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By Pierce Presley
SPJ member, Underemployed journalist, once and future j-student, raconteur, misfit
SUNSHINY DAY. The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved the Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 2007, which stand to be the most comprehensive reform of the act in more than a decade. In addition, a bipartisan-backed Senate version of the reform bill – which mirrors the House proposal, lobbyists say – has been introduced. SPJ National President Christine Tatum drummed up awareness of, and support for, FOIA reform with a column that appeared in more than 50 newspapers nationwide, including the Chicago Sun-Times, The Denver Post, The Detroit News, the San Diego Union-Tribune and The (Wilmington, N.C.) Star-News. Tatum will be talking about FOI on KPFK-90.7 FM tomorrow between 7 and 8 a.m. Pacific time.
THEY’RE BRIGHT IN MINNESOTA. SPJ’s Minnesota pro chapter has teamed with 20 other media organizations to mount a campaign aimed at overturning a three-decade ban on cameras and other electronic media devices in courtrooms. The organizations are petitioning the state Supreme Court to overturn a rule that allows any party to prohibit recording.
SUNSHINY WEEK. Um, make that Sunshine Week. Learn more about it – and know it’s not too late for you to observe it.
FRIENDS IN KOREA. Quill Editor Joe Skeel and National Director Kevin Smith are representing SPJ at a special conference hosted by The Journalists Association of Korea and the International Federation of Journalists. The conference is aimed at “Peace and Reconciliation of the Korean Peninsula” and is being held in both South Korea and North Korea. Check out Joe and Kevin’s travel diary -- which includes an interesting exchange with South Korea’s former president, Dr. Kim Dae-jung.
DEADLY ENDEAVOR. Get a close-up look at what it takes to ply the trade in Russia, the third most dangerous country for journalists, as Miami (Ohio) University presents “Russian Journalism under Fire” on April 2-3. Find info online, or by calling 513-529-5893.
HEAD FOR THE HILLS! Of Japan and South Korea, that is. The Roy W. Howard Collegiate Reporting Award contest could send you, yes you, full-time undergrad student, on a 13-day international study tour of Japan and South Korea. The idea is to combine journalism education with learning about the history, culture and modern life in these two countries. Visit Samsung in Seoul, and peek at the latest tech. Go from Tokyo to Kyoto via Mt. Fuji on the bullet train. Postmark deadline: March 31. More info: Visit the Scripps Howard Foundation Web site or call 1-800-888-3000 x3030.
Want to draw attention to journalism in other parts of the world? Consider assisting SPJ’s International Journalism Committee. Contact Christine Tatum at email@example.com for details.
HEAD TO INDIANAPOLIS. The Ted Scripps Leadership Institute offers student and professional chapter leaders a mix of sessions focused on interpersonal and organizational leadership skills and sound chapter management practices. This all-expenses-paid, weekend retreat to Indianapolis helps to promote strong leadership in the Society. More information and an application: Visit SPJ's Web site. Applications are due tomorrow. Those who will be serving as chapter president during the 2007-08 year are strongly encouraged to apply. Questions? E-mail Chris Vachon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LIVE IN INDIANAPOLIS. For a summer, anyway. SPJ is currently accepting applications for the Archibald Communications internship. Deadline to apply is March 23. Complete details and applications: Visit SPJ’s Web site.
MULTIMEDIA WHEN YOU WANT IT. SPJ’s San Diego chapter has posted video of a recent seminar on multimedia journalism. Check it out.
POLITICS ONLINE. Campaigns and coverage are moving into new media, from YouTube political commercials to interactive contribution-tracking. The Knight New Media Center at the University of Southern California is accepting applications for an expenses-paid seminar for multimedia journalists covering the upcoming election. Deadline: March 16. More info: Visit the Knight New Media Center Web site or call 213-437-4417.
HOPPIN’ DOWN THE MONEY TRAIL. Learn how to follow the finances involved in politics from some of the industry’s best at Northwestern University’s “Money in Politics: Following the money trail in 2008 elections.” When: April 24-25. Washingtonpost.com’s Derek Willis and The New York Times’ Aron Pilhofer will explain how to cover local and state elections and 527 organizations. Optional computer-assisted reporting training available to limited numbers. Find more info online.
ON WRITING. The Hartford (Conn.) Courant and the Poynter Institute bring you the National Writer’s Workshop, April 14 & 15. Author David Baldacci, Washington Post editor Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Mizzou public affairs reporting chair Geneva Overholser and Poynter writing guru Chip Scanlan are among the experts slated to attend. Only $105 for most, $70 for full-time students. More info and registration: Visit The Courant's Web site or call 1-800-524-4242 x6502.
WANT STILL MORE TRAINING? Search for opportunities by zip code at JournaismTraining.org.
SCORE BLING. Wanted: Your best reporting on animals and other, nonfurry, subjects.
Get your work recognized by the National Press Club Awards. There are 13 categories this year, including reporting on animals, so send in your best by April 1. No entry fee. Find more info online or by calling 202-210-3071 or 202-662-7532.
Nominations are open for The National Academies Communication Awards for Excellence in Reporting and Communicating Science, Engineering and Medicine (Whew! That’s a mouthful.) The awards recognize those who have done an exemplary job of communicating technical subjects to lay audiences. Nominations are due April 15. Find more information online.
DIG DEEPER. Newly added to the Pulliam Editorial Fellowship section of SPJ.org: “Winners in Depth”, links to the work of Pulliam Fellows. First up is The Seattle Times’ Kate Riley.
NOTES ABOUT NOTES. Several journalists explain their note-keeping practices on SPJ.org.
PORN AND JOURNALISM. How do they mix? Add your 2 cents to the Soap Box on SPJ’s new Generation J section, a place for journalists early in their professional careers.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS. The deadline for the Ted Scripps Fellowships in Environmental Journalism has been extended to March 26. The nine-month fellowship includes a $46,000 stipend and lots of learning at the University of Colorado at Boulder. With more than 300 Ph.D.s working in the Boulder Valley, you might learn something. Find more info online or by calling 303-492-4114.
THE GREAT INDOORS. Well, you don’t get any more “in” than prison. Loyola University Law School is accepting applications for 35 journalists to take a four-day crash course on constitutional, civil and criminal law taught by law professors, jurists and attorneys. Fellowships cover instruction, lodging, meals and one-half of travel expenses for the June 13-17 workshop. Find more info online or call 213-736-1444.
THEY’RE REVOLUTIONIZING AGAIN. What is it about New England and revolutions, anyway? The New England News Forum is holding “The New(s) England Revolution” April 7 at U. Mass at Lowell. The forum is testing a new approach for collaboration, learning and mutual accountability among media and the public (say that three times fast). The day-long conference, while regional, is open to folks from all over. Find more info online or by calling 413-458-8001.
GIRAFFES IN D.C. What will the elephants and donkeys say? The Journalism that Matters consortium and the Media Giraffe Project will examine journalism’s future during a meeting tentatively titled, “What happens when only the journalism is left?” The April 7-9 event will look at journalism’s future as industry economics shake, bloggers cover trials, and vloggers break jail-time records for First Amendment defense.
FUN WITH REDACTING. The Sunlight Foundation has released a redacted congressional document magnetic poetry kit. Play on the foundation’s virtual fridge, and make your own black-barred beauty.