Archive for September, 2009


For the second year, Region 12 has money to help chapters in the region put on programs, recruit members and fulfill the mission of SPJ to protect and improve journalism.

To put this new financial foundation to best use, I have instituted a competition seeking proposals from professional and campus chapters with the best ideas.

I am also seeking proposals for grants that will go to professional members who want to create new chapters or revive inactive ones.


The application deadline for the program grants is midnight, Oct. 15, 2010.

The program grants:
• Up to $500 to a professional chapter in good standing to help fund a program of consequence.
• Up to $500 to a campus chapter in good standing to help fund a program of consequence.
Who’s eligible:
• All chapters in Region 12.


The application deadline for proposals to start new chapters or revive inactive chapters is midnight, Oct. 15, 2010:

The new/inactive chapter grants:
• Up to $250 each to promising proposals in Louisiana and Mississippi (one grant per state) to start a new professional chapter or chapters.
• Up to $250 to a promising proposal from anywhere in the region to revive an inactive chapter.

Who’s eligible:
• Proposals must be submitted by groups of three or more current members of SPJ.

Here’s what you have to do:

Submit a written proposal by the application deadlines via e-mail to

Chapter program proposals must include the following:
• The chapter name and name of the chapter president.
• A contact person and contact information, including street address, city, state and zip; e-mail address, and telephone number.
• The name of the proposed program.
• Date the program will be held, or estimated date.
• A description of the program, including objectives.
• How the program will benefit the chapter’s members and/or the general public.
• Any relevant details of the program, such as speakers and format.
• The requested grant amount, not more than $500.
• A preliminary budget on how the grant funds will be spent.

Chapters that receive grants must put on the program by Aug. 31, 2010.

New chapter/chapter revival grant proposals must include the following:
• The names of three current SPJ members making the proposal.
• Contact information on the three members, including street address, city, state and zip; e-mail address, telephone number and each person’s SPJ membership number.
• Coverage territory of the proposed or revived chapter (e.g. an entire state, the southwest corner of a state, specific counties/parishes, etc.)
• A signed statement that the proponents have visited and read the guidelines for establishing new chapters or reviving inactive chapters.
• An outline, including proposed timeline, of how proponents expect to establish a new chapter or revive an inactive one.
• The requested grant amount, not more than $250.
• A preliminary budget on how the grant funds will be spent.

Additional information:
• Grants up to the maximum amount may be awarded. Chapters may receive less or be asked to match a grant amount with funds of their own.
• All applicants will be notified of the grant selections by Nov. 5, 2008.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrShare on RedditPin on Pinterest


SPJ has moved its blogging network to WordPress. Yay!

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrShare on RedditPin on Pinterest

Law School for Journalists

This isn’t an SPJ-sponsored event, but I  highly recommend it to any journalists close to Memphis:

Law School for Journalists Will Cover New Media, Reporting, and the Law at the U of M

For release: September 2, 2009
For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey (901) 678-2843

During the fourth annual Law School for Journalists at the University of Memphis, lawyers and members of the media will explore how new technology, from Web sites to blogs to Twitter, is changing the way journalism is practiced and how the law and legal system are struggling to adapt.  The event will be Saturday, September 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. at the U of M’s Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.

Brooke Gladstone, co-host of NPR’s On the Media

The seminar is free for journalists and for marketing and public relations professionals. There is a fee for judges and attorneys who are seeking Continuing Legal Education credit.

Panels of expert media lawyers and experienced reporters and bloggers will discuss how traditional access and open records and open meetings law are adapting (or not adapting) to the new media environment. Panelists will include attorneys Paul Alan Levy, Alan D. Johnson, and Richard L. Hollow, Judge Chris Craft, Commercial Appeal reporter Clay Bailey, John Branston of the Memphis Flyer, and Ken Jobe and Lauren Lee of FOX 13 news, WHBQ-TV.

Brooke Gladstone, co-host of National Public Radio’s On the Media, will moderate a discussion with Commercial Appeal editor Chris Peck and Tennessee State Senator Mark Norris of The Commercial Appeal’s highly controversial publication on its Web site of the public records database of concealed weapon carry permit holders.

The program is sponsored by The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, the University of Memphis Law Alumni Chapter, the Department of Journalism, the Memphis Bar Association, and the Memphis Mid-South Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

Parking will be available in the garage adjacent to the Fogelman Executive Center on Innovation Drive, just off Central Avenue, and in the Central Avenue parking lot.

Registration is available online at the Memphis Bar Association. For more information call (901) 527-3573.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrShare on RedditPin on Pinterest

New Chapter Standards

At its Aug. 27 meeting, the SPJ national board approved changes in the professional chapter standards and reporting requirements.  I’ll be sending copies of the changes to chapter leaders shortly.

The revision does two important things:
•    It makes it easier for pro chapters to remain in good standing under SPJ’s “star rating” system, and therefore easier for chapters to be eligible to vote at the national convention.
•    It requires each regional director to contact pro chapters in his/her region every three months to discuss programs, activities, problems and successes in the preceding three months. The RD must file a quarterly report based on that discussion with HQ. That report becomes part of the annual report that chapters are required to file to remain in good standing.

Why’d we do it? I’ll just quote from the proposal put together by Region 2’s Jeremy Steele with help from Region 11’s Sonya Smith, other regional directors and other SPJ leaders:
Core objectives
Quickly identify and aid troubled chapters.
Increased communication between regional directors and chapter leaders will mean troubled chapters will be more likely to be found in time to offer help, rather than at the end of the year when an annual report is filed, or, in some cases, not filed.

Ensure regular communication between regional directors and chapters.
Quarterly reports must be filed by each regional director for each pro chapter in a region. This increased communication should also increase communication between local chapters and the Board of Directors and SPJ headquarters.

Spread success between chapters.
Increased communication between all regional directors and chapters will allow for more communication to chapter leaders of programming and recruiting ideas.

Require financial reporting.
A financial report is included in the annual report chapters must file in order to remain in “good standing.”

Define what it means to be a chapter in “good standing,” thus giving voting rights.
The revised program establishes a minimum of standards, achievable by all active chapters.

Establish a minimum level of service provided by SPJ chapters.
Chapters must communicate with members, hold a minimum number of activities, actively recruit members and communicate with the regional director and national SPJ.

Build a flexible framework for chapters.
Chapters are given freedom to choose activities to hold, so long as the activities further SPJ’s mission.

Create high expectations of chapters.
We continue to work within the Star System framework with which chapter leaders are familiar.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrShare on RedditPin on Pinterest


That’s me. A very slow blogger. In any case, here’s the first of several updates on the recently concluded SPJ convention.

SPJ marked its 100th anniversary with a successful convention in Indianapolis Aug. 27-30, drawing 649 to three and a half days of excellent professional development sessions, networking and fun. Last year’s convention in Atlanta pulled in 520 journalists.

Sponsorships were also up this year, according to The Working Press, the convention newspaper produced by student volunteers. The Atlanta convention generated $70,000 in sponsorships; the recently concluded Indianapolis gathering produced $87,000.

Check out the free-to-SPJ-members streaming video from some of the conference’s best sessions at That page also has links to a lot of other good stuff from the convention, including Roxana Saberi’s speech to the Mark of Excellence Awards luncheon.

Most conference sessions focused on practical issues involving careers and new media as well as SPJ’s centennial.

The convention also brings the election of national officers and about half the regional directors to the SPJ board. Hagit Limor of Cincinnati and Darcie Lunsford of Delray Beach, Fla., were unopposed for president-elect and secretary-treasurer, respectively. Kevin Z. Smith, whom delegates chose as president-elect in 2008, became president on Aug. 29.

You can find photos and other info about all board members at, but here’s the list of the 2009-10 officers and board members:

President: Kevin Z. Smith; President-Elect: Hagit Limor; Secretary-Treasurer: Darcie Lunsford; Immediate Past President: Dave Aeikens; Vice President, Campus Chapter Affairs: Neil Alan Ralston; Directors At-Large: Bill McCloskey; Michael Koretzky; Student Representatives: Tara Puckey; Andrew Seaman; Campus Advisers At-Large: Sue Kopen Katcef; George Daniels; Region 1 Director: Luther Turmelle; Region 2 Director: Brian Eckert; Region 3 Director: Jenn Rowell; Region 4 Director: Jeremy Steele; Region 5 Director: Liz Hansen; Region 6 Director: Amanda Theisen; Region 7 Director: Holly Edgell; Region 8 Director: Scott Cooper; Region 9 Director: John Ensslin; Region 10 Director: Dana Neuts; Region 11 Director: Jodi Cleesattle; Region 12 Director: Sonny Albarado.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrShare on RedditPin on Pinterest


Twitter Facebook Google Plus RSS Instagram Pinterest Pinterest LinkedIn

© Society of Professional Journalists. All rights reserved. Legal

Society of Professional Journalists
Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center, 3909 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208
317/927-8000 | Fax: 317/920-4789 | Contact SPJ Headquarters | Employment Opportunities | Advertise with SPJ