By Beth King
SPJ Communications Manager
SUNSHINE DAY. SPJ is part of the Sunshine in Government Initiative, a coalition of news groups that has pushed aggressively for meaningful reform of the federal Freedom of Information Act. We have reason to be optimistic that important change in the law is forthcoming. See a summary of the Feb. 14 hearing before a U.S. House subcommittee with jurisdiction over FOIA matters, and read the testimony of veteran journalist Clark Hoyt, who explained to legislators how the act contributes mightily to an informed public.
PLEADING TO PELOSI. SPJ’s Northern California chapter sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, urging her to personally intervene to end the incarceration of independent journalist Josh Wolf, who has remained behind bars longer than any journalist in U.S. history for refusing to comply with a federal grand jury subpoena. Read the letter, then consider writing a letter to your state representative and senator to explain why a federal shield law is paramount to a free and unfettered press.
ONE STEP CLOSER. In a surprising move Tuesday, U.S. District Judge William Alsup issued a brief order to send independent journalist Josh Wolf’s case to U.S. Magistrate Joseph Spero “in the interest of reaching a resolution satisfactory to both sides.” Alsup offered no indication for what led to his actions, nor have federal prosecutors or Wolf offered any insight into whether they intend to settle.
DROP THE CHARGES, NOW! On Wednesday, the Society issued a statement in support of Ken Krayeske, a Connecticut-based freelance writer and photographer who was arrested Jan. 3 during the inaugural parade of Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell. Krayeske was standing on a street median when officers stopped him. SPJ urged Connecticut law enforcement to drop the charges against Krayeske and put an end to practices that severely undercut the First Amendment. Read more about this case on SPJ member Andy Thibault’s Cool Justice blog and in the Connecticut Post.
HELP CHART THE COURSE. SPJ's leadership has crafted six broad stretch goals to work toward over the next three to five years and we want to know what you think about them. Visit SurveyMonkey.com to read the goals and take a short survey giving your reactions. We especially want to hear your ideas about how SPJ should go about achieving the goals. Tell us about that great idea that you've had percolating. The survey will remain open through February. If you missed the story about this in the January/February issue of Quill, read it online.
SPRING TRAINING. Make plans now to attend a SPJ Spring Conference in your area. These daylong professional development meetings bring journalists together to hear from industry experts on topics ranging from improving writing to leveraging technology in today’s new media climate. Networking opportunities can help build relationships that lead to the sharing of best practices in newsrooms. Enhance yourself and your journalism career.
GOT NARRATION? The best journalism connects with people at an emotional level. Learn the art of narrative writing — and how to get it done on deadline — from master storytellers, including Pulitzer Prize winners Tom Hallman, Jr. and Rick Bragg, at a unique workshop presented by SPJ, The University of Alabama, The Anniston Star and The Teaching Newspaper (Knight Fellows in Community Journalism).
SOME COOL GIGS. SPJ is currently accepting applications for summer internships in Indianapolis and Washington, D.C. Two students will be selected for the Pulliam-Kilgore Freedom of Information internships and another opportunity is available in Indianapolis for the Archibald Communications intern. Application deadlines are March 15 for the Pulliam-Kilgore internships and March 23 for the Archibald Communications internship. newspaper. COMPLETE DETAILS AND APPLICATIONS: Visit SPJ’s Web site.
ANOTHER COOL GIG…ON CAPITOL HILL. SPJ will select 12 students to be a part of The Working Press, a daily newspaper to be published during the 2007 SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference from Oct. 4-7 in Washington, D.C. Interns will receive complementary convention registration, most meals and hotel stay. DEADLINE: April 17. MORE INFORMATION: Contact Joe Skeel at (317) 927-8000, ext. 214 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
GET A JOB. A freelance writer is wanted in Colorado. Entry-level journalists are needed in Massachusetts. There’s a television production gig open in New York. Find these and many exciting opportunities on SPJ’s online job bank. Log on today with your SPJ username and password. Then, watch your career take flight.
GET TRAINING. SPJ and many of the country's leading journalism organizations have joined together to help you find training at JournalismTraining.org . Whether you want to improve your writing skills, learn more about convergence, investigate resources for your reporting beat, or catch up with other designers at an infographics quick course, you’ll find hundreds of classes and seminars from scores of recognized organizations. Search by topic, date or location. Or use the advanced search feature to create a more specific search.
PROMOTE YOURSELF. SPJ’s new freelancer datatabase — now in the testing stages — allows freelancers to enter contact information, provide details about their professional specialties and link hiring editors to examples of their work. The cost to showcase your work? Nada. Zilch. Nothing. It’s FREE! And it’s open to all SPJ members. Enter your information today.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNALISM. The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting funds international travel costs associated with reporting projects on topics and regions of global importance, with an emphasis on issues that have gone unreported or under-reported in the mainstream American media. Print and broadcast journalists can apply for grants ranging from $3,000 to $20,000. Journalists on staff at print or broadcast outlets, as well as freelancers, are eligible for support, so long as proposed projects include a credible plan for distribution in the American mainstream media. DEADLINE: Rolling. MORE INFORMATION: Visit the Pulitzer Center Web site.
JOURNALISM DOWN UNDER? Science journalists and editors worldwide are invited to participate in the 5th World Conference of Science Journalists. Sponsored by the World Federation of Science Journalists, the conference will be hosted by the Australian Science Communicators in partnership with the Australasian Medical Writers Association. Seminars on climate change, emerging diseases, science and religion, science and politics, technology and Internet, as well as exploring the impact of science on all aspects of societies, will be covered. WHEN: April 17-20, Melbourne, Australia. MORE INFORMATION: Contact Sarah Brooker at email@example.com or visit the Conference Web site.
LES WAS MORE. Les Brownlee was the first African American inducted into SPJ (it was then known as Sigma Delta Chi). He joined the Society in 1947 while earning his master's degree from Northwestern University. Brownlee went on to break down color barriers in several Chicago newsrooms and earn the profound respect of his colleagues. He died in November 2005 at age 90 — but not before writing his recently released autobiography, Les Brownlee: The Autobiography of a Pioneering African-American Journalist. Looking for inspiration, wisdom and a healthy dose of humor? You'll find them all in this book.
HELEN THOMAS IS THE BOMB. Or so says SPJ President Christine Tatum, who fondly recalls some of her brief encounters with the legendary White House reporter. Thomas recently was honored with a lifetime achievement award from the Washington Press Club Foundation. SPJ gave Thomas a lifetime achievement award in 2000 and named the accolade after her. Consider nominating someone for the Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award. The nomination deadline is March 15.
And while we're thinking about it, congrats to SPJ member Meredith Lane of Lexington, Ky., a WLEX-TV reporter who worked with WLEX photographer Bill Wilcox on a story landing a first-place regional award for spot news from the National Press Photographers Association.
NEWSPAPERWOMEN PAST AND PRESENT. SPJ encourages you to participate in an online survey about job satisfaction among women who work at a newspaper or have worked at one. A doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin is conducting a study about what motivates newspaperwomen to leave their jobs and will share the project’s results with SPJ in April. To qualify, you need to have worked in the editorial department of a U.S. newspaper in the past five years but no longer work at that specific job. The survey will ask you to register with your name and e-mail address, but it is only to verify you have agreed to participate. All responses will be kept confidential and each survey receives a coded number. The survey period lasts through March 10, so hurry to be included! For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.