By Tom Henderson
Editorial Writer and Columnist, The Lewiston Tribune President, Snake River SPJ
Communications Manager, SPJ
OH, BOY! SPJ National President Christine Tatum; her husband, Dr. Christian Thurstone; and their daughter, Tatum Elizabeth, are celebrating the birth of Christian Asa Thurstone. Asa arrived Friday at a healthy 8.5 lbs. The family is doing just fine. Christine wrote: “My thanks to so many of you who have sent congratulations and best wishes. Thanks, too, to those of you who have noted Asa’s special place in SPJ history. He is, indeed, the first baby born to a woman president of the Society. My, how far SPJ has come ...” Read more about Tatum’s newsroom and nursery and consider sharing your own thoughts about balancing work and family commitments.
CALLING ALL FREELANCERS! SPJ is testing a new database, where freelancers can enter contact information, provide details about their professional specialties and link hiring editors to examples of their work. Only SPJ members can enter their information into this new database, which will be trumpeted to editors far and wide when we’re ready to make a big public splash. So, have your user name and password handy — and enter your information today!
DANGEROUS FREELANCE LIASONS. Independent journalist Kerri Fivecoat Campbell warns of scammers in the writing industry this week on SPJ’s freelance blog, The Independent Journalist. Have a story to share or a tip to offer to prevent scammers from wasting your time? Share it.
DIGITAL REVOLUTION. As February nears, SPJ is excited to introduce the digital edition of Quill magazine. The same great content that you’ve come to expect in the print edition will now be included in a digital version, where you will be able to click through interactive pages as you read the stories online. To ensure you don’t miss out on the new digital Quill, please take the time to update your personal information, including your e-mail address, with SPJ’s headquarters. Check out a shortened sample of the new Quill and offer comments to Joe Skeel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
D.C. COVENTION BOUND. The 2007 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference will take place Oct. 4-7 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. This year’s convention will feature programs focusing on Campaign 2008 and Washington-related topics. Mark your calendars and make plans now to attend.
STUDENT CHAPTER REBOUNDS. George Mason University is re-establishing its student chapter with the guidance of their professor and D.C. Pro chapter member Dan Kubiske, who also is chairman of SPJ’s International Committee. The Student Media Department has requested that D.C. Pro members come and help the students with training sessions on writing, editing, interviewing, ledes, reporting and other journalism techniques.
WAZOO RAMPS UP. The student chapter at Washington State University has sprung back to life under the leadership of President Brian Schraum. Other new leaders this year include Vice President Elly Johnson, Secretary Melanie Wittman, Treasurer Gary Lau and Membership Chair Lynsi Burton. Members have a full agenda, including a resume critique with professional journalists, a job fair and working with high school journalists. A panel on ethics is scheduled for Washington State’s annual Edward R. Murrow Symposium in April.
DEADLINES NEARING. The postmark deadlines for the Mark of Excellence and Sigma Delta Chi Awards are quickly approaching. Students, your Mark of Excellence Awards entries must be postmarked by Jan. 23. Professionals, please have your Sigma Delta Chi Award entries postmarked by Feb. 6. Find out the complete details on both contests, or e-mail Programs Coordinator Heather Porter at email@example.com.
WRITE WELL, WIN BIG PRIZES. The SPJ High School Essay Contest, on the topic: “Why Free News Media Are Important,” hopes to increase high school students’ knowledge and understanding of the importance of the Free Media to our lives. National winners of this contest receive scholarship awards. First place will get $1,000, second place $500 and third place $300. Visit SPJ’s Web site for more information about contest rules and deadlines.
FOI HONORS. Time is running out to submit entries for the Valley of the Sun SPJ Chapter’s annual 2007 Arizona Freedom of Information Awards. The deadline is Jan. 26. The awards honor print, broadcast and online journalists for outstanding commitments to the First Amendment and Freedom of Information issues from calendar year 2006. An entry form and other information can be found at the Valley of the Sun Chapter Web site.
GRANTHAM OR GRAND PRIZE? Applicants for the 2007 $75,000 Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment have until March 5 to enter their best work. The award, given by the Metcalfe Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting, honors the best in journalism on environment and natural resources. Work must have been produced and distributed in the United States and Canada between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2006. More information and contest rules are available online.
A FREELANCE GIG. The Western Washington Pro Chapter is hosting the 2007 Freelance Mixer for all freelancers and the editors who need them. This is an opportunity for assigning editors to talk about their specific needs and freelancers to share their talents. WHEN: Feb. 13, 1-3 p.m. at Seattle’s Elliott Bay Book Co. COST: $20 for SPJ members, $35 for non-members and free for assigning editors. Cash or check only. Admission includes food, drink and a packet of writers guidelines, editorial calendars and more from over 30 publications. MORE INFORMATION OR TO RSVP: Contact Jenny Zappala at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit The Chapter’s Web site.
LEND A HAND. For the staff of The Times-Picayune, life in New Orleans is still a daily struggle. But, you can help. The D.C. Pro chapter is inviting the Washington media community — and anyone else who’s a fan of heroic journalism — to attend its Friends of The Times-Picayune Fundraiser. Enjoy great New Orleans-style food and drink, while adding your donation to a special fund that’s helping Times-Picayune staff rebuild their lives. WHEN: Jan. 25, 5-8 p.m. WHERE: Acadiana Restaurant, 901 New York Ave. NW. SUGGESTED DONATION: $35 (or more!) RSVP: To Susan Feeney and Rodney Ferguson by today.
ALL ABOARD. The Associated Press Managing Editors and the Mid America Press Institute invite you to hop on the NewsTrain when it makes a stop in Memphis. Become a more effective editor by attending two days of training in editing, management, online and more. WHEN: Feb. 9 -11, Holiday Inn Select Downtown, 160 Union Ave., Memphis, Tenn. COST: $50 registration fee, which includes continental breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday, and lunch on Saturday. MORE INFORMATION AND TO REGISTER: Send an e-mail to Dave Reed or call (217) 273-5812. Include your name, title, news organization, phone number and e-mail address.
REMEBERING COLE. Friends and family will gather to remember and celebrate the life of former SPJ member Cole Campbell. A former editor of both The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va., Campbell became dean of the Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno in July 2004. Campbell died Jan. 5 from injuries sustained in a traffic accident. A public memorial service is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., Jan. 24 in Nightingale Hall on the University’s campus. A reception will follow in the lobby of the Reynolds School of Journalism.
YODAS FOR HIRE. Snake River SPJ is following in the footsteps of Oregon SPJ by creating a mentorship program for college journalism students. Students are paired with professionals who agree to act as one-on-one mentors on a continuing basis. Students have permission to call or e-mail professionals for advice on careers and education. More information on this program is available by contacting Tom Henderson.
SMALL VICTORIES. Do you sometimes wonder if newspapers make a difference? Remember, it’s the little things. The newspaper in Canal Fulton, Ohio, wrote a story after Franklin the basset hound was kicked out of Matt’s Barber Shop. Franklin greeted customers to the shop from a 1950s-era green barber’s chair. Franklin was kicked out about a year ago when an inspector for the Ohio State Barber Board told the shop owner that animals are not allowed. A newspaper story helped change the law so Franklin could return. Not a big victory for the press, unless you happen to be a dog named Franklin.
POP CULTURE QUOTE OF THE WEEK. No one got the identity behind last week´s quote (“Have some celebrity killed, or find a two-headed kitten. Anything to make those idiots in the media move on to the next shiny thing.”). However, there were some great guesses. Yvonne Martin said it was Rupert Murdoch. Catharine Jo Dixon said it was Donald Trump.
Both great guesses. In reality, it was Anthony Gallo, a gangster from “Superman Confidential,” a new comic book series about the Man of Steel. However, Trump and Murdoch were close. They´re cartoons too.