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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > Award Winners, Conference highlights

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SPJ Leads | 8/3/2011
Award Winners, Conference highlights


By Abby Henkel
SPJ Communications Department

AWARD WINNERS. SPJ is pleased to honor the Burlington Free Press and Mark Prendergast of Stars and Stripes with the First Amendment Award, in recognition of their extraordinarily strong efforts to preserve and strengthen the First Amendment.

The Sunshine Award, given to those who have made important contributions in the area of open government, goes to Anne Geggis of the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Samantha Turley and Marcus Constantino of Marshall University in W.Va., and The Wall Street Journal staff.

Linda Petersen of the Utah Headliners chapter and Rebecca Baker of New York's Deadline Club have been honored with the Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Member Award, and Tara Puckey of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis with the Julie Galvan Outstanding Graduate in Journalism Award. These awards are given to outstanding professional and student members who have made significant contributions to their chapters.

All winners will be honored at the Excellence in Journalism 2011 conference in New Orleans. Congratulations on your accomplishments!

ENJOY NEW ORLEANS AT EIJ 2011. Make sure to get out in New Orleans during the Excellence in Journalism 2011 conference. We are pleased to announce two opportunities to see and volunteer in the city with your fellow journalists:

Community Service at Second Harvest Food Bank: On Tuesday morning, take time to serve the New Orleans community by spending a few hours at the food bank that reaches out to approximately 263,000 residents of south Louisiana. Transportation is provided; no cost, but registration is required (click here and scroll to "Additional Events").
Whirlwind Tour of Post-Katrina Levees: Take a bus tour of the nearly completed $9 billion levee system, designed with great improvements over the system that faced Hurricane Katrina. Led by experts in environmental issues, this tour costs $20, and registration is required (click here and scroll to "Additional Events").

Click here to read more about these and other conference opportunities.

FULL CONFERENCE SCHEDULE. That's right it's the moment everyone has been talking about: The full, detailed schedule for the Excellence in Journalism 2011 conference, Sept. 25-27 in New Orleans, is now online! Click the following links to see timing for breakout sessions, committee meetings and more: Sunday | Monday | Tuesday

STUDENT UNION AT EIJ 2011. In order to provide great networking and social opportunities for student attendees at the Excellence in Journalism 2011 conference, there will be a special Student Union event on Monday at 1 p.m. This reception will recognize national first-place winners of the Mark of Excellence Awards and several national SPJ honors. Students will have time to network with their peers and learn from collegiate award winners how they produced award-winning work.

DONATE TO THE LDF AUCTION. It's not too late to donate auction items to SPJ's Legal Defense Fund, an account created to help cover legal fees for journalists defending freedom of the press and speech guaranteed in the First Amendment. Items will be auctioned at the silent auction to be held Monday and Tuesday during the Journalism Expo at the Excellence in Journalism 2011 conference in New Orleans.

The LDF initiates and supports litigation that enforces public access to government records and proceedings, which can be the most expensive way to defend the First Amendment. The fund can also be a source of support for FOI hotlines, coalitions and newsletters, as well as for legislative lobbying activities aimed at enforcing public access to government records and proceedings.

If you, your chapter or other organizations in your area can help, we hope you'll consider donating to the LDF Auction by sending items to SPJ Headquarters. When doing so, please include the donation form, which you can download here. The deadline for donations is August 26. Thank you!

WHAT'S NEW ON SPJ BLOGS. Keep up with the SPJ blog network to get the latest information on Freedom of Information wins and failures. Some recent highlights:

The Independent Journalist: Freelancer: Need a Mortgage?
Discuss the proposed bylaws amendments, to be voted on by delegates at the Excellence in Journalism 2011 conference. These are important amendments that, if passed, would update SPJ's governing rules. A specific post asks for feedback on the "One Member, One Vote" amendment. Another post to discuss several additional proposed amendments is here. All members are encouraged to consider the proposals and offer feedback ahead of the conference. Click here to read the current SPJ bylaws.

SOCIAL MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES FROM SPJ. SPJ is proud to sponsor a session on achieving social media success at the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association Conference in Philadelphia, Aug. 25-28. This session is led by SPJ member Jeff Cutler. Follow Jeff on Twitter at @JeffCutler.

At Journalism Interactive, a conference on journalism education and digital media, Jeff Cutler will present a session for teachers on ways to incorporate social media tools into their journalism courses. SPJ is co-sponsoring this event during the conference, which is taking place Oct. 28-29 at the University of Maryland.

ALL ON PAPER. What happens when student journalists try to put out their newspaper without using computers? Apparently a little angst and a LOT of learning. That's what staffers of The University Press at Florida Atlantic University experienced recently. The idea came about through SPJ South Florida Pro chapter president Michael Koretzky, the paper's volunteer adviser, getting a chapter grant from SPJ. The grant helped secure several pieces of hardware required to make the "All on Paper" experiment possible.

A recap of the experience is on Koretzky's blog. He encourages other chapters and student media newsrooms to try the idea, and has offered to loan some of the equipment. Contact him at

Brandon Ballenger, who worked on the no-computer issue and is a South Florida Pro member, recounted the experience and collected reactions on Twitter using the curation tool Storify.

The program was interesting enough to get picked up by Poynter's Romenesko blog and TechCruch.

If your chapter or news outlet sponsors a neat program like this, please let us know. Email, and we'll share it with the SPJ masses. A good idea and program should be spread!

LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. What Western-hemisphere leader won a libel lawsuit this week against media executives and a journalist?

A. Rafael Correa, president of Ecuador, won the suit accusing a reporter from El Universo and the paper's three directors for printing a story in which Correa was referred to as a "dictator."

And the winner is ... Steve Geimann of Bloomberg News (and president of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation and a past SPJ president). Steve is no doubt eagerly awaiting the fabulous SPJ prize that will arrive in his mailbox shortly.

THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. A widely reported (including CNN, BCC and NPR) study involving a certain aspect of technology was shown to be a hoax this week. What did the bogus study claim to reveal?

Submit your answer to Abby Henkel.

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