By Julie Grimes
Associate Executive Director, Sigma Delta Chi Foundation
RURAL MATTERS. The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues reports that 21 percent of Americans, some 63 million people, are rural. To aid reporters in covering this important population and its issues and concerns, the Institute offers:
— The Rural Blog, a Web log of rural issues, trends, events, ideas and journalism from and about rural America
— Reporting resources
— Research and reports on issues of interest to rural America
— A "Good Works" collection of rural media outlets covering issues well
A start-up grant for the Institute was provided by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation of SPJ.
CITY PLIGHT?. Jeff Gerritt of The Detroit Free Press is the 2007 recipient of the Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship for Editorial Writing. During the next year, Gerritt will be examining the issues facing urban America, and he'll be prescribing opportunities for our country and its leaders to confront these problems. In Gerritt's words, "Cities must matter because the nation's deep-rooted social and economic problems cannot be solved without repairing the places where they fester." Is the plight of urban America an issue you're interested in following? Touch base with us, and we'll let Gerritt know.
DON'T MISS IT!. The 2007 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference is just five weeks away. Don't miss out on getting into the conference hotel. The Wednesday space is already full, so hurry now and book your room for Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 4-6, at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. See you in D.C.!
THE RITALIN GENERATION. Since 2006, Pulliam Editorial Fellow Karin Klein of the Los Angeles Times has been studying the first generation of children diagnosed with ADHD as they reach young adulthood. Read Klein's newest report about how pharmaceutical companies are ramping up their drug marketing as the latest generation of kids head back to class.
PRIVACY FOR OWEN WILSON?. SPJ National President Christine Tatum isn't afraid to say difficult things on her blog, Freedom of the Prez. This week, she criticizes news coverage of actor Owen Wilson's reported suicide attempt, explains why journalists might dig The Bourne Ultimatum and challenges more newsies to pay attention to the struggles of international journalists. She also encourages SPJ members to promote their blogs.
BETTER THAN MAX HEADROOM. SPJ National President Christine Tatum wishes she could be in more than two places at once, but, alas, she can't. She is, however, happy to conduct video and audio chats with help from her shiny, new MacBook Pro. Want Christine to make an appearance via computer during a chapter event in September? Contact her to set up a date.
PERCEPTION VS. REALITY. The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in Kuwait has recently completed a study of the Western perceptions of Islam & Muslims. Along with the study, a companion Journalist's Guide to Islam & Muslims also has been created. SPJ has received four copies of each and would like to share them with the first four journalists wishing to claim them...shipping is free! If you would like one of the copies, please e-mail Beth King. First come, first served!
YOUR RIGHT TO KNOW. Learn about Pennsylvania's Open Records Law — including its current status and use, proposals to change the Right To Know law, and what a model Open Records Law might look like — during a Forum on Open Government and Pennsylvania Open Records Law Workshop on Saturday, Sept. 15, at the University of Pittsburgh. The free event is co-sponsored by the Pittsburgh Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and The Pennsylvania Freedom of Information Coalition. Advance registration is requested, although not required. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
FORECAST: SUNSHINE. The Coalition of Journalists for Open Government provides timely reports on efforts to achieve greater access to public records and meetings and a free flow of information. The group also offers background and lists of resources that may be of help to reporters in seeking information. A recent report, "Still Waiting After All These Years," is an in-depth analysis of FOIA performance from 1998 to 2006. The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation supports the work of CJOG.
NO GUESSES ALLOWED. Whether you're a top manager or a street reporter, an ethical lapse can result in front-page news. If you're unsure about a story or a decision, find help from the Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists. Call 1-866-DILEMMA or visit the AdviceLine online.
SPJ WEB POSTINGS OF NOTE. See what's new at spj.org this week:
— From NewsGems: How do crooks get their hands on guns so easily?
— From Generation J: What's your policy on responding to e-mails?
— From Code Words: Using file footage? Be careful about "visual lies."
— From Quill: Take a risk with everyday assignments
— From the Job Bank (SPJ members only): Managing Editor for Trends magazine in Denver, Colo.