By Christine DiGangi, SPJ Communications Department
DEAR SPJ MEMBERS,
This is the last edition of Leads before the New Year. Please note that SPJ headquarters will be closed Dec. 25 to Jan. 1. The offices reopen Jan. 2, and we look forward to another year of exceptional journalism. We wish you all the best this holiday season!
It's a dream come true: You can now buy a variety of SPJ merchandise for your home or workplace! The J-Mart is a new shop boasting several items for you or any SPJ enthusiast. Apparel, mugs, accessories: They're all in the J-Mart. More items are coming soon, too!
Visit the shop at cafepress.com/spjmart. Have fun shopping!
CALLING FOR CONFERENCE PROPOSALS
Excellence in Journalism 2013, the training conference co-hosted by SPJ, RTDNA and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, is looking for program ideas and proposals. The conference takes place Aug. 24 to 26, 2013 in Anaheim, Calif., but it's not too early to suggest your favorite speaker or topic.
Have a specific program proposal? Submit it here. Have a looser idea but a general topic or speaker you'd like to see at EIJ? Submit it here. In either case, do it soon. The call for program proposals and ideas closes on Jan. 2 .
WHAT IT MEANS TO WIN AN SDX AWARD
As you consider entering your best work in the national Sigma Delta Chi Awards, think of what it may mean to receive such an honor:
"The Sigma Delta Chi awards are the ones I most respect because they come from our peers. As someone who has attempted to bring the standards of the old media to the world of online journalism through Truthdig, I feel this is an important honor for our publication."
— Robert Scheer, editor-in-chief: Truthdig.com | 2011 SDX Award winner, Column Writing (Independent)
"I am deeply honored to be recognized with a Sigma Delta Chi Award and to be in the same company of some of my journalism heroes."
— Sarah Stuteville, The Common Language Project | 2011 SDX Award winner, Magazine Writing (Local)
An SDX Award is more than a plaque; It's priceless recognition of your hard work. Enter the awards before Feb. 7 by submitting your best journalism from 2012 at awards.spj.org. Rules, categories and important contest information are here.
Take note: There are several SPJ contests accepting entries or nominations. Spread the word:
The Mark of Excellence Awards recognize the best student journalism from 2012 in each of SPJ's 12 regions. Regional winners are then entered in the national contest. The deadline to enter online is Jan. 24.
There are also a dozen SPJ honors, many of which require nominations. Take a moment to browse these awards and think of the exceptional journalists around you who deserve recognition.
The New America Award celebrates public-service journalism that explores and reports important issues in immigrant or ethnic communities in the United States. These entries must be postmarked by Feb. 7.
SPJ also sees the value in journalism education at a young age. The National High School Essay Contest is open for entry until March 7, and it encourages students to understand the importance of independent media.
HELP JUDGE SPJ AWARDS
SPJ also needs qualified judges for the awards listed above. If you or your chapter has interest in helping out, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Categories in need of judges:
— Sigma Delta Chi: Magazine, Informational Graphics, Radio, TV
— Mark of Excellence: Magazine, Photo Illustration, Opinion
HOW TO ORGANIZE CHAPTER AWARDS
Don't let the task of chapter awards daunt you this year -- attend a free webinar with SPJ Secretary-Treasurer Dana Neuts and Region 3 Director Michael Koretzky and learn the tips of well-organized, manageable awards programs.
Register for the Dec. 20 webinar online -- it's worth it to learn the best ways to save time and money when conducting these important contests.
LONGTIME MEMBER GENE SLAYMAKER
Gene Slaymaker, a member of SPJ since 1951, died Dec. 15 at 84. He was a member of the Indiana Pro chapter, which named its Indiana Service to Journalism award in honor of Gene and his wife, Julie, also an SPJ member. Slaymaker is in the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame, and his typewriter is part of a collection at the Indiana State Museum.
AN ANNIVERSARY TO NOT CELEBRATE
The 25th anniversary of Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier is next month, marking another year of restricted constitutional protection of student expression in public schools.
The Student Press Law Center has drafted some talking points as a resource for anyone wishing to write op-eds, letters to the editor or online messages in support of the First Amendment around Jan. 13.
Read about the "symptoms of Hazelwood" and share this information with others concerned with freedom of expression.
LAST WEEK'S QUIZ
As of Dec. 1, how many journalists were jailed worldwide?
Answer: 232, according to the Committee to Project Journalists.
And the winner is ... Penny Yi Wang! Penny is a student member of Northwestern University in Qatar. (I'll have to look into our overseas shipping and get back to you on the status of your prize.) Congratulations, Penny!
THIS WEEK'S QUIZ
What newspaper this week refused to name the author of a letter questioning local high school security?
Submit your answer to Christine DiGangi.