By Karen Grabowski
SPJ Communications Department
BREAKING NEWS: Shield law passes out of committee. Shortly before 1 p.m. EST today, the shield law bill, S. 448, passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration, although no timetable has been set. SPJ leaders celebrated today's news, excited for the progress of the bill after fighting for the legislation for years. SPJ President Smith released this statement earlier today: "This moment has been five years in the making and a great amount of effort has been put forth to reach this point. While we understand this is a work in progress and it must win a floor vote, we are confident that the merits of this legislation will carry it." Read the full news release here.
SPJ also provided live tweets during the meeting, which can be viewed @spj_tweets. Continue following us for the latest headlines and developments.
OBAMA FOR OPENNESS. When the Obama administration released its Open Government Directive, SPJ leaders reviewed the material and applauded the efforts the federal government is making to increase public access to government information. In a statement released yesterday, SPJ leaders also stressed the point that while the directive is a step in the right direction, it will mean little if the federal government does not follow through to reduce FOIA backlogs and better fund responsive government. SPJ openly offered its assistance to the administration in improving government transparency for everyone. Read the release here.
FREE GOOGLE 101 FOR JOURNALISTS. Every day, millions of people around the world use Google's search engine to find what they're looking for. Editors, journalists, producers and others in the media have long known just how essential it is to be able to find and use information efficiently and effectively, and this Google 101 introduction on Jan. 21 in Chicago demonstrates ways to do just that. Learn how to get the most from search and other free tools from Google. Whether you're in broadcast, print or digital journalism, this session will introduce ways you can search smarter, keep better tabs on your beat, see what's hot and what's not, add a visual edge to your online content, and use Google on the go when you're reporting in the field. Sign up now! It's free!
TOOLBOX: CLIMATE QUESTIONS. E-mail leaks, protestors and finance gaps — things are heating up at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which started Dec. 7, in Copenhagen. If you're reporting the event, be sure to check out the Journalist's Toolbox. Site webmaster Mike Reilley posted an outstanding resource provided by the American Geophysical Union: more than 650 climate scientists are answering climate questions 24/7 during the entire climate conference. Get this and much, much more at the Toolbox!
SPJ HONORS AND AWARDS.
HONOR DIVERSITY. The United States is a melting pot of cultures, ideas and dreams that continues to change and grow. Immigrant and ethnic communities are groups that are just one part of those persistent dynamics, but some journalists go above and beyond to bring those groups' issues to light.SPJ wants to honor those journalists with the New America Award. The contest recognizes public service journalism that explores and exposes an issue of importance to immigrant or ethnic communities in the United States.
Please take time to read about last year's winners. Complete rules and an entry form are here. There is no entry fee and the postmark deadline is Feb. 12, 2010. For more information, contact awards coordinator Lauren Rochester at (317) 927-8000 ext. 210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
And please don't forget...
Mark of Excellence Awards: Deadline is Jan. 27, 2010
Sigma Delta Chi Awards: Deadline is Feb. 12, 2010
BIG BLOG ON CAMPUS. SPJ student board members Andrew Seaman and Tara Puckey have done a fantastic job of keeping the SPJ blog The Campus Copy updated with information every journalism student and adviser would want to know. Student chapters, take note: The Campus Copy provides valuable news items and resources and is also a place for you to share your chapter's news, programs and any issues of concern. Join the conversation!
ASU STUDENTS LEND THEIR VOICES. Arizona State University SPJ President Mallory Kydd heard about the South Florida chapter's Will Work for Food program and was inspired. On Dec. 6, Kydd and eight other SPJ student journalists lunched with 16 different homeless men and women at St. Vincent de Paul. The students interviewed their lunch companions and reported their stories in a blog. Read and view what they learned here.
INDUSTRY PUB CLOSES. This afternoon, Romenesko posted a message from Greg Farrar explaining that Nielsen Business Media will no longer publish Editor & Publisher, the newspaper trade magazine published for 125 years. The motivation behind this decision is the company's wish to "strengthen investment in (their) core businesses...and ensure long-term success." Shortly after the announcement was posted — and spread on Twitter — Editor & Publisher Senior Editor Joe Strupp tweeted, "Yes, E&P is closing. Much sadness here."
POYNTER CHATTER. If you haven't chatted with Poynter before, consider starting. Tomorrow at 1 p.m., Poynter Online is hosting a live chat on the topic, "Are Journalists Giving Up on Newspapers?" A tough subject brought on by the news of high-profile journalists leaving newsrooms, the chat should be a lively one! Log in and see what others are saying. You can tweet questions ahead of time using hash tag #leavingpapers.
GRANT MONEY FOR LOCAL PROJECTS. New Voices helps fund the start-up of innovative micro-local news projects. An initiative of J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, New Voices provides funding through a grant that you can apply for by March 1, 2010. Last year's grantees include The Austin Bulldog; Intersections: The South Los Angeles Reporting Project; New Era Media from Boulder, Colo.; and Backyard News from Harrisburg, Pa. Visit the New Voices Web site to learn more information about the program and to apply for a New Voices grant.
FREE STORY IDEAS. A new service for journalists offers story ideas at the click of a button — for free.
The premise behind Anybody's Byline is simple: input your e-mail address on the service's Web site, and you'll automatically begin receiving weekly newsletters packed with story ideas that are localizable in any coverage area. They're not just fluff features, either — story topics range from public safety to politics. The newsletter also contains a section called "The Write Stuff," which features helpful tips like Associated Press style reminders or suggestions on improving your story ledes. Launched Dec. 1, Anybody's Byline already boasts 300 members from 42 states and more than two dozen foreign countries. Users submit ideas regularly.
FILM ON PAKISTAN DEBUTS IN D.C.. If you're in Washington, D.C. this month, you may want to snag your ticket to this show. Told through the eyes of four different lives in Pakistan, the 60-minute, award-winning documentary film "Made in Pakistan" exposes life as it was during the 2007 state of emergency imposed by former president Musharraf. The film screening is Dec. 15, 4-5:30 p.m., at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (6th floor auditorium). Michael Kugelman, Program Associate for South and Southeast Asia Program at the Center, said the filmmakers hope the project will help change what they believe are misguided U.S. and Western media perceptions about Pakistan. Please note that an RSVP is required by Dec. 14 — visit the Web site for more information and to RSVP.
EARN A LITTLE EXTRA CASH. One of the many fantastic benefits available to SPJ members is special access to Helium, the world's largest online writing community. Through Helium, SPJ members can build their digital writing skills and display their work online to thousands of publishers. If you haven't already, join Helium for immediate access to a large array of digital writing resources. Learn more about Helium here and take advantage of this relationship today.
LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. Last week's quiz asked you...
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?
The answer? Shishmaref, Alaska
Congratulations to Tracy Rusch! Tracy, you win a copy of Andy Austin's "Rule 53." Austin uniquely uses her experience as a court cartoon artist to put high-profile cases on the page. Enjoy!
THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. This week's quiz concerns another bit of trivia about recent news:
What book, written by a non-fiction author and financial journalist, is now a movie that beat out the Twilight fans' New Moon last weekend? Bonus points if you can tell us the author of the book.
Members who answer correctly will be placed into a drawing for a prize. Please submit your answer to Karen Grabowski. Good luck!