By Christine Tatum
Assistant Business Editor, The Denver Post
FEDS FALL DOWN. Former journalist and federal prosecutor Ty Clevenger filed an FOI request concerning President Clinton’s DNA (as recovered from a blue dress bought at the Gap) and, in the process, made a few interesting discoveries.
NOT JUST FOR PETE’S SAKE. “What’s important to remember and to explain to the American people is that leaking serves to level the Washington playing field, which would otherwise be even more heavily slanted in favor of any incumbent administration,” former Miami Herald Managing Editor Pete Weitzel recently told SPJ members in Fort Worth. Weitzel is now coordinator of the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government, which SPJ supports.
MEDIA = AL-QAEDA? The U.S. Army’s new Operations Security regulations, obtained by Wired News, are specifically designed to make journalists’ jobs much more difficult and to clamp down on soldiers’ free speech. Wired also has posted screen shots of an Army Web site that categorizes “the media” alongside drug cartels, war lords and Al-Qaeda.
COVERT OPS. The House Intelligence Committee disclosed in a recently released report on the 2008 intelligence authorization bill that U.S. intelligence recently undertook a “significant” covert action without notifying Congress as required by law. Read more perspective from the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy.
GET MAD, GET BUSY. Help SPJ champion the free flow of public information. Contact National FOI Committee Chairman Joel Campbell to volunteer your services today.
EQUAL ACCESS, PLEASE! For the fourth straight year, the World Health Organization has refused to accredit Taiwanese journalists for press access to the upcoming 60th World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva. Expressing dismay, SPJ President Christine Tatum sent a letter to the Honorable Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the United Nations. The letter asked that the UN return to its original policy of providing access to all journalists regardless of origin or organization.
EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS! Please, please, please skip your usual double, nonfat, no-whip vanilla latte this week to make a donation to the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation. Every new or increased gift made by May 31 will be matched 50 percent by the Challenge Fund for Journalism. Our goal is to raise $100,000 – which would result in $150,000 to help us continue improving and protecting journalism. It is super simple and takes only a few minutes to make a donation online. Check out just one way your contribution could make a difference.
ONE RINGY-DINGY. SPJ member and Denver Post Business Reporter Kelly Yamanouchi explains what journalists should consider before recording phone interviews – particularly if those interviews involve sources in states with laws that require the consent of all parties.
BITE O’ THE APPLE. Connect with Mac users wanting to know more about effective ways to use their machines on the job.
GOT ETHICS? Are journalism ethics different for editors and reporters? Why do photographers digitally alter images when they know it’s unethical? Is shock jock Don Imus “a white man who forgets his place?” Join the debate – and encourage your friends not working in journalism to do the same. We want to hear from everyone on, the blog produced by SPJ’s national ethics committee.
AL JAZEERA IN AMERICA. The Arabic news channel and its English-language sister network bearing the same name are shaking up the global media scene. SPJ International Journalism Committee member Ronnie Lovler, a former CNN bureau chief and correspondent in Latin America, gives an insightful look at Al Jazeera and explains why the network so far hasn’t found much free speech in America.
YOU HAVE IT RELATIVELY EASY. In many countries, journalists are murdered routinely. Jeff South explains what you can do to support journalists working in places where the press isn’t free. Check out other ideas for supporting international journalists on SPJ President Christine Tatum’s blog, Freedom of the Prez. Interested in spearheading a project? Contact International Journalism Committee Chairman Alan Kania at email@example.com.
JOIN US IN D.C. The 2007 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference is coming up Oct. 4-7 in the capital city! Get preliminary details, and plan now to be there. Lodging at SPJ’s special rate is likely to go quickly, so make your reservations today.
SPEAKING OF D.C. SPJ President Christine Tatum will be traveling to the Hill June 12-13 to speak with legislators about the need for a federal shield law.
CELEBRATE DIVERSITY. The Western Washington Pro chapter and the University of Washington student chapter will host “A Conversation with Bryan Monroe,” president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). Monroe, editor in charge of Ebony and Jet magazines, will be accepting an award as a distinguished alumnus of the University of Washington, where he was the first African-American editor of The Daily student newspaper. Where: The Seattle Times auditorium. When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 16. More information: Visit The Western Washington Pro Web site.
GRAND OPENING! SPJ’s Pittsburgh Pro chapter will present a workshop on Pennsylvania’s open records law. When: 9 a.m.-Noon, June 2. Where: The University of Pittsburgh’s William Pitt Student Union Cost: $10. Checks should be sent to Ginny Frizzi, Office of Media Relations, Point Park University, 201 Wood St., Pittsburgh, PA 15222 Contact: (412) 392-3987 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CONGRATS! SPJ’s Connecticut pro chapter has named the Connecticut Network the winner of the 2007 Helen M. Loy Award for excellence in opening government to the state’s citizens. Read more.
GIVE WELL. Don’t forget Mother’s Day – or the journalism graduates in your life. Check out plenty of gift ideas for the newsies (and mothers of newsies) in your life.