By Alyson Ahrns
SPJ Communications Department
A GOOD CAUSE. After hearing that media employees in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Vinton and Waterloo, Iowa, were facing significant damage to their own homes while continuing to provide top-level reporting of the devastating floods in that state, members of the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix) pro chapter board voted to donate $500 to a fund created to assist these journalists. "We're inviting other SPJ chapters and individual SPJ members to also contribute to the Iowa Media Employees Disaster Relief Fund," said Valley of the Sun Chapter Immediate Past President Mark Scarp. "These journalists are out there doing a tough job, many knowing that they themselves have no home to go home to." Want to help out? Donate online, or send tax-deductible checks to: Iowa Media Employees Disaster Relief Fund, c/o Iowa Newspaper Foundation, 319 E. Fifth St., Des Moines, IA 50309.
MORE GOOD THINGS. Good news on the federal shield law front! Broadcasting & Cable released a story stating the majority of states' attorneys general are joining the Senate Judiciary Committee in asking the full Senate to pass a federal shield law. The article said the bill "strikes a sensible balance between reporter freedoms" and does not "unduly impair" law enforcement or trials. Seeing as the House and Senate Judiciary Committee have both backed legislation that gives reporters qualified privilege, it's up to the Senate to keep the process chugging along. Refresh your memory on SPJ's federal shield law campaign efforts by heading to our federal shield law page.
STELLAR CHAPTER. Want to see something spectacular? Take a look at Colorado Pro's membership numbers: 243 members, up from 111 just two years ago. And this increase was no accident. During the past two years, Colorado Pro has hosted several one-day training sessions throughout the state. The key for success in these events was pegging the price to an amount equal to one year's SPJ dues. Thus, their most recent event in April, "Brave New World," added 45 people, including new members for neighboring chapters in Wyoming and Utah. How did they do it? Check out the operating manual at the SPJ Garden Center.
TRY STORYTELLING AT ITS BEST. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tom Hallman Jr. will share the art of storytelling during a Narrative Writing Workshop 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.
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.
SOURCE CENTRAL. Have you ever gotten in a jam where you couldn't find a great source for a story or been frustrated because you thought you would have been a great source for a story? Helpareporter.com helps editors and reporters locate authors and other 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 more than 10,000 publicists, small business owners and other professionals, increasing the chances of you finding your ideal source before your deadline hits.
WAR NO MORE. Have you noticed a lack of coverage on Iraq and Afghanistan on network news lately? Chief Foreign Correspondent for CBS News Lara Logan has. And she says it's largely because many networks have withdrawn full-time staff members from the countries to cut costs. Read what else Logan told The New York Times on the matter here.
ASK THE EXPERTS? When you flip to your favorite cable news show every night, you're expecting to hear the latest headlines from the country's top experts in the field, right? Well, according to a recent Politico.com article, those "Democratic and Republican strategists" likely don't have the expertise that their labels imply. Read more about these "make believe strategists of TV" here.
ADDRESSING ISSUES. A new magazine plans to address racial and ethnic issues in America. Rise Up, a weekly publication that began distribution in Sunday newspapers across the country June 22, is aimed to spark discussion on important issues, the magazine's publisher and executive editor Janice Ellis told Newsweek. Ellis said this discussion will hopefully help Americans better understand their differences and lead to more unity in the future. View the full article for more details behind Ellis' motivation to launch Rise Up.
SPEAKING OF ISSUES.... Student newspaper advisers are having major issues lately! Many are losing their jobs over content battles between school administrators and student journalists, specifically in California. The state has had many problems with censorship in its high schools lately, spurring the state legislature to approve legislation that would prohibit a college or school district from firing, suspending or otherwise retaliating against an employee for acting to protect a student's freedom of speech. The bill, SB 1370, is on its way to Gov. Schwarzenegger's office in hopes that it will return with an autograph. Read more about SB 1370, the University of California's opposition to the bill and past legislation concerning student censorship here.
KANSAS CITY CALL. The Society of American Business Editors and Writers is conducting its fall workshops in Kansas City, Mo., at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, Sept. 8-9. Register by July 25 to take advantage of the special early bird rate of only $175. Group discounts are also available. Keynote speakers include Duncan Niederauer, the new CEO of NYSE Euronext, who will bring Wall Street to the Heartland and will be addressing issues in the entrepreneurial economy. The workshops will also include hands-on sessions with experts to learn about covering food safety, the raging biofuels debate and the newest cash crops.
IF THAT'S NOT ENOUGH.... The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism will offer "How to transform your business stories into multimedia packages: Learn to think visually, create a story board and stay away from online taboos." The two-hour presentation includes a half-hour group case study. Don't miss out on the opportunity to hone your skills and catch up with your peers. Register today! For more information, contact the SABEW office at (573) 882-7862 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Membership in SABEW is required.