By Rachel Kaufman
WHY WE NEED A SHIELD LAW. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) wrote a compelling op-ed in the Washington Post Monday that discusses the need for a federal media shield law. In it, he explains why the legislation would not necessarily be a drastic change in the law, but nevertheless, an important one.
WHAT YOU CAN DO. To ensure the passage of a federal media shield bill, consider writing op-eds or producing stories that draw attention to this legislation. Additionally, contact members of Congress. For the House of Representatives and Senate listings, visit House.gov and Senate.gov.
GET EDUCATED. SPJ has been front and center when it comes to campaigning for the passage of a federal shield law. Visit SPJ's Shield Law page to learn more about the proposed legislation, and SPJ's involvement.
TURN ON, TUNE IN.... ...to a free tele-seminar about covering next year's digital TV conversion. "Reporting the Digital Television Conversion" is presented by the Foundation for American Communications (FACS) and SPJ for journalists who cover technology, business, consumer affairs and the broadcast-cable-satellite industries. When: Tuesday, May 20, 11 a.m. EST. For more details or to register, go to The FACS Web site.
GO INVESTIGATE, YOUNG STUDENT. Undergraduate j-students are invited to apply for an investigative journalism workshop to be held this summer in Connecticut. Students will learn how to make FOIA requests and conduct effective interviews and will meet Pulitzer Prize-winning writers. Workshop faculty includes current and former journalists from the New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker and more. The workshop is being held in memory of the late Pulitzer-winning journalist David Halberstam. More details: Visit Journalismworkshop.org.
NO SURPRISE HERE. Across the world, the public supports freedom of the press, according to a poll from WorldPublicOpinion.org. Out of 20 polled countries that collectively represent more than half the world's population, 50% of people believe media in their country should have more freedom. 82% say it is important for "media to be free to publish news and ideas without government control," though 45% believe the government should have the right to "prevent the media from publishing information that it thinks will be politically destabilizing."
COVERING DIVERSITY. Join SPJ/LA May 15 for a panel discussion on crossing language and cultural barriers to effectively cover minority communities. The panel focuses on Los Angeles' ethnic communities, but the knowledge you learn could be used anywhere! Make reservations by calling SPJ/LA at (323) 259-3350.
KENTUCKY HEARTBREAK. Jenny Blandford, a blogger for SPJ's Generation J, wrote about her experience covering this year's Run for the Roses and the immense tragedy that immediately followed. Read her first installment and the follow-up post.
EVERYONE LOVES A PARTY. The South Florida Pro Chapter is hosting a banquet on May 31, where the winners of the 2008 Sunshine State Awards for excellence in Florida journalism will be announced. Keynote speakers are Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada, the San Francisco Chronicle reporters who exposed the BALCO steroid scandal. For more info or to RSVP, contact Tim Dodson, (305) 756-0735.
CAMPAIGN 2008. SPJ is seeking qualified individuals to serve as officers and directors for 2008-2009. The board of directors provides vision, direction and leadership to SPJ, the nation's largest journalism organization.
Elections will be held on Saturday, September 6, 2008, at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, in conjunction with the SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference. The following officers and directors will be elected:
President-elect (1-year term)
Secretary-Treasurer (1-year term)
Adviser at Large (2-year term)
Director at Large (2-year term)
Campus Representatives (two for a 1-year terms each)
Region 1 Director (2-year term)
Region 4 Director (2-year term)
Region 5 Director (2-year term)
Region 7 Director (2-year term)
Region 8 Director (2-year term)
Region 9 Director (2-year term)
Region 10 Director (1-year unexpired term)
Please review Articles VI and VII of the SPJ bylaws for descriptions and qualifications.
Interested candidates should contact Christie Tatum, Nominations Committee Chair, as soon as possible. Although there is no deadline to throw one's hat into the ring, any candidate wishing to have his/her candidacy announced in Quill must meet a June 18, 2008 copy deadline. Good luck!