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By Karen Grabowski
SPJ Communications Department
STUDENT PRESS PREVAILS. SPJ lent support to The Breeze, the student newspaper at James Madison University, after local police and a Va. prosecutor seized over 900 pictures from the newsroom. SPJ supported the students and the Student Press Law Center, which provided legal aid and assistance to the publication and its editor in chief. On Monday, leaders of SPJ sent a letter to the prosecutor, Marsha L. Garst, who is the Commonwealth's Attorney for Rockingham County and the City of Harrisonburg. The letter expressed outrage at the seizure and the leaders demanded that all the photographs be returned to The Breeze. As of Monday, a third-party holds the disks containing the photos as Garst pursues the release of all or some of the images. Read the letter SPJ sent to Garst here.
SPJ BOARD VOTES TO CONTINUE SUPPORT. The SPJ and SDX Foundation Boards met in Indianapolis this past weekend. More information about the meetings will be available soon, but one item to note is this: The SPJ Board voted to continue to offer the six-month membership dues waiver for members who lose their jobs. SPJ will continue to support its members wherever possible, regardless of the state of the economy or the industry. Learn more about the waiver here.
FOI TRAINING TOUR. Coming Soon to a State Near You: A training session in accessing public records is coming to you! Access Across America is a national FOI training tour for journalists April 27 through June 11.
FOI rock star and FOI Committee Chairman David Cuillier starts his tour April 27 in Tucson and will travel the country to provide training for chapters, newsrooms and open government coalitions. The intent is to reach as many journalists as possible, especially those who can't afford to send people to conferences. Click here to learn more about the sessions and to view the tour dates. You can also follow Cuillier's daily blog posts during the tour.
The week of April 26, Cuillier will be in Phoenix, San Diego and, finally, San Francisco for the Region 11 Spring Conference.
Contact Cuillier if you have questions or suggestions about the tour. Support for the trip was provided by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation and the University of Arizona School of Journalism.
MONDAY, MONDAY. Monday, April 26 is the deadline to apply for SPJ's yearlong, paid internship. If you are a recent graduate interested in communications and SPJ, this is an excellent opportunity. Take advantage of it. Apply today!
NEW DEADLINE FOR CHAPTER GRANTS. Don't forget that the new deadline to send in your media credibility program grant proposals is Friday, April 30! We're giving $2,500 grants to chapters who will host interactive public forums that bring together news consumers and journalists to talk about journalism ethics. This is a fantastic opportunity to involve your community, members and local media in a discussion that seems to be more important now than ever! Between the rise of new media — and therefore new questions about journalism ethics — and studies that reflect low public opinion of the news media, SPJ and the SDX Foundation believe these programs are critical to hold across the nation. We hope you will participate. Click here to find out more information and to submit your proposal. Contact Andy Schotz if you have questions.
2010 CONVENTION UPDATE. We hope you will start to plan for a trip to Las Vegas with us. Please continue checking the convention Web page for updated information that will help. We also hope you're taking advantage of the information that is already on the page, most notably the scholarships, fellowships and awards available. The Terry Harper Memorial Scholarships, Diversity Leadership Fellows Program and the Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment Award are all excellent opportunities for members. Play your cards right, and you could be going to Vegas for free! The deadline to apply for all three is June 13.
TWO FREE CONVENTIONS. Last week we told you about the "Name that Event" contest where we ask you to choose the title for the 2011 convention SPJ will hold with RTDNA. Have you already submitted your ideas? If not, share your names with us using our online entry form. You may enter as many names as you like until the deadline, June 1. The best part is if you win, you will be eligible for FREE convention registration for not one, but two years! Enter your ideas today. Please contact Tara Sheehan at email@example.com or Chris Vachon at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions. Good luck!
STAY IN THE KNOW. The SPJ Event Calendar lists a variety of programs happening around the nation and the world. We encourage you to click on it often. And we're always happy to post SPJ-related and non-related events. Just drop us a line.
WKU STUDENTS SIGN AWAY RIGHTS. In Kentucky, students signed away their rights in exchange for tasty treats. The Western Kentucky University chapter held a "First Amendment Free Food Festival," an event that puts First Amendment rights in perspective for students. Those who signed away their rights received free food, but they were also forced to follow any commands given to them by the students and faculty — or "dictators" — running the event. Freshman Emily Hughes gave up her rights and soon found herself standing on a chair singing. The SPJ program, first started in Florida, successfully demonstrated to WKU journalism students and their classmates the importance of their First Amendment rights.
SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WASHINGTON STATE STUDENTS. Since its inception in 1986, the Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship has provided grants to more than 100 students from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds to support their studies. This program awards up to $2,500 in scholarship money to students who intend to pursue careers in journalism. Eligible applicants are students who will attend a Washington college or university in the fall and Washington state residents or seniors attending an in-state high school who will attend an accredited college or university in the fall. The deadline is May 1. Download the application here.
SURVEYING THE CROWD. Student Jo Anne Killeen requests your help with her study, "PTSD in Journalists: Below the Fold." The purpose of this study is to gain more awareness of the emotional toll trauma takes on journalists and possibly more employers willing to provide training for journalists in preparing emotionally for covering traumatic events. If you have time, please read more about the study, your rights as a participant in the research and take the 15-minute survey.
LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. Q. An NPR host may have caused many of her listeners stop in the middle of their texts when she told Atlantic Wire, "I'm not on Facebook and I'm not on Twitter." In fact, she said Twitter, with "the way it scrolls and keeps scrolling... kind of drives me crazy." Name that host.
Need a hint? The spring weather has been beautiful around the country, so we hope you've taken the time to go outside and enjoy the fresh air.
As it turned out, many of you did not need a hint to answer, Terry Gross, host of WHYY's "Fresh Air."
Thank you to everyone who submitted an answer, but as we all know, only one person can be the SPJ Leads Champion for April 21. The lucky winner is...
Erin O'Dea of Gainesville, FL.
Congratulations, Erin! Some SPJ goodies will be in the mail and on the way to Gator Country soon.
We would also like to give props to Oren Campbell who asked, "WHYY did you make this so easy?" Very clever, Oren! Thank you, also, for the laugh.
Perhaps this week's question should be harder. Read on to find out...
THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. We have another game of "Name Those NPR Journalists!"
Q. Airlines and travelers aren't the only ones getting trouble from the erupting volcano in Iceland. Journalists are also struggling with the volcano, but they're struggling with its name. As funny-man Jon Stewart recently noted on the Daily Show, only Al Roker has been able to say the name correctly (skip to 1:35). Now in all fairness, Eyjafjallajökull is a mouthful. But two NPR newscasters created a rap to help journalists with the pronunciation. Name those newscasters.
Submit your answer to Karen Grabowski for a chance to win a prize.