By John Ensslin | February 22nd, 2011
Traditionally, this is a busy time of year for most SPJ pro chapters as they work on their annual journalism contests while planning for their spring regional conference.
Despite that flurry of activity, several chapters have put together some quality programming recently.
Here, in no particular order, is our top 10 list of events either in progress or recently completed.
The tragic shootings in Tucson in January gave rise to an interesting set of ethical questions that the Valley of the Sun Chapter in Phoenix plans to tackle in a March 7 program called “Communities in Crisis: Ethical Considerations for Journalists.” Here’s a link with the details.
What’s the big story in your community so far this year? Is there some way you can turn it into an interesting program?
Next, kudos to the Deadline Club of New York City. This SPJ chapter scored a major coup recently by lining up Tina Brown, editor-in-chief of Newsweek and chief editor of The Daily Beast, to be the keynote speaker for their May 7 awards dinner. Here a link to the details.
Obviously, not every chapter can book as high profile a journalist as Ms. Brown. But who’s the most interesting journalist in your community? Consider inviting someone prominent to be your keynote speaker.
Here’s a program that the Press Club of Long Island offered recently that I could have used: a panel of experts offering tips on how to stay organized. Besides staging the event, the Press Club, which is the SPJ pro chapter on Long Island, did a great job of posting what the experts had to say on the chapter website. Here’s a link.
With so many people struggling to find jobs these days, the South Florida Pro came up with an ideal event. They hosted a book signing for a Sun-Sentinel reporter with a new book out on job hunting. Here’s the link. Are there any local authors in your community with books that would make a good program?
Here’s a program idea that I’ve seen work time and again. Whenever a new editor takes charge at a local media outlet, it’s a great opportunity for a timely and well-attended program. That’s what the Cleveland SPJ recently by inviting the new editor of the Plain Dealer to be their speaker. Here’s the link.
It’s always a good idea to organize events that deal with some of SPJ’s core values, such as ethics and diversity. Here’s a link to a diversity themed event that SPJ at DePaul University held recently that looks like a success.
Also here’s a link to an ethics program that Connecticut SPJ plans to hold on March 13.
Several chapters have used the controversy over WikiLeaks disclosures are the starting point of a discussion of the ethics of news gathering.
And finally, it’s also a good idea to have events that are fun. That’s what the folks at the Minnesota SPJ chapter seemed to have in mind when they organized a trivia night contest with competing teams of journalists and public relations folks. Here’s the link.
To all the chapters hosting these outstanding events, keep up the good work. for the rest of us, there’s plenty of ideas that can be duplicated elsewhere.