By Karen Grabowski
SPJ Communications Department
SMITH ON SHIELD LAW. SPJ President Smith hit the ground running when he entered office in August, and we're pretty sure he hasn't stopped. Smith had another busy week, not only because he closed the fall semester at Fairmont State University, but because he wrote and sent out an op-ed piece about the shield law to Alabama newspapers. Alabama is the home state of one of the biggest opponents to the shield law, Sen. Sessions. When Sessions' constituents received letters and a news release about his strong and slanted opposition, Smith stepped in to happily rebut the senator's statement. Read Smith's blog for a taste of what he sent the Yellowhammer State.
ON THE AIR. Our very own David Cuillier, chairman of the Freedom of Information Committee, was on the airwaves Dec. 14. Southern California Public Radio's "Air Talk" invited Cuillier to be a guest on the show to discuss the Open Government Directive. Visit the FOI blog to listen to the clip.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT. The Nov/Dec issue of Quill magazine is out and available for you. If you haven't read it, do so soon.
Whether you're an industry veteran or a passive news consumer, it's nearly impossible to miss the "sky is falling" mentality about journalism. Yes, the future of print news is uncertain and the primarily ad-supported business model is being constantly rethought.
However, there are bright spots in this, notably in the Nov/Dec 2009 issue of Quill.
Features in this issue:
- News Hole: Can local news Web sites fill the void left by shrinking newspapers?
- The Eternal Optimists: If the industry is shrinking, why are there still so many journalism majors, and what do they think about their job prospects?
- Three's Company: With all the news about print going away, consider one Midwestern community served by a burgeoning trilingual newspaper.
The above links go to the fully functional "e-magazine" edition of Quill. For the Web-based content and downloadable PDFs, see the Quill site here.
We want your ideas — help us make the 2010 Convention the best one yet! Submit your proposal for a program at 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. Hurry! The deadline to submit is Jan. 3, 2010.
SPJ AWARDS TO REMEMBER. 2009 is coming to an end, and SPJ wants your best work from the last 365 days! Awards for professional and student journalists abound this time of the year, because we are honored to celebrate exceptional journalism. Not only does news happen everywhere, but excellent journalism does, too, in all markets, for all audiences and for all subjects. We want to recognize your hard work!
Professionals: Submit your best work for a Sigma Delta Chi Award.
Students: Enter your collegiate work for a Mark of Excellence Award.
NOMINATE A GREAT. The most distinguished honor an SPJ member can receive is the Wells Memorial Key for Outstanding Service to the Society. If you know of a member whose passion, dedication and outstanding service to the Society deserves to be recognized, please consider nominating him or her for this honor. The award is in memory of Chester Wells, Sigma Delta Chi's second national president, who died in 1913 while in office. Find more information and a nomination form here. All nominations must be postmarked on or before April 15, 2010.
TWO WORDS: PAID INTERNSHIPS. SPJ is accepting applications for summer internships in Indianapolis and Washington, D.C. Two students will be selected for the Pulliam-Kilgore Freedom of Information internships. One will be stationed in Washington, D.C. and the other will work at SPJ National Headquarters in Indianapolis. Both interns will research and write about public records and access issues. Opportunities to try your hand at communications and public relations work for SPJ are also available! Dive into FOI, Shield Law and more with this invaluable experience — and get paid! The deadline to apply is Jan. 14, 2010.
CALLING THE BEST OF THE BEST. Student journalists: It's never too early to consider the incredible internship and real press experience you'll receive by covering the SPJ Convention, Oct. 3-6 in Las Vegas. Twelve positions are available for hard-working student journalists to staff The Working Press, a daily tabloid newspaper that covers the convention activities. Writers, photographers and designers are invited to apply for these select positions. The deadline to apply for these highly sought after spots is April 16, 2010. By completing the internship, students will get a convention registration and free lodging at the conference hotel, the Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino. Click here for more details and how to apply. Please contact Heather Porter if you have questions.
HIGH SCHOLARS. Write an essay, win a scholarship! Please pass along this contest information to all high school students, teachers and counselors: SPJ's High School Essay Contest is a chance for 9-12 graders to show their knowledge and understanding of the importance of free and independent media. The first-place winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
The topic is "Why are free and independent news media important?" All 9-12 graders in public, private and home schools are eligible. Entries must be 300-500 words and double-spaced (typed or handwritten). Visit the contest Web site for more information and an entry form.
GENEVA CONVENTION RESOURCE. In 2000, SPJ discovered that there was no quick, easy-to-understand reference to the Geneva Conventions, a resource SPJ believed was important for every journalist to understand if not own. There is no one "Geneva Convention," and the laws are still under construction. However, the humanitarian treatment of civilians has been important since, well, always. What SPJ provides is a basic reference to the most common protections and prohibitions as provided for in the four 1949 Geneva Conventions and the two 1977 protocols. We encourage you to view our related resources online and to purchase your own copy — you never know when it will come in handy! You can even buy a waterproof edition.
Cost (includes shipping):
Paperback edition: $18
Waterproof edition: $31
Please contact Karen Grabowski at (317) 927-8000, ext. 215 to purchase your copy today. Heck, why not consider it for a holiday gift for your favorite journalist? Good idea, eh?
GIVE THIS SEASON. The holiday season is in full swing. This year, give a gift that we can guarantee will give back: an SPJ membership. To surprise your favorite journalist with this priceless present, contact Linda Hall at 317-927-8000 ext. 203. You can also download a membership application to complete for the recipient and mail it to SPJ Headquarters. If funds are tight in your house, don't be shy about telling your family and friends that a perfect gift for you is another year's membership in the best journalism association around — Drew Brooks wasn't shy! His fun tweet was caught by @spj_tweets and we had to share his wishlist:
@DrewBrooks: I'm such a nerd. For Festivus, I'm asking that someone re-up my SPJ membership...
Thanks for sharing your tweet, Drew!
GONE SHOPPING. OK, the SPJ staff may not be shopping next Thursday, but they will be out of the office Dec. 24 for the holiday. The office will be closed from Thursday, Dec. 24 to Monday, Dec. 28.
Please note that you will not find SPJ Leads in your Inbox on Christmas Eve or on New Year's Eve, so we'll see you here again in 2010! Happy (early) New Year!
LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. Last week's quiz asked you...
What book, written by a non-fiction author and financial journalist, is now a movie that beat out the Twilight fans' New Moon last weekend? Bonus points if you can tell us the author of the book.
The answer: The Blind Side by Michael Lewis
Congratulations to this week's winner: Laura Ory! Laura, your prize is Alex S. Jones' "Losing the News: The Future of the News that Feeds Democracy." Jones, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, "probes how the epochal changes sweeping the media have eroded the core news that has been the essential food supply of our democracy." Not convinced by words from the jacket cover? Check out the New York Times review from September. We are confident it will be an enthralling read. Enjoy!
THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. Let's change it up this week.
Time magazine named its Person of the Year for 2009 — the shy, nerdy (Time said it, not me) and powerful Ben Bernanke. Who would your Person of the Year be and why?
All who submit answers to Karen Grabowski will be placed into a drawing for a fantastic prize!