By Abby Henkel
SPJ Communications Department
CNN'S SOLEDAD O'BRIEN AT EIJ11. We are excited to announce that Soledad O'Brien, CNN anchor and special correspondent, will be the opening Super Session speaker for the Excellence in Journalism 2011 conference, Sept. 25-27 in New Orleans. As the host of "In America," O'Brien will sit down with retired ABC News senior Washington correspondent John Cochran to discuss her first-hand experiences telling stories of underreported communities and the challenges that go along with it. Read more about the Super Session here.
EIJ DEADLINE: REGISTER TODAY, SAVE MONEY. The deadline for pre-conference registration is TODAY, Sept. 14. Register by the end of the day to save money and time by avoiding on-site registration lines. Remind your colleagues who are still undecided! Click here for pricing information, and then register today!
EIJ ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER. Learn more and engage us on the conference Facebook page. Also, keep up with Excellence in Journalism info and share your questions on Twitter by using hashtag #EIJ11.
WASHINGTON CITY PAPER SLAPP SUIT DROPPED. Last week, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder dropped his lawsuit against the Washington City Paper. Snyder had sued the paper, its owner and journalist Dave McKenna over a critical cover story that Snyder claimed was defamatory and anti-Semitic. He has agreed to drop the case, citing an interest in focusing on the upcoming football season. In July, SPJ joined an amicus brief in support of the City Paper, challenging Snyder's case as an attempted SLAPP — Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. Three cheers for a free press!
BYLAWS AMENDMENTS: ALL MEMBERS. Several proposed amendments to the SPJ bylaws will be up for a vote during the EIJ conference. Even if you are not attending, as a member it is important that you understand the potential changes. Read the proposed amendments, and participate in the online discussion for the proposed "One Member, One Vote" and the other proposed bylaws amendments.
All members are also encouraged to review candidates for national office, who will be elected by chapter delegates at the conference. Click here for bios of people who have declared their candidacy in advance. Interested individuals can still participate by running from the convention floor during the Opening Business Session.
ETHICS HOTLINE: FOR YOUR BURNING ETHICS QUESTIONS. As journalists, we find ourselves in sticky ethical dilemmas from time to time. Next time you have an ethics question, remember that you're not alone! We have a number of working/retired journalists and journalism educators on our Ethics Committee eager to lend their insight and expertise to anyone who makes a call to our hotline; that includes non-journalists who have questions about the ethics of journalism.
If you are struggling with a dilemma, or want to talk about a tough call you've had to make, call the SPJ Ethics Hotline at 317-927-8000 ext. 208 or email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Hotline and the email are monitored by SPJ staff, and requests are directed to appropriate committee members. Requests for confidentiality will be honored.
SPJ's goal is not to provide all of the answers or settle disputes but to help equip journalists to make clear, defensible decisions. Read the full SPJ Code of Ethics here.
CHAPTER GRANT APPLICATIONS DUE SEPT. 15. Don't forget that applications for chapter grants from SPJ are due Thursday, Sept. 15. SPJ will invest $5,000 to fund local chapter programs during 2011-12, and your chapter could receive up to $500 for your program or activity. All fully chartered SPJ chapters in good standing with the national organization are eligible to submit a grant proposal. Your chapter must have filed a 2010-11 annual report by the stated deadline to be eligible.
Proposals must be submitted by midnight ET Thursday, Sept. 15. Click here for details, and email Heather Dunn with questions.
MEDIA LAW IN THE DIGITAL AGE CONFERENCE. How much power should the government have when it comes to social media? Will the WikiLeaks cable drops have repercussions that will cause infringements on freedom of information and freedom of the press? David McCraw, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel of The New York Times Company, will lead a discussion at Kennesaw State University at the Media Law in the Digital Age conference on Oct. 22 addressing those very issues.
The conference, which is co-produced by the Citizen Media Law Project at Harvard University's Berkman CenterandKennesaw State's Center for Sustainable Journalism, will tackle many of the thorny legal issues that the digital revolution has brought to the forefront. For more information, visit sustainablejournalism.org/mlda11, or contact Carole Arnold at 770-423-6924 or email@example.com.
LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. Despite being located across from the World Trade Center, and having its building evacuated, The Wall Street Journal put out a paper on Sept. 12, 2001. That edition was a Pulitzer winner, in fact. It's estimated that what percent of the WSJ's daily readers still managed to receive the Sept. 12 edition, even in the ensuing chaos following the attacks?
Answer: The WSJ reached 85 percent of its readers on Sept. 12, 2001. Read Poynter's story here.
And the winner is... Paula Pant, a freelance journalist and founder/editor of Afford Anything.org. Congratulations, Paula! Prepare to receive an official SPJ prize so valuable, it's priceless.
THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. Who were the NPR journalists who found themselves in the midst of an insurgent attack during the U.S. Embassy discussions they were covering in Afghanistan this week?
Submit your answer to Abby Henkel.