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Home > Publications > SPJ Leads > Be accountable and transparent

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SPJ Leads | 4/11/2018
Be accountable and transparent

By Anna Gutierrez, SPJ Communications Department


"The biggest crisis in journalism is not Donald Trump's attacks... [it's] the decline of local newspapers." — Dean Baquet, New York Times executive editor, said Sunday


The Department of Homeland Security is compiling a database of journalists and "media influencers." ( Yes, it’s as terrifying as it sounds.)

The Denver Post is protesting its owner, Digital First Media — and ultimately the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, which controls DFM — after news of more layoffs. (You’ve seen the impactful photo that illustrates just how many Post newsroom staffers have been laid off.) Sunday, the editorial board, led by Chuck Plunkett, published six pages denouncing the Post’s owners and, ultimately, asking for new ones.

About two-thirds of tweets linking to stories from some of the most popular websites actually come from bots, according to a Pew Research Center report published this week. Pew’s report analyzed a sample of 1.2 million tweets containing links that went out between July 27 and September 11, 2017.


The ethics behind Sinclair Broadcast Group’s must-runs have been in the spotlight for the last week or so. Here’s what you need to know:

+ SPJ National President Rebecca Baker and Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie  sent a letter to David Smith, executive chairman of Sinclair, expressing their disappointment in his comments about print media. Smith has agreed to meet with SPJ leaders soon.

+ Sinclair rescinded a pledged donation of $25,000 to the  National Press Photographers Association’s Legal Advocacy Fund for its statement about Sinclair’s recent comments and messaging.  NPPA has received more than $11,000 in individual contributions since late last week.

+ Thirteen university deans and department chairs sent a letter of protest to Sinclair Broadcasting Group for ordering local anchors to read a company-written statement on the air.

+ Indira Lakshmanan (via Poynter) writes, " This is an ethical no-brainer. News anchors and reporters must stick to the news; when they inject opinion, they squander trust as impartial truth-tellers."

+ CNN’s Brian Stelter discusses the Sinclair situation with current and former employees: Inside Sinclair: What employees are saying about the controversy

+ Sinclair’s CEO apologized to staffers in a memo Tuesday about the “politically motivated attacks” that followed the controversial promos. Tuesday, stations owned by Sinclair began posting on their websites a corporate-produced video that challenges CNN’s reporting on Sinclair’s controversial promos.

All in all, SPJ Ethics Chairman Andrew Seaman sums it up best: “Until Sinclair makes a commitment to change, journalism organizations and those who care about a responsible press must show unity and a commitment – above all else – to their principles.”


The deadline for the Journalist on Call position has been extended to 5 p.m. EDT Monday. The full job description is posted here. People of diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

NPR is hiring a social media editor to work with the engagement team in Washington, D.C. They’re looking for someone who loves collaboration and has at least a few years of newsroom experience running major accounts. Apply here.


Need to brush up on your Digital Security and Privacy tools? (Thanks, Facebook.) This page includes a guide for the media on data protection and journalism, tips to protect yourself against cyber-attacks, security tools for investigative journalists and more on journaliststoolbox.org.


Take the weekend to nominate an exceptional SPJ professional member for the following national honors before the deadline Monday:

Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Member Award: Recognizes individual members who have made significant contributions to their SPJ chapters.
Regional Director of the Year: Honors an SPJ regional director for outstanding service to the region and national organization during the preceding year.
Wells Memorial Key for Outstanding Service to the Society: The highest honor presented by SPJ, awarded to a member who is judged to have served the Society in the most outstanding fashion during the preceding year or over a period of years.

Nominees for all awards must be members of SPJ. Contact  Program Coordinator Christine Cordial with questions.


With all the excitement of announcing Alison Bethel McKenzie as SPJ’s new executive director, we forgot to mention that Don Meyers was selected to be the regional director for Region 10. (We’re sorry for the late announcement!)

Watch SPJ and SDX governance in action: Both boards will meet Saturday and Sunday in Indianapolis. Get the agenda and watch the livestream.

Annual Report forms are now live for all SPJ chapters. Annual Reports are required for all chapters. Professional and Campus Deadline: May 30. Email Chrystal Parvin, membership manager and chapter liaison.

Check out the  winners and finalists of this year’s Mark of Excellence Awards contest from Region 5!

Congratulations to these three high school students who won the SPJ/JEA National Essay Contest.

Need free money for a chapter event? Good news! The deadline to apply for a chapter grant has been extended to tomorrow.

SPJ Leads
– SDX Foundation changes its name
– Sign up for a Regional Conference near you
– Sign up for SPJ's Regional Conferences

Press Notes
– Breast Cancer Awareness: Learning From Jackie Collins' Death
– Blog: CPJ joins call to oppose draft surveillance law in France
– Baboon raid temporarily forced Zimbabwe radio station off air

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