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SPJ Awards 12 Local Chapters Grants for Programming Events

From the March issue of SPJ Report

Twelve chapters received grants from the Society of Professional Journalists to carry out educational programs in the coming months.

The chapter programs were chosen from a competitive group of proposals submitted by the Society’s local chapters. Each year, the grant program distributes $5,000 to SPJ chapters for exceptional chapter programming ideas.

Professional chapters receiving the 2002 grants are: the Arkansas Pro Chapter, the Colorado Pro Chapter, the Connecticut Pro Chapter, the Inland Northwest Pro Chapter, the Maine Pro Chapter, the Montana Pro Chapter, and the Northern California Pro Chapter.

Campus chapters receiving 2002 grants include: Truman State University, the University of Mississippi, the University of Northern Colorado, the University of Washington, and Winthrop University.

When their programs are complete, chapter leaders will provide a summary of each program, along with a budget sheet for SPJ Headquarters. That information will be made available to other chapters looking for programming ideas.

Here’s a brief look at the winning chapter programs. For more information about a program or the grant application process, contact Julie Grimes, SPJ Deputy Executive Director, at jgrimes@spj.org or 317/927-8000.

-- The Arkansas Pro Chapter will present a computer-assisted reporting seminar to assist journalists in developing story ideas and researching complex subjects.

-- The Colorado Pro Chapter will sponsor “Project Watchdog: The Media’s Role in Reporting Military Activities.” Journalists who have been to Afghanistan and Pakistan will describe their coverage of the war on terrorism during this public forum.

-- The Connecticut Pro Chapter is organizing a workshop to assist journalists during tough economic times. Journalists who have been laid off – or who worry their jobs might be in peril – will receive free, practical advice and can ask questions about financial planning, legal rights, free-lancing options, emotional recovery and other topics.

-- The Inland Northwest Pro Chapter is organizing “Public Records: How Good Reporting Can Save Children.” The goal is to teach reporters and editors how to investigate issues involving the largest department in the State of Washington – the Department of Social and Health Services.

-- The Maine Pro Chapter plans to conduct a half-day workshop aimed at providing better training for professional and student journalists on Maine law regarding police records. The workshop will include a forum for journalists, and possibly law enforcement professionals, to discuss ways to regulate the information the public is entitled to have.

-- The Montana Pro Chapter will sponsor a writing workshop in Billings, Mont. The program is designed to help journalists in all media sharpen their writing skills.

-- The Northern California Pro Chapter has designed a daylong event to address diversity issues that magazines face. Chapter leaders will match experienced professional journalists looking for assignments with magazine outlets seeking writers. The goals of the program are: to expand diversity in magazine content; to expand diversity among free-lancers that magazines regularly use; and to help free-lancers with an expertise in ethnic diversity win assignments.

-- The Truman State University Chapter is sponsoring a “Meet the Professional” program in which three professional journalists will visit the university and spend a day with students. The professionals will give a presentation on their areas of expertise and critique students’ portfolios.

-- The University of Mississippi Chapter will create a permanent memorial in honor of Agence France-Press reporter Paul Guihard. Guihard was killed on the university’s campus 40 years ago while covering the enrollment of James Meredith, the first African-American enrolled at Ole Miss. The chapter also will sponsor two forums related to the issue. News professionals who were student reporters on campus at the time and reporters who covered the riots that ensued will be invited to speak at the chapter-sponsored events.

-- The University of Northern Colorado Chapter plans a program to coincide with the Salt Lake City Olympic games. The group plans to bring journalists who covered the games to the campus to discuss their reporting. Students plan to hear from a journalist reporting for the local region and a journalist reporting for a news agency outside the United States.

-- The University of Washington Chapter is sponsoring a regional event, “Doing Journalism in Bad Times.” Programs will examine the events of Sept. 11 as well as the worsening economic slump.

-- The Winthrop University Chapter plans to hear from a foreign correspondent about the challenges faced when covering a war. The public forum will examine the price of freedom, the deaths of journalists in Afghanistan, and whether the government should help guarantee the safety of journalists trying to report about the war.


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