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Local Connection
SPJ Chapter Grants:
2007-08 Recipients

The following chapters received Chapter Grants to fund programs that will take place in 2007-2008.

Student Chapters

Pacific Lutheran University: “First Amendment Free Food Festival”
Read more at PLU's Web site
The student chapter has reserved a part of campus for the event that can be sectioned off and will contain an assortment of food. To enter the area with food, students must sign a passport that says they will have no First Amendment rights. Selected individuals will act out different scenes that illustrate First Amendment rights. Chapter members will research countries that do not have First Amendment rights and create posters describing life in these countries. Contact chapter adviser Joanne Lisosky, for more information.

University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa: “The Making of a Pulitzer: An Investigative Reporting Workshop”
The program will bring Brett Blackledge, a Pulitzer prize winning investigative journalist, to campus to speak at the chapters Investigative Reporting Workshop. Students will learn how to use public documents and a myriad of sources to do work that impacts public policy. The program will encourage students to think about investigative journalism, develop a deeper understanding of the process and gain a better sense of the career-path an investigative reporter may follow. Contact chapter adviser George Daniels for more information.

The University of Mississippi: “Where in the world is journalism going?”
Convergence in newsrooms next door and around the world is no longer just a nifty idea advanced by cutting-edgers, arch-proselytizers and very early adopters. The phenomenon is widespread and two camps seem to be building within many organizations. While they aren’t diametrically opposed, and are prone to agree that convergence is a worthy goal if they can just figure out how to make it all work, their views as to how to best to progress diverge, and each of the obvious roads are full of hazards. The panel discussion will consist of experts who represent different perspectives on where the industry is today and where it’s likely to head next. Contact chapter adviser Kathleen Wickham for more information.

Professional Chapters

East Tennessee Pro Chapter: “Open doors, open records”
Welcome to Knoxville, Tennessee, where county government is embroiled in a lawsuit over Tennessee’s Sunshine law and voters feel that backroom deals and politics are the norm. How do journalists find answers when politicians seem to try to hide behind doors? How can the public argue their right to open records under the law? The East Tennessee Pro Chapter is stepping in to help with a program for working journalists and the 16-county community theyserve. The program, “Open doors, open records: working with the Sunshine Law in East Tennessee,” is designed to educate journalists and the community about their rights under the Tennessee open records law. The chapter will focus on helping people learn which records are open, which records are closed — and which records they cannot be denied. Contact John Huotari for more information.

Greater Los Angeles Pro Chapter: “Introduction to New Skill Sets for Longterm Journalists”
The chapter will present a half-day seminar for veteran journalists who need direction and instruction in learning new media skills to stay competitive in the shrinking job market. Presentations in digital audio and video recording and editing, and information on filing stories for the Web are planned. The program objective is to offer initial training, demonstrations and explanations, so veteran journalists know what to pursue further on their own. Contact Natalie Windsor for more information.

Minnesota Pro Chapter: “Taming the Wild West: Ethics and Standards for News Web Sites”
Link to Blog | Video
Increasingly, meaty questions are being raised about the need for enhanced standards and ethical practices at online journalism Web sites. Do Web journalists adhere to the same standards as those writing for traditional news outlets? Should they? Are the standards for online sites looser than for print even in the same media organization? The chapter will bring together a broad coalition of regional journalism organizations as co-sponsors — the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law, the Minnesota Journalism Center, the Minnesota News Council, the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Television Academy, the Minnesota Newspaper Foundation and others — as they did with well-attended community-wide programs in each of the last two years. Such broad support will help the chapter attract a large and diverse audience, thereby enriching the give-and-take among the panelists and audience. Contact Dave Beal for more information.

St. Louis Pro Chapter: “Crossing the Digital Divide as Journalist and Reader”
The event will be a day-long workshop focused on developing skills and learning how to better use online technology. Older journalists, particularly those in print newsroom, haven't had many opportunities to improve their skill set when it comes to technology. Most are learning on the job. The program is intended to improve their skills and help them understand the Internet's role as both audience and resource. By the end of the day, the average participant should have a basic understanding of such technology as Flash and WordPress, as well as new writing techniques for online audiences. Contact Greg Cancelada for more information.

San Diego Pro Chapter: “Covering California’s New Political Presence”
The program will focus on the ways in which California's new early primary will change the way candidates campaign and the way the media covers the 2008 presidential primary. For years, presidential candidates have relied on California donors for large contributions, while paying scant attention to the state’s voters during primary season. The chapter will hold a panel discussion to help journalists understand these changes and how best to cover the campaign in the weeks leading up to primary day. Their objective is better informed journalists and therefore better informed readers, listeners, and viewers. Contact Jodi Cleesattle for more information.

Washington D.C. Pro Chapter: “The Stormy Lives of Ombudsman: Do We Really Need Them?”
An examination of the role of the ombudsman is long overdue, especially at a time when there are few of them today in journalism. Here are some questions the chapter will explore with a panel of three Washington-Baltimore area ombudsman, from both print and broadcast: What is your role as ombudsmen and what is it like to offer critical analysis of your colleagues' work and explain to readers why coverage was handled in a certain way? What's a typical day for you? How does the work of the ombudsman benefit journalism? Do readers/viewers/listeners give input and do they feel their opinions are represented well? Does having an ombudsman help a media operation build a better relationship with the reader/viewer/listener? What do you think about viewers/listeners? Contact Julie Asher for more information.

Western Washington Pro: “SPJ Fall 2007 Continuing Education Series: How to Survive and Thrive in the Age of the Internet”
The chapter is reprising its successful continuing education series from last fall teaching journalists new skills in producing content for the web and using the web to aid in reporting. Classes will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Monday from Oct. 15 through Dec. 10 (excluding Thanksgiving week). The first four classes will be held at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The final four classes will be held at The Seattle Times. Contact Kirsten Kendrick for more information and a schedule of topics.

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