By Christine Tatum
President, SPJ, Assistant Business Editor, The Denver Post
Communications Manager, SPJ
GRUMBLING ABOUT GRAMBLING. What a bone-headed move: A Grambling State University provost has stopped publication of the Louisiana institution’s award-winning student newspaper until its “quality” improves. SPJ is watching the situation closely.
NEWSROOM AND NURSERY. How do you balance work and family? What is your news organization’s policy regarding parental leave? Provide useful advice and information for parents working in journalism on National President Christine Tatum’s blog, Freedom of the Prez.
BATTLE CRY. SPJ is among dozens of news organizations and associations pressing for a federal shield law and reform of the Freedom of Information Act. Find out where those proposals now stand in Congress from Laurie Babinski of Baker & Hostetler, SPJ’s law firm.
Stay on top of what’s happening with the free flow of public information with FOI FYI, a blog maintained by SPJ’s National FOI Committee.
SDX BLING. Entries for the Sigma Delta Chi Awards competition must be postmarked by Feb. 6. To be eligible, work must have been published or broadcast during the 2006 calendar year. Go online for more information and an entry form. Questions? Contact Heather Porter at firstname.lastname@example.org or (317) 927-8000, ext. 204.
DIGITAL REVOLUTION. SPJ is excited to introduce the digital edition of Quill magazine, which will launch Feb 1. 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 email@example.com.
LOOKING FOR LEADERSHIP. The Ted Scripps Leadership Institute is an SPJ program that offers student and professional chapter leaders a mix of sessions focused on interpersonal and organizational leadership skills and sound chapter management practices. This all-expense-paid, weekend retreat helps to promote strong leadership in the Society. Applications for the 2007 Institute, held June 1-3, in Indianapolis, are now being accepted and are due March 16. We strongly encourage those who will be serving as chapter president in the coming year to apply. Questions? E-mail Chris Vachon.
PROMOTE YOURSELF. SPJ’s new Freelancer Directory – now in the testing stages – allows freelancers to enter contact information, provide details about their professional specialties and link hiring editors to examples of their work. The cost to showcase your work? Nada. Zilch. Nothing. It’s FREE! And it’s open to all SPJ members. Enter your information today.
SPRING TRAINING. Make plans now to attend an SPJ Spring Conference in your area. These daylong professional development meetings bring journalists together to hear from industry experts on topics ranging from improving writing to leveraging technology in today’s new media climate. Networking opportunities can help to build relationships that lead to the sharing of best practices in newsrooms. Enhance yourself and your journalism career.
GOT NARRATION? The best journalism connects with people at an emotional level. Learn the art of narrative writing – and how to get it done on deadline – from master storytellers, including Pulitzer Prize winners Tom Hallman, Jr. and Rick Bragg, at a unique workshop presented by SPJ, The University of Alabama, The Anniston Star and The Teaching Newspaper (Knight Fellows in Community Journalism).
PULLING THE PLUG? TV newscasts are losing viewers. Will they regain them? Should they? Deb Wenger of SPJ’s Journalism Education Committee explores the "death of a newscast”with Terry Heaton, senior vice president of a Texas media-consulting firm and the results of a recent Gallop Poll.
THINK LOCALLY. SPJ directors in regions 1,3, 6 and 8 have posted their latest reports. See what SPJ is doing in your neck of the woods.
SAVE THE DATE. Start saving your pennies to attend the 2007 SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference in Washington, D.C., Oct. 4-7. This year’s event promises to be one of the best, focusing on political journalism, right in the capital of our great nation. If that alone doesn’t sell you, check out Five Free Things to do in Washington, D.C.
WE COULD BE HEROES. There are heroes among us; heroes whose efforts have kept state and local government records and meetings open and accessible to their fellow citizens. It’s time to recognize these heroes in the same way we recognize the heroes of the federal Freedom of Information Act. Nominate someone today for a Heroes of the 50 States award. This prestigious recognition is sponsored by SPJ and the National Freedom of Information Coalition. It honors those whose lifetime commitment to citizen access, open government and freedom of information has left a legacy at the state and local level. DEADLINE: Feb. 1. MORE INFORMATION: Contact Charles Davis, Executive Director, National Freedom of Information Coalition, (573) 882-5736 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
BECOME ONE WITH NEW MEDIA TECHNOLGY. The Knight New Media Center Multimedia Training Program is accepting applications for 20 fellowships for journalists to attend an all-expenses-paid seminar that combines practical instruction in multimedia reporting with in-depth exploration of issues in online publishing. Participants will receive six days of intense hands-on instruction on how to do multimedia stories for the Web. WHEN: March 25-30, University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism. DEADLINE: Feb. 23. MORE INFORMATION: Contact Lanita Pace-Hinton, director of multimedia training, email@example.com or (510) 649-7429.
A FEW GOOD JUDGES. The Pittsburgh Pro chapter is looking for another chapter to do a reciprocal judging swap for local contest entries. The chapter seeks judges for magazine and non-daily newspaper categories. The results are needed by March 23. To help, contact Ginny Frizzi at firstname.lastname@example.org or (412) 392-3987.
DATELINE DEADLINE. The deadline for the D.C. Pro chapter’s annual Dateline Awards journalism competition is Feb. 7. Visit the chapter’s Web site for details. The chapter will be trading entries this year with another SPJ chapter, and they are looking for journalists to help judge entries. To volunteer, send an e-mail to Awards Coordinator Carli Flippen at email@example.com or call him at (443) 538-6567.
BUSY IN INDY. SPJ’s Indy Pro chapter is one of a dozen groups invited to explore the formation of a state debate commission. The first meeting of the group is Feb. 5 and includes the Indiana Coalition for Open Government, AP groups, broadcasters and minority journalism associations. The concept is to create some kind of governance for debates that will broaden the potential audience for candidates and minimize competing interests with media for “exclusives.” If anyone has formed a similar governing body in other states (especially for gubernatorial races), please contact Kyle Niederpruem at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AS IF THAT’S NOT ENOUGH … The Indiana Coalition for Open Government, which is affiliated with SPJ’s Indy Pro chapter, has received a national grant to survey the users of the Indiana Public Access Counselor’s office. The PAC office issues thousands of formal and informal opinions a year to media, citizens and government officials, but the outcomes of those advisories have never been measured. The survey will be done in partnership with the Indiana University School of Journalism this year and the IU Center for Survey Research.
SPORTS GOOFY? Complex contracts make sports law increasingly difficult to cover. SPJ members in the Los Angeles area are invited to a symposium titled “Collective Bargaining & Individual Contract Negotiation in Professional Sports.” Speakers include the chief executive of the Arizona Diamondbacks and deputy counsel of the NBA Players Association. WHEN: 9 a.m.-12:45 p.m., Friday. WHERE: Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.
FINANCIAL AID. The Detroit Pro chapter is offering a $2,500 grant to a Southeast Michigan area resident who is studying or plans to study journalism at any four-year college in Michigan. The award honors the late Larry Laurain, former Detroit Pro chapter president and Oakland Press city editor. DEADLINE: March 12. MORE INFORMATION: Contact the chapter at (586) 739-7808 or email@example.com.
SOME COOL GIGS.SPJ is currently accepting applications for summer internships in Indianapolis and Washington, D.C. Two students will be selected for the Pulliam-Kilgore Freedom of Information internships and another opportunity is available in Indianapolis for the Archibald Communications intern. Application deadlines are March 15 for the Pulliam-Kilgore internships and March 23 for the Archibald Communications internship. COMPLETE DETAILS AND APPLICATIONS: Visit SPJ’s Web site.
GET PAID TO SELL SPJ! SPJ’s headquarters staff in Indianapolis has an immediate opening for an advertising sales representative. The ad rep will sell advertising for Quill, The Journalist, the Web site, SPJ’s electronic communications, etc. If you can put an ad on it, we want to sell it! We’re looking for a dynamic go-getter with a proven and quantifiable track record of success. Selling is selling, but we’re most interested in hearing from those with experience in print sales working national accounts. If this sounds like you – or someone you know – please contact SPJ Executive Director Terry Harper at once at (317) 927-8000, ext. 220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Time is of the essence!
OOPS! In last week’s edition, we incorrectly reported that the D.C. Pro chapter was inviting journalists to take part in a fundraiser for staff of The Times-Picayune in Washington, D.C. The event, which happens tonight, is actually an amazing effort being organized by former Times-Picayune staffers. We regret the error.