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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > Submit a program, be a fan, local chapter chatter

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SPJ Leads | 10/29/2009
Submit a program, be a fan, local chapter chatter


By Karen Grabowski
SPJ Communications Department

LDF SUCCESS! An Arizona Supreme Court open records case supported by the SPJ Legal Defense Fund proved a good undertaking. The court ruled today "that if a public entity maintains a public record in an electronic format, then the electronic version, including any embedded metadata, is subject to disclosure under our public records law." The ruling is the first state supreme court opinion in the country to rule that metadata is available for public review. Click here to read the court's opinion.

CALLING ALL PROGRAM IDEAS! Do you have a stellar journalism program you can't wait to share? Then submit it for the 2010 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference, Oct. 3-6 in Las Vegas. SPJ's Call for Programs has started and we want YOUR ideas. Help make the 2010 convention educational and inspiring. Submit your proposal today. Submissions will be accepted until Jan. 3, 2010.

AWARDS JUDGES STILL NEEDED. 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.

MAD CHATTERS. You can follow the discussions of pivotal media industry issues happening right now on SPJ blogs by becoming a fan of SPJ on Facebook. Become a Fan and join the conversations on Facebook and on the SPJ Blogs Network.

And while you're keeping up with SPJ on the Web, don't forget to follow @spj_tweets on Twitter.

PORTLAND HAS THE WRITE STUFF. 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. It is with sadness that SPJ shares with you the deaths of several members. The Society sends its condolences to family and friends.

Mike McQueen
Mike McQueen, the chief of bureau for The Associated Press in Louisiana and Mississippi, died Oct. 25 from complications of cancer and congestive heart failure. McQueen's journalism career started at the Tallahassee Democrat and lasted over 30 years. Twice, McQueen worked on Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper teams, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina he joined a Knight-Ridder team of editors who traveled to the area to assist local newsrooms. Dedicated to newsroom diversity issues, he was a member of SPJ's Diversity Committee. "He was a true leader in journalism and in the academy, and demonstrated in his work why inclusion matters in the quest for accuracy and fairness," noted former committee chairwoman Sally Lehrman. "I'm going to miss him."

Donovan Kramer Sr.
The longtime publisher of the Casa Grande Dispatch in Arizona died Oct. 25. Donovan Kramer Sr. was 84 and had been a member since 1955. Kramer owned several weekly community papers in addition to publishing the Casa Grande Dispatch, a paper his parents purchased in 1962. Kramer was devoted to journalism and his community. In 2006, the Valley of the Sun Phoenix Pro chapter honored Kramer for his work in community journalism.

Brent Felgner
Brent Felgner, a business journalist, died of cancer Oct. 26. Felgner was a contributing writer and editor for a variety of publications that included Home Textiles Today and Broadcasting and Cable. His friend, Warren Shoulberg shared with SPJ that Felgner had "an inquisitive mind, unending curiosity, ceaseless tenacity, both street and book smarts and a personality that endeared him to those who loved him." Those who wish to commemorate Felgner's life are encouraged to donate to the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation. Please include a note indicating your wish for your donation to be made in honor of Brent Felgner.

FLU GUIDE AVAILABLE. As new outbreaks of H1N1 flu continue to disrupt families, schools, and communities across the country and around the world, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard has prepared a comprehensive online guide for journalists covering the flu story. The site, "Covering Pandemic Flu," offers reporters and editors the tools they need to understand the complexities of the disease; debunk myths and misconceptions; and ask the right questions as they follow developments. Review the site and share it with fellow journalists covering the health beat.

TOOLS FOR THE TRADE. Speaking of keeping up with the latest news items, SPJ's Journalists' Toolbox is still your number one resource for information that will help you report any story (including H1N1). Former Los Angeles Times reporter and DePaul University instructor Mike Reilley works hard to bring you the best of the best, so don't hesitate to use it! Check out the site and make it a "Favorite" today.

WINDY CITY CHAPTER GIVES THUNDERING SUPPORT. The Chicago Headline Club did not waste any time voicing support for Northwestern University journalism students subpoenaed by local prosecutors for information related to their Medill Innocence Project. The students and their project are under scrutiny because they published information that defends — and arguably proves — the innocence of a man who was convicted of a 1978 murder. The university is battling the subpoenas and the local SPJ chapter joined the fight. Read the Headline Club's statement here.

STANDING UP FOR STUDENTS' RIGHTS. The Headline Club is not the only pro chapter in the nation that chose to stand alongside students for their rights as journalists. In Virginia, the local SPJ pro chapter lent its support to two James Madison University students who face charges after they attempted to conduct interviews and report on a campus crime for their school newspaper. Virginia Pro chapter president Nicole McMullin and board members released a statement supporting the students and their rights to practice journalism on campus. Read more from the Richmond Times-Dispatch here.

SUNSHINE STATE RADIATES WITH GOOD IDEAS. Two campus chapters in Florida put on successful programs that entertained and educated students, faculty and the community. At Flagler College in St. Augustine, the campus chapter hosted a First Amendment Free Food Festival. The event offered free pizza to students only if they symbolically signed away their First Amendment rights. The University of Florida chapter held an SPJ Ethics Hold'em poker tournament. Using specially printed decks underwritten by a Sigma Delta Chi Foundation grant, gamblers learned about journalism ethics and competed against one another in a game of bluffs and wit. To learn how you can host similar events, contact Michael Koretzky.

KY HOSTS ENVIRONMENTAL CONFERENCE. The Eastern Kentucky University chapter joins the Center for Appalachian Studies and the Department of Communication to host a Kentucky Environmental Journalism Conference Friday, Nov. 13. The event will bring together professional and student journalists with activists, researchers and others in the industry. Conference features include panels on covering the coal industry, water issues in Kentucky and more. Registration is $10 for students and $15 for non-students. For more information or to pre-register, contact Deborah Givens at 859-622-6564 or e-mail

GRANTS FOR WOMEN IN BUSINESS AND JOURNALISM. J-Lab will assist eight women-led news start-ups with grant funding from the McCormick Foundation. Four winners in 2010 and four in 2011 will receive $12,000 each in funding to launch their business and blog about it in their first year. The deadline to submit grant proposals is April 12, 2010. To learn more and apply, click here. Read the news release here.

LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. Here again is last 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?

One of the added words was "staycation," which is "a vacation spent at home or nearby." Doug Schlatter, managing editor at Princeton Law Cast, Inc. in Pennington, N.J., sent in "staycation" and is this week's winner! Congratulations, Doug! For your correct answer you win "The Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words," a fun resource that offers over 10,000 explanations of common and confusing words. Happy reading!

THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. This week's quiz keeps the holiday spirit with a Halloween question for you. For this question, an article from Suite yielded an answer — can you give yours?

What are the historical origins of Trick or Treating?

Submit your answer to Karen Grabowski.

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