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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > A salute to freelance journalists

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SPJ Leads | 2/13/2013
A salute to freelance journalists

By Christine DiGangi, SPJ Communications Department



Happy National Freelance Writers Appreciation Week! Take this as an opportunity to read a blog post from the Independent Journalist, enjoy the freelance section of or familiarize yourself with SPJ's Freelancer Directory. We'd love to feature some freelancers' work spaces on Desk Love, too.

Another fun fact: Today is World Radio Day 2013.


Friday is the deadline to apply for SPJ's Yearlong Postgraduate Communications Internship. This full-time, paid (with benefits) position is a great opportunity for those interested in journalism and communications, and it's a chance to improve professional skills.

Visit the website to read the details and apply for the position. If you have questions, contact SPJ HQ at 317.927.8000 or email Tara Puckey.


If you have encountered a person or organization that deliberately obstructed access to public information, nominate them for the Black Hole Award. The "honor," awarded by SPJ's Freedom of Information Committee, highlights heinous violations of the public's right to know.

The deadline for nominations is Monday, Feb. 18. The committee welcomes nominations from local SPJ chapters, SPJ members, other journalists and private citizens, and the recipient(s) will be announced during Sunshine Week, March 10 to 16. Nomination criteria are available online, and nominations should be emailed to Mike Farrell of the FOI Committee.


SPJ President Sonny Albarado and President-elect Dave Cuillier wrote to the J-school dean at Florida A&M University and expressed concern about the school's treatment of student journalists. Following a libel suit against the university and the student newspaper, The Famuan, the paper was suspended and students were told to reapply for their jobs. The editor-in-chief was not rehired, supposedly because of his dedication to holding the administration accountable through reporting. Read more about the controversy on SPJ's Region 3 blog.

Albarado and Cuillier wrote dean Ann Kimbrough and said the hiring decision came across as a First Amendment violation and could set a precedent for future restriction of press freedom. Read the letter on SPJ's website.


There's less than one week to register for the training event in Cleveland, "Writing That Works Online/Follow the Noise." SPJ members can attend for $15, and the nonmember cost is $25. Click here to register.

The Cleveland Pro Chapter hosts the event Saturday, Feb. 23 at the DoubleTree Cleveland Downtown. Two sessions will be presented by Jeff Cutler, the first of which will focus on online writing, the second on becoming a better listener. The deadline to register is February 19.


The January/February issue of Quill magazine is out, and we hope you've enjoyed the content. If you haven't had a chance to browse yet, take a look at the articles online, which cover the work-life balance, data visualization and tools for your everyday journalist's life.


If you haven't registered for the SPJ Spring Conference in your region, take a look at the schedule and find out what your local event has to offer. These gatherings serve as fantastic networking and professional-development opportunities. It's always a smart idea to invest in your career.


Here is a short list of some awards, contests and fellowships with approaching deadlines, FYI:

News Challenge on open government from the Knight Foundation

New York Times Institute on Immigration Reporting by UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

Looking@Democracy: A national contest for creative media pieces about strengthening American democracy

Energy of Words Media Award for energy journalists

JOURNALISM IN COLOR SURVEY is conducting a race and media survey until Feb. 14, and it "aims to shed light on how modern day politics and race relations affect journalists working in mainstream media."

Media professionals interested in taking the online survey can access it by clicking this link.


Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism will host its annual Schuneman Symposium on Photojournalism & New Media from Feb. 25 to 26. The topic is why excellence in journalism still matters.

All events are free and open to the public, and further information on the symposium can be found online.


When did SPJ start giving awards for professional journalism?

Answer: It seems we're in need of a staff historian. The history timeline says 1935, but the Sigma Delta Chi Awards site says they started in 1932. Because we received both responses, we'll have a 1932 winner and a 1935 winner.

The winners are ... Irwin Gratz (1932) and Chona Montesine-Sonido. Irwin is a past national president of SPJ and is the "Morning Edition" producer for Maine Public Broadcasting. Chona is the publisher and managing editor for the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle. Prizes are traveling to your (complete opposite) parts of the country!


Who broke the story of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation and how?

Submit your answer to Christine DiGangi.

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