the American newspaper that wins the Public Service category. The medal that is presented for this honor was designed by sculptor Daniel Chester French. What other sculpted piece has brought French, its creator, monumental fame?

Several readers answered and many added that in addition to the answer we sought, French created a variety of pieces, like the Concord Minute Man statue, that make him worthy of monumental fame. We thank you all for your submissions. The answer we were looking for is the iconic Abraham Lincoln statue in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

This week's winner is Anne Mintz of New York! Anne, we promised you gold, and you are now the proud owner of "Pulitzer's Gold," a book by Roy J. Harris Jr. that traces the 90-year history of the highly coveted award. Congratulations, Anne!

THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. In 2006, Alex Chadwick of NPR spoke with Paul Payack, president of Global Language Monitor, an organization that counts the total number of words in the English language. That year, the number was quickly approaching one million. Today, the organization's English Language WordClock reports the number of words in the English language is 1,001,704.

For this week's quiz, can you name one word that was added to the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, in 2009?

Submit your answer to Karen Grabowski.

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