Western region extends early-bird conference registration deadline!

BREAKING NEWS. Well, great news, at least.

We decided last night to extend the deadline for early-bird registration until March 30.

But why delay? Register today.

Click here to book your tickets for our spring conference and our Mark of Excellence breakfast.

Two other reasons to sign up now: Space is limited and our programming is phenomenal.

We’ll be updating our list of programs all week and should have it finalized soon, so please keep checking back.

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Don’t delay! Register today for a discount on our spring conference, now just five weeks away

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Our SPJ western region spring conference will start exactly five weeks from today, and I’m proud to announce that our first day of programming is set — and stellar.

That first day on April 17 will feature a trio of intensive, hands-on, half-day workshops — on data mining, data security and data visualization — that are just the first of many reasons to register for the conference today.

First-class first-day instructors include Associated Press data journalist Serdar Tumgoren and Center for Investigative Reporting senior editor for data journalism Jennifer LaFleur,  who will show you how to dig into everything from tweets to census data and campaign finance records at our data mining session; Cyrus Farivar, senior business editor at Ars Technica, who will guide you through safe and confidential data storage at our data security session, and Silk‘s Alex Salkever and Tableau‘s Jewel Loree, who will teach you how to analyze and embed data sets into your work in eye-popping ways at our data visualization session.

Learn more at our conference website. Check back for updates on our second day of programming and information about a tour of Twitter HQ we’re setting up for Friday morning before the half-day workshops.

It’s sure to be a weekend of inspiring panels and incredible networking.

Register now to get the early-bird discount.

And be sure to buy a ticket to our Mark of Excellence awards breakfast scheduled for Saturday, April 18, when we will recognize dozens of students from more than 15 colleges in SPJ’s region 11.

Hope you come to San Francisco in April to hang out with the cool cats.

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We have a venue and not one but two great keynote speakers so register now!

Our regional conference just got a lot more awesome.

We have a venue for it now, the historic Hotel Whitcomb on Market Street in San Francisco near Twitter HQ (and its well-known wall) …


… and very close to other cool stuff.

Our keynote conversation will feature two Bay Area media leaders: The San Francisco Chronicle’s new editor-in-chief, Audrey Cooper — the youngest woman to lead a major U.S. newspaper — and Holly Kernan, executive editor for news at KQED, a dynamic television, radio and digital public media outlet.

If that’s not enough for you to stop reading this blog post and lock in our early-bird discount and register right now, read on for more details.

On April 17, we’ll offer intensive hands-on workshops on data security,  building your brand and data visualization at the Impact Hub.

On April 18, we’ll feature a full day of programming at the Hotel Whitcomb, where media professionals will share expertise on innovative publishing platforms, new funding models, hot trends in podcasting, science reporting, making the most of online video, mastering data visualization and more.

Our early-bird discount ends March 17 so don’t delay. (Second chance: Register here.)

Conference-goers can also take advantage of a discounted room rate of $159 a night to stay in the Whitcomb Hotel. Book your room reservation online or by phone at (415) 626-8000. You must say that you are attending the Society of Professional Journalists’ conference to receive the conference room rate.

Check back here and on the conference website for more information. A full schedule of workshops and programming will be posted soon.

See you in San Francisco.


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Journalism’s worst week

What a week. What a terrible, awful, heartrending week for our industry, our colleagues, us. Tributes and obituaries are everywhere. Heaven just got one hell of a news team, but it has been a brutal week for journalism.

Our losses seem almost unbearable. Truth, a touch more elusive.

Laurie Becklund. Bob Simon. David Carr. Alison Gordon. Stan Chambers. R.I.P., all.

Our first cruel blow came Sunday when former San Diego Tribune and Los Angeles Times border reporter Laurie Becklund died at her home of metastatic breast cancer. She was 66 and “born a reporter,” journalist Barbara Kantrowitz told the Times.

From the Times’ tribute: “Toward the end of her life, Becklund was still reporting, according to Kantrowitz, untangling the politics of breast cancer. ‘She wanted to find out why so much attention was paid to early detection and not to metastatic cancer,’ Kantrowitz said.”

Then Tuesday, within about an hour, a quick succession of stunning revelations: Jon Stewart was leaving The Daily Show, on his own terms, but still; Brian Williams was leaving NBC Nightly News, on a six-month suspension for embellishing an Iraq War anecdote, and CBS 8 sports director Kyle Kraska was shot 10 times — 10! — outside his San Diego home in a dispute with his painter and rushed to the hospital, where he remains in critical but stable condition. Each of those were stories that alone could occupy our conversations for a week. But not this week.

Because Wednesday, suddenly, 60 Minutes standout Bob Simon was dead in a car crash in New York. It was unfathomable. He was 73 and had won 27 Emmys, believed, as CBS reported, to be the most ever earned for a field reporter; he’d also won four Peabody Awards in a five-decade career.

Thursday was no less terrible: David Carr, just 58, The New York Times’ marvelous media critic and champion, collapsed in his newsroom and died. Grieving, we learned, too, that Alison Gordon, the first full-time female beat reporter in Major League Baseball, was dead at 72. Yahoo Sports recalled that her initial Baseball Writers Association of America membership card “infamously referred to her as Mr. Alison Gordon, because they’d never had a woman in the association.”

Her death brought sorrow because she was a standard-bearer, but Carr’s collapse is just heart-breaking because he was for many the heart of the industry. A gruff, no-holds-barred giant of journalism, he once told the graduates of UC Berkeley: “Being a journalist, I never feel bad talking to journalism students because it’s a grand, grand caper. You get to leave, go talk to strangers, ask them anything, come back, type up their stories, edit the tape. That’s not gonna retire your loans as quickly as it should, and it’s not going to turn you into a person who’s worried about what kind of car they should buy, but that’s kind of as it should be. I mean, it beats working.”

Twitter, as the Washington Post put it, howled with pain Thursday night, when the co-editor-in-chief of Variety wrote this:

The question certainly seemed hyphothetical.

And that was before Friday, when maybe we all thought we’d wake up, catch our breath and stagger into the weekend with the sort of bad news — someone else’s — that we typically deliver, but no.

Friday, we learned that KTLA newsman Stan Chambers was dead at 91. Over the course of 63 years — 63! — with the station, he reported more than 22,000 stories. Twenty-two thousand.

Some of those stories were sad, like the one we’re telling now. It’s just part of the job. We get that. Always has been. But this week, mourning these losses, we grieve for our own and thank them for their service and send them on their way and remember why we do the work we do. Why we try.

So thank you for your service, everyone. Now and always, caper on.

Here is Carr’s commencement speech to the University of California, Berkeley, in 2014 when he spoke of this grand, grand caper, and of us.


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Save the date for our regional conference

The committee planning our Region 11 spring conference in San Francisco is working hard to make sure the trip is worth your while, so please set aside the weekend of April 17 to join us. We expect to have an announcement by the end of next week about the venue, workshops and speakers. We’ve scheduled Saturday, April 18, for a full day of programming and for the presentation of our prestigious Mark of Excellence Awards for the region’s best college journalism. We’re also considering a nighttime reception on Friday, April 17, and some optional sightseeing on Sunday, April 19.

Our venue remains in flux because the site we had chosen came back to us with a contract total higher than we expected, so we are pursuing a range of options and will pick a site very soon and share it with you.

As for the MOE Awards, judges have begun their work and expect winners will be announced next month.

We will post more information when we have it on our conference website and the website of our hosts, SPJ NorCal. We will have discounts for early-bird registration, students and SPJ members.

Thanks for your patience as we wrap up our planning. Looking forward to having a big group in April. Any questions, please email me at matthew.hall@utsandiego.com with the subject line “Region 11 conference.”

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Time to recognize the best

Paging all journalists: It’s time to be rewarded for your hard work.

Yes, I’m talking to you.

All of you can now submit entries for SPJ’s annual Sigma Delta Chi Awards and Mark of Excellence Awards honoring the best professional and collegiate journalism of the 2014 calendar year. Students can enter the Mark of Excellence Awards through Jan. 23, and professionals have until Feb. 6 to enter the Sigma Delta Chi Awards.

If you already know the drill, here’s your entry form for both contests.

If you don’t, read on and …

SPJ’s annual Mark of Excellence Awards honor the best student journalism of 2014 for print, radio, TV and digital platforms, whether you belong to a Region 11 campus chapter or not. First-place regional winners will be showcased at our regional spring conference in the Bay Area (date TBD) in 2015 and then compete at the national level.

Because it may help, here are last year’s Region 11 winners, the 2012 Region 11 winners and the 2011 Region 11 winners, and here are some of the rules from SPJ’s website:

The contest is open to anyone enrolled in a college or university in the U.S. studying for an academic degree in 2014. International SPJ student members may also enter. Students who have had full-time, professional journalism experience, outside of internships, are not eligible. Entries must have been published or broadcast during the 2014 calendar year.

SPJ’s annual Sigma Delta Chi Awards honor the best professional journalism in categories covering print, radio, television, newsletters, art/graphics, online and research. The contest is open to any U.S. media outlet. SPJ’s website has a page with rules, hints, entry requirements and more. Here are last year’s winners if you want to take a look.

Questions? Contact Awards Coordinator Abbi Martzall via email or by phone 317/927-8000, ext. 210. Or leave a comment below.

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New campus chapters, social media accounts

Our social media reach is slowly expanding here in Region 11. As is our empire itself; I’m happy to report that we have a new SPJ chapter at CSU, Sacramento, and that California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, is working to start another.

Dorothy Mills-Gregg, president of the CSU Sacramento chapter writes: “We have three programmers and each one is contacting News10, Capital Public Radio, and the Sacramento Bee to get a tour. … After our first tour, we have the idea of partnering with a club on campus to discuss their issues in the media. For example, we could partner with the Pride Center, which is very active on our campus, and do a panel on LGBT communities covered by the media. Also, there is a newspaper called the Homeward Street Journal which does something with the homeless that we want to look into and see if there’s anything we can do with them.”

At Cal Poly Pomona, Department of Communication assistant professor Jason Turcotte is excited about the prospect of a chapter: “It’s something the Communication Department here has wanted for awhile and it’s long overdue. We have many eager, hard-working students who are looking to become more engaged professionally.”

Helping these two chapters get off to good starts would be just one way I want to improve communication and connections between pros and student SPJ members. I also recently met with the San Diego State University chapter (it was a short commute, I know) to present students with their 2013-2014 outstanding Region 11 campus chapter award and help them figure out what events and speakers they’d like to have this year. If I can help you with any of your chapters, please let me know.

To that end, I’m still building out our Twitter (@SPJregion11) and Facebook (SPJ Region 11) channels.

Can Ello be far behind?

The Facebook page will be a place to showcase news about regional conferences, blog posts and more.

The Twitter page will be an account to follow for chapter news, journalism tips and trends. My aim is to post more frequently in that space than on Facebook.

We’re just getting started so please like and follow those accounts and tell us what you want to see on them. One way is to ping me on Twitter at either @SDuncovered or @SPJregion11. Or you can email me at matthew.hall@utsandiego.com. Cheers.


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5 goals, 4 GIFs from your new Region 11 director

Hi, everybody.

I’m the new Region 11 director, appointed by the board in July to fill Elizabeth Smith’s seat and then elected by SPJ members last week to serve through the EIJ15 conference in Orlando. Since returning to San Diego from Nashville, I’ve caught up on my sleep, “The Leftovers” and “Boardwalk Empire” and been eating more tacos and less BBQ. But I’m still brimming with ideas and inspiration from our EIJ14 conference.

Hope you are, too.

Blogging is kind of my thing, so you can expect this blog to be more regular and entertaining than it has been in recent years. This post will serve as an introduction and a solicitation.

But first, I’d like to thank and acknowledge Debra Krol of the Valley of the Sun chapter and Richard Saxton of the Los Angeles chapter, both of whom ran for the Region 11 seat and then reached out to me after the election to offer their congratulations and help. It’s that kind of support that will make this year great for all our chapters in Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada. If you missed it, Debra and I gave speeches on the convention floor in Nashville, where I was very lucky to meet many of you and also eat this:


By now, you’ve probably heard the biggest news from our conference. To recap: We updated the SPJ Code of Ethics for the first time in 18 years. We also elected a new board and created an endowed legal defense fund. And we chose Anaheim as the site of the EIJ17 conference. There were also tons of great breakout sessions and conversations. In one, some of us from Region 11 met to discuss expectations and hopes for the coming year. Our plan is just a start, but it seemed to energize people in the room.

Some of our common goals and first steps are these:

1) Throw another excellent regional conference in Phoenix this spring.

The Valley of the Sun chapter and I will work to make that happen and share a date as soon as we have one.

2) Network and share program ideas.

There’s talk of a joint L.A.-San Diego SPJ meetup, and to everyone’s benefit, I plan to set up a Google doc soon to allow us to share successful programs in a convenient way. There, we can document and discuss together what makes certain panels work (or not), and review a series of metrics that is likely to include social media, turnout, fundraising or membership growth.


3) Share some valuable lessons we’ve learned covering stories that touch us all, stories on drought, wildfire, Native American issues and other subjects.

Look for these in a future blog post once I compile them, with your help.

4) Better advocate for the region and its journalists.

The presidents of our pro chapters will hold a regular Skype or conference call to coordinate and communicate and tap into our collective wealth of knowledge. Then we’ll all be able to stay on top of what everyone is doing and move quickly as warranted because that line of communication is open.

5) Boost our membership at the college and pro chapter level.

We can start by connecting on the new Twitter and Facebook pages I set up for Region 11 and inviting non-SPJ members to follow us and like us there. I’d like these social media spaces to be places where we share tips, job postings, stories, issues and conversation. Please follow, like and promote them. I hope they become a forum for every reporter in all four states.

Have other thoughts, suggestions or proposals? Please add them below, email me at matthew.hall@utsandiego.com or find me on Twitter, where you’ll find I’m really responsive.

One specific thing I’d like to consider? Renaming this blog. We can do better, am I right? If you have suggestions, drop me a line. I’ll try to scare up some SPJ swag for the person who picks something that sticks.

In closing, here’s my bio. The tl;dr summary? I’m the public engagement director at U-T San Diego, where I’ve worked since 2001 as a reporter, city columnist and public engagement editor and now manage and curate social media. I’ve also worked in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. I’m president of the San Diego Pro Chapter of SPJ. I have two young daughters.

Again, got something on your mind? Please ping me. This blog’s for you.

I’m here for you. As is SPJ.

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Volunteer needed to serve as interim Region 11 director

Dear SPJ member,

Region 11 Director Elizabeth Smith resigned her seat on the national SPJ Board of Directors on Tuesday. She expressed her gratitude and passion for SPJ, and admiration for board members and all SPJ members, specifically those in Region 11. We wish Elizabeth all the best and want to thank her for her service.

As a result, we are seeking a volunteer to fill the vacancy. The selected candidate will serve until Sept. 6, 2014. A new regional director will then be elected on Sept. 6 to fill the one year remaining on the term.

Interested candidates must live in Arizona, California, Hawaii or Nevada. They cannot be a student member or an associate.

In accordance with SPJ’s bylaws, the national board will appoint the temporary replacement. Interested candidates should send the following information to Chapter Coordinator Tara Puckey no later than July 16:

• Your current role in journalism.
• Your history with SPJ.
• The reason you are applying for the position.
• Your resume/CV.

The volunteer selected for the temporary role will be expected to fulfill the duties of the position, such as participate in the board meeting on Sept. 4 during EIJ14 conference in Nashville.

He or she will also enjoy the benefits of the position, such as a $1,000 stipend that can be used for travel expenses to EIJ14.

Anyone volunteering for this temporary role is strongly encouraged to run for the remaining term (Sept. 2014-Sept. 2015) during the upcoming election. However, anyone meeting the criteria above is welcome to run for the position.

Those with questions should contact Tara. Thank you for considering this opportunity.


Joe Skeel
SPJ Executive Director

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Job openings for editor/reporter, and bilingual news anchor in Phoenix, AZ

Univision seeks bilingual news anchor

Univision Arizona is seeking a full-time news anchor to join its seasoned staff for the 5 and 10 p.m. newscasts. Ideal candidate must be a strong newsroom leader, have effective reporting background and be a clear, concise and accurate Spanish writer and speaker.

In addition, news anchors are responsible for gathering, researching and writing articles which can be posted “online” and/or for use on a web-based medium either on the company’s website, social media or any other Univision subsidiaries. Position requires generating enterprise field reports and active participation in the community on behalf of the station.

Responsibilities include: Anchoring newscasts/special projects as assigned; producing newscasts when needed; reporting in the field; writing for newscasts, including teases, promos, intros, tags and generating graphics; maintaining a high degree of knowledge of current and community events; and developing and maintaining good relationships with news sources.

Broadcast Journalism degree preferred. Minimum 5 years experience as an anchor/reporter on Spanish language television.

Email a resume and links to your most powerful stories to: jvilla@univision.net.


North Valley weekly seeks editor/reporter

The Foothills Focus, a weekly newspaper serving the communities of Anthem, Black Canyon City, Carefree, Cave Creek, Desert Hills, New River, North Phoenix, and North Scottsdale, is looking for an editor/reporter.

Needed is a self-starter capable of building sources who has strong time management skills. Responsibilities include reporting, editing and photography skills, writing up briefs and determining placement of stories. Reporter is responsible for utilizing the newspaper’s Facebook page to supplement weekly coverage as well as post breaking news.

Send resumes and three to five writing samples to foothillsfocus@qwestoffice.net. For information call 623-465-5808. This is a salaried position. Pay depends on experience.

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Newest Posts

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
Bethany Bella is the March volunteer of the month March 23, 2015, 1:44 am
500 tweets from Athens March 22, 2015, 7:23 pm
Encourage more ‘sunshine’ every week March 22, 2015, 6:24 am
Tablet or Traditional? News Consumption March 20, 2015, 3:01 pm
SPJ FOI Hangout March 19, 2015, 8:42 pm

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