By Christine Tatum
SPJ National President
Assistant Business Editor, The Denver Post
MORE THAN 1 BILLION SERVED. SPJ leaders have extended profound thanks to member Meiling Sze of California for helping to translate SPJ’s ethics code into two dialects of Chinese. The translations will be posted on SPJ.org soon. Sze consulted Kam Wan Li, an editor from Hong Kong, to ensure the translations’ accuracy. “Recent trips to China and Taiwan prompt me to believe that something urgent has to be done, or no one will know what decent journalism is very soon in that part of the world,” Sze wrote. “The SPJ Code of Ethics will let our colleagues who are still painstakingly maintaining their dignity know we are behind them.”
SPJ’s ethics code needs to be translated into many more languages. Take a look at the list of translations we’ve collected so far. What could you add? Contact National Ethics Committee Chairman Andy Schotz at email@example.com with your contributions.
PROJECT SUNSHINE. Journalism advocates in Tennessee have pressed successfully for greater enforcement of the state’s open-records and open-meetings laws. Gov. Phil Bredesen this month announced the funding of a new ombudsman who will be tasked with ensuring a more open state government. Former SPJ national president Frank Gibson provides an update about Bredeson’s plans and a transcript of Bredeson’s announcement about this important new initiative and five considerations to effect change in enforcing open meetings and records laws in your state.
THINK GLOBALLY. SPJ strives to inspire and equip journalists based in the United States to work abroad. Do you have useful
insight and information to share through Quill magazine and SPJ.org? Contact Quill Editor Joe Skeel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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).
HOT FOR TEACHERS. Wanted: Creative classroom and seminar presentations. Why? SPJ hopes to build a database for instructors looking for interesting ways to teach journalism. Materials can be for classes and seminars on a variety of topics for student and professional journalists. Submissions can be low-tech, high-tech (think QuickTime movies, audio recordings, PowerPoint presentations and much more ...). SPJ will award small prizes for the best submissions — and put teaching gurus’ names in lights. Send your bright ideas to National Director Sue Kopen Katcef at email@example.com.
Looking for inspiration and examples? Check out the wacky and wonderfully helpful “Stylebook Jeopardy” National Director Deb Hurley plays with students at Metro State in Denver. David Cullier, vice chairman of SPJ’s National Freedom of Information Committee and an associate professor at the University of Arizona, teaches students how and why to use FOI laws by having them research particular houses and neighborhoods.
MISSING THE POINT IN MISSOURI. SPJ leaders have sent letters urging officials of the University of Missouri-Rolla to restore funding to the campus newspaper, The Missouri Miner. The university’s student council slashed the paper’s budget by roughly half for the next academic year, leaving student editor Chris Stryker wondering about the paper’s future. Read more about the matter on National President Christine Tatum’s blog.
STOP THE MADNESS. Wendy McCaw, billionaire publisher of the Santa Barbara News-Press has launched a flurry of silly lawsuits that, in the words of one lawyer, are an attempt “by a wealthy and powerful public figure to sue its critics into silence.” Now those journalists have teamed with several lawyers to fight back. Learn more about how you can help them.
WHAT’S HAPPENING? SPJ national directors in Regions 1, 6, 9, 11 and 12 have filed reports for the month of February to update you about what’s happening in their neck of the woods. More reports will follow soon.
And some directors are blogging regularly to dispatch even more timely information to SPJ members. Check out Region 10’s blog, The X Factor, where National Director Nathan Isaacs rejoices in the purchase of coffee filters (typical Washingtonian) and recently chatted with Connie Eckard, a 50-year member of SPJ. Then hit Region 3’s blog, Southern Drawl, where National Director Holly Fisher trumpets the growth of a new SPJ student chapter at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla. Over on Region 6’s blog, Write Rite, National Director Gordon Govier urges everyone to watch PBS’ Frontline series, News War: What’s Happening to the News, and provides links to local reaction to the program.
WE’RE EASY TO FIND. We’ve made it easier for you to search SPJ.org anytime, anywhere. Find what you want in less than a minute and in three easy steps! OpenSearch is a new technology that allows Web surfers to search their favorite supported sites with ease. The best news? It’s free — and if you use either Firefox 2 or Internet Explorer 7 as your Web browser, you already have the power.
DITCH ALL THAT PAPER. SPJ chapter leaders! We’ve made your lives simpler by providing a way for you to file annual reports online.
TAKE NOTE. When invited to discuss her note-taking — and note-keeping — habits with college students, SPJ National At-Large Director Molly McDonough of the ABA Journal asked her friends in journalism about their practices. Find out what 10 of them had to say.
LEARN SOMETHING NEW. You have no excuse. SPJ offers plenty of training opportunities. Become a better journalist today.
MISS TRIAL. SPJ’s Los Angeles pro chapter will host a reception honoring veteran Associated Press courts reporter Linda Deutsch for her 40 years of scintillating trial coverage. Deutsch’s roster includes the trials of Sirhan Sirhan, Charles Manson, Patty Hearst and O.J. Simpson. When: March 14 (time TBA). Where: Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. Watch for more details.
REWARDING COLLABORATION. SPJ is currently seeking submissions for its New America Award that honors collaborative public service journalism by ethnic and mainstream media working together to explore and expose an issue of importance to immigrant or ethnic communities in the United States. Deadline: March 1. Complete details: Visit SPJ.org or contact Heather Porter, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BE HONORED. Apply now for the 2007 Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism honoring distinguished coverage of children and families. First-place winners in 14 categories receive $1,000 and participate in an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. Categories include newspapers, magazines, television, radio, photojournalism and multimedia. Work must be published or broadcast between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2006. Entries must arrive by 5 p.m. EST Thursday, March 1. Download the entry form.
BE HELPFUL. SPJ’s national office is seeking judges for the national round of the Mark of Excellence Awards, honoring work published or broadcast by collegiate journalists. Judging takes place during the month of April. Those interested in judging should forward their name, area of interest (print, broadcast or online) and a short bio containing their professional journalism experience to Heather Porter at email@example.com.
JOURNALISM ON YOUR MIND? Journalism educators will convene for “Think Invent Act” — a conversation to discuss technology, ethics and the future of journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno’s Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism. This event is part of the inaugural Journalism Week, sponsored by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation in association with The Fred W. Smith Ethics Seminar Series. Participating journalists will represent ESPN, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NBC News and the Associated Press. When: Feb. 28 - March 1. Cost: Free and open to the public. Details and Schedule: Visit The University’s Web site.
WAR TIME JOURNALISM. The Crimes of War Project, sponsored by the Chicago Tribune Foundation, invites applications for an intensive one-day training workshop for mid-career professional journalists on the laws of armed conflict and how they apply in the circumstances of contemporary warfare. When: March 28, the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. Lunch will be provided. Tuition: $100, which covers processing costs and a reception following the training. Deadline: March 9. More information: Visit The Crimes of War Project Web site.
BE AN EDITING PRO. Eight full fellowships to attend the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education’s program for copy editors are available to journalists from small- and medium-size newspapers. Fellowships include tuition, room and group meals during the six-week program and include a travel stipend. Applications are invited from journalists who work at newspapers, both print and online editions, with a circulation of 50,000 and below. When: June 1-July 12, The Reynolds School of Journalism at University of Nevada, Reno. Deadline: March 12. More information: Contact Evelyn Hsu, at (703) 620-0241 or Ehsu@maynardije.org.