By Karen Grabowski
SPJ Communications Department
SHIELD LAW STALLED TODAY. The Senate Judiciary Committee discussed the federal shield bill today, but again delayed a vote. The bill was met with opposition, mainly from Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). After hearing there were nearly 30 proposed amendments to the bill, which many consider a tactic to stall the bill's advancement, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) came close to enacting a rule that would have bypassed the committee and sent the bill straight to the Senate floor. However, he and co-sponsor Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) agreed to meet with opposing sides this weekend in order to come to an agreement on how to effectively and efficiently debate the amendments and, hopefully, vote on the legislation. The date for the next markup of the bill has not been determined.
Visit the @spj_tweets Twitter feed to read the tweets that were posted live during the meeting. The tweets come from Headquarters and President Kevin Smith, who was in attendance. Sitting behind Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Specter, this was the second time Smith has gone to a meeting to represent SPJ's support of the legislation that is so important to a free and independent press.
Please also read the FOI FYI blog post about the committee meeting today that was written by David Cuillier, who is chairman of the Freedom of Information Committee.
SPJ AND CPJ JOIN FORCES. In an effort to defend and support journalists worldwide, SPJ is partnering with the Committee to Protect Journalists. Our goal is to raise awareness of atrocities that are occurring outside of our borders. One of the initiatives we are hoping to start, as a result of this partnership, is an "adopt a journalist" program. The concept is simple: CPJ has provided us with a list of jailed journalists, or those recently released from jail. We are hoping local chapters may be interested in "adopting" one of these individuals by writing letters of encouragement and hope. If you or your chapter is interested in adopting a journalist, please contact SPJ Executive Director Joe Skeel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPJ GIVES FTC ITS TWO CENTS. We hope you had a chance to follow President Kevin Smith's tweets from the Federal Trade Commission's two-day workshop on journalism and the Internet earlier this week. The workshop "From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?" brought together a diverse group of participants including Rupert Murdoch and Arianna Huffington to discuss, debate and consider the future of journalism in an Internet age. Smith and Hilary Fosdal, chairwoman of the Digital Media Committee, attended the workshop. Before the workshop, the Digital Media Committee and the Northern California Pro chapter submitted statements to the FTC for recording. Read the Digital Media Committee's FTC statement here and the North California Pro Chapter statement here.
SPJ REJECTS FDA PRACTICES. SPJ joined 10 other journalism organizations to urge the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to stop restricting the flow of information to the public. The FDA requires that journalists and FDA employees notify or obtain permission from an official to conduct an interview. FDA officers are also allowed to listen to interviews. Those actions are detrimental to the practice of free and open interviews.
Read Joe Strupp's article on Editor & Publisher that includes the letter the 11 journalism groups sent to the FDA.
SPJ HONORS AND AWARDS
TWO AWARDS FOR PRO JOURNALISTS. As you've read in previous SPJ Leads, the Society celebrates excellence in professional journalism with the Sigma Delta Chi Awards. Please take the time to view the Quill SDX Awards Issue from July 2009 to see a sample of last year's award winners and their work. Submit your entry today for the chance to be recognized in this nationally distributed publication. The entry deadline is February 12, 2010. If you have any questions, please contact Lauren Rochester at (317) 927-8000 ext. 210.
Another honor that recognizes exceptional journalists is the Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award. The award, named after the longtime White House correspondent whose dedicated journalism career has spanned almost 60 years, honors an individual or individuals for a lifetime of contributions to the profession. If you know of someone who SPJ should recognize, click here to learn how to submit a nomination. If you have any questions, please contact Lauren Rochester at (317) 927-8000 ext. 210.
STUDENTS: SUBMIT YOUR WORK AND HONOR YOUR MENTORS. Submissions for SPJ's collegiate journalism contest, the Mark of Excellence Awards, are also open. The deadline to enter is January 27, 2010.
Students, while you peruse your latest and greatest for the MOE awards, think about the people who helped you achieve those academic successes: your teachers. If you have a journalism professor who has shown exceptional dedication to educating you and your peers, please consider nominating him or her for the Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award. The award honors a journalism educator and recognizes outstanding teaching ability, contributions to journalism, journalism education and contributions toward maintaining the highest standards of the profession.
Don't forget that you can now enter your contest submissions online! Submit your entry today.
HIGH SCHOOL ESSAY CONTEST. Write an essay win a scholarship! Please pass along this contest information to all high school students and high school teachers: SPJ's High School Essay Contest is a chance for 9-12 graders to show their knowledge and understanding of the importance of free and independent media. The first place winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
The topic is "Why are free and independent news media important?" All 9-12 graders in public, private and home schools are eligible. Entries must be 300-500 words and double-spaced (typed or handwritten). Visit the contest Web site for more information and an entry form.
YOUR IDEAS ARE STILL NEEDED. Do you have a stellar journalism program you can't wait to share? Then submit it for the 2010 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference, Oct. 3-6 in Las Vegas. SPJ's Call for Programs has started and we want YOUR ideas. Help make the 2010 convention educational and inspiring. Submit your proposal today. You have until Jan. 3, 2010 to submit.
WRITING WORKSHOP STILL OPEN. If you're in the great Northwest, there's still time to sign up for the SPJ Narrative Writing Workshop on Dec. 12 in Portland, Ore. The newly reduced price ($40 for members; $60 for non-members) is a steal for all the program offers. Join Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tom Hallman Jr. to learn the benefits narrative writing can bring to your reporting and newsroom. Register online and learn more about the workshop here. E-mail Heather Porter with questions or call 317-927-8000 ext. 204.
GENEVA CONVENTION RESOURCE. In 2000, SPJ discovered that there was no quick, easy-to-understand reference to the Geneva Conventions, a resource SPJ believed was important for every journalist to understand if not own. There is no one "Geneva Convention," and the laws are still under construction. However, the humanitarian treatment of civilians has been important since, well, always. What SPJ provides is a basic reference to the most common protections and prohibitions as provided for in the four 1949 Geneva Conventions and the two 1977 protocols. We encourage you to view our related resources online and to purchase your own copy you never know when it will come in handy! You can even buy a waterproof copy.
Cost (includes shipping):
Paperback edition: $18
Waterproof edition: $31
Please contact Karen Grabowski at (317) 927-8000, ext. 215 to purchase your copy today. Heck, why not consider it for a holiday gift for your favorite journalist? Good idea, eh?
TIPS TO COVER CLIMATE. Just in time for the Climate Conference of 2009 in Copenhagen, Dec. 6-18, The University of California Energy and Resources Group (ERG), in collaboration with the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, released climate communication "Tip Sheets" for scientists and journalists. Each sheet lists concise recommendations and hints on communicating, understanding and reporting climate change issues. Click here for the tip sheet for journalists. Click here for the tip sheet for scientists. For more information, please contact authors Cathy Kunkel and Zoe Chafe.
HOW TO FREELANCE AND PROFIT. On Dec. 10, Maya Payne Smart hosts "The 7 Secrets to Profitable Freelancing in a Recession," a coaching telecast jammed with practical info, ready-to-use skills and reliable resources with one goal in mind to empower freelance writers and help them increase revenue. The $29 fee includes the live course, a digital audio recording and reference worksheet. Visit the program Web site for more info or to register. Questions? Call Maya at 804-368-1614 ext. 2.
BRUNCH AND BRAND. Iowa SPJ will present its 2009 Brand Yourself Brunch & Learn from 9 a.m. to noon at the Des Moines Social Club. Presenters Drew McLellan of McLellan Marketing Group, Nathan Wright of Lava Row, David Bulla of Iowa State University and Claire Celsi of The Public Relations Project will show participants how to develop their personal brand easily, effectively and with maximum impact. The cost is $25, but students and SPJ Iowa members are eligible for a discount. The discount code is MembersOnly. Click here for more information and to register.
BLOODFEAST FUNDRAISER DRAWS HUNDREDS. The New England SPJ chapter held its sixth annual Halloween party fundraiser where costumed dancers boogied to local DJs, competed for the best costume award, perused local art and fashion, and most importantly raised money for the New England SPJ scholarship fund. Bloodfeast 2009 drew 642 people and raised $1,200 for the fund. The event also spread the word about Red Cross blood drives in the area.
"Once again, Bloodfeast was a smashing success. It just keeps getting bigger every year," said chapter president Emily Sweeney.
If you like this chapter programming idea, contact Emily Sweeney or your local chapter leader and join in the SPJ fun. Your chapter could be in the next SPJ Leads!
THE GIVING MEMBERSHIP. The holiday season is in full swing. This year, give a gift that we can guarantee will give back: an SPJ membership. To surprise your favorite journalist with this priceless present, contact Linda Hall at 317-927-8000 ext. 203. You can also download a membership application to complete for the recipient and mail it to SPJ Headquarters. If funds are tight in your house, don't be shy about telling your family and friends that a perfect gift for you is another year's membership in the best journalism association around.
LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. Last week's quiz asked you...
What boxed food can you expect to see less of in the frozen food aisle of your local grocery store?
The answer? Eggo Waffles!
Several members answered correctly, but only one was pulled from our SPJ hat to win this week's prize. Congratulations Jondi Gumz! Your correct answer and a bit of luck makes you the winner of this week's quiz. Jondi, you are now the proud owner of Jock Lauterer's book "Community Journalism: Relentlessly Local." Lauterer is a lecturer in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and founding director of the Carolina Community Media Project at the university's School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. Let's try another trivia question and test your knowledge of what was in this past week's news:
As mentioned above, the Climate Conference of 2009 will begin soon in Copenhagen, and, while the winter wind is blowing through most of the U.S., global warming is still a hot topic for environmentalists and a particular town in Alaska. Can you name this 600-person village that is slowly (or quickly) melting away?
Members who answer correctly will be placed into a drawing for a prize. Please submit your answer to Karen Grabowski. Good luck!