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For more than 100 years the Society of Professional Journalists has been dedicated to encouraging a climate in which journalism can be practiced more freely and fully, stimulating high standards and ethical behavior in the practice of journalism and perpetuating a free press.
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Since its founding in 1961, the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation has promoted excellence and ethics in journalism. The SDX Foundation is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization that supports the educational programs of the Society of Professional Journalists and serves the professional needs of journalists and students pursuing careers in journalism.
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By Tom Henderson
Editorial Writer & Columnist, The Lewiston (Idaho) Morning Tribune
Assistant Business Editor, The Denver Post
National President, SPJ
CNN SANCTIONS? After Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calf., requested that the Pentagon remove embedded CNN reporters from Iraq over the network’s decision to air footage of insurgent snipers targeting American soldiers, SPJ President Christine Tatum and Freedom of Information Committee Chairman Joel Campbell drafted a letter urging Hunter to withdraw his request. Enclosed in the letter, Hunter received a copy of the Society’s Code of Ethics and information about resolving ethical conflicts in wartime.
ARMSTRONG OR HAMSTRUNG? Find out why Santa Barbara News-Press editorial page editor Travis Armstrong isn’t likely to re-join SPJ anytime soon. Christine Tatum takes him — and United Airlines-- to task on her blog, Freedom of the Prez.
VIRTUAL REALITY? Ahhh, there are only so many weeks in a year — and only so many weeks in a presidential term. To meet and greet as many members as possible, President Christine Tatum encourages all chapter leaders to consider linking her into events via conference calls and video chats (for what it’s worth, she uses Apple’s iSight). Want to set up an “appearance?” Contact Christine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ONE GREAT REASON TO RUN. For national president that is. SPJ’s Fort Worth chapter treated Christine Tatum to a great time last weekend — and presented her with an iron brand bearing her initials (it’s a longstanding tradition for the chapter). Tatum sends a big thanks. She’ll be hanging out in Seattle next. Stop by to visit with her, Regional Director Nathan Isaacs and a lively crew of SPJ members. When: Nov. 3, 7-9 p.m. at The District Lounge, 4507 Brooklyn Ave.
IMPROVING YOUR BOTTOM LINE. The SPJ Leading Edge is a monthly e-newsletter designed to provide chapter leaders and officers with the tools and information to help in leading a chapter, growing and retaining membership and improving and protecting journalism. The newsletter also carries important information to share with members. Want to get The Leading Edge delivered to your inbox? Send an e-mail to Communications Manager Beth King at email@example.com.
CONVENTION ROUND-UP. If you missed the 2006 SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference in Chicago, now’s your chance to get the skinny via the post-convention issue of Quill. Look for it online and in print.
Anxious for the 2007 convention? Save the date: Oct. 4-7 in Washington, D.C. Check the Convention Web Page for details of what to expect. Also, if you have an idea for a program, proposals are being accepted through Dec. 11. Find more information and a list of guidelines online.
SUBMIT SDX GRANT PROPOSALS TODAY. Attention National Committee Chairpeople! If your committee intends to submit a proposal for a 2007-2008 Sigma Delta Chi Foundation grant, it must be vetted by the SPJ Executive Committee before it can go to the Foundation. This is to ensure that priorities are aligned and resources are allocated accordingly. The executive committee is meeting in mid-November. Therefore, any requests need to be received by Wed., November 1. If this is not enough time to put together a full-blown proposal, you may submit an abstract with all of the pertinent details. SPJ submits all of its grant requests in February. More information and submission guidelines are available at http://spj.org/sdxgrant.asp.
Not a committee member, but have a great proposal idea? Submit it to SPJ’s National Headquarters by February 6, 2007.
KUDOS. The following student and professional chapters have received a Chapter Grant: Eastern Kentucky University, St. Cloud State University, The University of Mississippi, Virginia Commonwealth University, West Virginia University, Greater Oregon Pro, Inland Northwest Pro, NorCal Pro, Pittsburgh Pro and Western Washington Pro. Check spj.org for updates and recaps on the awarded programs.
FREE MONEY. To encourage promotion of Ethics in Journalism Week, $1,000 grants are available to chapters for ethics programming. The grants are possible through a generous donation from the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation. One grant is available for each of SPJ’s 12 regions. Chapters must have a 2005-2006 annual report on file with the national office to be eligible. Only electronic proposals submitted to Programs Coordinator Heather Porter firstname.lastname@example.org, by midnight EST, Monday, Nov. 13 will be considered. Complete details are available at spj.org.
MORE FREE MONEY. Who will create community through new media? The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation believes this question is worth exploring. That’s why they’re giving away $5 million. The News Challenge seeks ideas for using new media combined with the best news values to bind and build communities. Anybody, anywhere around the world can enter. The requirement? An innovative idea that uses the digital world to connect people in the real world. Deadline is December 31.
WHO’S NEWS? That’s the name of SPJ’s blog about matters concerning diversity in newsrooms and news coverage. This week, national diversity committee member and blogger Marco Dominguez asks, “What is diversity? Is it only African Americans? Asians? Hispanics? Women? Men? What is it?”
NEWS GEMS. Jon Marshall’s brilliant blog continues to highlight the very best in American journalism. We like to think of it as a daily Pulitzer Prize! This week, Jon lauds Ken Armstrong of The Seattle Times, who has deftly reported on how the courts and a local school district have worked together to keep hush-hush an elementary school teacher’s longstanding history of fondling students.
FOI FYI. National Freedom of Information Chairman Joel Campbell has blogged up a storm this month about all matters concerning the free flow of public information. Check out his full collection of posts, ranging from great story ideas using FOI tips and tricks and “tales from the FOI dark side.”
JOSH IN JAIL. Freelance journalist and blogger Josh Wolf remains in a California prison for refusing to turn over raw video footage of a 2005 protest. A police officer’s skull was fractured and a patrol car was damaged during the protest. Listen to a recent NPR story about the case.
SPJ’s Legal Defense Fund has contributed $31,000 to his defense. Josh’s lawyers have agreed to cap their fees at $60,000. Additionally, journalists and students attending SPJ’s Convention & National Journalism Conference in Chicago dug deep and contributed almost $3,000 more to help Josh. You can help, too. Make your owncontribution to help free Josh Wolf!
COVERING FOLEY. The “virtual” sex scandal involving former Florida Rep. Mark Foley is a chilling intersection of power, politics and secrecy. Having seen much of the reporting about Foley’s actions, it’s also easy for media consumers to be deceived about issues related to Foley’s actions — namely, pedophilia and sexual orientation. The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association offers tips for how to cover this ongoing story.
PRESCRIPTION FOR GOOD HEALTH. The Cleveland Pro chapter is a co-sponsor of the 2006 regional conference of the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ). The journalism training event, produced by the Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism and AHCJ, will feature panel sessions, workshops and field trips. Panels will include access to information, narrative writing, obesity, spotting health care trends in aging, understanding medical conflicts of interest, tools for covering hospitals, and tracking deadly infections. When: Oct. 27-28 at the Intercontinental Hotel at The Cleveland Clinic. More information and registration: Available online.
ALL ABOARD THE NEWSTRAIN! You’re invited to New Jersey for two days of editing and management training. This national program is sponsored by the Associated Press Managing Editors and receives major funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Local sponsors are The (Bergen County, NJ) Record; North Jersey Media Group; The Associated Press; The (Newark) Star Ledger, and the New Jersey Press Association. When: Nov. 1-2, The Record, 150 River St., Hackensack, NJ 07601. Cost: $35 (includes some meals). More Information: Visit Newstrain.org.
POWER CHARGED. The Foundation for American Communications will present “Keeping the Lights On, ” a seminar to help journalists learn more about the grid, the issues, and the plans for America’s electricity future. As an added bonus, the seminar will include a forecast session on electricity energy issues that are expected to be making news in 2007. When: Nov. 2, American Press Institute in Reston, Va. More information and registration: Visit the FACS Web site.
TRAINING ON THE GO. Does your newsroom need better writers, more ethics training and an expertise in FOI? The Society has you covered with a traveling newsroom training program. This unique training opportunity combines high ideals with hands-on application. For more information, contact Associate Executive Director Chris Vachon at 317-927-8000 ext. 207 or email@example.com.
A POETIC MASTERMIND? Inland Northwest Pro member Hugh Davis wanted to share something good for the senses. The following, the way he has structured it, could have been a poem, but it really is just a sentence from “The Big Sleep” by Raymond Chandler:
Under the thinning fog
the surf curled and creamed,
almost without sound,
like a thought
trying to form itself
on the edge of consciousness.
Have something nice to share? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SEEING STARRS? As we’ve been reporting, actor and screenwriter Jenna Mattison is trying launch a TV movie based on “Brenda Starr, Reporter.” However, Yvonne Martin from Lake Forest, Calf. reminds us that a “Brenda Starr” TV movie was made in the 1970’s. According to Martin, a TV movie about Brenda Starr, with Jill St. John in the lead, was filmed in her newsroom. One of the extras knocked over a tray of type which annoyed a couple of typesetters and one of the prop people walked off with their clock!
Have any great anecdotes about journalism and Hollywood colliding? Send them to Tom Henderson at email@example.com.
POP CULTURE QUOTE OF THE WEEK. “That’s the press, baby, the press. And there’s nothing you can do about it. Nothing.”
Who said that? And in what movie?
If you guessed Humphrey Bogart in “Deadline USA,” you’re right. Others who got last week’s trivia question right were Guy Baehr, Jessica Bobula, Sarah Boggan, Travis Braun, Hal Davis, Niki Doyle, Norma Fay Green, Linda Heuring, Patsy Bell Hobson, Aaron Kidd, Colleen Kingsbury, Mo Mehlsak and Adele Ross.
Thanks for playing.
Now for this week’s quote:
“You double-crossing hound! You call yourself a reporter? Why, you wouldn’t know news if you fell into a mess of it nose-first!”
Who said it? Remember: This is a movie quote, not something you heard from your own editor last week.
Send your answers to Tom Henderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bonus question: As so many of you are familiar with “Deadline USA,” perhaps you can handle another trivia challenge. Name the actor who appeared both in “Deadline USA” and one of the screen versions of “The Front Page.” Triple-bonus points if you can identify the roles.
There’s a special prize for the person with the first correct answer.