By Scott Leadingham
SPJ Communications Department
NEW PRESIDENT, SAME OL' SHIELD LAW. During his acceptance speech at the 2008 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference, newly installed president Dave Aeikens reminded those in attendance that the fight to pass a federal Shield Law for journalists will continue into 2009. President-elect Barack Obama didn't mention the Shield Law in his own acceptance speech Tuesday night, but he has indicated in the past that he supports such a measure. Rick Rouan, editor of Ohio University's newspaper, The Post, reminds Obama of that support, and says the potential law is an important step in allowing journalists to report unfettered and advance democratic values. We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
IT'S ALRIGHT TO WRITE RIGHT. Join SPJ on Saturday, Dec. 6, in the great plains of Fargo, N.D., for a workshop to learn how your Web stories can meet the needs of your readers. The "Online Writing Workshop" will show why writing for the Web is different than writing for any other medium. To be effective online, writers must know how people use Web sites. See examples of great online stories, learn why it's crucial to improve your headline writing, and take away tips and tools that will enhance your work. Cost is $15. Details and registration are available at SPJ.org. Contact Professional Development Coordinator Heather Porter with any questions.
A (MORE THAN) DECENT PROPOSAL. Be a part of the 2009 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference by submitting your great idea for a professional development program. SPJ, celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2009, is seeking proposals that contain leading-edge information; emphasize training, learning and performance; are "how to" and hands-on; focus on skill-building; provide personal development strategies; and comprise no more than two presenters. Deadline is Dec. 19. Check out the details and submit your proposal online.
YOU BE THE JUDGE. Help SPJ recognize the best in journalism by volunteering to judge the Mark of Excellence or Sigma Delta Chi Awards. Potential judges for the collegiate MOE Awards must have three to five years of professional experience. Potential SDX Awards judges must have at least 10 years of professional experience. If interested, e-mail a bio detailing your professional experience and area of interest (print, television, radio, photography or online) to Awards Coordinator Lauren Rochester. Replying to this message does not guarantee a judging assignment. For more information on the contests, please visit the SPJ awards page.
MAX SPEED WITH FACS, INDEED. The Foundation for American Communications is teaming with SPJ and the Center for Automotive Research to present "Covering the Auto Industry" Nov. 18 at the Los Angeles Times. Topics will include the economics of the industry, the state of automotive technology, and the future of sales and products. All presentations from industry experts are recordable and on the record for potential stories. The seminar includes breakfast and lunch. There is no cost for journalists, but participants must be registered in advance. See the FACS Web site for details and to register.
THIRD TIME'S A CHARM. There's nothing like a well-researched, in-depth, investigative news piece to really make a reader or viewer think highly of your news outlet. Of course, interactive graphics certainly help the narrative as well. For example, interactive timelines accompanying stories on Web sites can drive traffic and entice site users to return again and again. Journalism technology blog "10,000 Words" provides examples of particularly spiffy timelines and gives links to sites that allow you to easily make your own. This marks the third week in a row we've highlighted something from "10,000 Words." Will we hit for the cycle next week? Stay tuned. . .
AND THE ELECTION WEARS ON. . .. . . .at least in the highly esteemed journalism lecturing market. SPJ members are being offered a discounted rate to attend the upcoming luncheon discussion "How Will the Nov. 4 Election Affect Business and the U.S. Economy in 2009?" featuring acclaimed business writer Kent Hoover. The event will take place 11:30 a.m. 1:00 p.m., Nov. 11, at the Hilton at Mark Center Hotel in Alexandria, Va. Reserve by Nov. 7 by e-mailing Linda Vitello or calling (703) 845-6156.
HEROES GET REMEMBERED, BUT LEGENDS NEVER DIE. He may have died in the physical sense, but the memory and impact of Studs Terkel will live on for years in the minds of many journalists. Terkel died last week at the age of 96. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author was known for his chronicling of American life in numerous books. He most recently published a memoir in 2007 titled "Touch and Go."
FIELD OF (ADVERTISEMENT) DREAMS. If you build it, they will come. That's an oft-repeated line to describe attracting audiences. So, if your newspaper builds an online presence, will the advertisers come? Not necessarily, as many publications have found. Instead, advertisers are following the flow of site traffic to Web portals. What is a newspaper to do? E.W. Scripps Co., which owns a number of papers around the country, is one publisher that is approaching online advertising in a new way: focus on smaller accounts and Web-only accounts, not necessarily in both print and on the Web. Additionally, a new service from Yahoo, called Apt, allows newspaper ad reps to sell ads that previously appeared on Yahoo sites.
IN THE NAME OF RESEARCH. Help a master's candidate by giving the inside skinny on new media (online, video and social networking) training opportunities at your newspaper. Pierce Presley, some-time Leads writer and M.A. student at the University of Memphis, has put together a short survey on the topic, and now he needs responses. No personal information (beyond the name of your newspaper) will be collected. Head to the survey to aid scholarship today!
FAIR-LY INTERESTING BOOKS. Here's two books hot off the presses that may tickle your fancy:
"Purebred and Homegrown: America's County Fairs" by SPJ member Drake Hokanson and Carol Kratz. Fellow authors Jane and Michael Stern had this synopsis: "Just like a great county fair, this book is vast and overpowering. It is great fun and hugely informative, nostalgic and eccentric, sentimental, serious and oh-so appetizing."
"Law of the Student Press" by the legal team of the Student Press Law Center. Last updated in 1994, the book explores the many intricacies of student journalism rights that have transpired over the past 14 years.