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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > State of the Society, Scripps, SDX Awards and some Sunshine

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SPJ Leads | 2/1/2012
State of the Society, Scripps, SDX Awards and some Sunshine

By Abby Henkel, SPJ Communications Department


STATE OF THE SOCIETY. Last weekend, SPJ leaders gathered in Charlotte, N.C., for the Executive Committee meeting. The new Greater Charlotte Pro chapter, which is off to a great start, hosted a gathering for chapter members and the visiting leaders. President John Ensslin gave a "State of the Society" address, touching on membership, the Legal Defense Fund, the ethics code and more. We encourage you to watch the video and share your thoughts in the comments section.

Thanks to members of the Charlotte chapter for their hospitality — and especially for this tasty cake celebrating 100 years of Quill magazine!

TED SCRIPPS LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE. Professional and student SPJ chapter leaders will meet in Indianapolis June 1-3 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 leadership skills. Learn more about the program by checking out last year's highlights. Apply by March 15.

INTERN WITH THE WORKING PRESS. SPJ is seeking 12 talented college reporters, photographers, designers and editors to staff The Working Press, a newspaper and website that covers the annual Excellence in Journalism conference. This year's conference is Sept. 20-22 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., where interns receive complimentary conference registration and hotel lodging plus advising by experienced journalists.

To learn more, read this blog post where former student staffers share how their experience is helping them academically and professionally. The news site maintained by last year's team is

SDX & NEW AMERICA AWARDS ENTRIES: ONE WEEK LEFT. Entries to the Sigma Delta Chi Awards are due Thursday, Feb. 9. Take advantage of the member discount -- only $60 per entry for members. Enter online at

Before you enter, take a moment to read through the rules and categories. Contact Lauren Rochester with questions at or 317-927-8000 ext. 210.

The deadline for the New America Award is also Feb. 9. This award honors outstanding public service journalism exploring topics important to ethnic or immigrant communities living in the U.S. There is no entry fee for the New America Award. Entries must be mailed to SPJ headquarters and postmarked by Feb. 9. For more information, visit

PROGRAM IDEA OF THE WEEK. "From Journalist to Author: Turning your Beat into a Book": Valley of the Sun Pro Chapter

This program is a way to help journalists turn their research and writing into a book by hearing from others who have done the same. Invite a few speakers to talk for 10-15 minutes about their experience writing a book, including developing ideas, the writing process, and finding and working with a publisher. Provide ample time for audience questions.

Because of the nature of this topic, this program could be a great recruitment tool to bring in non-members. Be sure to have handouts ready to promote your chapter and SPJ membership. Hold it in a comfortable setting such as a private room in a café or restaurant. Contact: Teri Carnicelli,

Has your chapter put on a great program recently? If so, email the program name, basic information and contact information to Heather Dunn,, for consideration as one of our program ideas of the week.

If you're looking for all the program ideas featured weekly in SPJ Leads, click here.

JOURNALIST'S TOOLBOX UPDATES. The Journalist's Toolbox is a free collection of hundreds online resources to help in your reporting. Topics cover everything from crime to labor issues to religion. January updates include politics and the 2012 elections, journalism jobs, the G8/NATO summits and more. Take some time to explore the toolbox; maybe you'll find something for your next assignment. The Journalist's Toolbox (@journtoolbox) is brought to you by SPJ and DePaul University professor Mike Reilley.

SPJ BLOGS NETWORK. Latest updates from the SPJ blogs network:

— Court in Ecuador suspends libel hearing by International Committee member Butler Cain
— The keys to good journalism by Freelance Committee member David Sheets
— Don't believe everything you read on Craigslist by Generation J Committee Member Pat Kane
— Social Media Weekend: A worthwhile venture — and hashtag by Quill editor Scott Leadingham

See all blogs at the SPJ blogs network main page.

SUNSHINE WEEK. Sunshine Week is a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include news media, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and others interested in the public's right to know -- including SPJ.

Sunshine Week 2012 is March 11-17. There are many ways to get involved: nominate a local hero of open government, urge your local and state governments to adopt an open government proclamation, or browse the idea bank for Sunshine-themed information to share on your news site during the week.

NEW MEMBER PROFILE. Please offer a warm welcome to Micah Danney, one of SPJ's newest members and a freelance writer for several Long Island sites. Danney's favorite news source is The New York Times, and his favorite journalist is Fareed Zakaria. The last book he read was "The Tale of the Gun" by David Carr, and his favorite journalism movie is "All the President's Men" (a classic).

Danney tell us: "I joined SPJ because I am interested in and concerned about journalistic standards in our society, and I want to be plugged in to networks which keep me informed and connected to others who take the craft as seriously as I do."

Welcome to all new SPJ members!

LAST WEEK'S QUIZ. What news organization has a "conditions for accuracy" policy that helped prevent its journalists from reporting Joe Paterno's death before he had died (as other outlets did)?

Answer: The Associated Press. Read more here.

And the winner is... Anna Tarkov, a member of the Chicago Headline Club. Congratulations, Anna! We can say with confidence that we've verified your triumph with several sources and one esteemed random number generator. Your Fabulous SPJ Leads Quiz Prize is on its way.

THIS WEEK'S QUIZ. What news organization has a "conditions for accuracy" policy that helped prevent its journalists from reporting Joe Paterno's death before he had died (as other outlets did)?

Submit your answer to Abby Henkel.

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