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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > A Valentine for Journalism, SPJ mentor match-up

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SPJ Leads | 2/15/2012
A Valentine for Journalism, SPJ mentor match-up

By Abby Henkel, SPJ Communications Department


A VALENTINE FOR JOURNALISM. If you've ever had the urge to send a Valentine to journalism itself, here's your chance. President John Ensslin shares a video tribute to the power of journalism on his latest Freedom of the Prez blog post. The video is called "This I Know."

A group of volunteers created this video last spring, highlighting the importance of journalism to everyone, from a high-school newspaper editor to a bartender and a law student. Rather than hire experienced actors, the people in this video "are just regular folks who happen to believe that the work we do matters," Ensslin explains.

Watch the video here. You are welcome to share it with your colleagues and friends or screen it at your next chapter meeting.

SPJ MENTOR MATCH-UP. News spreads when people connect with one another. That's also how knowledge spreads, and that's why SPJ offers a private Facebook group for journalists to connect through the SPJ Mentor Match-up. New journalists often seek the guidance of experienced journalists, but both groups have a lot to learn from each other. This group offers journalists a space to ask questions and start discussions.

The SPJ Mentor Match-up group is open to professional, post-graduate and retired members, but is not open to student members. Those interested in signing up as a mentee should complete this form. Please email Heather Dunn ( if you wish to join the group as a mentor.

RUN FOR SPJ OFFICE. The work SPJ accomplishes is made possible by incredible volunteers who step up as leaders. You can be one of those leaders. We are seeking qualified individuals to serve as officers and directors for 2012-13. To run for the national board, candidates must be national SPJ members in good standing and have demonstrated commitment to SPJ. Please review the nomination and candidacy information at

At Excellence in Journalism 2012, Sept. 20-22 in Fort Lauderdale, elections will be held for the following positions:

President-elect (elected every year)
Secretary-Treasurer (elected every year)
At-Large Director (two-year position)
Campus Adviser At-Large (two-year position)
Student Representative (two positions, elected every year)
Directors for regions 1, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9 (two-year position)

Read more about the available positions and how to nominate a colleague or yourself. While there is no deadline to declare, any candidate wishing to have his/her candidacy announced in Quill magazine must meet a late-June copy deadline. Contact Nominations Committee Chairwoman Hagit Limor and Executive Director Joe Skeel as soon as possible if you are interested. Good luck!

SPRING CONFERENCES. There's an SPJ spring conference

happening in all of SPJ's 12 regions, and registration is now open. Many conferences have an early-bird deadline, so sign up now to save money and secure your spot.

These regional conferences are day-long professional development meetings for professionals, students and journalism educators.

Click here for information on all the conferences, including dates, URLs and contact information.

SPJ NATIONAL AWARDS. SPJ's national awards honor journalists who have made significant contributions to journalism, the First Amendment and public service. We invite you to consider colleagues who might be deserving of the honors listed below. Nominations for these awards are due by March 20, 2012. There is no fee to make a nomination.

Distinguished Teaching in Journalism: Honors an outstanding journalism educator who has made a significant contribution to the profession and/or journalism education and to maintaining the highest standards of the profession.
Ethics in Journalism: Honors journalists or news organizations who perform in an outstanding ethical manner demonstrating the ideals of the SPJ Code of Ethics. It also honors especially notable efforts to educate the public on principles embodied in the code or hold journalists ethically accountable for their behavior.
Fellows of the Society: Presented to journalists for extraordinary contributions to the profession.
First Amendment Award: Recognizes individuals and groups for extraordinarily strong efforts to preserve and strengthen the First Amendment.
Historic Sites in Journalism: Honors individuals, news organizations and places of national historic journalism interest.
Sunshine Award: Recognizes individuals and groups for making important contributions in the area of open government.

Read about all SPJ awards at Please contact Lauren Rochester with questions at

VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH: BILL BLEYER. Bill Bleyer, a former SPJ regional director and longtime member of the Long Island Press Club, is SPJ's national volunteer of the month for February.

Bleyer is treasurer and past president of his chapter. He has served on their board for 30 years, making him their longest serving board member. He is also co-chairman of the 2012 Region 1 spring conference. He served on the national SPJ board as a regional director and has chaired the Membership and Resolutions committees.

Bleyer has been a staff writer at Newsday since 1981. He was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for spot news coverage of the 1997 crash of TWA Flight 800. He also has taught as an adjunct professor of communications at Hofstra University.

Region 1 Director Luther Turmelle recommended Bleyer for the honor.

"It's hard to overstate the difference that a good, reliable board member and treasurer with continuity can mean to a chapter's health and vitality," SPJ President John Ensslin said. "Having served with Bill on the Membership Committee, I also know first-hand how valuable his consistently good advice can be."

For all these reasons, SPJ is proud to honor Bill Bleyer as our volunteer of the month.

Do you know of someone deserving of this honor? If so, please email your nominations to John Ensslin at

CONGRATULATIONS, LYNN WALSH. SPJ is pleased to congratulate Lynn Walsh, Gen J Committee chairwoman and an investigative reporter for WPTV News in West Palm Beach, Fla., for being named a "30 Under 30" young professional to follow on Twitter by the Hire Me Campaign. See the full list here. And don't forget to engage with Lynn Walsh (@lwalsh) on Twitter!

Lynn's advice to college students and recent graduates: "Loving what you do is more important than anything. Seek out positions and companies you are passionate about and if it doesn't exist do not be afraid to create it."

NEW MEMBER PROFILE: JIM COOK JR.. Please welcome Jim Cook Jr., a new SPJ member and a reporter at The News of Cumberland County in Bridgeton, N.J. Cook's favorite journalist is David Carr at The New York Times, who has "such an incredible life story," Cook explains. His favorite journalism movie is "All the President's Men".

President John Ensslin asked Cook why he joined SPJ, and he responded: "I am a young reporter, I've just celebrated my one-year anniversary of working in the field last November, and I look forward to many more. There's always so many new facets to learn or refresh on, and joining SPJ I hope will further my tenacity and drive to stay in this field during these rough economic times. I joined SPJ because I'm dedicating my life to be a professional journalist, and if there's a society of us, I need to be a part of that."

ONLINE JOURNALISM SYMPOSIUM. Leaders in journalism, economics, sociology and communication studies will convene March 29-30 at The Ohio State University to discuss the economic viability of online journalism and its impact on community information needs and democracy.

A free symposium, "The Future of Online Journalism: News, Community, and Democracy in the Digital Age," will feature a keynote address from Paul Steiger, editor in chief, CEO and president of the non-profit Pulitzer Prize-winning newsroom ProPublica.

For a complete list of speakers, panel discussions, schedule and registration information, visit A webcast also will be available online.

LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. A restaurant chain recently launched a Twitter campaign about its food. That campaign quickly turned sour and was cancelled within hours. What was the chain, and what went wrong?

Answer: McDonalds' #McDStories hashtag campaign on Twitter backfired when people began posting a flood of unsavory tweets about the restaurant's food and treatment of animals. Read more here.

And the winner is... Katie Clark, a student and SPJ member at Brigham Young University. Congratulations, Katie! We fully expect your grand prize to start a (positive) international trending sensation.

THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. Which popular TV show was made a subject of some tongue-in-cheeck fact-checking this week?

Submit your answer to Abby Henkel.

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