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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > Last call and a free review

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SPJ Leads | 6/30/2010
Last call and a free review

By Scott Leadingham
SPJ Communications Department

LAST CALL. It's not too late to submit nominations for one of two awards that honor the Pulliam family legacy, which is so vital to SPJ and journalism. The postmark deadline for both awards is July 1.

Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award — Honors a person or persons for outstanding dedication to one or more freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. Winners do not need to be journalists or news organizations. The award carries a $10,000 prize and will be presented during the SPJ Convention in Las Vegas, Oct. 3-5. Click here for full details and nomination instructions.

Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship for Editorial Writing — The $75,000 award will be given to an outstanding editorial writer or columnist to help broaden his or her journalistic horizons and knowledge of the world. The annual award can be used to cover the cost of study, research and/or travel in any field. See requirements and application information here.

For questions on either award, e-mail Lauren Rochester or call 317-927-8000 ext. 210.

FREE WEBSITE REVIEW. SPJ partners with media and technology training group Knowledgewebb to bring members cutting-edge development that will help their careers. The partnership continues with complimentary website reviews for SPJ members who sign up for Knowledgewebb. Joining "the webb" has many benefits, and SPJ members can get them at a big discount — 30 percent — by using the discount code SPJ2010.

If you join Knowledgewebb before 5 p.m. ET on July 2, your website can get a free review. Consultants will highlight five main areas that you can improve and suggest digital tools and social media to try.

To qualify, simply become a Knowledgewebb member. After you register, e-mail ideas@knowledgewebb.net and give them your URL. If you have a password-protected site, you'll need to give a temporary login and password. All websites (even corporate) and blogs are eligible.

ONE. Journalists hopefully know the value of the First Amendment; it's the reason we're able to do our jobs with relative ease. Similarly, all citizens of the United States should appreciate the protections given by this fundamental part of the Constitution. But it never hurts to have a refresher in understanding its value in our lives.

That's why the First Amendment Center, Newseum and other founding partners have teamed up to present the "1 for All" campaign to promote First Amendment awareness and education. The campaign officially launched today, and SPJ is among a large group of supporting media organizations and associations helping to spread the word. See for yourself how to get involved and promote this vital amendment by visiting the campaign website.

WE HAVE A WINNER. SPJ is proud to honor and serve the next generation of outstanding journalists through many avenues. One way is by recognizing the talents and contributions of student members and their dedication to the First Amendment principles SPJ fights so hard to protect. In line with that, we present the Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment Award to a deserving student who has shown dedication to upholding important constitutional rights. The award recognizes a student's contributions to the First Amendment and helps him or her grow professionally by providing a scholarship to attend the SPJ Convention.

And the winner for 2010 is...

Michele Boyet of Florida Atlantic University. Congratulations, Michele!

She was instrumental in organizing the inaugural First Amendment Free Food Festival in 2006. Since then, she's helped other campuses put on their own festivals, which have participants symbolically sign away their rights in exchange for a free lunch. SPJ and the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation have since provided grants to campus chapters to host such programs — and Michele is a guiding force behind it all. Thanks to her work, thousands of people will be exposed to a program that teaches the very real importance of the First Amendment — and what life could be like without it. She will be honored at the Mark of Excellence Awards Luncheon Oct. 4 during the SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference in Las Vegas.

SPEAKING OF CONVENTION. Our Robert D.G. Lewis Award winner (see previous) will need company in Las Vegas, not only to celebrate her award but to grow professionally and learn with colleagues and fellow journalists.

Registration for the 2010 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference, Oct. 3-5, is open. Rates are low compared to other journalism conventions — but the availability of programs is sky high — just like Las Vegas' own Stratosphere.

For example:

Half-day workshops on multi-platform storytelling; using and posting data for public consumption; Web video instruction; and more

Dozens of professional development workshops on topics ranging from freelancing to "weird careers in journalism" to using Census data.

An exploratory session on what the future of journalism holds, presented by digital journalist Mark Briggs, CEO of Serra Media and author of "JournalismNext" and "Journalism 2.0."

And those are just the highlights. See the ever-growing list of offerings here, with more sessions being added almost daily. Check back often for updates.

Remember the most important aspect of this must-attend industry event: The professional skills you learn in Vegas WON'T stay in Vegas.

LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. Q. This week, Rolling Stone became one of the most widely discussed magazines of recent memory — but not for any digital innovation or the antics of longtime editor and publisher Jann Wenner. The magazine's "Runaway General" article about Gen. Stanley McChrystal has caused shockwaves in the military and political world, causing McChrystal to resign his Afghanistan command Wednesday. We can't help but wonder — as Diane Rehm did today on her radio show — if the tone of the piece would have been different if reporter Michael Hastings had only spent one day with the general and his staff, as originally planned. Why did Hastings end up in the general's company for much longer?

A. Flight delays and cancellations caused by the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano.

Congratulations to Kym Fox of Texas! Kym tells us that this was her first time entering the Leads quiz but she "couldn't resist this one because it speaks to how journalists are always on the job and taking advantage of opportunities to get great stories."

Well put, Kym.

Before moving on to a new quiz, a moment of explanation.

Some of you may wonder how we select the winner, aside from the crisp $100 bills that magically make their way to our offices. Well, here's the process:

Each e-mail with a correct answer is numbered in the order it's received, starting with one for the first correct submission. The total number of correct submissions (say, 63) is then used to generate a random number using Microsoft Excel. The function RANDBETWEEN(0,64) returns a computer-determined random number from one to 63. Voila!

THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. Now-famous freelance journalist Michael Hastings is in Afghanistan now, and he's made multiple TV appearances since the Gen. McChrystal story broke last week. But he's not the only journalist "making the rounds" lately regarding this story. Interestingly, the accuracy of the material or the methods used by Hastings and Rolling Stone were never questioned by McChrystal or his staff. But they were criticized by one prominent journalist on CNN's "Reliable Sources." Who is the journalist? And for super extra credit — why didn't this journalist attend the 2009 SPJ Convention, as he/she was supposed to?

Submit your answer to Scott Leadingham.

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