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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > Shield law still needs you!

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SPJ Leads | 9/24/2009
Shield law still needs you!

By Karen Grabowski
SPJ Communications Department

SUPPORT A FEDERAL SHIELD LAW. Your support and efforts are still needed to help pass a federal shield law!

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee again delayed their discussions and vote on S. 448, the Free Flow of Information Act. SPJ sent a message to the Committee encouraging them to move quickly to reopen discussions and vote in short order so that the full Senate can, without delay, consider the legislation that is vitally important to a free and independent press.

SPJ hopes you will continue to contact your senators to tell them to move quickly. A federal shield law remains at the forefront of the Committee's agenda, but delays have stemmed from concerns of Democratic and Republican senators in cases of information involving national security. However, the bill contains provisions to safeguard national security when such instances arise. It is up to us to let our senators know the importance of completing discussions and negotiation so they may vote to pass the bill out of Committee.

Here is a list of Senate Judiciary Committee members with their office phone numbers (Click on names for more contact information). If you are represented by these senators, please consider contacting them:

Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Ranking Member, 202-224-4124
Jon Kyle (R-Ariz.), 202-224-4521
Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), 202-224-3841
Edward Kaufman (D-Del.), 202-224-5042
Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), 202-224-2152
Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), 202-224-3744
Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), 202-224-4524
Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), 202-224-3244
Al Franken (D-Minn.), 202-224-5641
Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), 202-224-6542
Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), 202-224-5754
Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), 202-224-4254
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), 202-224-2921
Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), 202-224-5972
John Cornyn (R-Texas), 202-224-2934
Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), 202-224-5251
Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, 202-224-4242
Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), 202-224-5653
Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), 202-224-5323

Thank you for your support!

SKEEL NAMED NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR. The SPJ board voted this week to hire Interim Co-Executive Director Joe Skeel as the permanent Executive Director. Among his many strengths, Skeel was recognized particularly for his knowledge of the organization, his passion for journalism and his vision for SPJ's future. Skeel joined SPJ in December 2004 as editor of Quill magazine. Four years later, he was named Associate Executive Director and oversaw SPJ's communications and membership efforts. Upon the announcement of his new position, Skeel released the following statement:

"The current challenges facing journalism and our members are unprecedented. My focus will be to ensure that SPJ is providing unparalleled services and support so that our members will be prepared to thrive in whatever climate the future brings.

"At the same time, we will work to cement SPJ as the key voice when it comes to journalism advocacy. As one of the few journalism organizations with the power to lobby Capitol Hill, I want all journalists to know we will continue to fight for their rights."

Skeel is the Executive Director for both SPJ and the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation. Read more about the selection here.

INVIGORATE YOUR CHAPTER PROGRAMS. When asked, "You want to do what?" former SPJ Colorado chapter program director John Ensslin says, "Exactly."

Ensslin, who is now the Region 9 Director, encourages chapters to think outside the box when it comes to planning programs. SPJ programming does not have to be cut and dry but creative and — sometimes — outlandish! Chapter programs are the energy that keeps chapters going, attracting new members and inspiring ideas. Ensslin shares his tried and true methods of giving new life to your chapter's programs in a leadership guide available on the SPJ Web site. Learn from advice that just doesn't get any better than this:

1. Never, NEVER be boring!
2. Take chances.
3. Learn from your mistakes.
4. Keep trying new things. Try not to repeat yourself.
5. Have fun.

Read more here and start experimenting with your chapter today!


Christy Bulkeley
SPJ is saddened by the passing of Christy C. Bulkeley who was the first woman to be named chief executive officer of a Gannett Co. Inc.-owned newspaper. Bulkeley of Sanford, N.C., died on Sept. 13 at age 67. Her journalism career began when she was a newsroom clerk at the Times-Union after she graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in 1964. Bulkeley rose in the newsroom ranks quickly. The Times-Union promoted her to reporter and then editorial page editor. Gannett promoted her to chief executive officer of the Danville, Ill., Commercial-News and she also served in Gannett's Central Newspaper Group and as vice president for special corporate projects. In 1985, Bulkeley joined the Gannett Foundation in Washington, D.C. as a vice president. Among many accomplishments, Bulkeley founded and led the Rochester chapter of Women in Communications Inc.; served as a juror for the Pulitzer Prizes in 1976; and earned a master's degree in theological studies from Wesley Theological Seminary in 1994.

Max Page
SPJ was also saddened to learn that Max Charles Page, a former television journalist who oversaw the design and construction of the Newseum, died on Sept. 15. Page began working in broadcast while he was in school in Kansas. He worked as a photographer, producer and news director at stations including KCMO in Kansas City, WFAA in Dallas and WXIA in Atlanta. In 1984, he moved to Washington, D.C. and became executive producer and Washington bureau chief for Gannett News Service/Television. He was an award-winning journalist who had covered landmark events like the Olympics, space shuttle launches, presidential campaigns and was part of a three-member team that interviewed Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi in 1989. Page began working for the Freedom Forum and the Newseum in 1992, organizations to which he was dedicated. Charles Overby, chief executive of the Freedom Forum and the Newseum, released a statement saying, "The Newseum is Max's monument."

JOIN THE CONVERSATION. SPJ's new blog platform with WordPress is up and running, and already our bloggers are not wasting time taking advantage of it. Here are a few of the newest posts to check out:

Net worked, SPJ Digital Media Committee's blog, discussed how to learn the new digital media tools on a budget, posted the second part of "Kicking it Old School" from Jessica Durkin and brought the Twitter Conference in Los Angeles straight to your screen.

FOI FYI is using the new blog format to categorize its posts by subject, which allows readers to search posts more easily.

First Draft, the SPJ Generation J Committee blog, discussed a recent APME survey that found younger journalists are the largest group leaving newsrooms right now.

Or check out a post from yours truly on the SPJ Headquarters blog, SPJ Works.

All members are encouraged to check the blogs often, use RSS feeds and join the conversation by offering useful feedback in the comments section of each blog.

GET GRANT MONEY. SPJ will invest $5,000 to fund local chapter programs during 2009-10, and your chapter could receive up to $500 for a program or activity. All fully chartered SPJ chapters in good standing with the national organization are eligible to submit a grant proposal. To be eligible, a chapter must have filed a 2008-09 annual report with the national office by the posted annual report deadline. Professional and campus chapters compete on the same level for funds. Click here for complete details and a link to the online application. Questions? Contact Heather Porter at

MEDIA FALLS FOR POLLED PUBLIC. Less than a quarter of Americans surveyed believe all or most news media reporting and close to 90 percent think news media attempt to influence public opinion with their own political agendas, according to a Sacred Heart University poll on trust and satisfaction with the news media.

The poll surveyed 800 people across the country on questions related to news media influence, viewing habits, ownership of mainstream media outlets and the prevalence of online news.

Read Quill magazine's Web article on the survey results here.

IT'S ALL BUSINESS. The free weeklong "How to be an Entrepreneur as a Business Journalist" webinar will teach you how to use your skills to make a living outside mainstream media. Freelancer Maya Smart and "Ask-the Recruiter" blogger Joe Grimm will teach the five-hour course.

Taught one hour a day from Dec. 7-11, the interactive course covers the nuts and bolts of setting up a business from legal and accounting questions to branding and marketing yourself.

A highlight of the week will be a live chat held by Joe Grimm and five successful business journalists turned entrepreneurs. Even if you have no plans to go into business for yourself, you will benefit from learning about your options and how to brand yourself in your current job.

To learn more and to register, visit the event Web site.

INTERN IN D.C. WITH FREE HOUSING. D.C. can be a tough place to intern, but with free housing and a stipend, how can you say no? The 2010 Scripps Howard Foundation Semester in Washington Program is accepting applications for spring and summer. Interns report for 10 or 14 weeks on a variety of D.C. news and politics. To apply, you must be an undergraduate — junior or senior — in the semester you would intern (some exceptions apply, see Web site). Students with superior multimedia skills will be given preference over those without such skills. The deadline to apply is Nov. 2. To learn more information and to apply, visit Contact Jody Beck at 202-408-2748 or with questions.

APPLY FOR A CAMBRIDGE FELLOWSHIP. The fellowship enables ten print, broadcast, or online journalists annually to pursue an intensive course of study in issues of science and religion. The two-month program includes three weeks of seminars at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. featuring eminent authorities in the field. Fellows will be paid a $15,000 stipend in addition to a book allowance and travel expenses.

Applicants must demonstrate an interest in the field, originality of thought displayed in previous writings, and a superior record of journalistic achievement. The awards are open to journalists, writers, and editors, including freelancers, with a minimum of three years' experience; priority will be given to mid-career and senior journalists.

The application deadline is Tuesday, December 15, 2009. Please apply online at the program Web site.

PROPOSE A PROJECT FOR HEINZ. The Heinz Endowments seeks proposals for a media audit that will analyze how local Pittsburgh newspapers and television newscasts frame stories about African American men and boys. The Heinz's African American Men and Boys Task Force, founded in 2007, created this project as part of its initiatives to increase the educational, economic, social, and leadership opportunities for black men and boys in the Pittsburg area. One of the intended outcomes of the project is to challenge the Pittsburgh news media to report all stories, positive and negative, about the black community. The proposals are due by 5 p.m. Oct. 30. To learn more, visit the Endowment Web site. For questions, contact Melanie Brown at 412-338-2652 or Carmen Lee at 412-338-2628.

LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. Here again is last week's quiz:

Sticking with the shield law — which we hope the Senate will do, too! — for this week's quiz, we ask you to name 10 states that currently protect journalists and sources by privilege statues or administrative rules.

Congratulations to this week's winner: Doug Schlatter from Pennsylvania!

He answered Arizona, Texas, Delaware, California, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee, Minnesota and Washington state.

THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. We have another shield law question for you: When was a federal shield law bill first introduced in the House of Representatives?

Submit all answers to Karen Grabowski.

SPJ Leads
– From resignations to job openings – read all about it
– Early bird gets the free press
– Seek truth and report it

Press Notes
– Breast Cancer Awareness: Learning From Jackie Collins' Death
– Blog: CPJ joins call to oppose draft surveillance law in France
– Baboon raid temporarily forced Zimbabwe radio station off air

SPJ Blogs
SPJ Leads
The EIJ News
SPJ News
Open Doors

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