By Beth King
The Society of Professional Journalists
JOIN THE GOOD FIGHT. Lawmakers introduced the Free Flow of Information Act to Congress yesterday in an effort to pass legislation that would protect journalists and their sources. One of those lawmakers was SPJ member John Yarmuth, D-Ky. Hear why Yarmuth continues to be a card-carrying member of SPJ and learn more about how you can support SPJ’s efforts to pass a federal shield law. Also, read about the bill’s key elements and sponsors on National President Christine Tatum’s blog.
SHIELD LAW COMMENTARY. Looking for an op-ed on the topic? Check out Tatum’s column.
MEET THE CHALLENGE. There are just a few short weeks remaining in SPJ’s Meet the Challenge campaign to raise $100,000 to support the ongoing educational programs of SPJ and the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation. As a member, your annual dues support the Society’s ongoing programs such as Quill magazine and the organization’s legal advocacy work. Through your additional charitable contributions, you help prepare student journalists for promising careers; champion a responsible press, with the highest standards of ethics; bring journalists together in their communities to learn and to challenge each other to live up to the ideals of our organization; and keep watch over the profession that remains the foundation of our democracy. Your gift today will count more than ever when it is matched by the Challenge Fund for Journalism. Learn more by writing to Julie Grimes. Join your colleagues today, and make your gift now.
L.A. OUTRAGE. The Los Angeles Pro chapter’s Board of Directors issued a statement to express dismay with the LAPD. According to the Los Angeles Times, officers used batons and riot guns against members of the media following a daylong political march and rally on Tuesday.
REPORTING ON CRIME, MINIMIZING HARM. When killers strike, they shatter families and sometimes entire communities. But the lone gunman who took 33 lives, including his own, at Virginia Tech on April 16 shocked a nation and to some degree the world. Questions swirl about the media’s handling of the Virginia Tech massacre — especially the postmortem airing of the gunman’s videos and commentary. But questions frequently are raised by victims, their families and friends about the media’s treatment of crime in general. Such questions, which go to the core of media ethics, will be addressed by the Washington, D.C. Pro chapter during a panel discussion that will be moderated by NPR’s Robert Siegel. When: 7 p.m.,Thursday, May 10, in the boardrooms of National Public Radio, 635 Massachusetts Ave., NW. The public is welcome. More information and to RSVP: Contact Robert Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LDF BASH. When Miami freelance photographer Carlos Miller was arrested for taking photos of Miami Police performing their public duties on a public street, the Society’s Legal Defense Fund came to his aid. Now, the South Florida Pro chapter is giving back by hosting a benefit that will include a silent auction, raffles and entertainment from the Ars Flores Symphony Orchestra. When: 1 to 5 p.m., May 12, at the Grace Galleries and Café, 49 N. Federal Highway in downtown Dania Beach’s arts and antique district. Cost: Free and open to the public. More information: Visit The South Florida Pro Web site.
GOT NARRATION? SPJ will host a Narrative Writing Workshop on June 9 in San Diego. SPJ members may register for $35 and non-members for $50. The daylong program will help participants reinvigorate their writing. Questions? Contact Heather Porter at email@example.com or (317) 927-8000, ext. 204.
Can’t make the San Diego workshop? Consider others occurring Saturday, June 23, in Columbia, S.C., or Saturday, July 28, in Denver.
LEGALLY SPEAKING.Defense lawyers Tom Mesereau, Mark Geragos, Harland Braun, Don Re and Enron prosecutor John Husetong will participate in panel discussions, including one on “High-Profile Trials: From Jury Selection to Managing the Media,” during an event hosted by the Fidler Institute on Criminal Justice. The event will also feature a speech by recently dismissed U.S. Attorney John McKay, who will talk about prosecutorial ethics. When: 9 a.m., May 17, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. More information and to RSVP: Contact Brian Costello at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ANCIENT SECRETS OF BUSINESS. The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Seminars for Business Journalists will conduct a special one-day seminar in Hong Kong to allow local and regional reporters to improve their journalism skills and gain valuable insights into current Chinese management practices from senior Wharton faculty members. When: May 24 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong. More information: Visit The Wharton School’s Web site.
INFOGRAPHICS QUICK COURSE. Visual communication masterminds from The New York Times, National Geographic, Newsweek magazine, The Wall Street Journal and others will convene in June for three days of intensive workshops hosted by the Michigan State University School of Journalism. When: June 3-5, Michigan State University. Registration and rates: Visit the IG Conference Web site or e-mail conference coordinator Karl Gude at email@example.com.
TOP 10 JOUNALISM BACKSLIDERS. Two Asian nations — Pakistan and Thailand — are among the top 10 countries worldwide where press freedom has deteriorated the most over the past five years, according to a new analysis by the Committee to Protect Journalists. Pakistan ranks sixth, following alarming increases in the murders and abductions of journalists. Thailand comes in 10th because of the new military government’s sweeping effort to control broadcast media. Ethiopia came in first, with the committee noting that only a handful of private newspapers now publish, all under intense self-censorship. Read the entire report and other alarming trends.
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 complementary convention registration, some paid meals and a hotel room. Deadline: May 4. More Information: Contact Joe Skeel at (317) 927-8000, ext. 214 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
GET A JOB. SPJ’s online job bank is constantly being updated with new gigs. If you’re in the market for a change, there are reporting and production openings in Florida. In California, there’s a broadcast editor vacancy. Log on today with your SPJ user name and password and get on your way to a better tomorrow. Have an opening in your organization? List it today.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE. The Towson University SPJ chapter decided to do something for students at Virginia Tech. In an email, chapter president Heidi Greenleaf said, “After the Virginia Tech incident, the Towson University chapter made and sold Virginia Tech colored ribbons and bracelets. The chapter sold out two nights in a row and raised $380, which was given to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund.” Know of a member or chapter making a difference in the lives of others? Send your stories to email@example.com.