By Pierce Presley
SPJ member, Underemployed journalist,
once and future j-student, raconteur, misfit
MASSACRE AND THE MEDIA. Monday’s shootings on the campus of Virginia Tech University were devastating and horrific. Our hearts reach out to the victims and their families during this difficult time. SPJ President Christine Tatum offers considerations for members of the media as they work to cover this tragedy.
CELEBRATE ETHICS. As our society enters into one of its great festivals, Ethics in Journalism Week, where we celebrate our eschewing of the things that makes fat cats fat, let us look to the events where we can reaffirm our commitment to our Society and its code. Aw, man.
FIRST, DO NO HARM. The Central Ohio Pro chapter gets a jump on our society’s annual celebration of St. Prim the Proper, who never took a gift of more than nominal value nor allowed a source to pick up a check, as it holds a dinner and seminar called “Minimize Harm: The SPJ Code of Ethics.” When: TONIGHT, 6 p.m. Where: Radisson Worthington Hotel, 7007 North High Street (southwest corner of Wilson Bridge Road and High St.) in Columbus, Ohio. Cost: $12.50. More information: Call Mike Lorz at (614) 443-1877.
POST-SCOOTER SOURCING. The Greater Los Angeles Pro chapter will honor St. Deep Throat of the Parking Garage as it offers “After Scooter: Confidential Sources — Endangered Species or Already Extinct?” Panelists are L.A. Times investigative reporters Matt Lait and Scott Glover, Fox 11 News politics and government correspondent John Schwada, media attorney Kelli Sager and Joel Bellman, press deputy for L.A. County Board of Supervisors and Chairman Zev Yaroslavsky (wonder which one has been a confidential source?). When: April 25. Cost: $39 for SPJ members and students, $45 for non-members. Reservations should be made by April 20. More information: Call (323) 259-3350.
MORE PROPER EVENTS. Can’t jet set to Los Angeles or Columbus next week? Consider attending an Ethics in Journalism Week program in your area.
THE MAIN EVENT. SPJ’s national board of directors and the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation’s board of directors will meet in Indianapolis May 18-20 to discuss Society business. Have an item to add to the agenda? Contact Christine Tatum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
YOU GOTTA PROBLEM WIT DAT? If you think Vinnie of Da Sopranos is a saint, the National Italian American Foundation wants to have a talk with you at its Graduates to Leaders Workshop in Communications. The all-expenses-paid program will give students of Italian heritage an insider’s view into the communications field and a chance to meet with some of today’s most experienced Italian American media personalities. When: June 10-12 in New York City. Deadline: April 20. More information: Visit The Italian American Festival Web site.
NONPROFIT MONEY: NOT AN OXYMORON. The Foundation for American Communication will celebrate St. Engio of Filanthropi at a three-day seminar for journalists on covering the massive nonprofit sector titled “The Hidden Economy: Nonprofits and the Philanthropic Sector.” The seminar is funded largely by a McCormick Tribune Foundation Grant and covers most meals, lodging and up to $300 of travel. When: May 16-18 at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, Ill. Deadline: April 26. More information: Go to The FACS Web site or call Jamie Bray, program associate, at (626) 584-0010.
WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST, AGAIN. Michigan State University will host a celebration of St. Ernie of the Pyles as Anthony Shadid, Middle East correspondent for the Washington Post, delivers a lecture titled “Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine: Patterns of War and Peace in the Middle East.” Shadid won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for his Iraq War coverage. When: April 23. More information, contact Alane Enyart at (517) 355-3277.
WAR, HUH? GOOD GAWD, Y’ALL, WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR? Bill Moyers isn’t a saint — we’re sticklers for rules around here, and he’s still alive and no miracles have been attested to him, PBS’s continued existence notwithstanding — but we hear he’s on the fast track, and he’s got a new documentary coming out, “Buying the War” on PBS. It looks at the role of the press in the lead up to the Iraq War. The University of Missouri and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication is honoring pre-saint Bill of PBS with an advanced screening of part of the documentary and a discussion with producer Kathy Hughes and McClatchy D.C. Bureau Chief John Walcott. SPJ Member and former Freedom of Information Chairman Charles Davis will lead the discussion. When: April 25. Where: Columbia, Mo. More information: Contact Diane Domondon at (212) 560-8530.
FREELANCE OPTIONS. SPJ Communications Manager Beth King is scheduled to show off the Society's new Freelancer Directory this weekend at the national conference of the American Society of Journalists and Authors in New York. If you’re going to be there, stop by the Idea Marketplace and say Hi. Beth will show you how to register for this great tool so that you can let it start working for you.
WRITING, A BUSINESS? YOU DON’T SAY! In honor of St. Aggie of College Station, the Brazos Writers are conducting a mini-conference in Bryan/College Station, Texas, on “This Business of Writing,” featuring author and writing consultant Helen Ginger. Attendees will also have to opportunity to pitch ideas at agents Mike and Susan Farris. When: May 25 and 26. More information:Visit the Brazos Writers Web site.
A COOL GIG…ON CAPITOL HILL. The Society will select 12 students to be part of The Working Press, a daily newspaper that will cover the 2007 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference from Oct. 4-7 in Washington, D.C. Interns receive a complimentary convention registration, some paid meals and a hotel room. Deadline: May 4. More information: Contact Joe Skeel at (317) 927-8000, ext. 214 or email@example.com.
HONOR THE FIRST, ATTEND THE CONVETION FOR FREE. Student members who have remembered St. Gabby of Indy and her devotion to the First Amendment may apply for the Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment Award, a $500 prize to be used for attending the 2007 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference in Washington, D.C., Oct. 4-7 (St. Gabby was gregarious, but very specific). Deadline: May 17. More information: Contact Heather Porter at (317) 927-8000, ext. 204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUPPORT SORRELL AND STUDENT JOURNALISTS! Also on St. Gabby’s agenda is the plight of those protecting the least of her flock, including Amy Sorrell, a suspended high school journalism teacher at Woodlan Junior-Senior High School in Woodburn, Ind. Amy’s surely high on Gabby’s list these days as she’s facing contract termination for a host of alleged violations stemming from a student column in the school newspaper questioning intolerance toward homosexuals. She has a public hearing scheduled for April 28 and the East Allen County Schools board will vote on terminating her contract, May 1. Show support however you can.
PRIVACY AND SOURCES. Dr. Steven Hatfill, the scientist who was labeled a “person of interest” in connection with the deadly anthrax mailings in 2001, is now suing the federal government for invasion of privacy. As the court battle looms, journalists could face jail time and news organizations could be forced to pay significant fines if lawyers representing Hatfill demand the names of confidential sources used in related news stories. Sigma Delta Chi board member Jane Kirtley, who is the Director of the Silha Center at the University of Minnesota, offered her thoughts in a story published yesterday in the New York Sun.