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By Abby Henkel
SPJ Communications Department
THANKFUL. Happy Thanksgiving to all of our wonderful members and your loved ones. We are thankful for all you do to support SPJ and to assist us in improving and protecting journalism.
Whether you're traveling far or near, sitting down to a big dinner or grabbing pizza in the newsroom between story assignments, we hope your day will be filled with enjoyment and passion for the things and people you love.
Please note: The SPJ offices will be closed Thursday and Friday, Nov. 24-25, for the Thanksgiving holiday.
PROGRAM OF THE WEEK. "Meet the Newbies": Minnesota Pro chapter
Minnesota has a lot of journalism start-ups, as well as new divisions and projects being taken up by the mainstream media. The chapter wanted to gather people together for an informal networking event, a great way to build cross-medium relationships. They invited members and friends, and representatives from the list of "newbies" projects. The event was held at the office of one of the newbies, complete with appetizers, beer and wine. Attendees had time to mingle, and the newbies each got a few minutes of floor time to talk about their news enterprise. If you'd like more information on the event, or tips on hosting a similar one in your area, contact Sarah Bauer at email@example.com.
THE SPJ CALLING CORPS. This time of year offers a great chance to remind fellow journalists why SPJ membership is important. A group of members, including board members and past presidents, will be picking up the phones in December to check in with people whose memberships have lapsed.
Here's what's involved:
— Call at least five people, names provided by HQ
— Encourage them to renew their membership
— Answer questions about SPJ (talking points and info provided)
— Report on the results
Read more about the Calling Corps and other membership initiatives.
If you'd like to join the Calling Corps, please contact Membership Committee Chairwoman Holly Edgell an email at
ATTENTION GANNETT EMPLOYEES. SPJ is excited to inform you of an opportunity for Gannett employees to participate in GannettMatch, a matching gift program administered by the Gannett Foundation. Make your holiday donations go even further by donating to SPJ's educational arm, the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, through GannettMatch. Employees are encouraged to make personal contributions and take advantage of Gannett's 1:1 match program.
Almost all 501(c)(3) organizations are eligible through GannettMatch, with the exception of the United Way and organizations whose primary purpose is to promote a particular sectarian belief. To see the guidelines, please click here.
SPJ BLOGS NETWORK. The SPJ blogs network has experienced a flurry of postings in the past week. Here is a tasty sampler:
— Lose the funny when filing on deadline by Gen J Committee member David Brandt
— How much should you charge? by Freelance Committee member Paula Pant
— Staying true to your brand by President John Ensslin
— How to get a press pass by Freelance Committee Chairwoman Dana Neuts
— The SPJ Diversity Committee: Working towards equality and fairness in the media by Diversity Committee member Rebecca Aguilar
— College journalists: 14 things to do before you graduate by Gen J Committee member Jennifer Nicole Sullivan
MEMBER ACHIEVEMENTS. We were pleased to see several members on the list of 35 journalists selected as Reynolds Week Fellows. These fellows will receive four days of all-expenses-paid, intensive training in business journalism at the Reynolds Center in January. SPJ members in the group include:
— Megan Kamerick
— Emerald Sierra Morrow
— Rhonda J. Clark
— Ingrid Sturgis
— Will Sutton
Congratulations are also in order for member Kelly Carr, who has won the Foreign Press Association Media Awards 2011 for Financial/Economic reporting for a Reuters special report on the use of U.S. shell and shelf companies. As a freelancer, she teamed with Reuters reporter Brian Grow to produce the report. She is the senior online producer for the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State University's Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Are you itching to celebrate a fellow member's accomplishments? Alert Abby Henkel, firstname.lastname@example.org, of the good news and we may feature it in SPJ Leads.
SDX AND MOE AWARDS FOR JOURNALISM. The long Thanksgiving weekend is the perfect time to enter your best work from 2011 for an SPJ award. The Sigma Delta Chi awards honor the best in professional journalism, including print, radio, television and online. The Mark of Excellence awards honor student journalists. The deadline for MOE entries is Jan. 25, 2012; for SDX, the deadline is Feb. 9. Take advantage of the substantial entry fee discount for SPJ members.
Learn more about all SPJ awards, and enter online at awards.spj.org. Contact Lauren Rochester with question at email@example.com.
RIDENHOUR PRIZES: DEADLINE DEC. 1
The Ridenhour Prizes recognize individuals whose acts have protected the public interest, promoted social justice, or illuminated a more just vision of society.
Submit a nomination for the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling, an award honoring a citizen, corporate or government whistleblower, or investigative journalist for bringing a specific issue of social importance to the public's attention; for the Ridenhour Book Prize, which recognizes an outstanding work of social significance from 2011; and for the Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize.
To nominate a truth-teller, a book, or a documentary film, click here.
Learn more about Ron Ridenhour and the prizes. Nominations are due Dec. 1, 2011.
THANKSGIVING PIE CHART. As you enjoy your third helping of delicious pie, don't forget to brush up on these important pie statistics, which measure Americans' three favorite types of pie:
Brought to you by the Go Figure blog at NPR.
"CHALK LINE" — DISCOUNT AND FREE SHIPPING. SPJ member, Quill contributor and professional writing coach Paula LaRocque has released her first novel, "Chalk Line," a Ben Gallagher mystery. She and Marion Street Press are offering a 15 percent discount on the book to all SPJ members. Marion Street Press is also offering free holiday shipping until Dec. 31. Click here to take advantage of the discount.
Paula's tips on writing fiction (as opposed to non-fiction, as she's done for many years) are in the September/October issue of Quill. Read her column.
LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. Why has a long-standing blog been renamed "MediaWire"?
Answer: Poynter renamed Jim Romenesko's blog "MediaWire" from "Romenesko" after he resigned Nov. 10. Read Poynter's statement. Romenesko's explanation is on his new blog.
And the winner is... Manley Witten, who teaches at Point Park University. Congratulations, Manley! We are happy to brighten your Thanksgiving with a fabulous prize direct to you from SPJ Headquarters.
THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. Last week, several staffers at the AP were scolded for violating a certain company policy. What was the policy, and how did they violate it?
Submit your answer to Abby Henkel.