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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > Program idea, death of a young journalist

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SPJ Leads | 11/2/2011
Program idea, death of a young journalist


By Abby Henkel
SPJ Communications Department

DEATH OF PAST WORKING PRESS STAFFER. Josie Varnier Stone, an aspiring journalist and staff member for The Working Press at SPJ's 2009 convention, was killed last week when she was hit by a car in Richmond, Va. She was 23. SPJ mourns the loss of such talent and spirit. Read about Josie's memorial service from the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

MIDDLE TENN. PRO SPEAKS OUT. This weekend, reporter Jonathan Meador was arrested while covering the Occupy Nashville protest. The SPJ Middle Tennessee Pro chapter wrote a letter to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Department of Safety and Homeland Security commissioner Bill Gibbons seeking an apology for what appears to be an unlawful arrest and a violation of Meador's rights. Gibbons refused to apologize. Read the letter and the governor's response.

LEGAL SUPPORT FOR JOURNALISTS. Did you know that SPJ has a fund to help journalists facing legal attacks on their rights to seek and report the truth? The Legal Defense Fund was created to initiate and support litigation that enforces public access to government records and proceedings, which can be the most expensive way to defend the First Amendment. Learn more about the LDF.

Most recently, SPJ signed onto an amicus brief in a freedom of information case in Virginia. Learn more about what the LDF has supported over the years.

PROGRAM IDEA OF THE WEEK. The Louisville Pro chapter recently held its annual Trivia Night Contest. Members came together to write questions, which were put into a PowerPoint presentation. Questions were grouped into categories, including public art, business, Kentucky Derby, notable quotes, Kentucky movie connections, food and drink, and current events. Those writing questions served as judges. News outlets were invited to put a team in the contest, pitting several stations and print outlets against each other. Participants each paid $5, plus whatever food and drink they purchased. The $5 fee paid for a gift certificate that the chapter purchased from the restaurant and gave to the winning team, and a trophy.

If you'd like more info or to see the presentation that Louisville Pro used, email Robyn Davis Sekula, former chapter president, at

CENTENNIAL SEARCHING. In 2012, Quill magazine will begin its 100th year of publication. To recognize this, we are searching the archive up and down for the (elusive) first issue of Quill from 1912. So far, the search has been futile.

Like The Beatles and Joe Cocker, we're trying to get by with a little help from our friends.

If you have access to or know of a library or other archive in possession of the first issue of Quill, we'd appreciate knowing. Email editor Scott Leadingham at

Note: The "100-year issue" of Quill technically came out in March 2009, in celebration of the SPJ centennial. We won't repeat that effort a mere three years later, but we'll certainly recognize this notable time in SPJ and Quill history.

CONGRATULATIONS, FRANK GIBSON. Congratulations are in order for Frank Gibson, a former national SPJ president and Wells Key honoree, who will be the new public policy director for the Tennessee Press Association. He will leave his role as director for the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, where he has been since the organization's founding in 2003. Read more here.

SPJ BLOGS NETWORK. Check out some of the latest posts on the SPJ blogs network:

Nobody asked me but...updates from the president by SPJ President John Ensslin
Twittersphere backs "Cheezburger" after critical column by Generation J Committee member Pat Kane
Pitches brew: A staple of successful freelance writing by Freelance Committee member Crai S. Bower
Can I get a retweet? by Generation J Committee member Claudia Amezcua

FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT TRAINING IN PRAGUE. Transitions Online offers courses in journalism and media. The next course, Foreign Correspondent Training, takes place in Prague in January 2012. This nine-day course will show you how to break into international reporting. The course mixes classroom training sessions with a practical reporting exercise researching, writing and filing your own story from Prague.

The trainers will be Rob Cameron of the BBC, freelance photojournalist Dean Cox, freelance foreign correspondent Michael Jordan, Nikolay Pavlov of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and David Rennie of The Economist. Click for more information.

LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. According to one reliable source (a letter he wrote to some second-graders in Minnesota in 1986), how did the recently deceased former Libyan leader spell his name in English?

Answer: Moammar El-Gadhafi. Read the explanation from Poynter.

And the winner is... Andy Schotz, reporter for the Herald-Mail in Maryland and member of the D.C. Pro chapter. Congratulations, Andy! The fabulous prize on its way to you right now will make you the envy of every journalist in the country, possibly the universe.

THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. What major U.S. newspaper announced a name change this week, attributing it to growth in the paper's readership? (Give both names, old and new.)

Submit your answer to Abby Henkel.

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