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Home > Publications > Quill > Think big! SPJ.org could change industry


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Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Think big! SPJ.org could change industry

By Christie Tatum, SPJ President

Work with me, people. Work with me.

And think big.

SPJ’s Web site holds so many exciting possibilities. If you haven’t taken it for a spin lately, please do. The site is key to spreading the Society’s ideals and to making SPJ members feel more connected to this great organization.

The site, if used and supported by you, could help transform newsrooms to meet the needs of an increasingly tech-savvy public. It could help journalists of all experience levels build their portfolios and tech

skills. It could become the vehicle through which journalists get continuing education around the clock and from anywhere around the world.

How can it do all of these things and more? Consider these fabulous resources, which are scratching only the surface of the site’s potential:

Generation J: SPJ recently launched a new section on its Web site aimed at reaching young journalists. Sure, the section includes tips about how to find a job, but, more importantly, it stands to become a gathering place where future newsroom leaders build newsrooms of the future. News organizations of all kinds need to be more creative, tap new resources and rethink their operations.

“People who have big student loans are now in this business without knowing what its future is,” said Billy O’Keefe, SPJ’s wildly talented, 20-something Web administrator. “These people want to know what they’re supposed to do now, what’s going to happen to this whole industry. Generation J is where people can go to answer those questions.”

The Gen J section is also where young journalists can show off their best work and build their portfolios in the process.

We’re looking for sharp audio, photography, video, writing and an array of media. Visit www.spj.org/genj.

SPJ’s new Legal Advocacy Network: This exciting endeavor aims to provide legal information to journalists; to help journalists find the right legal help when they need it; to encourage greater discussion and collaboration between the journalism and media-law communities; and to create a dynamic and thoughtful team of journalists and lawyers who help steer the network’s financial resources to the most important legal causes and cases.

SPJ is asking lawyers participating in the network to pay an annual $800 fee, which, among other things, will help the Society build an online treasure trove of legal resources that becomes the go-to destination for

journalists nationwide. Think legal briefs, media-law primers, attorneys’ contact information.

Then think even bigger: A network that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to support effective lobbying on the issues that most matter to journalism and to deliver FOI instruction to journalists and citizens across the country. So far, the network has received support from lawyers at Baker Hostetler in Washington, D.C., Davis Wright Tremaine in Seattle, Faegre & Benson in Denver and Holland & Knight in Washington, D.C.

SPJ’s Freelancer Database: Make your living as a freelancer? Moonlight occasionally? Then visit our new freelancer database, which we will promote to the nation’s hiring editors and producers. Only SPJ members may enter their contact information and details about their work, but anyone needing to hire can search this valuable resource. Check it out.

SPJ’s Online Journalism Education Center: Journalism instructors: Please rifle through your files. They contain gold. SPJ National Director Sue Kopen Katcef, of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, is working to build an online collection of teaching resources. Please submit some of the best lesson plans and classroom exercises you’ve devised. So far, our collection includes a classroom game called, “Stylebook Jeopardy” and a semester-long look at how freedom-of-information laws work by having students dig through public documents.

When I think even bigger, I see a database that allows educators to search hundreds, even thousands, of teaching resources. Contact Sue today with your contribution: skatcef@spj.org.

SPJ in Motion, SPJ Podcasts and SPJ’s Online Training Center: Working in broadcasting or online journalism? Want to try your hand at gathering audio or video? SPJ needs your multimedia contributions. I’m still cheering for member Kai Jackson, a newscast anchor for WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Md.

Jackson provided broadcasting tips and then showed how to put them into action by sharing an 18-minute video he shot during a trip to Ghana. We posted Jackson’s contributions on the Society’s Web site. The veteran broadcaster tells me he’s excited to have found spj.org, a new outlet for his work. Jackson doesn’t hesitate to think big, too. While chatting recently, we spun visions of an online library of video instruction and a regular webcast of Society news.

We also talked about how nice it would be if SPJ members such as you caught the vision and helped us turn all of these dreams into reality.

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