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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > Holiday writing resources, support journalists

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SPJ Leads | 11/30/2011
Holiday writing resources, support journalists


By Abby Henkel
SPJ Communications Department

AWARDS JUDGES. Are you an experienced journalist with a critical eye and a love of reading? Do you wish to improve and protect journalism? If the answer is yes, SPJ wants you to join the elite ranks of volunteer judges for the Sigma Delta Chi and Mark of Excellence awards.

The MOE Awards honor the best collegiate journalists in the country, and the SDX Awards honor outstanding work by professionals. MOE judges must have three years of professional experience, and SDX judges must have 10 years of professional experience and a thorough knowledge of the area they are judging. Judges are still needed in the following categories:


For more information or to express your interest in volunteering, please contact Lauren Rochester at 317-927-8000 ext. 210 or

SDX FOUNDATION GIFTS. This year, the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation granted $325,000 to SPJ for programs that support professional journalists with programs such as:

eCampus On Demand training videos
Newsroom Training
Narrative Writing Workshops
Access Across America
Grants to chapters for spring conferences and local professional development events
Educational programming and diversity fellowships for the Excellence in Journalism conference

SDX invites you to show your support by giving a tax-deductible gift before the end of the tax year. Click here to make your gift online.

ETHICS HOTLINE. The Ethics Hotline has been ringing off the hook lately with calls from journalists, professors and student reporters asking for advice on tough calls or ethical dilemmas they're facing. You, too, can talk to the Ethics Committee by calling the SPJ Ethics Hotline at 317-927-8000 ext. 208. You can also email your question to

To Students: Please note that the Ethics Hotline is intended primarily to help journalists facing ethical questions and decisions on deadline including in student media. However, due to time and resources constraints, we can't field every question from students working on research projects or classroom presentations. We are happy to help if we can, but please save calls and emails to the SPJ Ethics Hotline for newsroom or other reporting questions. Guidelines for students submitting questions about research and classroom projects are here.

JOURNALIST'S TOOLBOX: WINTER. The winter holiday season has begun. If you find yourself writing about winter weather advisories, holiday shopping or toy safety, you'll find plenty of new resources at the Journalist's Toolbox. Look for these and more updates at

The Journalist's Toolbox, brought to you by SPJ and DePaul University professor Mike Reilley, is a free resource providing links and tips for journalists on dozens of topics. Browse resources by category, or use the search function to find a specific article or topic.

PROGRAM OF THE WEEK. Freelancer Meetings: Washington D.C. Pro chapter

The D.C. Pro chapter hosts a monthly get-together of freelancers to talk about issues they confront as small business owners. The group operates as an interest group rather than a committee, so there is no chairperson, agenda or mission statement. They have a regular day and place to meet. Members gather to talk about freelance issues that have arisen during the month. It is organized by a chapter member who maintains an email list of freelancers who have asked to be notified of meetings. The email list can also be used between meetings to ask each other for advice. Business issues the group has discussed include contract clauses, how much to charge in specific circumstances, and how to collect from deadbeats.

For more information, contact Stephenie Overman at or Hazel Becker at

EIJ 2012: PROGRAM PROPOSALS. The deadline is a little more than a month away for program proposals for Excellence in Journalism 2012, a national conference co-presented by SPJ and RTDNA. With more than 1,000 journalists coming together from all types of media, we plan to offer diverse programs of the highest quality. That's why we want your creativity and experience to help craft the journalism event of 2012.

Learn more about program guidelines. Proposals are due by Jan. 2, 2012.

HILLMAN PRIZE IN JOURNALISM. Entries are now open for the 2012 Hillman Prizes in Journalism. The annual $5,000 prizes are for excellence in journalism in service of the common good. Categories include book, newspaper, magazine, broadcast, photojournalism, Web journalism and opinion journalism. Eligible work must have been published or released in 2011. Click here for more details. Postmark deadline is Jan. 31, 2012, and winners will be announced in April.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BILL O. RIGHTS. December 15 marks the 220th birthday of the Bill of Rights. Celebrations will take place far and wide, from the 1 for All campaign's #FreeToTweet initiative for students to a panel discussion hosted by The Knight Foundation, the First Amendment Center and 1 for All. Students age 14 to 22 can wish "Bill" a happy birthday on Twitter and be eligible to win one of 22 $5,000 scholarships. Learn more at

LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. Last week, several staffers at the AP were scolded for violating a certain company policy. What was the policy, and how did they violate it?

Answer: The staffers were scolded for tweeting news about AP journalists' arrests at Occupy protests before the AP had officially broken the news, in violation of new company policy about breaking news. Read more here.

And the winner is... Doug Schlatter! Doug is an almost weekly entrant in the national, prestigious and ultra-competitive SPJ Leads Quiz. Congratulations on your enviable success, Doug! An equally enviable prize has been sent direct to your doorstep.

THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. Name the third most-shared news article on Facebook in 2011 (so far).

Submit your answer to Abby Henkel.

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