By Jeremy W. Steele
SPJ Region 4 Director and Lansing State Journal business reporter
99 AND COUNTING. DePauw University has a piece on its Web site about the founding of Sigma Delta Chi, which later became SPJ. It was 99 years ago this month that the organization's founders made public its existence. SPJ's history book, "Talent, Truth and Energy," recalls that those founders "longed dimly for 'better journalism,' both amateur and professional; they talked of a truthful, honorable press, one not dominated by commercialism; and they believed that by planting journalistic ideals in student newspapermen, they would make great strides toward that goal." Later, one of the founders, Eugene C. Pulliam said about the organization, "We didn't know what we were creating. We only knew what we believed."
7,244 REASONS FOR A SHIELD LAW. That's how many subpoenas U.S. daily newspapers and network-affiliated television news operations are estimated to have received in 2006, according to a new study. The study, funded by a grant from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law and framed by the debate for a federal shield law, based that number on a survey of editors and news directors. That comes out to an average of 0.9 subpoenas for each newspaper and 10.2 for each TV news operation. A similar 2001 Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press study found each newspaper received an average of 0.7 subpoenas each, while TV news outlets received 7.7 each.
COUNTING ON THE CAVALRY. Efforts to pass a federal shield law are getting some interesting help, according to the New York Times. Help, from encouraging words to congressional support, is coming from a cast of conservatives including a former Bush White House official turned appeals judge. Get more information about the effort to pass a federal shield law at SPJ's Shield Law page. Consider contacting your congressional representatives to add your voice to this issue. Find House and Senate listings at House.gov and Senate.gov.
TRAINING FOR CITIZEN JOURNALISTS. SPJ thinks the world benefits from more news coverage, and to help ensure citizen journalists are practicing their craft with accuracy, ethics and fairness, SPJ is offing a Citizen Journalism Academy on June 7 in Greensboro, N.C. at Guilford College's Frank Family Science Center, Bryan Junior Auditorium. The workshop will explore ethics, media law, access to public meetings and records, best practices, smart writing and using technology. Cost is $25, which includes lunch and course materials. Visit SPJ's Citizen Journalism Academy page for more info and to register. Deadline is May 24.
PANEL FOR MANY VOICES ADDS ONE. Hassina Leelarathne, publisher/editor of Sri Lanka Express, has been added to a panel discussion the Greater Los Angeles Pro Chapter is hosting on covering Los Angeles' ethnic communities. The event will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. tonight at California Plaza, 300. S. Grand Ave., Suite 3950, in downtown Los Angeles. Other panelists include Joseph Haiek, publisher/editor of Arab American Affairs Magazine; Linda Lin, news manager of Sing Tao Daily; and Kenneth Kim of the Chauncey Bailey Project and New America Media. These veteran journalists will share tips and insights on how mainstream journalists can navigate cultural landscapes and effectively overcome barriers to pursue, and even partner with, ethnic media. Cost is $15 for members, $20 for nonmembers.
NARRATIVE WRITING TRAINING FROM TOM HALLMAN. SPJ will host Narrative Writing Workshops on June 14 at the University of Florida and June 21 at the University of Houston. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tom Hallman Jr. will lead the workshops and share the art of storytelling. Programs will be from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and cost $40 for SPJ members and $60 for non-members. Lunch is included. Late fees shall apply for registrations received less than two weeks before each workshop. For complete details or to register, visit SPJ's Narrative Writing Workshops page or call Programs Coordinator Heather Porter at (317) 927-8000, ext. 204.
FOUNDERS DAY FEATURES PULITZER WINNER. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz will be the keynote speaker at the 2008 Central Ohio SPJ Founders Day Banquet on Wednesday, May 21. The chapter also will present four college scholarships and its First Amendment, Brick Wall, Distinguished Service and Appreciation awards. Schultz, a nationally syndicated columnist for The Plain Dealer and Creators Syndicate, won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for what judges called "her pungent columns that provided a voice for the underdog and the underprivileged." Deadline to register is today. Get details at The Central Ohio Pro Web site or call chapter President Mike Lorz at (614) 443-1877.
'PLACEBLOGGERS' MARK FIRST. Entrepreneurs, editors and operators of local online news and community Web sites placebloggers will gather June 4-5 in one of the first events of its kind, to share the trials and tribulations of a news source growing without paper or printing press. "New Pamphleteers/New Reporters: Convening Entrepreneurs Who Combine Journalism, Democracy, Place and Blogs" will take place at the McNamara Alumni Center at the University of Minnesota, immediately before the fourth National Conference on Media Reform, also in Minneapolis on June 6-8. Register today.
SPOTS FOR SEVEN ARTSY JOURNOS. The USC Annenberg School for Communication and The Getty Foundation are pleased to announce the 7th annual USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellowship. The program for 2008 will be offered from Nov. 1-22 and six or seven journalists will be chosen. This is an international program for mid-career arts editors and critics. Based in Los Angeles, the fellowship includes attending as many as 23 performances, art exhibitions and architectural sites. E-mail an application request to email@example.com. Include your name, media affiliation(s), number of years you have been practicing arts journalism and your contact information. Deadline is June 16.
ONE RULE THAT'S NOT GOLDEN. SPJ's FOI FYI blog highlights concern over proposed Department of Education rule changes to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which is designed to protect the privacy of student academic records. As most education journalists know, the law also is used to prevent disclosure of disciplinary actions and even some university parking tickets. The proposals would make secret any education records, even if they don't have any information identifying individual students, if a school believes someone could figure out who the student is or if the school believes the requester knows who the records might pertain to. On Thursday, SPJ sent a letter to DEO officials opposing the proposal. The Student Press Law Center also spoke out, sending a letter objecting to the proposed rules.
GETTING OVER THE 2-5 YEAR HUMP. Did you know that about two-thirds of the SPJ members who did not renew were members for five years or less? And nearly 40 percent left after two years or less. Those are just two of the tidbits from a survey of 515 former members highlighted in the SPJ Garden Center blog. Join the conversation about how to keep folks within SPJ's ranks during these turbulent times for the industry.
A THREEFER. SPJ's board of directors welcomed three chapters into the fold at its spring meeting in Indianapolis. The board approved reestablishing the chapter at Florida A&M University, endorsed the New England School of Communications satellite chapter and granted a full charter for the Wyoming Pro chapter. Get the latest contact information for the chapter near you in the Local Connection section of SPJ's Web site.
CAMPAIGN 2008. Speaking of the board, 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, Sept. 6 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, in conjunction with the 2008 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference. The following officers and directors will be elected:
President-elect (1-year term)
Secretary-Treasurer (1-year term)
Campus Chapter Adviser at Large
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 Immediate Past-President Christine Tatum at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 copy deadline.
ONE GARDEN, ONE WORLD. La MaMa La Galleria in New York is pleased to announce the opening of a floral photography installation by the Filipino-American writer/photographer and SPJ member Randy Gener and the Romanian-born theatre designer/visual artist Nic Ularu. "In the Garden of One World" brings together theatre scenography, digital photography and installation art to create a conceptual space inspired by Ellen Stewart's famous dictum that theatre should "speak beyond words." The show officially opens Sunday at La MaMa La Galleria, 6 East 1st Street, between Bowery and 2nd Avenue.
HOPE FOR UNCERTAIN TIMES. Prayingforpapers.com is a Web site to update visitors who need prayer in our business. This includes prayers for those who have been recently laid off, those who are facing trying times in the business in general as well as thoughts for leaders and people with specific requests. It's for Christians and non-Christians alike. Check it out.