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By Willie Shatz
Immediate Past President, Washington D.C. Pro Chapter
Shield Law Bulletin (almost)! The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed the Free Flow of Information Act of 2007. The bill would create a federal media shield law to protect reporters from being compelled to reveal their sources during federal court proceedings. During the past few years, more than 30 reporters have been subpoenaed or questioned in federal court proceedings about confidential sources, and several have been incarcerated or threatened with jail sentences. SPJ's attention now moves to the Senate, where the Judiciary Committee recently passed a similar bill. This legislation has yet to come up for a full vote on the Senate floor. Read what SPJ Leaders had to say about the bill's passage in the House.
SPJ In The News. SPJ President Clint Brewer was quoted in AP's national story about the bill's passing. He said: "America is not a country where journalists should be jailed...This bill will allow the working press and those acting as journalists to serve society without fear of reprisal or intrusion from overzealous prosecutors."
Brewer was also quoted in the Los Angeles Times and several other trade and mainstream media publications - not to mention blogs.
Crazy, Amazing Day. The House's passage of the bill wasn't without its confusing moments. Get the post-mortem of the event in SPJ President Clint Brewer's blog.
Meet And Greet. The Society and the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation welcomed some new faces to their national boards during the 2007 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference. Now, it's your turn to meet your new national leaders for SPJ and the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.
Mentor Match-Up. Young working journalists often want advice and perspective from news veterans who understand much of what they're going through. And let's face it: news vets could certainly learn a thing or two from their younger colleagues. SPJ's Mentorship Match-up aims to promote great journalism by introducing journalists of different experience levels and similar interests. To sign up for the program, or for more information, visit the new program's site at www.spj.org/mentor.asp.
Front And Center. The Frontline Editors Project feature ideas, resources and connections for those who edit, manage and lead from the front lines of today's newsrooms. The site offers online training, resources, books and articles, a discussion forum and more for frontline assigning editors looking to learn how to be more effective in their jobs. It is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Check it out and learn something today.
Blogging Buzz. If it's been a while since you've visited SPJ.org, you are missing out. SPJ's blogs are updated daily. Here's just a snippet of the most recent postings:
— Freedom of Information: Nevada rolls dice with new five-day response time limit for records requests - what do you think?
— International Journalism: Short sighted publisher closes off world.
— Ethics: The Bigger They Are, the Harder They ... What?
— Young journalists: AFK for some time.
— News Gems: High-Cost Capital of America.
Join Your Fellows. Jump-start your journalism career with a solid program that boasts four Pulitzer Prize winners among its alumni. Don't miss the chance to be a Pulliam Fellow. Now entering its 35th year, the 2008 Pulliam Journalism Fellowship helps build a bridge from the classroom to the newsroom. Fellows are assigned to The Indianapolis Star or The Arizona Republic in Phoenix for 10 weeks as staff reporters, photographers and visual artists. We award 20 Fellowships annually. We encourage applications from students with a wide variety of backgrounds. Applicants should have daily newspaper experience, including internships and work at a college publication. Candidates should be committed to a career in newspapers. The Pulliam Journalism Fellowship program welcomes applications from college juniors, seniors and graduate students. The internship pays $650 a week. Interns also participate in writing workshops and lunch with some of the finest minds in journalism. Visit the Star's Web site or email Fellowship Director Russell B. Pulliam at firstname.lastname@example.org for an application packet. Deadline: Nov. 15.
Or Join These Fellows. The American Academy of Neurology is seeking journalists who exemplify excellence in medical/health reporting to apply for the 11TH annual AAN Journalism Fellowship Award. Award winners will receive special recognition, airfare, and hotel with a five-night maximum stay to attend the April 12-19 AAN Annual Meeting in Chicago. To apply, should submit a written expression of interest (no more than 500 words), a resume with contact information, three print clips or broadcast clips on a neurology-related topic or any medical/science topic and a nominating letter from a senior editor, news director or producer. DEADLINE: Jan. 11. For more information, contact Angela Babb (email@example.com; 651 695-2789) or visit www.aan.com/press.
Write Your Way To Mongolia. All you have to do is compose a 300-word essay about a travel experience that moved you, excited you or changed you. The contest - for undergraduate and graduate students only; sorry, other practitioners - is offered by National Geographic Traveler magazine and global travel company Travcoa. The winner will travel on assignment to Mongolia with Travcoa and National Geographic Traveler Editor-in-Chief Keith Bellows. The winner will have his/her story published on the National Geographic Traveler Web site. Deadline: Dec. 31. More news at travelwritercontest.com/contest.html.
Coping With New Media. Who'd a thunk they needed it? Harvard Business School, for one. The school's Boston campus will host "Effective Strategies for Media Companies: Navigating the New World," Nov. 28 to Dec. 1. Designed for senior execs with responsibility in the areas of business development, strategic planning, technology and legal services, this program will address issues confronting media organizations, such as attracting and sustaining audiences and adapting to emerging trends in technology and consumer habits. Admission to the program is based on professional achievement and organizational responsibility. Get more information or apply online.