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SPJ committee to sell war correspondent handbook at 2000 SPJ National Convention


Contacts: John Hopkins, SPJ International Journalism Committee chairman, 305/661-1458 or JDH-Miami@att.net; Sarah Shrode, SPJ marketing/communications director, 317/927-8000, ext. 217, or sshrode@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists’ International Journalism Committee recently completed compilation of a handbook for war correspondents.

SPJ will take orders for the 165-page “Journalists’ Guide to the Geneva Conventions” Oct. 26-28 at the 2000 SPJ National Convention at the Adam’s Mark Hotel in Columbus, Ohio.

The book provides journalists and their editors guidance on how to accurately explain war crimes.

“What we hope to do with ‘Journalists’ Guide to the Geneva Conventions’ is to improve the clarity and depth of reporting about war,” said John D. Hopkins, chairman of the International Journalism Committee and a veteran copy editor at the Miami Herald. “The ‘Journalists’ Guide’ will help a writer or editor cite chapter and verse where the most essential international treaties on the subject have been breached. The book is small enough to fit right alongside the AP Stylebook and the waterproof edition — light and tough enough carry into the field. Every newsroom that is serious about world news ought to start using it.”

The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation gave the International Journalism Committee a $10,000 grant earlier this year. Paperback versions sell for $12 and the limited-edition waterproof versions for $25.

“The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation is proud to have assisted in funding the production of the ‘The Journalists Guide to the Geneva Conventions,’ ” said Paul Steinle, president of the Foundation. “The guide fills a need worldwide for journalists working in difficult and often dangerous circumstances. The guide deserves to be adopted by every news organization around the world, and we hope it will be distributed widely to their correspondents.”

The handbook helps journalists by providing them a glossary of the most important terms and ideas found in the Geneva Conventions of 1949. The guide also includes full texts of the four Conventions.

“The Journalist’s Guide to the Geneva Conventions is an indispensable resource for writers and editors who deal with military conflicts,” said Maria Trombley, member of the SPJ International Committee and writer for Computerworld magazine. “Patterned on the AP Stylebook, the Guide offers plain-English descriptions of what the Geneva Conventions’ have to say about everything from ‘access to grave sites’ to ‘wounded prisoners of war.’ ”

To order a copy of the book, visit the SPJ merchandise table at the 2000 SPJ National Convention InfoMart or call Sarah Shrode, SPJ marketing/communications director, at 317/927-8000. The full text of the handbook will soon be posted online at www.spj.org with interactive links that make the handbook easy to use.

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