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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 Andrew M. Scott
SPJ Communications Department
ONLY ONCE A YEAR. The deadline to submit SPJ Chapter Annual Reports is approaching quickly. It will be here before you know it. Please read the following information about the due dates and how to submit your report:
CAMPUS CHAPTERS: Due Monday, May 2
PRO CHAPTERS: Due Wednesday, June 1
All chapter annual reports should be submitted online. Click here to find the appropriate forms and to submit your report. If you have questions, please email Linda Hall or call 317-927-8000 ext. 203 or contact your regional director.
CELEBRATE ETHICS APRIL 25-29. Over the past several years, SPJ has celebrated Ethics Week in late April to correspond with grants to chapters to sponsor ethics-related programming. Such chapter grants were not awarded this year. However, late April is still an opportune to remind journalists, students and everyone of the importance of journalism ethics.
April may more appropriately be called "Ethics Month," with the release three weeks ago of the annual ethics issue of Quill. The cover story broached a very important subject: "Should SPJ Update the Code of Ethics?"
Following up on Quill, the April 14 episode of "Your SPJ membership" featured Ethics Committee member Mark Scarp discussing that topic and SPJ's newly released ethics book, "Journalism Ethics: A Casebook of Professional Conduct for News Media."
Also on April 14, Twitter users discussed the Code of Ethics update topic on #SPJchat. Read a Storify recap of the chat.
ETHICS WEEK ACTIVITIES:. Although there are no formal national programs on ethics April 25-29, there are lots of ideas at the local level. A few chapters and student media outlets are sponsoring programming. For example:
— The Greater Los Angeles Chapter will host a panel on journalism ethics exploring how journalists are portrayed in film and on TV. Date: April 28, 6:30-8:30 p.m. PT. More information.
— Florida Atlantic University's student news outlet, the University Press, is devoting one issue of the paper to highlighting exactly what ethical journalism IS NOT. They'll rename themselves The Unethical Press, with an explanation of what's going on and why journalism ethics are so important. At the center is SPJ's Code of Ethics, and students are encouraged to find ways the UP has violated the Code. Readers can even win a prize by doing so. It's a fun and meaningful way of teaching the importance of ethics in journalism. Helping the idea is former SPJ board member Michael Koretzky, adviser to the University Press. If you have questions about the issue or would like ideas for implementing a similar idea for your student media outlet, email Michael.
— James Madison University students will watch the film "State of Play" and dissect the movie using the SPJ Code of Ethics. The JMU chapter will raffle off a copy of SPJ's new ethics book and various SPJ and journalism swag.
Throughout the week, look for SPJ on Twitter and Facebook to share ethics resources around the Code of Ethics.
Bottom line, though: It's never enough to be cognizant of journalism ethics just for one week. Ethics is a constant consideration for all journalists and outlets.
2 SHOWS, 1 WEEKEND ON STUDIO SPJ. Studio SPJ, the Society's newest series of half-hour online radio programs hosted by SPJ national Secretary-Treasurer John Ensslin, features authors and newsmakers in the journalism industry. Studio SPJ will feature two back-to-back episodes this weekend.
Friday — Interview on Gulf oil spill
Shortly after the one-year anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Studio SPJ will feature an interview with Washington Post reporter Joel Achenback, who has written a book about the environmental catastrophe. The show will air on April 22 at 2 p.m. ET.
This episode is sponsored by the Alabama Pro chapter. Chapter President Dennis Pillion will moderate.
Saturday — Interview on attempted Reagan assassination
A new book on the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan will be the topic of discussion on Saturday. Washington Post reporter Del Quentin Wilber will talk about his new book and the inside story of the March 30, 1981 shooting of the president by John Hinckley Jr.
Val Hymes, who covered the shooting for Group w TV, will moderate the program, which is sponsored by the Maryland Pro chapter.
The show's companion blog, Liner Notes, serves as a guide for the show and will also be used to celebrate and promote the best and most creative programs SPJ chapters are offering their members. Studio SPJ is one of two shows, including Your SPJ Membership, for members on SPJ's BlogTalkRadio channel.
SPRING BOARD MEETINGS RECAP. On April 16 and 17, the SPJ and Sigma Delta Chi Foundation Boards of Directors met at the national headquarters in Indianapolis for their annual spring meetings. To see agendas and board meeting materials, click here.
The April 16 SPJ board meeting included a very important task: reviewing and approving the 2011-12 SPJ budget. Board members also discussed potential bylaws changes, how to proceed with international chapters and endorsed a resolution about student press access in Ohio.
President Hagit Limor has a recap of the weekend meeting on her blog.
POST-GRAD INTERNSHIP: PUT SPJ IN THE SPOTLIGHT. SPJ is now accepting applications for a yearlong, paid position: the Communications Post-Graduate Internship. The ideal candidate for this position should be a recent college graduate (bachelor's or master's) with prior internship experience in communications, public relations or journalism. Also, a strong commitment to social media engagement is essential.
We're looking for someone to help put SPJ in the media spotlight and assist in growing the organization and serving Society members. Click here for application instructions. The application deadline is 5 p.m. Eastern, April 29. The yearlong position would commence on or around Aug. 1.
REPORTING WITH MOBILE APPS ON #SPJCHAT. Join us for this week's #SPJchat Twitter chatThursday, 8 p.m. ET, focusing on tips and tricks for using mobile apps and other reporting tools.SPJ DePaul University chapter adviser and Journalist's Toolbox editor Mike Reilley will moderate. For details on how to participate in the weekly chats and a schedule of upcoming topics, see spjdepaul.com.
ON THE BLOGS. The SPJ Blogs Network features trends and advice to help today's journalists. From freelancing tips, industry news from around the world, digital media help and more written by SPJ committee members and staff, the network has you covered. Here is a look at some recent posts:
The Independent Journalist: "Reuters is looking for local stringers"
Reuters is looking for additional stringers for a domestic news service designed to deliver local and state news of national interest in the United States. (Read more)
Journalism and the World: "Rentals! The future of newspapers?"
Many thanks to Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing for pointing out this great CNN story about "newspaper landlords" who rent the want-ads by the minute. Is this the wave of the future of newspaper readers? (Read more)
FOI FYI: "Senate Judiciary Committee passes cameras in courtroom and FOIA-monitoring bills"
Today, most media eyes are on Washington, D.C. following the news (or lack thereof) of a possible deal to prevent a federal government shutdown. But as House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority... (Read more)
First Draft: "Journalists are like Doctors"
The best advice from my college journalism professor was to always remember journalists are like doctors, people choose to specialize in different things. For example, an ER doctor loves... (Read more)
See the full blog network list here.
ADD FLAIR WHEN PROMOTING CHAPTER MEETINGS. SPJ's new Downloadable Resources page is designed to give chapter leaders an easy way to obtain materials to assist in SPJ leadership. And we're already adding new content. Some of our latest materials include a chapter meetings flyer templates and Excellence in Journalism 2011 conference Web ads.
Other resources include high-resolution SPJ and other logos; printable Code of Ethics materials; membership brochure and application; and materials for chapter and national leaders, including training ideas, chapter leadership tips and more.
COVERING PUBLIC PENSIONS. Journalists are invited to learn how to cover the nationally contentious issue of public pensions at an all-expenses-paid, three-day seminar conducted by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in June through a grant from the McCormick Foundation. The seminar is June 1-3, 2011, at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
Up to 20 journalists will receive registration, hotel and travel expenses for this seminar. Deadline to apply is Friday, April 22. For more information, visit the SABEW website.
COVERING IMMIGRATION THROUGH DIGITAL MEDIA. The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) in Washington, D.C. is recruiting participants for its 2011 Scripps immigration training program, "Beyond the border: Covering the Immigration Phenomenon through Digital Media."
ICFJ covers round trip travel, hotel stay and the one-week training in Washington, D.C. The program is opened to journalists from English-speaking and Spanish-speaking media.
The application deadline is May 2, 2011. Applicants do not have to work in digital media or have prior experience in digital media in order to be considered for the program. Apply here.
LOOKING FOR A 2011 CONFERENCE ROOMMATE? Want to save some cash when you attend the Excellence in Journalism 2011 conference this year? Find other conference attendees who are interested in sharing the cost of a hotel room in New Orleans this September by posting your request on our conference roommate listing on the HQ blog.
INTERNATIONAL REPORTING IN PRAGUE. Learn how to break into international reporting through the TOL Foreign Correspondent Training Course in Prague, July 24 — Aug 1. The course mixes training sessions with a practical reporting exercise — researching, writing and filing your own story from Prague.
Recently added trainers include:
— Edward Lucas, The Economist
— Rob Cameron, BBC
— Nikolay Pavlov, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
— Michael Jordan, freelance foreign correspondent
Learn more about the program.
LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. It was recently revealed that grassroots organization US Uncut posted a fake GE press release claiming the company would return a $3.2 billion tax refund. The hoax press release duped media outlets, including The Associated Press. What organization helped train US Uncut for this prank?
A. The Yes Men.
And the winner is...
Andy Schotz of Hagerstown, M.D. Congrats, Andy!
THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. What non-profit organization celebrated its birthday on Sunday, April 17? How many candles were on the figurative cake?
Submit your answer to Andrew M. Scott