By Beth King
Communications Manager, SPJ
CELEBRATE JOURNALISM ETHICS. As journalists, it's our responsibility to promote and encourage news judgment that is fair, balanced and ethical. As we gear up to celebrate and observe Ethics In Journalism Week, April 21-27, be sure to check out SPJ's Ethics Week page. It's packed full of ideas for chapters, newsrooms and instructors to promote journalism ethics in local communities. Find tips and facts for writing stories or editorials about journalism ethics, interviewing considerations and case studies to stimulate thoughtful discussions.
A VITRUAL TRIBUTE TO CHAUNCEY BAILEY. The IRE award-winning Chauncey Bailey Project that is funded through a grant from the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation recently launched its interim Web site — and it's an amazing tribute to a true journalism hero. Featured are four dozen video and/or audio productions and 130 stories with accompanying photographs. But, it doesn't stop there. The project leaders promise that in a couple more months, they will have a fully running multimedia site with plenty of interactive features. They're also planning to send e-mail alerts about breaking news and new site features. Don't miss out. Register to receive updates today by signing the virtual guestbook. Learn more about the Project grant and ways you can help.
SHIELD LAW IN THE NEWS. SPJ President Clint Brewer crossed over state lines last week when he was featured in a National Post story about the need for a federal shield law. In the story, Brewer explained how a federal shield law could keep a better watch on government. Take the lead from Brewer. Consider writing stories on this issue, host discussions in your newsroom or consider writing or calling members of Congress. For the House of Representatives and Senate listings, visit House.gov and Senate.gov.
VICTORY IN MINNESOTA. The Minnesota Supreme Court rejected a local prosecutor's effort to force the Mankato Free Press to turn over reporter's notes from a telephone interview. On March 19, the court declined to review an appeals court decision that said the newspaper did not have to comply with a subpoena to provide unpublished information because of the reporter's privilege granted by the Minnesota shield law. The case stemmed from a seven-hour standoff in 2006 between police and Jeffrey Skjervold at his home in Amboy, Minn., following an argument with his wife. SPJ protested the subpoena and pressed the appeals court to overturn it.
SUPPORTING TONI LOCY. SPJ has signed onto an amicus brief in support of former USA Today Reporter Toni Locy's appeal of her contempt citation. The last amicus brief to the D.C. Circuit argued that the contempt charge should be stayed pending appeal of the district court's decision. The D.C. Circuit granted the stay and set an expedited briefing schedule for the appeal. Locy is due back in court May 9. The focus of the appeal brief will argue for the applicability of a common-law reporters privilege. It also will argue that the identities of the individuals who provided Locy with information are not crucial to the case. Finally, the amicus will argue that the judge's decision to prohibit Locy from accepting reimbursement for her fines is unprecedented and impermissible. SPJ will continue to monitor this case.
CITIZEN JOURNALISM ACADEMY. Social media platforms are coming full circle as part-time, volunteer and citizen journalists emerge. They're gaining momentum in the media community and changing the way news is reported and delivered, as well as how community members view the world around them. These people are contributing to the world's 24/7 news cycle, making it easy and accessible for more people to be in the know. SPJ believes the world benefits from more news coverage, not less. Through its Citizen Journalism Academy, the first of which takes place May 17 in Chicago, program leaders hope to help everyone wanting to practice journalism to do so accurately, ethically and fairly. The cost to attend the Academy is $25, which includes lunch and course materials. For more information or to register, visit SPJ's Citizen Journalism Academy page. Please note, the registration deadline is May 3 and seating is limited.
UPCOMING SPRING TRAINING. SPJ's Spring Conferences in Regions 2, 3, 6, 8, 10 and 12 are just around the corner. The day-long professional development sessions bring area journalists, students and journalism educators together to hear from industry experts on topics ranging from improving writing to leveraging technology in today's new media climate. Get information on a conference near you.
REPORTING CLIMATE CHANGE... CONVENIENTLY AND BALANCED. The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism will fly 12 reporters to Alaska on August 13-16 for Alaska: Reporting on the Climate Frontier. Fellows will experience and directly learn about the impacts of global climate change while checking out landscapes as diverse as diseased forests and ocean bays fed by the largest ice field in the United States. There is no cost to apply. Selected full-time journalists pay only $250. Additionally, all participants receive an airfare stipend of up to $750. But hurry. The April 1 deadline is fast approaching. Get an application and more information about the program online.
COPY EDITORS: COPY THIS! The Robert C. Maynard Institute is offering eight $6,000 fellowships to attend the Institute's program for copy editors, June 1-12 at the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada Reno. Fellowships cover tuition, room and group meals during the six-week program and include a travel stipend. The fellowships are underwritten by a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. Print and online journalists from small- and medium-size newspapers with circulations of 50,000 and below are encouraged to apply. The program immerses participants in the basics of headline writing, design, line and content editing, story organization and news judgment, interpersonal skills and online editing. The curriculum includes classroom work, daily skills-building drills, evening seminars and practical experience at the local newspaper. Deadline: April 21. More information and an application: Visit The Institute's Web site.
MEET THE DEADLINE ON THE MTV. MTV News & Docs is casting for "The Paper" a show that chronicles the inner-workings and outside lives of a high school newspaper staff. The chosen staff will take viewers through story breaks and stressful deadlines, all the while balancing the normal pressures of high school. The show's producers are looking for interesting, inquisitive young journalists to share their liv... and a proud, dedicated school that's willing to open their doors to MTV producers. Interested parties should contact Casting Director Claresa Mandola at (212) 654-4871 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss making a video application.
LAW SCHOOL FOR JOURNOS? Loyola Law School Los Angeles has extended the application deadline through Monday, March 31 for its third-annual Journalist Law School fellowship. This four-day crash course will cover constitutional, civil and criminal law. It's taught by law professors, jurists and attorneys. Fellowships will be competitively awarded to 35 journalists and will cover instruction, lodging, meals and one-half of travel expenses for the June 18-21 workshop. Learn more on the Loyola Law School Web site or call (213) 736-1071.
CHANGE THE WORLD. Want to make a difference halfway around the world? Take a moment to do a little spring cleaning and donate books, manuals, CDs and DVDs to the first media and communication resource center in Ethiopia. The resource center is sponsored by the Population Media Center, it's open to any professional communicator in Ethiopia and serves the general business community in Addis Ababa. The goal of the Population Media Center is to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies. Please be careful and research all shipping costs and requirements.
Donations can be sent to:
Population Media Center
145 Pine Haven Shores Road, Suite 2011
P. O. Box 547
Shelburne, Vt. 05482