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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > Protecting the First Amendment and announcing award winners

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SPJ Leads | 8/15/2012
Protecting the First Amendment and announcing award winners

By Christine DiGangi, SPJ Communications Department



Journalists need access to public records and proceedings in order to serve the community and hold the government accountable. The Legal Defense Fund supports journalists who encounter obstacles in pursuit of public information, and the LDF auction raises money to make this possible.

Friday is the last day to donate an item to this year's auction. In the past, we have auctioned handmade goods, coaching sessions, collectibles and regional goodies. Any contribution, regardless of size, is a help to this important fund, and we know its cause is important to you. Contact Christine DiGangi at or (317) 927-8000 ext. 205 to donate something.

Need ideas? Check out the auction's Web page. Have something ready? Fill out this donation form and send your item along. You can read about the LDF's work here.


The Society of Professional Journalists has announced the recipients of three awards in the last week. Each honoree has demonstrated passion for ethical, informative journalism, and SPJ is happy to recognize these individuals for their accomplishments:

Sandra Shea, the page editor of the Philadelphia Daily News, received the Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship for Editorial Writing. With the $75,000 award, she plans to research poverty in the U.S. and give the poor the training and technology necessary to tell their stories. Read more.

The Fellows of the Society award is the highest honor SPJ gives to non-members. This year, DeWayne Wickham and Bob Edwards have been named Fellows. Wickham, a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists, directs the communications department and Morgan State University in Baltimore, and Edwards, a member of the national Radio Hall of Fame and 25-year host of NPR's "Morning Edition," hosts two shows on Sirius XM Radio. Edwards will speak at the President's Installation Banquet at Excellence in Journalism 2012 in Ft. Lauderdale on Sept. 22. Read more.

Mitch Eden of Kirkwood High School in Kirkwood, Mo. received the Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award.  Eden advises the school's Pioneer yearbook and The Call newspaper, both of which have earned several awards under his watch. Read more.

Eden, Wickham and Edwards will be recognized at EIJ12 in Ft. Lauderdale, and Shea will be honored at the Association of Opinion Journalists Convention in Orlando on Sept. 22.


We want to say thank you to all conference sponsors for their support. Sponsors include: CNN Newsource, Google, Knight Foundation, The Associated Press, SAG-AFTRA, GEICO, Scripps Howard Foundation, ABC News, Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation and Broadcast Education Association.


As digital journalism evolves, journalists must maintain their knowledge of and expand their skills with social media. Programming at EIJ12 has it covered. Explore these breakout sessions:

Leading a Social Media Revolution in Your Newsroom will help leaders set goals for increasing traffic and engagement through social media and, most important, discuss best practices as a way to achieve these goals.

SEO for Journalists. Learn to implement SEO without sounding robotic.

Google 101 for Journalists will show journalists how to get the most out of Internet resources for reporting and keeping tabs on current events.


The SPJ Blog Network has generated a lot of inspirational and resourceful content in the last few weeks.

Freelancers should check out The Independent Journalist for tips and a nudge to get moving on freelance work. Journalists from all backgrounds will find something to smile about in the "Why I Love My Job" series on First Draft, the blog from the Generation J Committee. And several of our members attended the UNITY conference in Las Vegas, and their experiences are featured on Who's News, the diversity blog.


We are very excited about Excellence in Journalism 2012. That's no secret. We want you to share your excitement, too, so post to Twitter with the #EIJ12 tag, leave messages on the conference's Facebook page, and connect with SPJ (@spj_tweets) and the Radio Television Digital News Association (@rtdna) to stay updated on the conference.

It's beach-and-journalism time in 36 days!


SPJ President John Ensslin will conduct a virtual town hall with members of Region 4 on Thursday, Aug. 16, at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The meeting is an opportunity to talk with John and regional leaders about issues journalists face and the state of the industry. To participate, email John for a link to the platform.


Free Press, the International News Safety Institute and Digital Media Law Project are hosting two webinars on covering events amid protests. The webinars will focus on covering the Democratic and Republican national conventions and are this and next Thursday, Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 23 at 8 p.m. Join the conversation to hear tips on how to maintain your safety while working near conflict.


What university plans to remove racks of the student newspaper from campus this month? (Apologies and thanks to those of you who pointed out the typo in last week's message.)

Answer: The University of Florida. Read an editorial on the matter by the staff of the Alligator.

And the winner is ... Kate Feldman. Kate attends UF and has worked for the Alligator. She spent the summer working for the Palm Harbor Beacon and Creative Loafing in Tampa.


What publication has announced it will publish work from Jonah Lehrer?

Submit your answer to Christine DiGangi.

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