By Beth King
SPJ Communications Manager
INTERNSHIP DEADLINE APPROACHING. 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.
MIDWEST PRIOR RESTRAINT. A judge in Kansas City ordered the Kansas City Star and an alternative newspaper to remove a story from their Web sites March 2, saying it would harm a power utility. Weighing in on the freedom of information implications, national FOI Chairman Joel Campbell was interviewed by the newspaper. Legal Defense Fund Chairman Dave Aeikens was in Kansas City on Monday and met with KC Press Club President Donna McGuire to offer assistance. SPJ continues to monitor the situation.
STICKING UP FOR STUDENTS. Lawmakers in Illinois and Oregon have made proposals that would strengthen student press rights in their states. The Oregon proposal, which would help high school and college students, is similar to a proposal being considered in neighboring Washington. The bill was submitted late last month. The Illinois proposal targets college students only, but the effort is particularly noteworthy because of the landmark case of Hosty v. Carter, where a federal appellate court said college administrators could restrict the content of public college newspapers if the papers are not designated as public forums for student expression. The Illinois proposal was introduced last month. It is set to go before a state higher education committee next week. Showing support, SPJ sent a letter to Sen. Susan Garrett who introduced the bill.
STOP KYL. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-AZ, is at it again, seeking to criminalize the leaking – and publishing – of classified information. He first sought to attach to a data mining bill being considered by the Judiciary Committee that can only be described as a backdoor approach to an official secrets act. When the bill was held over, Sen. Kyl withdrew it and then submitted a rewritten version as a floor amendment to Senate Bill 4, which would enact recommendations of the 9/11 commission. That bill could be voted on as early as mid-week. The new amendment makes it a crime to leak or “publish” any classified information contained in reports provided to Congress.
This could lead to a chilling of daily communications between the government and the media. But, if you act, it doesn’t have to be this way. Contact your state senator and let them know that Kyl’s legislation is too radical.
FOIA VICTORY. The House Subcommittee on Information Policy approved a HR 1309 to reform the Freedom of Information Act. The bill would create an ombudsman, located in the National Archives, to help requesters who run into agency delays or are denied requested information. It also directs agencies to create tracking numbers for every request, improve their reporting on FOIA performance, and waive fees if they fail to meet the 20-day time limit for providing the requested records. It would also require agencies to pay the legal fees for a requester if they at first deny a request but then release the information after being sued. The bill also establishes a presumption that government records are public and should be released if “the agency does not reasonably foresee that disclosure would be harmful.” The bill was sponsored by Reps. William Lacey Clay, D-MO, Todd Platts, R-PA, and Henry Waxman, D-CA.
CONNECTING GENERATION J. You’ve finished school and are trying to make sense of the big, bad (as in good, of course) world of journalism. Now what? Visit the new Generation J Web site, the place where future newsroom leaders can collaborate to build newsrooms of the future. Looking for career advice? Get it or give it here. Got some industry insight? Share it. Want to rant? Fine. Trying to pick up new skills or build your portfolio? Consider this your training ground and art gallery. Last but not least: Hang around the site to stay on top of the issues that affect journalists and your newsroom every day.
CONTINUING THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION. The March 2007 digital edition of Quill magazine should arrive in your e-mail inbox Friday. The same great content that you’ve come to expect in the print edition is included in the digital version. Click through interactive pages as you read the stories online and be sure to read Quill editor Joe Skeel’s digital tutorial on page 3. After you’re done reading, be sure to complete the short survey on the opening screen.
NEWS, IMPROVED. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Tomorrow’s Workforce announce a new book, Web site and upcoming conference with loads of information about how to make your newsroom-training programs more effective in driving audience growth and appeal.
Learn the results of the Knight Foundation’s $10 million Newsroom Training
• The Conference – “Learning to Change” looks at why employee development is vital for news organizations that want to succeed in the 21st Century media marketplace. The conference will feature newspaper editors who are improving their workplace cultures and growing readership, a new Knight national survey on mid-career training for journalists, and Michele McLellan and Tim Porter, co-authors of “News, Improved: How America’s Newsrooms Are Learning to Change.” RSVP now on the News, Improved Web site.
• The Book – “News, Improved: How America’s Newsrooms Are Learning to Change,” explores how dozens of newsrooms have used strategic training to drive print and on-line quality and innovation. Read the book introduction and take an online survey. Then, reserve your free copy of the book.
LOOKING FOR LEADERSHIP. The Ted Scripps Leadership Institute offers student and professional chapter leaders a mix of sessions focused on interpersonal and organizational leadership skills and sound chapter management practices. This all-expenses-paid, weekend retreat to Indianapolis helps to promote strong leadership in the Society. More information and an application: Visit SPJ.org. Applications are due March 16. Those who will be serving as chapter president during the 2007-08 year are strongly encouraged to apply. Questions? E-mail Chris Vachon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AND ONE FOR FALL. The Society will select 12 students to be a part of The Working Press, the convention’s daily newspaper. Interns will receive a complementary convention registration, some meals and free hotel stay. Deadline: April 17. More Information: Contact Joe Skeel at (317) 927-8000, ext. 214, or email@example.com.
A FEW GOOD JUDGES. Do you recognize talent when it hits you? Can you offer constructive feedback to students? If you answered yes to both questions, you’ll definitely want to consider volunteering your time to judge the 2007 MOE awards. Judges are needed for broadcast and online categories. More information: Contact Heather Porter at (317) 927-8000, ext. 204, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOLD ALANA IN OUR THOUGHTS. Wichita Pro member Alana Rocha, a news reporter with KWCH, was seriously hurt in an accident on Feb. 24th. Police say they believe the driver that crashed into her car was drunk. Alana was listed in serious condition following the accident. Today, she is out of her coma, breathing on her own, and blinking to communicate with her family and friends. Get the latest updates, consider leaving messages or contribute to her gift fund.
ETHICS STORIES WANTED. In celebration of Ethics in Journalism Week, April 23-27 and to drive discussion about responsible journalism, SPJ will highlight recent ethics case studies on spj.org. Have you or your newsroom faced an ethical dilemma? How did you handle it while ensuring that harm was minimized? What was the outcome? E-mail your 200-300 word scenarios to Julie Grimes at email@example.com.
ENCOURAGE ETHICS EVERYDAY. Keep ethics alive in your newsroom with the following suggestions:
• Host brown-bag ethics discussions in your newsroom.
• Write and produce stories about responsible journalism and invite community feedback.
• Volunteer to speak to promote journalism ethics and SPJ to civic groups and other media outlets.
• Mentor students and help them understand journalism ethics and its importance in their future.
• Volunteer to translate the SPJ Code of Ethics into other languages.