2015 Region 1 Conference Update

UPDATE: The Region 1 Conference website has been updated with details on panels, discussions and speakers. Check it out!

Registration is now open for the Region 1 Society of Professional Journalists Conference at Hofstra University on April 17-18.

The Press Club of Long Island is hosting the event and all you have to do is sign up by April 1 to take advantage of the early bird registration rates. You also can register on-site starting at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, April 17.

The two-day extravaganza will kick off with panel discussions and sessions followed by an opening-night reception at 5:30 p.m. at the top of the Hofstra Library.

The conference will continue all day Saturday with a continental breakfast, morning and afternoon panels and resume critiques.

Lance Ulanoff, a Hofstra alumnus and the editor-at-large at Mashable, will be the keynote speaker at the Saturday lunch. The lunch will also feature a Region One Fund auction and a presentation of SPJ’s Mark of Excellence student journalism awards.


Act now for early bird ticket prices

-Student SPJ member, early bird, $50

-Pro SPJ member, early bird, $65

-Student non-member, early bird, $75

-Pro non-member, early bird, $95

Here’s a look at the SPJ R1C schedule:


-11:30 a.m. Registration opens

-12:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Resume, clip and tape critiquing

-12:30-2 p.m. Panel 1: How to get a job / Panel 2: FOIL

-2-2:30 p.m. Coffee Break

-2:30-3:45 p.m. Panel 1: Book publishing / Panel 2: Speciality Reporting

-4-5:15 p.m. Panel 1: Personal Branding / Panel 2: Media rights and legal issues

-5:30-8:30 p.m. Opening Reception


-8-9 a.m. Breakfast, chapter and regional leader meeting

-9 a.m.-12 p.m. Resume, clip and tape critiquing

-9-10:15 a.m. Panel 1: Photography / Panel 2: Freelancing

-10:30-11:45 a.m. Panel 1: Social Media / Panel 2: Sports Broadcasting

-12-2 p.m. Lunch with auction, keynote and Mark of Excellence Awards

-2 p.m. to closing Resume, clip and tape critiquing

-2:15-3:30 p.m. Panel 1: SEO / Panel 2: Narrative Storytelling

For hotel options, directions and other information, please visit SPJR1C.org or PCLI.org.

Questions? Please email PressClubofL@gmail.com.

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FOI Fight Moves to Massachusetts

UPDATE: Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has vowed to mend the FOI rift with the Secretary of State’s office. We’ll keep you posted.

Massachusetts’ public records law, already considered one of the weakest in the nation, has taken another hit.

A series of rulings by Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin has given police greater power to withhold and censor arrest records—including those of officers themselves.

On Friday, The Boston Globe ran an editorial blasting Galvin for his actions. A day later, Galvin publicly pledged to push for a ballot referendum in November 2016 that would punish government agencies who ignore the state’s public records laws.

Other news outlets, including the Boston Herald, have joined the cry for much needed open records reform in the state.

SPJ is proud to stand with them, especially during Sunshine Week. This is the letter we sent to Galvin today (UPDATED with minor corrections):

March 17, 2015

William Francis Galvin
Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
McCormack Building
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108

Secretary Galvin:

State and national leaders of the Society of Professional Journalists, which represent about 7,500 journalists nationwide, stand with the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, the Patriot Ledger and other news outlets in condemnation of your recent rulings on the state’s public records law.

These rulings give Massachusetts police departments new discretion to withhold public records that are deemed covered by Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) and impede the taxpaying public’s ability to hold law enforcement officials to the standards to which they expect them to perform. The rulings are also redundant and unnecessary since there are already laws in place protecting the privacy of police personnel.

We believe these rulings severely damage the public’s ability to gain access and insight to information to which it is legally entitled. At a time when the public is demanding more transparency from law enforcement agencies, we see this as a significant step backward. It’s a disservice to the citizens of the Massachusetts and an insult to the spirit of open government.

We applaud your attempt to reform the Commonwealth’s public records law by proposing a November 2016 ballot initiative increasing penalties for agencies that ignore the rules. But citizens should not have to wait 20 months to vote for easier access to, what is in truth, their property.

In the name of transparency and good government practices in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we respectfully request you to withdraw the recent rulings and publicly support legislation filed by Rep. Peter Kocot of Northampton and Sen. Jason Lewis of Winchester that would greatly improve the public records law.

With its proud history of championing freedom and liberty, Massachusetts should be a leader in government openness, not secrecy.


Danielle McLean
President, SPJ New England Professional Chapter

Rebecca Baker
SPJ Region 1 Director

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Fighting for FOI in New Hampshire

Region 1 rallies when local lawmakers try to throw up barriers to public documents.

New England chapter president Danielle McLean and Region 1 Director Rebecca Baker sent a letter (expertly written by Danielle) Tuesday, March 10, to New Hampshire legislators urging them to vote no on HB 646, a bill that would allow government agencies to charge an upfront fee to access many public documents.

UPDATE 3/12: The House has tabled the bill indefinitely. We will keep an eye on the situation in case the legislation is reintroduced.

The issue has been covered by the New Hampshire media. Trent Spiner, the executive editor of the New Hampshire Union Leader and president of the New Hampshire Press Association, has been at the forefront in trying to stop this bill. “Imagine an agency telling you it’ll take 100 hours to produce documents—which isn’t out of the question for a complex request—and that they want the money up front,” he wrote in an email.

Here is the text of the amendment that received a 14-4 “Ought to Pass”  recommendation by the state House Judiciary Committee:


Amendment to HB 646

Amend RSA 91-A:4, IV as inserted by section 1 of the bill by replacing it with the following:

IV. Each public body or agency shall, upon request for any governmental record reasonably described, make available for inspection and copying any such governmental record within its files when such records are immediately available for such release. If a public body or agency is unable to make a governmental record available for immediate inspection and copying, it shall, within 5 business days of request, make such record available, deny the request in writing with reasons, or furnish written acknowledgment of the receipt of the request and a statement of the time reasonably necessary to determine whether the request shall be granted or denied. If a computer, photocopying machine, or other device maintained for use by a public body or agency is used by the public body or agency to copy the governmental record requested, the person requesting the copy may be charged the actual cost of providing the copy, which cost may be collected by the public body or agency.Nothing in this section shall exempt any person from paying fees otherwise established by law for obtaining copies of governmental records or documents, but if such fee is established for the copy, no additional costs or fees shall be charged. No charge shall be imposed for allowing a person to inspect a record that is immediately available.

Amend the bill by inserting after section 1 the following and renumbering the original section 2 to read as 3:

2 New Paragraph; Right-to-Know; Charges for Retrieval of Governmental Records. Amend RSA 91-A:4 by inserting after paragraph IV the following new paragraph:

IV-a. A public body may charge a fee to cover the actual labor cost of retrieving and copying the requested records, including reviewing and redacting confidential and other exempt information, subject to the following:

(a) The amount charged per hour shall not exceed the applicable minimum wage, and no charge shall be made for the first hour.

(b) The public body or agency shall provide the requester with a reasonable estimate of the time necessary to respond to the request and of the total cost. If the estimate of the total cost exceeds $50, the requester may be required to pay all or a portion of the cost prior to retrieval of the records. If the final cost differs from the estimate, the difference shall be refunded or collected, as the case may be, at the time the records are provided.

(c) No charge shall be made for the cost of searching for or retrieving minutes of any public body meeting that occurred less than one year before the date of the request.

(d) Upon request, the public body or agency shall provide a detailed itemization of the costs charged.

(e) A court may reduce or waive the fees charged if it determines that the information requested is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government.

(f) The public body or agency may waive any charges for an individual who demonstrates an inability to pay.

And this is the letter that was emailed to every single one of New Hampshire’s state representatives:

State and national leaders of the Society of Professional Journalists, which represents more than 8,000 journalists nationwide, urge the withdrawal of amendments to HB 646, which would allow a public body or agency to impose fees for the retrieval of right-to-know public records requests.

This bill, if passed, would impede not only the media’s, but the tax- paying public’s ability to hold their elected representatives and public servants to the standards in which they expect them to perform.

It is essential that the public have at its disposal a complete picture of how our government is operating. Public records belong to members the public and are an important piece to completing that picture. Under no circumstance should a member of the public ever be charged a costly fee for materials that by law, belong to them. The addition of a fee would inflict financial hardships on many members of the public seeking documents to which they are legally entitled.

While preparing and administering some public records requests may seem like a costly and tedious activity, it is fundamental in allowing members of the public to review how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent and to expose waste and corruption. Rather than treating public records as an inconvenient cost, government agencies and officials should budget for and treat those requests as an important piece of good governance.

We urge you to withdraw amendments to HB 646 for the sake of transparent governance in New Hampshire.


Danielle McLean
President, SPJ New England Pro Chapter; Reporter, Somerville Journal

Rebecca Baker
SPJ Region 1 Director
Managing Editor, New York Law Journal

SPJ has at least one New Hampshire lawmaker on its side. Rep. Max Abramson emailed the following response: “Thank you very much. I will be speaking on the House floor against this awful bill first thing tomorrow.”

The vote on the bill was scheduled to take place on Wednesday, March 11 but may be postponed. We will update you with new information as it becomes available. Meanwhile, feel free to tweet to the New Hampshire Speaker of the House (@nhspeaker) to share your thoughts about the Granite State’s proposal.
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Get Free Money for your Chapter Event!

For the second consecutive year, the Region 1 Fund is offering quarterly grants of up to $500 to help professional and student chapters recruit speakers, book space and promote events. This is in addition to the national chapter grants that SPJ national offers: http://www.spj.org/chaptergrants.asp

Over the past year, Region 1 Grants were awarded to The College at Brockport to produce a Western New York Media Conference and to the Keystone Pro chapter to purchase the documentary “A Fragile Trust” for screening events with local college chapters.

The deadlines for quarterly funding are as follows: Nov. 21, 2014; Feb. 21, 2015; May 21, 2015; Aug. 21, 2015

Simply cut/paste the following application into an email or Word file and send it to:

Region 1 Director Rebecca Baker: rebecca.baker.ny@gmail.com

Region 1 Treasurer Bill Bleyer: billbleyer@gmail.com

Chapter Name:
Program name:

Please describe your program and include any objectives you would like your program to accomplish:

Approx. Date program will take place:

How will this program benefit your chapter’s members and the journalism community as a whole?

What format will your program follow?

Who will be invited to speak at and/or present the program?

Requested grant amount: $

Preliminary budget: $

Reasons why your chapter cannot fund this event without grant funds:

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Register for the 2014 Region 1 Conference

The 2014 Region 1 Conference in Boston, Mass. is now open for registration.

This year’s event, organized by the New England Pro Chapter of SPJ, will bring together professional and student journalists from Maine to Pennsylvania for two days of professional development and networking from April 25-26 at Boston University. It is guaranteed to be exciting and informative event — not to mention an investment in your career.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Byte Back! Doing Great Journalism in the Digital Age” and will include programs on investigative reporting, cross-disciplinary journalism, ethics, high-tech newsgathering, personal branding, legal issues for journalists and much, much more.

An opening night reception will be held at The Castle, a gorgeous Tudor Revival mansion on the BU campus, where legendary broadcast journalist Carole Simpson will share her thoughts on the present and future states of journalism.

On Saturday, we’ll take a break from programming to have a delicious lunch in BU’s elegant Trustee Ballroom, where we’ll honor the best collegiate journalism in the region at the annual Mark of Excellence Awards ceremony.

Getting to Boston is easy. In addition to Amtrak, Megabus.com is offering free rides from their locations to Boston for those coming from long distances. There are also discounted rates at several local hotels.

We’re expecting a sold-out event, so reserve your place before they’re all out! For details on the SPJ Region 1 Spring Conference and to register, visit spjr1c.org.

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An argument for changing SPJ’s name

A proposal to change the name of SPJ to the Society of Professional Journalism seems to be gaining steam. Region 3 Director Michael Koretzky made a passionate argument for tweaking the title of the nation’s largest journalism advocacy group on his regional blog.

I would invite all Region 1 members to weigh in on this issue.

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One week to go!

We’re in the home stretch of this year’s Region 1 Conference, and it’s shaping up to be one of the best yet.

We have a SOLD OUT awards luncheon and a lineup of amazing speakers. We just added two more to the list:

-Nyier Abdou, an Emmy-awarding winning reporter and videographer for the Star-Ledger, will lead a session on how to shoot and edit a news video. This session will be at 1 p.m. Friday, April 12.

-Adam Glenn, a former ABCnews.com producer who now teaches a bootcamp digital journalism class at CUNY, will lead a talk on useful journalism web tools, at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, April 12.

For students, we’ve added “Pizza with the Pros” an informal hour-long conversation between student journalists and 3-4 professionals at 6 p.m. Friday, April 12 in the faculty lounge in room 323 on the third floor of the SCI building. Seating is limited, so you MUST RSVP to conference organizer John Ensslin at damon_runyon@hotmail.com by April 9.

To see the latest schedule, check out www.spjr1c.org.

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2013 Regional Conference is Jersey strong!

Hey everyone,

We are putting the final touches on this year’s SPJ regional conference at Rutgers University this year. We have nationally renowned speakers and timely panels. Learn how basic math can reveal powerful narratives and what lessons reporters learned covering Hurricane Sandy and the Newtown school shootings. Check out our all-star lineup at www.spjr1c.org and register for early bird rates. Reduced early rates expire March 17, so sign up before St. Patrick’s Day!

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Time Is Tight: Register Now For Region 1 Conference

Make sure to take advantage of early-bird rates for the Society of Professional Journalists Region 1 Spring Conference on Long Island before they end this Friday, March 9.

The conference, organized by the Press Club of Long Island chapter of SPJ, will bring together professional and student journalists from Maine to Pennsylvania for a day and a half of programming March 23-24 at Stony Brook University. It is guaranteed to be exciting and informative event — not to mention an investment in your future.

The event will include programs on social mediamobile journalismyour rights at crime scenes and news eventsfreelancing in a down economyuseful web tools for journalistsand much more. An opening night reception will be held in Stony Brook at the Long Island Museum’s beautiful carriage galleries.

Ellis Henican, a Fox News analyst, Newsday columnist, radio host and New York Times best-selling author, will deliver the keynote address at the student Mark of Excellence awards ceremony on Saturday, March 24.

To sweeten the deal, Hotel Chocolat is donating chocolate for a Friday afternoon break, while Megabus.com is offering free rides from their locations to New York City stops for those coming from long distances. You can then take the Long Island Rail Road to Stony Brook University. Register for the conference and reserve your seat before they’re all out.

There are also discounted rates at several local hotels.

For details on the SPJ Region 1 Spring Conference and to register, visit spjr1c.org.



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Making Transition From Journalist To Mystery Writer Less Mysterious

Wednesday night at the Salmagundi Club, SPJ’s New York Deadline Club is holding a program that will provide insights on what it takes to make the switch from journalist to mystery author.

Hear from five journalism professionals about what made them look to mystery writing and the type of  skills serve you well in both professions. The panelists for the event are:

• Mary Jane Clark, a former CBS news producer who is the New York Times bestselling author of the “Wedding Cake” series of mystery novels.

• Don Dahler, who currently anchors the weekend morning and evening CBS 2 newscasts and wrote the novels “A Tight Lie” and “Water Hazard.”

• Bruce DeSilva, a former editor at the Associated Press editor and winner of the Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 2010 for his mystery “Rogue Island.”

• Wallace Stroby, a former Newark Star-Ledger reporter and author of “The Barbed-Wire Kiss,” which was a finalist for the 2004 Barry Award for Best First Novel. 

Larry Light, the executive vice president of Mysry Writers of America, a veteran editor at BusinessWeek, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal whose many published books include the “Karen Glick” mystery series, will moderate.

The event starts at 7 p.m. and will be preceded by a  half hour reception. After the event, the panelists will be available to sign copies of their work.

The event is free, but RSVPs are recommended. Click here to let event organizers now if you plan to attend.

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Newest Posts

Region 5 MOE winners announced March 30, 2015, 10:36 pm
Region 7 journalists head to Omaha for professional development March 30, 2015, 7:31 pm
Women Who Lead: Newsroom and Beyond March 28, 2015, 3:52 pm
Some forthcoming changes to SPJ Digital March 27, 2015, 12:08 pm
Facebook: The newest content platform? March 27, 2015, 12:01 pm
Last chance to register for Region 5 at regular conference rates March 24, 2015, 1:29 am
And the winners are… March 23, 2015, 8:24 pm

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