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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > The biggest edition of the year so far!

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SPJ Leads | 2/23/2011
The biggest edition of the year so far!

By Andrew M. Scott
SPJ Communications Department


FOI SUMMIT IN R.I.. The National Freedom of Information Coalition and the New England First Amendment Coalition are sponsoring the 2011 Freedom of Information Summit on May 20-21, in Providence, Rhode Island. The conference brings together access advocates from all over the country to share ideas, highlight successes, and share the latest tricks in the secrecy trade.

HEROES OF THE 50 STATES. The conference's Saturday keynote luncheon will feature the induction of a worthy individual into Heroes of the 50 States: The State Open Government Hall of Fame, a tradition NFOIC launched in collaboration with SPJ in 2003. The nominations deadline for the award is next Monday, Feb. 28.

SPEAKING OF AWARDS — GIVE US YOUR WORST. SPJ is soliciting nominations for a new award this year, the Black Hole Award, which will be awarded during national Sunshine Week in March.

The Black Hole serves as the counterpoint to the SPJ Sunshine Award, highlighting a particularly heinous violation of the public's right to know. By exposing the bad actors, we hope to educate members of the public to their rights and call attention to those who would interfere with the people's right to acquire government information so that they may hold their elected officials accountable and enhance self-governance. The award is based on the Utah SPJ chapter's regional Black Hole Award.

Follow this link to learn more and submit an "honoree." Nominations for the award are due next Monday, Feb. 28!

A LOT OF 'SUNSHINE' IN THE FORECAST FOR OHIO. The Ohio University SPJ and RTDNA chapters have been doing an exceptional work in planning the "Ohio Sunshine Summit," bringing together student journalists and professionals from Ohio and beyond to discuss press freedom issues confronting student journalists.

The program schedule for the event includes a series of panels, guest speakers and breakout sessions that will educate journalists throughout Ohio about current laws, university policies and how to protect their rights as student journalists. The event is this Saturday, Feb. 26, at the Walter Hall Rotunda on the campus of Ohio University. For more information about the event, see the summit website.

ENTERTAINMENT COVERAGE WITH #SPJCHAT. Tweet with us by joining this week's #SPJchat Twitter chat — Thursday, 8 p.m. ET. This week's chat is about social media's impact on entertainment coverage. Our "star-studded cast" of panelists is ready to talk shop on the "Hollywood" beat.


— Kirstin Wilder, managing editor of Variety
— MariaElena Fernandez of the LA Times
— Ali Trumbull, undergraduate journalism student at DePaul University's College of Communication who live-tweeted from The Grammys

SPJ DePaul University chapter adviser and Journalist's Toolbox editor Mike Reilley will moderate. For details on how to participate in the weekly chats and a schedule of upcoming topics, see

ON THE BLOGS. The SPJ Blogs Network has been extremely active the past few days with new trends and advice to help today's journalists. From freelancing tips, industry news from around the world, digital media help, and more written by SPJ committee members and staff, the network has you covered. Here is a look at some recent posts:

The Independent Journalist: "Exercise care, and plan well, before freelancing"
If you haven't browsed the market for freelance writers and editors lately, take a look around. Even a glance on Google shows the horizon to be virtually limitless, with the scope of jobs available out... (Read more)

SPJ Works: "A glance at SPJ's new Facebook pictures/promos"
Facebook released new designs for its fan pages two weeks ago to offer improved engagement with fans, feature photos and provide better analytics for page administrators. We've used the upgrades one week later to have a little fun while initiating... (Read more)

Journalism and the World: "Brazilian president calls journalism an act of courage"
Folha celebrated 90 years of publishing this week. Attending their birthday party were all the top names of Brazil, including President Dilma Rousseff. As expected, even the political figures who had major disagreements with the press pointed out that a free press is necessary for democracy to survive and grow. (Read more)

Freedom of the Prez: "Light of Freedom May Not Mean a Free Media, Unless the People Demand It"
Like many of you, I've been watching the revolution, first in Egypt, then spreading like wildfire through other hotspots in the Middle East. It reaffirms a truth that can't be contained forever. People want a voice. They want respect and equality, and that begins at home. (Read more)

First Draft: "Your new best friend: Tweetdeck"
If you Google your name, is the first search result actually you? If not, do you want it to be? Then follow these three easy steps. (Read more)

Net Worked: "Investigative Reporting 2.0"
When you're digging for background information on a topic, try using Google Books. You might be surprised at what you can find. (Read more)

See the full blog network list here.

WELCOME OUR NEW REGION 3 DIRECTOR. SPJ member Bill Oates was recently selected to serve as the interim Region 3 director on the National Board of Directors. He will hold this position until the SPJ Conference in September. Oates is the former editor of The Miami Herald International Edition and has been a member of the Society for almost 45 years. You can welcome him at

We would also like to take a moment to thank former Regional Director Jenn Rowell for her dedicated and inspiring work.

10 STEPS TO A TECH SAVVY YOU. So you bought the iPhone 4. Did you know that it can be used to produce rich multimedia stories, interactive slideshows and even audio broadcasts in real-time? Knowledgewebb is hosting a free Webinar for SPJ members on March 9, at 2 p.m. ET. This webinar shows participants how to get started using your mobile phone to report and publish stories, whether you're using an iPhone, an Android, Palm or BlackBerry.

This complimentary program is being brought to SPJ members as a result of SPJ's partnership with Knowledgewebb. To participate, you must register by following this link.

HIGH SCHOOL ESSAY CONTEST. The Society of Professional Journalists wants to increase high school students' knowledge and understanding of the importance of independent media in our lives. We do so annually through the National High School Essay Contest. Winners of this essay contest receive scholarship awards. Learn more about this opportunity and help us spread the word. The deadline to enter is March 4.

SPJ LEADERSHIP TRAINING. Professional and student SPJ chapter leaders from around the country will meet in Indianapolis June 4-6 to participate in the Ted Scripps Leadership Institute. Funded by the Scripps Howard Foundation, the weekend is a chance for incoming chapter leaders to meet and develop their leadership skills.

Learn more about the program by checking out some of last year's highlights and read what participants had to say about how SPJ has helped them. Applications for the program are due by March 16.

CELEBRATE THE BEST. SPJ's National Honors celebrate a variety of accomplishments in the journalism field, including commitment to ethics and open government and to excellence in journalism education. The deadline for applications is March 18. Nominate someone today for one of the following honors:

Fellow of the Society: An honor bestowed upon journalists for extraordinary contributions to the profession.

Historic Site in Journalism: Honors individuals, news organizations and places of national historic journalism interest.

Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award: Honors an outstanding journalism educator who has made a significant contribution to the profession and/or journalism education, and to maintaining the highest standards of the profession.

First Amendment Award: Recognizes extraordinarily strong efforts to preserve and strengthen the First Amendment.

Sunshine Award: Recognizes those making important contributions in the area of open government.

Ethics in Journalism Award: Honors reporters, editors or news organizations that distinguish themselves by performing in an outstanding ethical manner as defined by the SPJ Code of Ethics.

CLASSROOMS & NEWSROOMS' CALL FOR BEST PRACTICES. The Journalism Education Committee has initiated a call for best practices on its SPJ blog, Classrooms & Newsrooms, where they'll open the web to educators from all over the country to share what has worked, and what hasn't worked, in their classrooms. Read more and tell them about your idea!

REPORTERS INSTITUTE DEADLINE SOON. Next Tuesday, March 1, is the application deadline for the Reporters Institute program to benefit early-career journalists. The program brings 36 reporters together at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla. for three days of training, networking and camaraderie. Learn more here.

WORLDWIDE TEEN JOURNALISM CONTEST. Youth Journalism International, a Connecticut-based nonprofit, is seeking nominations for courage by young reporters or others in the field of youth journalism. The new award will be one of many handed out to the world's most talented young reporters, photographers and cartoonists in the largest journalism contest for young people.

The new Courage in Journalism award aims to honor an individual youth journalist, journalism educator or a student newspaper that showed particular courage in pursuing a story despite danger, official roadblocks or other unusual obstacles. Learn more about the awards at the Youth Journalism website.

FOR THE COLLECTORS. If you or someone you know (a school library, perhaps) is searching for a treasure of unimaginable value, then we've got a deal for you. SPJ member Bill Hirschman has collected many issues of Quill magazine through the years and is offering volumes to anyone who may need or want them. If interested, contact Hirschman at or 954-478-1123.

PAYNE AWARDS FOR ETHICS. The Payne Awards for Ethics in Journalism seek entries from news organizations, individual journalists and student journalists in broadcasting, print or new media. The awards highlight journalists that show a commitment to ethical conduct in the face of social, political or economic pressure. Nominations for this year's awards will be accepted until Feb. 25 for stories published or decisions made in 2010. Journalists and media outlets can self-nominate or be nominated by someone else. There's no fee to apply, and the award carries a prize of $5,000. For more, follow this link or e-mail

LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. What New York Times reporter recently wrote an in-depth business article shedding light on "black-hat" search engine optimization practices?

A. David Segal. You can read the article here.

And the winner is...

Erin Medlicott of New York, NY. Congrats, Erin!

THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. The International Press Institute was recently awarded $2.7 million to foster innovation in journalism through its IPI News Innovation Contest, which will fund both non-profit and for-profit projects related to the development of digital news platforms, new business models for journalism and training in digital reporting throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. What corporation donated the funding?

Submit your answer to Andrew M. Scott

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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