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By Willie Schatz
Board of Directors, Washington, D.C. Pro Chapter
INSIDE THE MAELSTROM. This is an edited version of Monday's e-mail to SPJ Executive Director Terry Harper from Gazette and GazetteOnline editor Steve Buttry:
The staffs of The Gazette and KCRG have been overwhelmed with the generous and unsolicited help and offers to help from our news media colleagues as we continue to publish and broadcast on all platforms through the flooding disaster in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. We were especially overwhelmed by the truckload of bottled water, cots, fruit and other donations from the Dubuque Telegraph Herald. I want to seek your help in a more personal way: Several Gazette Communications employees have had their homes and personal belongings destroyed or severely damaged in the floods. We are sure that other news media employees in Waterloo, Iowa City and smaller towns in the flood zone face the same kinds of personal losses.
The Iowa Newspaper Foundation, probably in concert with the Iowa Broadcasters Association, will establish a fund this week to help these employees, some of whom have contributed to our outstanding coverage despite their personal upheaval. You can send tax-deductible checks to Iowa Media Employees Disaster Relief Fund at Iowa Newspaper Foundation, 319 E. 5th St., Des Moines, IA 50309. After we get the fund established, I will send you a link for donating by credit or debit card online.
The Iowa Newspaper Foundation also will assemble two databases, one of the needs of newspapers affected by the flood and one of resources offered by other newspapers. If you haven't already done so, please follow our disaster coverage at GazetteOnline and KCRG.com. I couldn't be prouder of our staff and their performance. Thanks for any help you can provide.
ATLANTA OR BUST. Registration for the 2008 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference is now open. The program will take place Sept. 4-7 in Atlanta. Surf over to SPJ's Convention page to register or get information about programming, hotel and travel, a roommate request and most other conference details. Early registration rates run through July 28 and are only $185 for professional members and $135 for students, advisers and retirees. Room rates at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta are $160 through Aug. 6 or until the room block fills. Go ahead! Register today!
CAMPAIGN 2008. SPJ is seeking qualified individuals to serve as officers and directors for 2008-2009. The board of directors provides vision, direction and leadership to SPJ, the nation's largest journalism organization.
Elections will be held on Saturday, Sept. 6 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, in conjunction with the 2008 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference. The following officers and directors will be elected:
— President-elect (one-year term). This person automatically becomes SPJ president the following year.
— Secretary/Treasurer (one-year term)
— Director at Large (two-year term)
— Campus Chapter Adviser at Large (two-year term)
— Campus Representatives (two seats; one-year terms). These positions include travel stipends to cover costs of student participation.
— Region 1 Director (two-year term representing Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Central/Eastern Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont)
— Region 4 Director (two-year term representing Ohio, Michigan, Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia)
— Region 5 Director (two-year term representing Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky)
— Region 7 Director (two-year term representing Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska)
— Region 8 Director (two-year term representing Oklahoma and Texas)
— Region 9 Director (two-year term representing Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming)
— Region 10 Director (two-year term representing Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington)
Please review Articles VI and VII of the SPJ bylaws for descriptions and qualifications.
Interested candidates should contact Immediate Past President Christine Tatum as soon as possible.
FREEDOM OF THE PRESS? Troubles are brewing for journalists in China. Although the International Olympic Committee was told China would "give the media complete freedom," the country is still imposing severe restrictions on the domestic and foreign press concerning the upcoming games. The Committee to Protect Journalists last year began a report researching the range between China's poor press freedom record and the promises made in 2001 to the IOC when Beijing was awarded the Olympic Games. Chinese journalists have already been jailed for abridging the freedoms they thought they had, and vast censorships laws have been put in place. Read CPJ's report to learn more about the history of Chinese media, the promises China made to the IOC and CPJ researchers' recommendations to promote a level of press freedom in China equal to international norms.
SOURCE CENTRAL. Have you ever gotten in a jam where you couldn't find a great source for a story? Well, you might not have to worry about that anymore. Helpareporter.com helps editors and reporters locate authors and other subject area experts willing to be interviewed for articles, books, blogs and podcasts. Once you register, you will receive e-mails daily containing up to 10 detailed queries from reporters looking for educated sources. On the flip side, if you're a journalist looking for individuals to interview, visit Helpareporter.com's sister page to start your search for sources. Your request will be sent to over 10,000 publicists, small business owners and other professionals, increasing the chances of you finding your ideal source pre-deadline.
BACK OFF BLOGGERS. The Associated Press wants to give bloggers some rules by setting some clear standards on how much of its articles can be used without infringing on its copyright. This situation smells quite strongly of a Fair Use objection, which is the protection used most by bloggers who often quote portions of articles before discussing them. But how much is too much? Read more about what both the AP and bloggers have to say about the newest guidelines.
STEP UP CITIZENS. Come one, come all to SPJ's third of three Citizen Journalism Academy programs June 28 at the Loyola Law School Los Angeles. The workshop will teach citizens how to practice accurate and ethical journalism. SPJ wants to help participants understand how such practices could increase reach and reputations within a specified community and around the world. "As people are practicing journalism through blogs, Web site production and interaction with sites maintained by mainstream news organizations, they're contributing to the daily news cycle while influencing how community members get their news and perceive the world around them," said SPJ President Clint Brewer. "SPJ sees this as an opportunity to help citizen journalists by arming them with the tools they will need to be an effective citizen journalist or community watchdog." Click here to learn more.
IF YOU CAN'T MAKE THAT ONE.... Get to our Ethnic-Media Training program on June 21 at the University of Idaho in Moscow from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Attendees will explore the ins and outs of Freedom of Information laws and how to use them in daily reporting. The session will include a primer on the FOI laws related specifically to Native American reservations, as well as guidelines for successfully using federal FOI laws. Participants will also learn how these laws can be used to create quality journalism and get some great ideas for producing document-driven stories of their own. Click here to register and learn more.
THEN TRY STORYTELLING AT ITS BEST. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tom Hallman Jr. will share the art of storytelling during a Narrative Writing Workshop on July 26 at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Va. The program is $40 for SPJ members and $60 for non-members. Lunch is included. Late fees apply for registrations received less than two weeks before the workshop. For complete details or to register, visit SPJ's Narrative Writing Workshops page or call Programs Coordinator Heather Porter at (317) 927-8000, ext. 204.
COPY EDITOR CLEARANCE? As journalists, we know that copy editors are essential to the news gathering and distributing process. They have a vault of knowledge on how to best trim stories; fix grammar, punctuation and style; and write catchy headlines and captions. And let us also remember that they are also the last set of eyes to read the copy before the public. But with powerful search engines such as Google making fact-checking easier for the Average Joe, copy editors may slowly become an endangered species. Check out what a New York Times columnist has to say about this industry development.
THE ART OF ATTRACTION. Need some help recruiting new members to your chapter? Colorado SPJ chapter leader John Ensslin shares tips for building a successful training seminar in his latest blog entry. His recruiting formula helped grow chapter by 30 members in one year.
SCIENCE, ANYONE? Entries for the 2008 AAAS Science Journalism Awards, sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, are due Aug. 1. Awards will be presented for U.S. submissions in the following categories: large newspaper, small newspaper, magazine, television, radio and online. The international category for children's science news is open to journalists worldwide across all news media. Each category winner will receive $3,000, to be presented at the AAAS Annual Meeting in February in Chicago. AAAS will cover each winner's travel and lodging expenses. For more information and the entry form, click here.
CALLING ALL FREELANCER MEDICAL WRITERS. The Greater Chicago Area Chapter of the American Medical Writers Association will offer three workshops and one roundtable discussion at its 2008 conference on July 25 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Abbott Laboratories in Chicago. The workshops are open to both AMWA members and non-members. Courses include "Effective Paragraphing," "Basics of Human Anatomy and Physiology," "Launching a Freelance Medical Writer Career" and the advanced "Critical Appraisal for Writers and Editors of Biomedical Research Articles." The registration form and fees must be received by June 19 for the advanced class and by June 30 for the other course offerings. For more information, contact GCAC Education Chair, Sarah Duban.