December 19th, 2009
Minutes, J-Ed Committee, Dec. 9
By Jeff South
Minutes of telephone meeting of the SPJ Journalism Education Committee, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009
The meeting began at 4 p.m. EST. The following people were present for all or part of the meeting:
Patti Gallagher Newberry
Lee Anne Peck
Sue Kopen Katcef
Scott Leadingham, editor, Quill magazine
Lauren Rochester, Awards Coordinator
Kevin Smith, SPJ president
1. Upcoming Toolbox columns for Quill.
By consensus, the committee agreed on the following lineup for Toolbox columns for the near future:
|Dec. 18||Jan/Feb||Lee Anne Peck||Fulbright Scholars|
|Feb. 19||March/April||Jeff South||Web sites where journalism students and journalists can publish their stories|
|April 20||May/June||David Burns||E-portfolios|
Think of ideas for columns for the June, August and October deadlines.
2. The J-education issue of Quill.
As we kicked off the discussion of possible themes for the traditional “journalism education issue,” George and others suggested we rethink the mission: Do we even need an education issue now that Quill publishes only six times a year and is seeking to bolster its Web-site content?
Part of the discussion was triggered by Scott suggestion that we move the education issue from July/Aug (deadline: June 18) to May/June (deadline: April 20). This proposal would allow Quill to devote the July/Aug issue to awards. Lee Anne and other committee members said the April 20 deadline would be hard to meet because of end-of-semester grading and the preparation of research papers for AEJMC.
Ginny noted that the annual education issue started about 10 years ago, timed so that educators could prepare their contributions over the summer. She likes the idea of having education-related stories in Quill throughout the year – instead of packing them into one issue.
Patti asked Scott whether he needs copy (such as the education issue) to fill the Quill news hole. Scott said he receives a lot of story pitches and often must turn them away. He said he agrees with George that maybe it’s time to rethink whether to have a designated “journalism education issue.”
By consensus, the Journalism Education Committee agreed to eliminate the journalism-education theme issue of Quill. Instead, the committee will seek to generate periodic feature-story contributions to Quill throughout the year. These stories would be above and beyond our Toolbox columns. Scott said features generally range from 1,200 to 3,500 words.
If you have ideas for feature stories, bounce them off Scott and/or send them to our committee’s listserv.
3. An “SPJ student news service” of sorts for Quill content (in print and online). From Scott: “We’re in the process of a Web site redesign, and will eventually move Quill to a dedicated stand-alone site with daily content (more like CJR and AJR). One thing I’d like to do is encourage more student contributions from chapters and really make SPJ a resource for them … giving them the ability to build clips (and, as I’d adamantly argue, get paid for their work). So, I’m curious what the members of the committee think about this admittedly very rudimentary idea.”
According to our discussion, this idea still is evolving:
It could take the shape of students producing industry-related news for SPJ members. (For example, the Quill Web site carried a package by two students from Virginia Commonwealth University about changes in state laws requiring local governments to publish legal notices in local newspapers.)
And/or it could involve general-interest news for a broad audience, such as a wire service for college journalists. This would be harder to pull off.
Scott will continue refining the proposal. In the meantime, if students have ideas for stories for the Quill Web site, he is happy to consider them. (Likewise, students could contribute items to appropriate SPJ blogs.)
4. Possible changes in the SPJ Campus Chapter ratings system.
Sue is heading up a committee to explore such changes. She is in the preliminary information-gathering stage. Sue said she doesn’t want to eliminate standards, but she wants to make sure that the goals are reasonable for campus chapters to meet. (The standards require campus chapters to hold a certain number of meetings per year, etc.) Many students involved in SPJ are overwhelmed and overworked, we don’t want to burn them out.
Karon noted that the standards (such as bringing in guest speakers) can hard especially on small and isolated campus chapters.
Neil said another problem is that the ratings system requires campus chapters to have representatives at regional and national meetings. This can be too expensive, and sometimes students can’t miss class.
Sue said one way to address the problem might be through additional training for campus advisers and student chapter officers (something parallel to the Scripps leadership conference). The training could be virtual (a Webinar) or in-person.
Karon moved that the SPJ Journalism Education Committee go on record as supporting efforts to finance and encourage the training (virtual or in-person) of campus advisers and student chapter officers. David seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.
Kevin said he will take this issue to the next Executive Committee meeting. He said he might come back to the Journalism Education Committee with a request to form a subcommittee to further investigate the idea.
5. The online entry submission system for the SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards.
Lauren asked for the committee’s help to spread the word about the online submission system, which she said is going well.
The committee could play a role in getting the word out to community colleges. Lauren will forward to our committee’s listserv a note that she has sent to community colleges about the MOE contest. Mark said he would pass that note along to the College Media Advisers organization. Jeff said he would distribute it via the Virginia Community College System. And perhaps other committee members could forward the note to interested parties.
6. The possibility of creating a high school student SPJ membership category.
Neil has been circulating this proposal informally. He said there is nothing official on the table but the idea would involve having a type of reduced-price membership for high school journalists as we do for college journalists. The downside might be that high school students would flood the SPJ membership rolls, but committee members said that possibility is very remote.
On a motion made by Becky and seconded by Mark, the committee voted unanimously to endorse the idea that SPJ explore creating a membership category for high school journalists.
7. An update on the collaboration between SPJ and the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Kevin said the SPJ International Committee met with the executive director of CPJ and worked out a cooperative agreement. Part of the agreement would involve SPJ working on behalf of journalists imprisoned around world. This is where the Journalism Education Committee could help. Kevin said CPJ will provide the names of six imprisoned journalists and that perhaps campus chapters could adopt the journalist and undertake letter-writing campaigns or provide other support.
The Journalism Education Committee will work with Kevin, the International Committee, CPJ and the campus advisers to distribute the information about the imprisoned journalists to campus chapters and to encourage efforts to support those journalists.
8. SPJ convention ideas
Mark noted that the deadline to submit proposals for the 2010 Las Vegas convention is Jan. 3: “SPJ only wants sessions with one or two presenters, not panel discussions. The person who submits the proposal does not have to be one of the presenters, but would be the liaison for the session (if chosen) whether a participant or not.”
The Journalism Education Committee discussed a list of possible proposals that was developed at our meeting in August. We whittled the list (one idea was obsolete; another was for the 2011 convention). Here are the ideas on the table. We encouraged committee members to volunteer to “adopt” an idea and handle the submission process. Mark has adopted “Web writing for broadcast news outlets.”
- Multimedia teaching challenges when your units are separated on campus – perhaps a best practices roundup session. (“making it work even though you’re in different departments”)
- 10 things to know when you pick up a video camera.
- Where you can get outside grants to help pay for equipment.
- Web writing for broadcast news outlet
The meeting adjourned at 5:45 p.m.