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Peoples’ rights, taxes to be discussed during the 2007 SPJ National Convention & Journalism Conference

For Immediate Release:

Beth King, Communications Manager, (317) 927-8000, ext. 211
Stephenie Overman, Project Watchdog Committee Chairwoman, (703) 465-8605

INDIANAPOLIS – As election coverage heats up, Americans have many questions. Among those questions are concerns about who’s advocating on behalf of citizens and who’s keeping a watchful eye on the way tax dollars are being spent.

From 1-2:30 p.m., on Oct. 4, journalists and members of the public are invited to a discussion about peoples’ rights and government spending, led by reporter Mark Segraves of WTOP News Radio in Washington. Seagraves is a former investigative producer from ABC 7 News. In 2007, he was named Fraud Investigator of the Year by the Washington Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

Joining Segraves on the panel are:

• Dorothy Brizill, a community activist and executive director of DCWatch, a citizen organization which informs the public about public policy issues, the District government, and its officials.

• Harry Jaffe, national editor for The Washingtonian, where he writes a monthly column on the Washington Post called “Post Watch.” Jaffe also writes for the Washington DC Examiner. He is co-author of “Dream City: Race, Power and the Decline of Washington, D.C.”

The discussion takes place at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G. St. NW, near Gallery Place-Chinatown and Metro Center stops in Washington, D.C.

The program is presented by SPJ’s Project Watchdog, a national initiative designed to inform the public about how members of the media do their jobs. Specifically, its goal is to educate readers and viewers about the importance of a free and ethical press.

“In an awarding-winning story, Mark Segraves found that federal motorcades cost D.C. taxpayers more than $1.5 million in 2005. It’s just one example of how the media watches out for citizens’ concerns,” said Stephenie Overman, Project Watchdog committee chairwoman. “Segrave’s experience also is an example of the importance of using the Freedom of Information Act to investigate government activities.”

The program will discuss other ways the media uses the First Amendment to protect Americans’ rights and wallets.

For further information on Project Watchdog, visit www.spj.org/projectwatchdog.asp. For information about the 2007 SPJ National Convention & Journalism Conference or to register, visit www.spj.org/convention.asp.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry, works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists and protects Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and the press. For more information about SPJ, visit www.spj.org.


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