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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > NorCal triumph; the best meeting minutes ever

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SPJ Leads | 12/14/2011
NorCal triumph; the best meeting minutes ever

By Abby Henkel, SPJ Communications Department


CHAPTER HELPS ARRESTED CARTOONIST. Thanks to work by SPJ's Northern California Pro chapter, cartoonist Susie Cagle was cleared of all charges following her arrest at the Occupy Oakland protest last month. Cagle credits the chapter's letter to Oakland police chief Howard Jordan as the impetus that led to her charges being dropped. "Not the massive amount of media I did afterwards, or my tell-all article shared hundreds of times it had to come directly across their desk."

GET PAID! SUMMER INTERNSHIPS WITH SPJ. SPJ's Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information Internships are incredible ways to spend your summer. One intern works at SPJ headquarters in Indianapolis while the second works with SPJ's First Amendment legal counsel in Washington, D.C. The internships expose students to freedom of information issues, advocacy efforts, journalism-related legislation and a variety of other SPJ programs and initiatives. Get hands-on experience that is sure to boost your resume. Apply soon!

The application deadline is Jan. 16, 2012.

Oh, did we mention they're paid? That's right you receive money in exchange for your hard work and skills. How 'bout that? Interesting concept.

Note: The Indianapolis position is best suited for current or recently graduated undergraduate or graduate students in journalism or a related discipline. The D.C. position is best for current law students with a background in or knowledge of journalism and First Amendment issues.

If you know students who should apply, let them know! SPJ membership and experience is helpful but not required.

For questions, email Scott Leadingham.

COLUMBIA SINGS MEETING MINUTES. Just when you thought meeting minutes couldn't get even more exciting, news has surfaced that the Columbia J-School SPJ chapter sings and records its meeting minutes for all to enjoy. Watch all the videos here, with themes like "Don't believe everything you read," Thanksgiving family band, and a barbershop quartet.

In an effort to understand the artistic genius responsible for these anything-but-average music videos, Region 3 Director Mike Koretzky asked the team some probing questions. Read their answers on the Blue Sky Blog.

VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH. Anna Pratt of the Minnesota Pro chapter is SPJ's volunteer of the month for December. Anna has distinguished herself as a volunteer on several fronts, serving both as chairperson of the chapter's programming committee and as a member of the national programming committee.

"Anna's willingness to serve whether on the national or local level made her a clear candidate for this month's honor," national president John Ensslin said.

She was nominated by Region 6 Director Amanda Theisen. Here's what Amanda said:

"Anna has brought tremendous drive, creativity, and passion to the Minnesota SPJ board since she was elected last year. In that time, she has assumed many responsibilities, including chairing our programming committee and working closely with other board members to come up with programs that are fun and informative for our members. She is really growing into her role on the board and is becoming an outstanding SPJ member and leader."

Do you know someone who is doing outstanding volunteer work on behalf of SPJ? Email a nomination to John Ensslin at

NEW AMERICA AWARD. The New America Award from SPJ honors public service journalism that explores and exposes an issue of importance to immigrant or ethnic communities living in the United States. There is no fee to enter; the deadline is Feb. 9, 2012. Read about last year's winner, "Civil War Kids: Young Somalis in Minnesota," a series by Minnesota Public Radio News.

For more information, including rules and guidelines, click here.

PROGRAM IDEA OF THE WEEK. Become a Multimedia Guru Program: New York Deadline Club

This is a day-long event broken into hour-long sessions for each speaker. Speakers can be recruited from local journalism and multimedia organizations, universities and learning centers that teach classes on topics covered at the event, and members' contacts. Attendees can pay per session or receive a discount for attending the entire day of events. A classroom is a great place to hold the event; make sure to have desks, Wi-Fi and audio-visual technology. If you are renting the space, include an extra hour before and after for set-up and clean-up. Publicize the event to local journalism groups, SPJ members, and students and alumni at area colleges. Contact: Tricia Couture,

JOIN GEN J FOR A TWITTER CHAT. The @SPJGenerationJ Committee is hosting a Twitter chat "Man on the Tweet" Monday, Dec. 19 at 9 p.m. ET. You and your colleagues are invited to join the chat using the hashtag #GenJ. Man on the Tweet will be a place where you and your friends can chat with the committee twice a month about issues facing young journalists. The committee will start by posing ten questions, but the discussion will go wherever participants lead it. Chats will last at least an hour, and will be compiled in Storify for later reference.

Read more about the Gen J Committee. Information about "Man on the Tweet" is on the Gen J blog.

GIFT IDEAS FOR A JOURNALIST. SPJ's own Tara Puckey has come up with a fabulous list of unique gifts for lovable journalists. Peruse the list that includes Guardian-themed oven mitts, smartphone-friendly gloves and an all-weather notebook. Then accidentally leave the page open on your home computer for a family member to see.

SPJ BLOGS UPDATE. The week has been full of deep insights and helpful advice that you can find only on the SPJ blogs network. Check out some of the latest updates:

12 days of Christmas: Journo Style by Gen J Committee member Tara Puckey
Why I'm a member: Two reasons from SPJ President John Ensslin
Feature on the fifth: An interview with SPJ member Steven Wyble
Maine and D.C. officials aim to hide communications; Calif. opens more records from SPJ Communications Coordinator Abby Henkel
Judge: Oregon shield law doesn't cover blogger in defamation suit by Abby Henkel

IMMIGRATION REPORTING PROGRAM. The Institute for Justice and Journalism is accepting applications for its 2012 professional fellowship program, which will examine the contentious immigration issues playing out across the country on local, state and federal levels and their role in the 2012 election campaign.

The program, "Immigration in the Heartland: the 2012 Elections and Beyond," will provide journalists with facts, figures and perspectives to move beyond the typical campaign rhetoric on immigration. It also will examine the anticipated electoral affects of immigrants who have become newly eligible to vote.

It will take place April 20-25 at the University of Oklahoma's Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication and its Institute for Research and Training, which are partnering with IJJ in this program.

The application deadline is Jan. 17. Click here for program details and and application form.Questions may be directed to The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation is the program's funder.

TWEET, ENTER CONTEST FOR $5K SCHOLARSHIP. On Thursday, Dec. 15, to celebrate the 220th anniversary of the Bill of Rights and particularly the First Amendment, students nationwide are invited to tweet how they enjoy their right to free expression and be entered to win one of 22 $5,000 scholarships.

Celebrities such as Ke$ha, Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Frankie Ballard, Joe Nichols, Wynonna Judd, Darius Rucker, John Oates, Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Civil Wars, Sarah Jarosz, Elenowen, Jana Kramer and Joanna Smith, along with educators, reporters, and other Americans nationwide, will be tweeting to support the #FreeToTweet initiative.

Bill of Rights Day was first established by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1941, but the holiday declaration was largely forgotten. "Free to Tweet" encourages students to join in reinvigorating national celebration of Bill of Rights Day by expressing their appreciation for the First Amendment on social media (and a chance to win $5K). Judging criteria and complete rules can be found at

LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. A corporate/non-profit news partnership was announced this week. Name the major news organization that will be partnering with these non-profit news outlets.

Answer: NBC announced that it will be partnering with ten nonprofit news ventures.

And the winner is... Angela Frazier, a student at Loyola University in Chicago. Congratulations, Angela! Despite your undoubtedly hectic finals schedule, you managed to correctly answer the most difficult question of all your final exams. Expect your due reward any day now.

THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. Name the self-identified "investigative blogger" who recently received an unfavorable ruling in a defamation case.

Submit your answer to Abby Henkel.

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