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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > Take action today! Blah, blah blog, Think outside the pyramid.

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SPJ Leads | 6/14/2007
Take action today! Blah, blah blog, Think outside the pyramid.


By Stephanie M. Kanowitz
SPJ Member
Web Editor, Federal Computer Week magazine

TAKE ACTION TODAY. The House Judiciary Committee conducted a hearing in Washington D.C., today on the Free Flow of Information Act of 2007. SPJ President Christine Tatum, Past President Irwin Gratz and Executive Director Terry Harper have been visiting legislators on Capitol Hill this week to rally support for the bill. Read more about the shield-law legislation, and find out what you can do to help protect journalists everywhere.

DO YOUR PART. Help raise awareness and build momentum for this important piece of legislation by:

Contacting your local representatives today to let them know you support a federal shield law and expect they will, too. Your voice will make a difference.
—Writing stories about the importance of this bill’s passing, or encouraging your news team to draw attention to the topic. To view a quality example, check out SPJ President Christine’s Tatum’s column.
Hosting discussions in your newsroom and in your community about the need for a federal shield law.
Educating the public on the legislative process.
—Contributing to SPJ’s Federal Shield Law Campaign. Join the good fight today by calling (317) 927-8000, ext. 200.

BLOGGER BOUNCED. The NCAA revoked the press credentials of a Louisville-Courier Journal reporter because he was providing live updates from a baseball tournament game between Oklahoma State University and the University of Louisville on June 10. Read more on the LDF Shield blog.

OPENNESS PAYS OFF. Washington state will have to pay $541,000 because its Department of Corrections did not provide records to a prison watchdog newspaper when it should have. It’s the largest sum ever levied in the state for a violation of the Open Public Records Act, the newspaper’s attorney told Editor & Publisher. Get the details on the LDF Shield.

PASSING ON PASSWORD PROTECTION. The Utah County Sheriff’s Office no longer requires a password to view jail mug shots, according to the Daily Herald. Sheriff Jim Tracy had shut down access to the site on grounds of password abuse. But Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman said that under the state Government Records Access and Management Act, the records are considered public. Read the story on SPJ’s Freedom of Information blog, FOI FYI.

THINK OUTSIDE THE PYRAMID. Front-line reporters and editors are invited to attend SPJ’s Narrative Writing Workshop in Columbia, S.C., where participants will learn how to reinvigorate the writing craft. Join Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tom Hallman Jr., from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., June 23 at the Russell House University Union (Ballroom A) at the University of South Carolina. Participation is limited to 40, so sign up today! Registration fees range from $35 to $70. Best of all, late fees have been waived for SPJ members.

MEET CHUCK TODD, ATTEND THE CONVENTION. Chuck Todd joins the line- up of speakers for the 2007 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference Oct. 4-7 in Washington, D.C. Todd became NBC News’ Political Director in March 2007. He also serves as NBC News’ on-air political analyst for “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams,” “Today,” “Meet the Press with Tim Russert” and MSNBC, including “Hardball with Chris Matthews.”

EDITORIAL MONEY. If you’re looking to hone your editorial writing skills, but can’t find the time to do it, apply for the Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship for Editorial Writing. The $75,000 award will allow time for study and research to a mid-career editorial writer working at a U.S. newspaper. Apply today and gain the opportunity to take courses, study independently, travel and pursue other endeavors that enrich your knowledge of a public interest issue. Applications are due July 1. Questions? Contact Heather Porter at (317) 927-8000, ext. 204 or

FIRST AMENDMENT MONEY. Think the First Amendment is awesome? So do we! And we’re putting our money where our mouth is. The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation awards $10,000 to an individual or group who has worked to protect basic First Amendment rights. Nominate someone today. The nomination form and required materials must be postmarked by July 1. Visit for all the details. Questions? Contact Heather Porter at (317) 927-8000, ext. 204 or

CHAPTER MONEY. SPJ will invest $5,000 to fund local chapter programs during 2007-2008. Your chapter could receive up to $500 for your program or activity. All fully chartered SPJ chapters in good standing with the national organization are eligible to submit a grant proposal. Eligible chapters must have a 2006-07 annual report on file with the national office. Grant proposals are due by midnight Sept. 28. All proposals must be submitted online. Questions? Contact Heather Porter at (317) 927-8000, ext. 204 or

HIT 'EM WITH YOUR BEST SHOT. Get hands-on experience through the second annual nationwide fellowship program for minority broadcast journalism students, hosted by Meredith Corp., KPHO CBS 5 and Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Spend Jan. 6-12 working with instructors from the school and KPHO reporters, producers, editors and videographers. At the week’s end, you will produce a 30-minute newscast. Full-time minority students majoring in broadcast journalism at a U.S. college or university and within 12 months of graduation are eligible. Deadline: Oct. 1. Participants will receive a stipend covering travel, lodging and meals. More information and an application: Visit The Cronkite School’s Web site.

CALLING ALL SOUTH CAROLINA JOURNALISTS. Journalists in upstate South Carolina are organizing a chapter. If you’re interested in being part of that local SPJ connection — and you’d be a fool not to — send an e-mail to Holly Fisher at

JUST PEACHY. The SPJ Atlanta Chapter is reactivating. What does that mean for you? Well, if you live in the area, it can mean local programming and training; opportunities to meet and learn from other journalists; a chance to help make journalism better in your community; and much, much more. Visit the chapter’s start-up Web site and let us know if you’re interested in attending an organizational meeting and helping this chapter get up and running. You also can e-mail Holly Fisher at

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