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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > Ethics position papers, member discounts

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SPJ Leads | 12/21/2011
Ethics position papers, member discounts

By Abby Henkel, SPJ Communications Department


HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM SPJ. As we reflect on another year of SPJ, we want to thank all the members and volunteers who commit their time to journalism and to SPJ. Without you, we could not have thrown a hugely successful convention, joined national discussions on topics such as ethics and freedom of information, or brought programming to thousands of journalists. The SPJ staff would like to wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday season and a warm winter.

The SPJ offices will be closed next Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 26-27.

ETHICS POSITION PAPERS. The Ethics Committee this week released the first two in a series of position papers on journalism ethics. The papers are intended to clarify SPJ's position on specific ethical themes that frequently arise in journalism, and also to provide better guidance for journalists, academics, students and the public when consulting the SPJ Code of Ethics.

One of the papers published Monday addresses how to use the SPJ Code of Ethics, while the other paper answers questions about journalists' involvement in political activities. Papers will be released over the next several months and can be found at

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 year. Click here to make your gift online.

DISCOUNTS FOR SPJ MEMBERS. Did you know that as a member of SPJ, you are always eligible to take advantage of discounts on services from a list of companies? Click here to learn about member discounts on car rentals, office supplies and more.

PROGRAM IDEA OF THE WEEK. Paid In Exposure: Should Journalists Work For Free? Greater Charlotte Chapter

This program explores whether freelancers should work for free under certain circumstances. At a time when journalism is experiencing a digital revolution and downsizing, the independent journalist is facing more competition, in addition to the challenges of being paid and being paid well for producing good journalism. Advertise it as a brown bag luncheon and invite journalism students, SPJ members and anyone in the larger community interested in the topic. It is a great membership recruiting tool, so provide SPJ pamphlets. Invite a few freelancers as panelists and have an SPJ member moderate the discussion.

Begin by having each panelist talk about his/her journalism career and perspective on being paid. After follow-up questions from the moderator, open it up for discussion with audience members.

To see how the Greater Charlotte Chapter ran this event, view their video on YouTube.

Hints for a successful program: Building relationships between local journalists and university journalism programs has many benefits. Having a diverse group of successful independent journalists to address this topic with candor made it a great learning opportunity for the audience. It is a good recruiting tool for SPJ and an opportunity for working journalists to connect and mentor with student journalists.

EIJ 2012: PROGRAM PROPOSALS. Program proposals are due in less than two weeks for Excellence in Journalism 2012, a national conference co-presented by SPJ and RTDNA. If you have journalism expertise that you want to share, get involved with EIJ 2012 by proposing a program.

Learn more about program guidelines. Proposals are due Jan. 2.

MEMBERSHIP DUES INCREASE. If you've been putting off your membership renewal, remember that dues for members will increase Jan. 1. Professional dues raise $3 to $75; dues for students, recent graduates and retirees will raise $1.50 to $37.50. Take advantage now and save a few bucks. For questions, contact Linda Hall at 317-927-8000 ext. 200 or

JOURNALIST'S TOOLBOX UPDATES. The Journalist's Toolbox has been updated with resources for online journalism, diversity, college media and more. View the 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.

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

Answer: Crystal L. Cox was successfully sued for defamation against a financial services company. Read a report from The Seattle Weekly. You might also have fun looking up the many reactions to the case and the judge's ruling.

And the winner is... Tracy Rusch, an SPJ member and a reporter for the Catholic Herald in Milwaukee. Congratulations, Tracy! We wish you a holiday season free of $2.5 million penalties.

THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. What controversial information did the U.S. government ask scientists and newspapers to withhold this week?

Submit your answer to Abby Henkel.

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