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By Willie Schatz
Immediate Past President, Washington, D.C. Pro Chapter
CLOUDS IN FLORIDA. SPJ and Legal Defense Fund Committee Member Julie Kay reports that the children of Magistrate Judge Ted Klein, who died of a mysterious pulmonary illness, are suing the General Services Administration for failing to comply with an FOIA request. The family has requested documents regarding mold conditions in the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., courthouse where the judge worked for years. The building was found to contain mold and employees have reported nosebleeds, double pneumonia and other illnesses. The GSA did not respond to requests from the judge's family for studies, tests, complaints, e-mail and other evidence of mold infestation. Read Kay's story in the National Law Journal.
LETHAL LOSS. A federal judge has ruled against a group of journalists in Arkansas who sued the state's Department of Correction for not allowing witnesses to see and hear all stages of the lethal-injection process. U. S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright, chief judge of the Eastern District of Arkansas, dismissed the lawsuit Tuesday, saying there is no First Amendment right of access to executions. SPJ's Northwest Arkansas Pro chapter has been heavily involved in the matter and will continue to monitor the situation.
WORK FOR US. The application deadline for SPJ's summer internships in Indianapolis and Washington, D.C., has been extended to Feb. 1. Two students will be selected for the Pulliam-Kilgore Freedom of Information internships. One intern - with a legal background -- will be stationed in Washington, D.C., and the other - with a strong reporting background -- will spend 10 weeks in Indianapolis. Both interns will research and write about access issues. Or, how about trying your hand at communications and public relations work for SPJ? A third student will be selected for SPJ's Archibald Communications internship. Complete details and applications: Visit SPJ's Web site.
SPJ ABROAD. SPJ has accepted an invitation to send a delegation of working journalists to Taiwan. The idea is to foster a professional exchange between journalists in both countries - and to give American journalists a closer look at Taiwan. If you are working in a newsroom and are interested in joining SPJ's delegation, please let us know. If you know an SPJ member you think would make a good addition to the delegation, please let us know that, too. Space is limited to 10 and SPJ will reimburse participants up to $500 for airfare. The Asia Foundation in Taiwan, a nonprofit, non-governmental organization, will provide lodging, transportation and some meals once the delegation reaches Taiwan. Arrival in Taipei would occur on Tuesday, Feb. 26 and return to the U.S. would occur on Monday, March 3. For questions or more information, contact SPJ Executive Director Terry Harper at firstname.lastname@example.org or (317) 927-8000, ext. 220.
BE A GOOD KNIGHT. The Knight Fellowship for Multimedia Training is accepting applications for its Technology Training for Editors Workshop on March 25-28 and its Technology Training for Reporters Workshop on April 15-18. The workshops will be at the Knight Digital Media Center at The University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism. Deadline for both seminars: Feb. 8. Space is limited to 20 fellowships per workshop, so get those applications rolling. Questions? Contact Lanita Pace-Hinton, director of multimedia and technology training, at email@example.com or (510) 649-7429.
SCRIPPS HOWARD IS ON THE MONEY. Since 1953 the Scripps Howard Foundation has recognized the best work in journalism through its National Journalism Awards, which offers prizes totaling $195,000. The competition recognizes excellence in 17 categories, including categories of particular interest to SPJ members: radio and television journalism, service to the First Amendment, editorial writing, human interest writing, environmental and public service reporting; investigative reporting, business/economics reporting, Washington reporting, commentary and photojournalism. Cash prizes are $10,000 for each category with the exception of investigative reporting, which carries a $25,000 cash prize. The College Cartoonist category does not have an entry fee and offers a $10,000 cash prize. Postmark deadline is Jan. 31. Winners will be announced March 7 and honored at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on April 18 . Entry forms and contest details: Visit the Scripps Howard Foundation Web site or call Sue Porter at (513) 977-3030.
GIDDY UP, LITTLE POLLSTERS. Entries for the 2007 Iowa Gallup Award for Excellent Journalism Using Polls will be accepted through March 1. Stories must be original and broadcast or published in print or online between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31. News organizations and professional pollsters are invited to nominate stories. The annual award is co-sponsored by The University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication and The Gallup Organization. Complete details of the judging criteria, including the minimal requirements, and an entry form can be found at the award Web site. The recipient of the award will be announced in April and will receive a $2,500 stipend. For more information, contact Program Assistant Arlecia D. Simmons at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WIN $5K FROM THE NLGJA. The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association is accepting applications for its Leroy F. Aarons Scholarship Award. Named for the organization's founder, the scholarship will provide up to $5,000 in tuition to a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender student who plans a career in journalism and is committed to furthering NLGJA's mission of fair and accurate coverage of the LGBT community. Selection is based on journalistic and scholastic ability. The award recipient will be honored in March as a special guest at Headlines & Headliners, NLGJA's annual New York Benefit. But HUSTLE: Postmark deadline for applications is Monday. For a complete description of eligibility requirements and an application, visit NLGJA's Web site.
LEADERSHIP LADDER. Who's next in line to lead your chapter? It's never too early to begin preparing your incoming president for a successful term. The Ted Scripps Leadership Institute (http://www.spj.org/scrippslt.asp) is an SPJ program that offers student and professional chapter leaders a mix of sessions focused on interpersonal and organizational leadership skills, as well as sound chapter management practices. The all-expenses paid weekend retreat takes place in Indianapolis on June 6-8. It's designed to promote strong leadership in the Society. Applications are due March 16. Those who will be serving as a chapter president during 2008-09 are encouraged to apply. Questions? E-mail Heather Porter at email@example.com.
FRONT PAGE NEWS. Check out coverage of our Reporters Institute on the front page of Cox Communications training newsletter, Cox Academy. The Reporters Institute was funded by grants from the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation and the Harnisch Family Foundation. Check it out.
STUDENT HONORS. It's Mark of Excellence time! Soon, SPJ will award outstanding collegiate journalism and journalists in 39 categories across print, broadcast and the Web. Details: Visit SPJ's Awards page. Postmark deadline is Jan. 23. Questions? Contact Programs Coordinator Heather Porter at (317) 927.8000, ext. 204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
GET SOME SUN. The South Florida Pro chapter is now accepting entries for the 14th annual Sunshine State Awards. This year's contest features three new categories and a distinguished national panel of journalists will judge the entries for the highest honor, the James Batten Award for Outstanding Public Service, which is open to all media. The panel includes Bob Edwards, host of XM Satellite Radio's Bob Edwards Show and former anchor of National Public Radio's Morning Edition; Adam Liptak, national legal correspondent for The New York Times; and Debra Adams Simmons, managing editor of The Plain Dealer. Deadline: Feb 15. Cost: $23 for SPJ members and $28 for non-members. The Batten Award entry fee is $43. More information: Surf to the chapter's Web site.
GO FOR THE GOLD. The East Tennessee Pro chapter is gearing up for the Golden Press Card Awards! This year's contest features Web site categories in addition to others. The deadline for receipt of entries is Feb.1, so evaluate last year's work and prepare your entries now. Contest information is available on the chapter's Web site. Questions can be addressed to Awards Chair, Mia Rhodarmer, at email@example.com or Jean Ash at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AWARDS SWAP. The South Florida Pro chapter is looking for a chapter to trade award entries with for judging the annual Sunshine State Awards contest. The entry deadline is Feb. 15 and they plan to have the entries in the other chapters' hands by Feb. 29. The official deadline for return of the judging results by e-mail is April 4. FYI, the judging partners already committed include: Chicago, Pittsburgh, Northwest Washington and Maryland. They need just one more chapter to commit to judging anywhere from 100 to 300 entries. And of course, they will reciprocate! If interested, please call Julie Kay at (954) 468-2622.
CONTINUING EDUCATION. Looking for a great chapter program? Take a page from the Western Washington Pro chapter, which used an SPJ grant to put on weekly classes designed to help journalists improve their multimedia skills. During the series, in which classes were held every Monday night from Oct. 15 through Dec. 10, journalists learned how to gather and edit audio for use on the Internet, how to start a blog, how to take photos and video for the Web and how to put it together in a great multimedia package. Learn more about the program and consider something similar in your neck of the woods.
WHAT'S HOT. SPJ Member and Cleveland Pro chapter President Steve Fitzgerald will present "What's Hot and What's Not in Lakewood" at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13, at the Lakewood Public Library Auditorium, 15425 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, Ohio. The program is a review of news, people and events in the suburb from 2007 as well as predictions for 2008. The free, public event is co-sponsored by the Cleveland Pro chapter.