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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > Advocacy efforts, awards deadlines and ‘exiled' bloggers

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SPJ Leads | 1/14/2010
Advocacy efforts, awards deadlines and ‘exiled' bloggers


By Karen Grabowski
SPJ Communications Department

PUBLICIZE HEALTH CARE TALKS. On behalf of SPJ, President Kevin Smith sent a letter to congressional leaders arguing for the open coverage of all discussion about the health care bill. C-SPAN sent a request to telecast the talks Dec. 30, 2009, but the issue went unresolved. SPJ, various media outlets and other members of Congress are now urging the House and Senate leadership to make the discussion public. Read the letter SPJ sent to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

SPJ URGES A SUBPOENA QUASHED. SPJ joined the Student Press Law Center, the College Media Advisers, Inc. and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in supporting former Northwestern University student journalists who are being subpoenaed by the Cook County Circuit Court. The organizations filed an amicus brief Jan. 11 in support of quashing the subpoena. Locally, the Chicago Headline Club has supported the students and attended their hearings since the beginning. Read the press release to learn more.

SUPPORT IN ST. LOUIS. National leaders joined the St. Louis chapter in supporting St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Jake Wagman, who was arrested while covering a protest at a school district public hearing. When Wagman was charged with allegedly interfering with a police officer, SPJ was quick to demand the charges be dropped. SPJ leaders sent a letter to St. Louis County Counselor Patricia Redington urging the office to dismiss the charges.


MARK OUR WORDS. The Mark of Excellence Awards deadline is Jan. 27, less than two weeks away! Students, don't miss this opportunity to be recognized for your hard work and dedication to your student publication or station. National winners will be honored at the 2010 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference in Las Vegas. They will receive a 50-percent discount off their conference registration and a free ticket to the MOE Awards Luncheon, a fantastic event where all honorees and their work are recognized. Learn more about the contest categories here. Enter online today!

AWARDS FOR PROS. Pros! There's a contest for you, too. Don't forget about the Sigma Delta Chi Awards, the contest that honors the best in professional journalism from 2009. The deadline to enter is Feb. 12. Read the rules and view the 2009 awards issue of Quill magazine to read about previous winners. Next year, a page in Quill could be for you. Learn more about the contest categories here. Enter online today.

CELEBRATE DIVERSITY. The New America Award honors public service journalism that explores and exposes an issue of importance to immigrant or ethnic communities in the United States. To be eligible, work must have been published or broadcast during the 2009 calendar year. SPJ welcomes nominations from media outlets, journalists, community and issue advocacy groups, individuals and others concerned with ethnic issues. The deadline to submit is Feb. 12.

We encourage you to enter as soon as possible for the MOE and SDX Awards contests. The closer we get to the deadlines, the busier our computer server becomes with entrants' activities.

D.C. WRITING WORKSHOP. Now it's the capital's turn to host a Narrative Writing Workshop. If you are in the Washington, D.C., area, mark April 3 on your calendars for a workshop you will not want to miss.

Pulitzer winner Tom Hallman Jr. will be at The Marriott Inn & Conference Center April 3 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to host a Narrative Writing Workshop that has helped and inspired journalists all over the nation. But don't just take that from us — read what workshop participant Rodger Nichols said about the last workshop in Portland, Ore.:

Tom Hallman Jr.'s narrative writing seminar was the most useful I've attended in my 40 years working in radio and newspapers. When a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter is willing to spend hours giving you the nuts and bolts of his technique with concrete examples, it's well worth it.

The cost to attend is $40 for SPJ members and $60 for non-members. See the workshop Web site for more information and to register. Please register online by March 30.

CALLING CHAPTER LEADERS. Applications for the 2010 Ted Scripps Leadership Institute are now being accepted. Professional and student chapter presidents for 2010-11 are strongly encouraged to apply. The institute helps participants learn how to help their chapters be successful with sessions on interpersonal and organizational leadership skills, as well as sound chapter management practices. The only cost to you is an investment of $100 — all travel, lodging and meal costs are provided for this fantastic opportunity. The program is open to only 50 participants, so apply online today! The deadline to apply is March 16.

WE WANT NOVICE JOURNOS. The SPJ Reporters Institute is for journalists who have just graduated or are in the first three years of their career. An exceptional training program held at The Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., the institute was created by industry professionals and young journalists who know and understand the issues you face and want to help you succeed. There are two programs — one for print journalists and one for broadcast journalists — that focus on ethics, FOI, diversity and the new media trends that seem to change daily in this fast-paced profession. SPJ encourages all early career journalists to consider applying. Applications will be accepted until March 1. Contact Heather Porter with questions.

SPRING INTO ACTION. Robin Williams once said, "Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's party!"' Celebrate spring and journalism at a 2010 SPJ Spring Conference near you! All 12 regions have spring conferences scheduled; find the closest one to you. Conferences are a great way to meet and network with fellow journalists, learn from industry experts and share experiences. Use the conference as a spring board (pun intended) to enhance yourself and your journalism career.

2010 IN 2010. On Jan. 1, SPJ launched its "2010 in 2010" campaign. As the name suggests, we aim to recruit 2,010 new members this year. The campaign is also a contest. Chapters compete against one another to recruit the most members in 2010 for the chance to build your SPJ community, meet new people and win prizes! SPJ will count each new and renewing member, and the top three chapters (both large and small) will be awarded complimentary registrations for the 2011 SPJ Convention. Contact your chapter leader for more information ... and start recruiting!

SPJ REMEMBERS ALEXANDER BODI. SPJ member Alexander Bodi died Nov 23 in Utah at age 94. Born in Hungary, Bodi moved to Connecticut at age 6. He left the state to study at the University of Missouri, University of Chicago and San Francisco State University. He served in WWII and spoke or studied English, Hungarian, German, Chinese, French and Italian. His international interests also took him all over the world, including being part of a team of editors sent by the State Department to stage journalism seminars for two months in East and West Africa. He also built a newspaper career, working with various newspapers in the U.S. as a reporter, editor, news editor, copy editor and bureau chief. Bodi joined SPJ in 1954 and was a past president of the Northern California Pro Chapter. As a member of The 1909 Society, he graciously provided for SDX in his will. Thank you Mr. Bodi.

ROLL CALL. Did last week's SPJ Leads get you thinking about contributing more to SPJ? Do so on the national board. We are still seeking qualified individuals to serve as officers and directors for 2010-11. To run for the national board, candidates must be national SPJ members in good standing, have demonstrated commitment to SPJ, and provide proof of employer support for SPJ activities. Please review the nomination and candidacy information on the SPJ Web site. Remember, there is no deadline to declare, but any candidate wishing to have his/her candidacy announced in Quill magazine must meet a June 18 copy deadline. Contact Nominations Committee Chairman Dave Aeikens and Executive Director Joe Skeel as soon as possible if you are interested. Good luck!

NORTHWEST AWARDS JOURNOS. SPJ's Region 10 launched the 2009 Northwest Excellence in Journalism Contest this week. The annual contest honors the best journalism work in daily newspapers, alternative newsweeklies, non-daily newspapers, magazines, online, radio and television. The contest is now online, and most entries may be submitted through a new online system. For more information and to apply, visit the contest Web site. The deadline to submit is Feb. 19.

LONG ISLAND CALLS FOR ENTRIES. The Press Club of Long Island is now accepting entries for its annual Media Awards Competition. PCLI takes pride in recognizing outstanding work in print, broadcast and online journalism during 2009. As in past years, the first entry for Press Club of Long Island members is FREE. The postmark deadline for entries is Friday, February 19, 2010. Click here to learn more about the competition and how to submit your entry.

WRITING FROM EXILE. Even though Editor & Publisher magazine is no longer going to print, you may find its staffers on Blogger. LEE&P IN EXI is a blog where the journalists, "carry on, awaiting possible revival." And carry on, they do — continuing to report industry news on a new platform.

FALL IN LOVE WITH THESE SITES. Journalistics posted their 91 favorite journalism blogs and Web sites, which its creators visit often and think you should, too. If you haven't seen it, Journalistics is a blog about journalism, public relations and social media topics. Bred from a passion for examining journalism and helping journalists, the blog's creator, Jeremy Porter, hopes readers will share their thoughts and ideas to generate dialogue. Check out the blog and the list of favorites and start sharing!

EXPLANATION NEEDED. If you have a question, odds are you'll get your answer at Now a beta site, the site allows users to ask questions to which they don't know the answers. The questions that can be answered by an Internet search or by other users are answered as such and the remaining questions are sorted and ranked by level of user interest. To answer those remaining questions, the site is working on recruiting journalists or partnering with news organizations to answer the questions that interest people the most and require further newsgathering. Read more About This at the site. As Poynter reports, ExplainThis creator Jay Rosen said the key idea of the site is to help people understand so that they may become bigger consumers of news. Start questioning.

COLLEGE STUDENTS GO GLOBAL. SPJ member Mary Cardaras is co-founder of a new Web-based college news network for journalism and communication students from all over the world. The network, College Newsnet International, will be launched in South Africa this summer at the World Journalism Education Congress. The basic idea of the network is to allow students from all nations to post their articles, podcasts, photos, news packages, documentaries and commentaries to a single site. Keep an eye out for this service in the future.

LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. We turned to Italy for last week's quiz. Here again is the question:

Last month, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was attacked at a political rally in Milan. What item was thrown in his face, breaking his nose and two teeth?

The correct answer was a souvenir statue of Milan's cathedral. Of the many correct responses we received, Paula Pant was chosen as this week's winner. Congratulations, Paula!

Paula, you are now the proud owner of TJ Sullivan's debut novel, "Boon." Sullivan is an SPJ member and a Sigma Delta Chi Award recipient. His book is a suspenseful tale of a newspaper reporter and the American dream — or lack thereof. Happy reading!

THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. This week, Haiti was rocked by a devastating earthquake that news organizations are reporting is affecting three million people. Miami, Fla., has one of the largest Haitian immigrant populations in the U.S., and the Miami Herald was one newspaper that immediately sent reporters and photographers to provide coverage of the tragedy. One journalist from the paper has been noted for the compassion relayed through his photography of Haiti after the country was hit by Hurricane Ike. In fact, he received a 2008 Sigma Delta Chi Award and a 2009 Pulitzer Prize for his work. Name this journalist.

Submit your answer to Karen Grabowski for a chance to receive a prize.

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