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By Joe Skeel
TIME TO GIVE BACK. Remember those days when you were a young working journalist, desperate for advice and perspective from news veterans who understood what you were going through? Now YOU are that veteran with a wealth of knowledge, and there are young journalists out there who need YOUR help. SPJ currently has about 80 young journalists waiting to be matched with a mentor. Don't underestimate the impact you can make in their lives. The Mentor Match-up program is open only to SPJ members. Journalists wanting to serve as mentors must have more than five years of professional experience. For more details, please contact Michelle Maskaly, chairwoman of SPJ's Generation J Committee, via e-mail or by phone at (732) 713-6716. You can also sign up online. Don't wait. Give back today!
NOMINATE SOMEONE. The deadline for SPJ's National Honors, which celebrate a variety of accomplishments — including those who have made strides in the areas of ethics and open government, journalism educators who have gone above and beyond to help students and outstanding SPJ members — is March 15. For more information, contact Heather Porter at (317) 927-8000, ext. 204. Nominate someone today for the following awards:
— Fellow of the Society is an honor bestowed upon journalists for extraordinary contributions to the profession.
— Helen Thomas Award for Lifetime Achievement honors individuals for a lifetime of service to the journalism profession.
— Historic Site in Journalism honors individuals, news organizations and places of national historic journalism interest.
— Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award honors an outstanding journalism educator who has made a significant contribution to the profession and/or journalism education, and to maintaining the highest standards of the profession.
— First Amendment Award recognizes extraordinarily strong efforts to preserve and strengthen the First Amendment.
— Sunshine Award recognizes those making important contributions in the area of open government.
— Ethics Award honors reporters, editors or news organizations that distinguish themselves by performing in an outstanding ethical manner as defined by the SPJ Code of Ethics.
SPRING TRAINING. Make plans now to attend a 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.
LEADERSHIP LADDER. Who's next in line to lead your chapter? It's never too early to begin preparing your incoming president for a successful term. The Ted Scripps Leadership Institute is an SPJ program — funded by the Scripps Howard Foundation through the generosity of Ted Scripps' sons — that offers student and professional chapter leaders a mix of sessions focused on interpersonal and organizational leadership skills, as well as sound chapter management practices. The all-expenses paid weekend retreat takes place in Indianapolis on June 6-8. It's designed to promote strong leadership in the Society. Applications are due March 16. Those who will be serving as a chapter president during 2008-09 are encouraged to apply. Questions? E-mail Heather Porter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BOOKMARK IT? SPJ.org is home to nearly 20 blogs ranging from tips about technology to chapter advice. Make sure to log on and get the most out of your SPJ membership.
MAC ATTACK. Former SPJ president Mac McKerral was recently chosen to be a featured blogger on the iCitizen Web site. The site is published by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation through an endowment from one of its supporters. The site is designed to help encourage civic activity, especially among young people. Mac will be writing a lot about First Amendment and public access issues.
LEARNING FROM THE BEST. Members of the Deadline Club, New York City's pro SPJ chapter, sometimes get interviewed — by students. David Joachim, the weekend business editor for The New York Times, was the recent star of Ask a Reporter on the NYT's LearningNetwork Web site. David is a past president of the Deadline Club and former SPJ national membership chairman. Check out the feature.
FLORIDA AWARDS. The deadline has arrived for the SPJ Sunshine State Awards, the largest journalism award in the state of Florida. All entries must be received by Friday, Feb. 15. That's tomorrow, folks! Applications can be found at the awards' Web site. The 2007 competition drew nearly 1,300 entries from newspapers, magazines, radio stations, TV stations, Web sites and student journalists. For more information, contact Timothy Dodson, Sunshine State Awards Coordinator, at (305) 756-0735 or Julie Kay, Sunshine State Awards Committee Chairperson, at (954)-303-3384.
CRIME PANEL. Milwaukee area journalists will discuss crime coverage during "Feeding the Media Beast: Crime Coverage in Cheese Country," at 7 p.m., Feb. 28. Former Milwaukee County Dist. Atty. E. Michael McCann will join area journalists for the panel discussion, which will take place in Room 103 of Johnston Hall at Marquette University. The hall is located at 1131 W. Wisconsin Ave. The session is sponsored by the Milwaukee chapter of SPJ and hosted by the Marquette University Department of Journalism and its student SPJ chapter. The program is free and open to the public.
NLGJA MIXER. The South Florida Chapter of NLGJA invites colleagues and friends to its February chapter event — to be held in conjunction with the Winter Party Festival presented by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force. A networking reception with complimentary cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will take place from 5 to 6:30 p.m., Feb. 29 at Social Miami at Sagamore, one of the finest luxury hotels on South Beach. Get complete details. To RSVP, please contact South Florida Chapter President Jon Schemer at email@example.com.
TRAVEL ABROAD. The American Council on Germany is now seeking applications for the 2008 round of McCloy fellowships, which provide American journalists with the opportunity to travel to Europe for roughly one month to report on topics of their choosing. Get full details at the ACG Web site. For more information, contact Ted Mathys, ACG Program Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 826-3636.
WORLD AFFAIRS. The International Center for Journalists is currently accepting applications for the World Affairs Fellowship. The fellowship offers funding for international journalism that connects global news with local U.S. communities. The program enables journalists to travel overseas for one to three weeks as they complete their project with almost all costs covered. The program is open to U.S. newspaper reporters only. The deadline is March 9.