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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > Feedback and donations for legal defense

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SPJ Leads | 7/7/2010
Feedback and donations for legal defense

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By Scott Leadingham
SPJ Communications Department

DONATE TO DEFEND. As part of the mission of "improving and protecting journalism," SPJ fights hard to help the industry's practitioners — i.e. you — through many avenues, including professional development and free-press advocacy. But sometimes you just need cold, hard cash. That's why SPJ maintains the Legal Defense Fund, which provides money for journalists needing legal representation if, for example, they've been sued for libel or thrown in jail for not revealing confidential sources.

To raise money for the fund, SPJ will hold the Legal Defense Fund Auction during the 2010 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference in Las Vegas. Of course, an auction requires items to auction off. Now is your chance to help fellow journalists (or yourself) by donating an item or service to the auction, which has silent and live components. Be sure to fill out and submit this form when sending items to SPJ Headquarters. The deadline to submit is Sept. 1. E-mail Lauren Rochester or call 317-927-8000 ext. 210 with questions.

Thank you in advance for helping SPJ protect journalists like you!

YOUR FEEDBACK SOUGHT. SPJ leaders are currently in the final stages of selecting recipients for the annual national honors. The awards honor individuals and groups that have impacted journalism and First Amendment issues over the past year. All SPJ members are invited to view national honors candidates and leave comments for the SPJ Executive Committee's consideration. To comment, you must be logged in to the Members section of the SPJ website and provide your SPJ membership number on the feedback form. Anonymous feedback will not be accepted or reviewed. The identities of those offering comments will not be disclosed outside of the SPJ executive board and the headquarters staff. Click here for a full list of the candidates and to be directed to the feedback form.

ON THE ROAD. ...to Las Vegas, that is. And if Jack Kerouac were alive, he might be on the road to the 2010 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference, Oct. 3-5. One good way to keep up with the latest programming additions and get a taste of what's in store is to follow the convention blog, "The Road to Vegas." SPJ Region 9 Director and convention programming co-chairman John Ensslin updates the blog with insights on programming and interviews with featured presenters.

For example:

How to gear up for multimedia journalism with Kerry Northrup.

Explosions of opportunity in digital media with "JournalismNext" and "Journalism 2.0" author Mark Briggs

Putting the hyper into local news with Alicia Roberts, project director of Charlotte's Hyperlocal Group

That's just a sampling of the quality programming, speakers and training you'll encounter in Las Vegas. See the full list of programs here, with more added as they're confirmed. And remember the best part about this year's convention: The professional development you receive in Vegas WON'T stay in Vegas.

CHAPTER TEAMS UP, SPEAKS OUT. The Greater Los Angeles SPJ chapter released a joint statement with the Los Angeles Press Club and National Association of Hispanic Journalists commending a jury verdict that found the rights of three LA journalists were infringed while covering a 2007 rally. According to the statement:

"The jury ruled police interfered with the First Amendment rights of all three journalists — Fox 11 TV reporter Christina Gonzalez, Fox camerawoman Patti Ballaz and KPCC reporter Patricia Nazario. Jurors also found officers used unreasonable force when they struck Ballaz and Nazario with police batons from behind."

The groups went on to say they "hope the outcome of this case serves as a reminder to the City Attorney's Office and the Los Angeles Police Department to respect the vital constitutional rights of journalists as public servants."

2011 REPORTING/EDITING INTERNSHIPS: PLAN NOW. The Dow Jones News Fund is recruiting for summer 2011 internships in business reporting, sports, news and multimedia editing. Selected interns serve during the summer of their junior, senior or graduate studies years. Participants receive pre-internship training before beginning paid internships with one of 60 media outlets. See the DJNF website for more information and application instructions.

LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. Q. 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?

A. CBS News Chief Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan, who was scheduled as a featured speaker for SPJ's Indianapolis Convention but was sent to Afghanistan by CBS.

And the winner, selected at random, is: Sue Kopen Katcef, bureau director of Capital News Service TV at the University of Maryland and one of SPJ's at-large advisers on the national board. Congrats, Sue! A special prize of SPJ goodies is on the way.

Before this week's quiz, a quick clarification and thank you to Brendan Smith of Washington, D.C. Brendan noted that, contrary to the wording of the above question, technically some military officials (albeit unnamed) did express concern about the Rolling Stone piece, as a Washington Post story showed. However, nothing in the Rolling Stone article was proven factually inaccurate, and McChrystal has been relieved of his duties in Afghanistan.

THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. The satirical news publication and website The Onion is a behemoth in the fake-news market, but it's not the only game in town. There are other folks mocking news and making up headlines, all with the point of getting a few laughs (and making some money). But unfortunately not everyone is always in on the joke. What news site is eating crow this week for citing information from a satirical news site as a factual account? And what was the fake news site that started it?

Submit your answer to Scott Leadingham.

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