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By Scott Leadingham
SPJ Communications Department
WHEREFORE ART THOU GREENCASTLE? The only way to answer that question is to experience the lovely town of Greencastle, Ind. And there's no better time to do it than for the upcoming SPJ Centennial Celebration on April 17. Join Society members from all over the country as they gather at the site of SPJ's founding — DePauw University — to celebrate the past and welcome the future. The day will be packed with events not to be missed. This just in: legendary radio host and 35-year SPJ member Bob Edwards (founding host of NPR's "Morning Edition") will join a panel of journalism greats titled "Journalism in Times of Peril and Promise." But that's only one of several outstanding events. The day will include a book presentation about journalist Barney Kilgore, a fraternal ceremony rooted in the Society's 100-year tradition, a special dinner and a keynote by broadcasting legend Jane Pauley. Truly, this is an event you don't want to miss. See all the events and details at the SPJ Web site and reserve your sport at this truly monumental event.
If you can't attend in person, follow along online through Twitter with Scott Leadingham (@scottleadingham). A Webcast will also broadcast portions of the day online. Details TBA.
IT'S NEVER TOO EARY... ...to start planning for the annual SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference, Aug. 27-30 in Indianapolis. Sure, it may not be until August, but that's not too far away. Registration is now open for what will be an amazing opportunity. Keeping in line with this centennial year, the convention will center on celebrating the 100 years of SPJ ongoing goals to improve and protect journalism. But everything you know and love about convention will remain, including dynamic speakers, outstanding professional development, the national Mark of Excellence Awards presentations, the Legal Defense Fund Auction and much more. The program schedule will be available soon. Review pricing and travel details now at the Convention Web site.
THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE. In light of Sunshine Week, which concludes March 20, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has launched a searchable online database of unsealed government documents. The collection represents numerous FOIA requests made by EFF. Read the background of the database here. Of course, SPJ has been very involved in the Sunshine Week effort. Dozens of Freedom of Information resources for the week (and all year long) are located on the SPJ Sunshine Week page. And if you're in the mood for a little Sunshine Week-inspired writing, read this op-ed by Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., sponsor of the Free Flow of Information Act.
WELLS: THE UTMOST FOR THE HIGHEST. With great power comes great responsibility (according to the movie "Spiderman"). Similarly, with great service comes deserving accolades. Those who serve SPJ in extraordinary fashion are eligible for the Society's highest honor: the Wells Memorial Key. The award is named for Chester Wells, the Society's second president, who died in office in 1913. Any current SPJ member is eligible for this award that recognizes exemplary service, and any member or chapter can submit nominations. The deadline is April 15. See the SPJ Web site for complete details about this truly outstanding honor.
AND DON'T FORGET. The Wells Key may be the highest honor given to a member, but it's certainly not the only one. April 15 is also the deadline to nominate members for exemplary service and dedication in one of four categories:
Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Member — for a professional member who has made significant contributions to his or her chapter or region. More info.
Julie Galvan Outstanding Graduate in Journalism — honors a graduating student member whose commitment to community and the study of journalism has benefitted SPJ. More info.
David L. Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser — recognizes a campus chapter adviser who has made exceptional contributions to students and the chapter he or she advises. More info.
Regional Director of the Year — given to one of 12 current regional directors for extraordinary contributions to their region and the Society. More info.
GETTIN' BY. The Beatles and Joe Cocker knew how to sing it, and now the South Florida Chapter is singing the same tune: We get by with a little help from our friends. The chapter, led by president Julie Kay, is starting a support group for displaced journalists in the area. The group will meet in person — and perhaps through a listserv — to discuss job leads, insurance needs and generally offer support to one another. E-mail Julie if you're interested in joining the group or if you'd like suggestions on starting a similar group in your area.
OB-LA-DI, OB-LA-DA. Life goes on after retirement and journalists have to cover issues of importance to retirees. The National Press Foundation is sponsoring a four-day seminar and funding fellowships for journalists attending the program "Retirement Issues in the 21st Century," May 31- June 2 in Washington, D.C. Business, consumer, and lifestyle writers and editors, as well as editorial writers, will gain a number of story ideas, sources and methods. Attendees will have on-the-record access to experts from the federal government, AARP, the Brookings Institution and other reputable think tanks, and will visit appropriate Washington venues. To be considered for funding, submit an application form, cover letter explaining interest in the program, brief bio, three clips and one letter of recommendation from a supervisor. The application deadline is April 6. See the program Web site for more information and an application form. E-mail Maha Masud or call 202-663-7285 for more information.
LITTLE GREEN JOURNALISTS. Knoxville, Tenn., will be invaded by little green men and women on March 27. But the invaders won't be from Mars. Rather, those interested in green reporting will converge on the city for the one-daymini environmental journalism conference hosted by the East Tennessee Pro Chapter. For only $15, SPJ members will get a full day of sessions on topics such as environmental law and coal mining in southern Appalachia (non-member price is $20). The fee includes lunch with a keynote address by Jim Detjen, director of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University. The conference schedule and registration details are at the chapter Web site.
LAW AND ORDER, JOURNALISM STYLE. Loyola Law School Los Angeles is accepting applications for its fourth annual Journalist Law School, June 17-20. The application deadline for the competitive fellowship is Monday, March 23. The JLS is a four-day crash course in law. Fellows review constitutional, criminal and civil law all packed into a long weekend — plus fellows may choose breakout sessions based on current news topics and other preferences. To date, more than 100 journalists have completed the program from news outlets across the country. And the best part — it's free to journalists! Instruction, lodging and up to $300 of travel expenses are covered. Get application and other details here. For more information, e-mail Brian Costello or call 213-736-1444.
THE EXPERIMENT BEGINS. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer may have printed its final copy on March 17, but it's not forgotten. Now the real work begins, as the paper tries to remain viable while becoming the largest U.S. newspaper to shift entirely online. Of course, the cessation of print elicited strong emotions (from the staff and the community). Managing editor David McCumber wrote a fitting farewell about the P-I and its historic place in the Seattle. And the final print cartoon of Pulitzer-winning cartoonist David Horsey sums up the mood by showing the iconic P-I globe framed by the Olympic Mountains and Elliot Bay.