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Sigma Delta Chi Foundation expands funding for journalism education and development

SPJ News

The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation approved $123,000 in grants at an annual meeting in Los Angeles, Calif., on October 21, 1998. The SDX Foundation is the educational and fund raising arm for the Society of Professional Journalists, but it is a separate and distinct organization raising funds and issuing grants for projects that exemplify quality journalism education.

The SDX board of directors gave approval to seven diverse projects.

“The Foundation has taken new measures to promote our mission through grant giving,” said SDX Foundation President Paul Steinle. Steinle, journalism professor at Quinnipiac College in Hamden, Conn., said, “We have sound guidelines in place and we’re moving aggressively to support projects that advance and strengthen the journalism profession.”

Following is a brief description of each grant:

Web Site Fellowship: $40,000
The Web Site Fellowship will allow SPJ and SDX to work with the School of New Media at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis to update and restructure SPJ’s web site (www.spj.org). Funds are available for professors and students to bring the latest technology and creative design to the web site. SPJ staff will work with IUPUI’s Experimental Web Lab to learn the latest in web developments. Submitted by Dennis Norris, Executive Director, SPJ.

Media Leaders Forum: $24,000
The Media Leaders Forum is a unique research project headquartered at the Manship School of Mass Communications at Louisiana State University. SDX funding allows graduate students to develop studies assessing current issues and dilemmas facing journalists. Case studies center on management issues that affect the credibility, responsibility, morale and careers of working journalists throughout the nation. This proposal continues a program that has been funded by the SDX Foundation for the past two years. Submitted by Jack Hamilton, Dean, Manship School of Mass Communications, Louisiana State University.

Associated Student Press: $20,000
The Associated Student Press is a new program using the Internet to archive student journalists’ work. It will also enable high school students to collaborate on news stories. A search engine will allow students to read each other’s work by subject. The SDX Foundation is funding the program for $15,000, and also awarded an additional $5,000 for SPJ staff to support program activities. Submitted by Laurie Becklund, Associated Student Press.

Strategic Planning: $20,000
The SDX Foundation will split the cost of a strategic plan with SPJ. A facilitator from the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy will lead both organizations through this year-long process to set goals, objectives and a vision for the future. The plan will allow the SDX Foundation to organize and develop guidelines to deal with organizational changes and challenges facing journalists today. Submitted by Dennis Norris, Executive Director, SPJ.

Campus Crime Handbook: $9,300
The second edition of “Covering Campus Crime” will be printed with SDX funds. The book is used by thousands of college and professional journalists as a guide to campus crime. The book will include new updates to federal law. Submitted by the Campus Courts Task Force, a group started by SPJ, and the Student Press Law Center.

Atlanta Freedom of Information Conference: $7,400
The National Freedom of Information Coalition, the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, and the Atlanta Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will jointly sponsor the conference in April of 1999. SDX funding will help pay for national speakers and defenders of First Amendment rights. The event will be open to the public. Submitted by Tom Bennett, Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Press Freedom Network: $2,000
The Press Freedom Network is a nationwide effort to aid endangered journalists outside the United States. Part of the proposal allows SPJ and SDX to be affiliated with the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), a Toronto-based clearinghouse through which more than 30 organizations work together to publicize and reduce threats to free speech. SDX funding will go towards dues and network expenses to be a part of this innovative and highly effective organization. Submitted by John Hopkins, Chairman, SPJ Press Freedom Network.

For more information on the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation or its grant giving guidelines, please call Paul Steinle, president, at (203)287-5306, or Dennis Norris, executive director, at (765)653-3333. The foundation will make its next round of grant funding in April 18, 1999. All grant proposals to be reviewed for that April 18 meeting need to be received by February 18, 1999. Please contact Dennis Norris for grant guidelines.

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