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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > Shine the light; First Amendment lawsuit

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SPJ Leads | 2/28/2008
Shine the light; First Amendment lawsuit


By Rachel Kaufman
Freelance writer

LET THE SUNSHINE IN. SPJ's new Web site can help prep you for National Sunshine Week or just shine light into the "dark recesses of government secrecy." Find FOI chapter program ideas, Sunshine Week projects, quotable sources, classroom activities, newsroom projects and much more all in one place. National Sunshine Week is March 16-22 this year, so let's get those rays of sun shining!

LEAKY DOCS. SPJ has joined several other media organizations to support WikiLeaks, a wiki site for "untraceable mass document leaking and public analysis." The site was founded to discourage unethical behavior in corporations and governments, but it came under attack recently when a federal judge ordered Wikileaks to shut down following its publication of internal documents from Julius Baer Bank and Trust. SPJ president Clint Brewer and other SPJ leaders are concerned about what amounts to prior restraint against a Web site that disseminates information submitted by whistleblowers. Read SPJ's response.

POLK AWARD TO BLOGGER. The George Polk award for legal reporting went this year to blogger Joshua Micah Marshall, editor and publisher of Talking Points Memo. According to Long Island University, which gives out the award, Marshall's coverage of the firing of eight U.S. attorneys "sparked interest by the traditional news media and led to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales." This is the first time the award has been given to a blogger.

EXTREME MAKEOVER., a search engine for journalists and press release dissemination resource for nonprofits, is going under the knife. Cleveland SPJ Pro Chapter President Steve FitzGerald is taking suggestions from journalists. He says: "I've tried to make it simpler to use...I'd really appreciate hearing from other SPJ members regarding what they like and don't like about so I can make it a more useful resource for nonprofits and journalists." E-mail your thoughts to Steve.

IN MEMORIAM. Longtime SPJ member Bob Schulman died last month at the age of 91. Known for his acerbic wit, insatiable curiosity, and his signature bow tie, Schulman worked as a journalist for 70 years and was an active member of the Louisville Pro chapter's board of directors until two months before his death. Preliminary discussions are under way to establish an endowed scholarship in Bob's name, funded by his estate.

SPEAKERS GALORE. Associated Press executive Michael Silverman will visit East Lansing, Mich., on March 19. Silverman, vice president of the AP, is slated to give Michigan State University's annual Siebert Lecture. Other journos scheduled to visit MSU this spring include Jane Stevens, a faculty member at University of California at Berkeley and a multimedia reporter who will be lecturing March 18; and former National Institute for Computer Assisted Reporting Managing Director Brant Houston will speak March 27. More information: Visit MSU's Web site.

TONY TALKS. SDX Board member Tony Mauro will present "Media Representation of Judges" on March 5 at the Syracuse University College of Law. Mauro is the U.S. Supreme Court correspondent for Legal Times and American Lawyer Media (ALM). His lecture is part of the Institute for the Study of the Judiciary, Politics and the Media's semester-long lecture series "Law, Politics and the Media." Cost: Free. More Information: Visit Syracuse University's Web site.

INSPIRATION FROM A PRO. Student journalists were impressed by Kristin McQueary's address at Illinois State University on Monday — or, at least two Daily Vidette writers were. McQueary is the president of the Chicago Headline Club, the largest of SPJ's local chapters. Read what the students had to say about McQueary and journalism.

ADVENTURE IN THE GREAT NORTHWEST. The Brave New Media World conference kicks off 6 p.m. March 28 in Portland, Ore. The Northwest region's annual conference is currently accepting registrations for the three-day conference at the early bird rate of $40 for SPJ members and students. To register, visit SPJ Oregon's Web site.

JUDGES NEEDED. The Michigan Interscholastic Press Association is looking for more judges for its annual contest on Saturday, March 1, at MSU's College of Communication Arts & Sciences in East Lansing. Judges volunteer from 9 a.m. to about 1 p.m. Contact Cheryl Pell if interested.

DID YOU SAY ALL-EXPENSES PAID? The USC Annenberg/California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships are open to print, broadcast and multimedia journalists around the country who have a passion for health news, not just those on the health beat. Participants will learn about health trends, policy innovations and political conflicts, especially "immigrant health, health disparities, access to care, farm worker health and the nation's frayed safety net." Fellows receive free tuition, meals, travel, lodging and a $2,000 stipend upon publication or broadcast of a major fellows project. Application deadline is March 3. More information: Visit The Reporting on Health Web site, call (213) 437-4419 or e-mail

COLLABORATION ROCKS! SPJ's New America Award honors public service journalism collaborations that include ethnic media in order to explore and
expose an issue of importance to immigrant or ethnic communities in the United States. The postmark deadline for entries is Monday, March 3, 2008. Complete details are available by contacting Heather Porter at

CAST YOUR VOTE! Only three days remain to vote for Region 2 Director Ann Augherton and her journalist fiancé, Chris, in a contest to win a wedding photography package. The happy couple trails Sergio and Leena (if that is indeed their real names) by about 150 votes. Click here, then cast your vote before March 2. If you vote for them, Ann has promised to write the next lede for your local government story! (OK, not really. We all know paying thousands of dollars for photos would be better than writing one of those. But vote anyway!)

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