Region 7 Career Connection, Vol. 1

Today we’re launching the Region 7 Career Connection! Each week, The Heartland Beat will post four journalism jobs from within the region.

We’re kicking off the regular feature with a news director job in Omaha, the search for a Kansas City wedding editor, and more.

Check back next week for a new list of journalism jobs from around Region 7!

Does your newsroom have a job you would like listed on the Region 7 Career Connection? Email Region 7 Director Rob McLean with the information.

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Following in the footsteps of giants

After I tweeted my thanks to Region 7 SPJ members for electing me to serve as director, former SPJ Region 7 Director Holly Edgell — who was my boss a few years ago — tweeted in response…

The tweet reminded me that I’m filling some big shoes. The amazing journalists who have previously served as SPJ Region 7 Director contributed a lot to SPJ and to the journalism industry. David Sheets, my immediate predecessor, worked tirelessly on issues facing freelance journalists. He encouraged students and professionals across the region to join SPJ and to think critically about the journalism they produce.

David has been an amazing leader for the region. I will do my best to follow his efforts to serve journalists in our slice of the map.

In the coming weeks, I will announce details for the 2015 Spring Conference, to be held in Omaha, Neb.

Additionally, I’m beginning the legwork to connect journalists with employers within the region and freelancers with editors. More on that soon.

Finally, per the SPJ bylaws, I have appointed Lauren Whan regional assistant for campus affairs.

According to the SPJ bylaws, “each regional director shall appoint a student member as his regional assistant for campus affairs. The latter shall advise the regional director on campus problems and activities, shall act in a liaison capacity with campus chapters in developing programs, and shall assist the regional director in any other ways desired or requested.”

I met Lauren at the Ted Scripps Leadership Institute in Kansas City earlier this year and have been impressed with her dedication to journalism and leadership skills. She’s going to help me work with campus chapters across the region to bolster their chapters and encourage students to pursue their journalism aspirations.

Here’s a little bit about Lauren:

“Lauren Whan is a junior at Lindenwood University where she is majoring in journalism, with a minor in mass communications. She is a founder of the Lindenwood SPJ student chapter and is involved with the university’s student newspaper, television station and online news publications.

“Lauren is also Lindenwood’s student public relations officer for the Lindenwood Student Government Association. She is an animal lover, a racing fan and an avid traveler. She looks forward to serving the students within Region 7 and helping Rob McLean plan the regional conference in Nebraska.”

Stay tuned to the blog for regular updates on Region 7 news, events and opportunities!

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Passing the baton in Region 7

Passing the batonTwo years.

That’s the time it takes to obtain a community college education. It’s also the average lifespan of an iPad, the honeymoon period in a new marriage, the unofficial season length for a U.S. presidential campaign, and the sum of one term for an SPJ regional directorship.

Of course, options exist to extend the calendar on any of these things, though the rationale for that extension differs greatly from person to person.

Which is why on Saturday, my term as Region 7 director came to a quiet, satisfying conclusion during EIJ14 in Nashville, and I handed the baton to Rob McLean, Omaha-based digital managing editor for Hearst Television.

Rob’s recent work with the Society underscores his qualifications. He has been at the forefront to re-establish the Society of Professional Journalists in Nebraska, both at the professional and student levels. A few weeks ago, he started moonlighting as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Before landing in the Cornhusker State, Rob was a reporter for Patch.com in suburban St. Louis and was an active member of the SPJ professional chapter there.

Rob is a good man with drive, determination, and a devotion to SPJ that few can match. The region is in good hands, no doubt.

So let me use the remaining space in my final Region 7 post to thank all the great journalism professionals and students in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri who assisted me, informed me, and enlightened me the past 24 months. Your contributions helped make SPJ stronger, wiser, and better positioned to effectively confront the challenges that journalists and educators strive to turn into opportunities.

For the next year at least, I will continue to work with my home chapter, St. Louis Pro, as well as help launch a new national community, SPJ Digital, which debuted last month, and broaden my continued engagement with SPJ’s Freelance Community. And Rob and I will be working together to plan the Region 7 Spring Conference in Omaha in March.

In the meantime, Rob has my full support and confidence as Region 7 director. I hope he has yours, too.

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Legendary newspaper cartoonist dies

Region 7 lost a media legend this week when Amadee Wohlschlaeger died at home in suburban St. Louis. He was 102.

Amadee Wohlschlaeger

Amadee Wohlschlaeger

The name may not be familiar to you, but ask your parents or grandparents, or even great-grandparents. Wohlschlaeger was among the last sports cartoonists from when hand-inked illustrations of athletes appeared in the newspaper more frequently than photos. He drew for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and also The Sporting News when it was called “The Bible of Baseball” and produced in St. Louis. He frequently won national recognition for his work.

In all, he spent more than 70 years with an ink pen in his hand.

A part of his cartooning legacy persists today in the Weatherbird, a small, pithy cartoon accompanying the daily weather forecast on the Post-Dispatch’s front page. The Weatherbird, which first appeared in 1901, is the oldest continuous cartoon in the United States. Wohlschlaeger drew it from 1932 to 1981. Much of that time he drew different birds for each edition of the newspaper, and there were four or five editions a day.

Because he spelled his own name wrong once in an illustration, Wohlschlaeger switched to signing his work “Amadee” and people called him by that name thereafter.

Current Weatherbird artist Dan Martin told the Post-Dispatch, “Anybody who knew him would agree that he was a larger-than-life personality.”

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Five Region 7 honorees are among national MOE recipients

Missouri had three honorees and the states of Iowa and Nebraska had one each to represent Region 7 in the Society of Professional Journalists’ 2013 national Mark of Excellence Awards, which were announced Tuesday.

2013 Mark of Excellence AwardsAllison Pohle of the University of Missouri-Columbia was a finalist in the feature-writing category among large schools for her work, “Kirkwood Father Tries to Find Meaning in Daughter’s Death;” the staff of VoxMagazine.com at the Missouri School of Journalism was a finalist in the online feature reporting category for “Matters of Faith;” and Vox Magazine’s iPad app was chosen best digital-only student publication.

Suhaib Tawil of Iowa State University was a finalist in the general news photography category among large schools for “ROTC Training During Spring 2013.”

Jenna Jaynes of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was a finalist in television feature reporting for “Nebraska’s First Male Color Guard Member Lives His Dream.”

The national awards recognize exceptional collegiate journalism in all 12 of SPJ’s regions over the previous calendar year and are chosen from among the top regional winners. This time, instead of first-, second-, and third-place awards, SPJ named winners and finalists for each category.

If judges determined that no entries were excellent by SPJ’s standards, a category was left blank. All judges have at least three years’ worth of professional experience in their respective fields and are not permitted to review entries from their own regions.

School divisions were based on cumulative undergraduate and graduate enrollment, with large schools having a minimum of 10,000 registered students. For some categories, school size was not a factor.

The winners in each category will be recognized at the Excellence in Journalism 2014 conference in Nashville, Tennessee, Sept. 4-6. A full list of MOE Award recipients appears in an SPJ news release.

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Convergence is the word at Region 7 conference

 

Convergence journalists at JCCC

Student backpack journalists at JCCC prepare to cover the day’s events at the Region 7 Spring Conference.

For three years, Johnson County Community College asked to host the Society of Professional Journalists’ Region 7 Spring Conference, and when the moment arrived the 20,000-student campus in Overland Park, Kansas, delivered a grand performance.

JCCC is among the leading higher education institutions in the region on convergence journalism. The school placed its print, TV, and radio journalism components under one roof in 2012, and has used the word “convergence” in almost every discussion about media since. Consequently, convergence dominated the day.

Among the highlights, co-organizer Molly Baumgardner, JCCC’s journalism coordinator, started off with a presentation on good taste in journalism, explaining how the Seven Deadly Sins can kill a career before it starts. Sara Smith of The Kansas City Star reinforced the need for the three R’s — research, research, and more research — in writing entertainment reviews. And Maj. Bill Hisle of the Shawnee (Kan.) Police Department revealed the secret to dealing with public information officers.

Johnson County Community College is just a few blocks from the site of the 2011 Region 7 Spring Conference in Overland Park, Kansas.

Johnson County Community College is just a few blocks from the site of the 2011 Region 7 Spring Conference in Overland Park, Kansas. (David Sheets)

Other presenters included Mary Schulte, a photo editor at The Star, and Susan McSpadden, chief photographer for JCCC’s media relations department, explaining how wordsmiths can acquire the wisdom to become visual storytellers; and former Wichita Star reporters Dan Close and Laura Kelly recounting how the BTK serial killings changed their lives and their approach to journalism.

Maria Antonia, communications director for the Kansas City-based Bishop Sullivan Center and before that a veteran TV reporter and anchor in Kansas City, gave the keynote address ahead of the Mark of Excellence Awards banquet, which was catered by JCCC culinary arts students.

JCCC backpack journalists rushed from one event to the next to cover the conference for class projects. Their reports were posted by day’s end on YouTube.

The 2015 Region 7 Spring Conference is tentatively scheduled for Omaha, Nebraska, next spring.

 

 

 

 

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Region 7 early registration ends today

Region 7 ConferenceToday is the last day for early registration to the Society of Professional Journalists’ Region 7 Spring Conference, scheduled for April 25-26 at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kan.

The student registration rate is $50 through today, while the SPJ member rate is $75 and the non-member rate is $100. After today, the rates go up to $75, $100 and $125, respectively.

Another early bird discount applies to the conference hotel, the DoubleTree by Hilton at 10100 College Boulevard in Overland Park. Room rates are $89 until April 10, when they go up to $149. (Mention the Region 7 conference when making reservations.)

SPJ’s regional conferences offer the chance for Society members and prospective members to meet, greet, and share ideas. They close the gaps in distance between chapters, for at least one weekend, and foster a greater sense of community.

The conference starts with a get-together Friday evening at Hayward’s Pit Bar B Que, a Kansas City culinary landmark, at 11051 Antioch Road. Dinner will be covered in the registration fee, but bar drinks are separate.

Saturday’s sessions include advice and instruction on basic photojournalism, basic audio editing, job-searching, ethics, TV news coverage, and tips on dealing with public information officers.

So, register today, and save yourself some money.

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Media merger creates new St. Louis news source

St. Louis Public Radio, St. Louis BeaconWith the merger of St. Louis Public Radio and the St. Louis Beacon comes an all-digital nonprofit news-gathering organization expected to do more than draw a new face on both operations.

The merger became official when the University of Missouri Board of Curators endorsed it Friday. Both sides began exploring the possibility with a letter of intent signed in October 2012.

UM owns and operates St. Louis Public Radio (KWMU, 90.7 FM) as well as three other National Public Radio outlets, in Columbia, Kansas City and Rolla. KWMU has been on the air since 1972.

The Beacon, an online newspaper and community engagement site, launched in spring 2008 with the backing of several former reporters and editors from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who had left after the newspaper was purchased by Lee Enterprises from Pulitzer Inc., in 2005.

No name was announced, but a distinct brand on the combined effort is expected to appear in some form starting Dec. 10. For now, the online portal will resemble St. Louis Public Radio’s existing site, said Tim Eby, general manager of the station and head of the new operation. Margaret Wolf Frievogel, Beacon editor and co-founder, will oversee the newsroom.

“Many details remain a work in progress,” Frievogel said in a statement on the Beacon’s website. “But our purpose and principles are clear — to provide the solid reporting and thoughtful discussion St. Louisans need to understand the problems and opportunities we face. Our region is reinventing itself. So are we.”

Expect academia to play a prominent role in the reinvention, says Wayne Goode, chairman of the Board of Curators.

“By combining these operations with (the University of Missouri-St. Louis) College of Fine Arts and Communication and (the University of Missouri at Columbia) School of Journalism, we will maximize the research and academic potential of our journalism and communications disciplines,” Goode said in a news release.

The new venture’s staffing amounts to about 60, including 26 journalists. They will all be University of Missouri employees.

By joining the merger, the Beacon escapes a rough patch. Both the Beacon and the radio station relied chiefly on grants and donations, as will the combined operation. But in 2011, one of the Beacon’s principal donors, the Danforth Foundation, shut down after 84 years.

That year, the foundation gave the Beacon about $1.25 million.

Although the merger constituted a long journey, it ends with a short trip of a few yards. The Beacon’s staff and resources relocate to St. Louis Public Radio’s facilities from the building next door, The Nine Network (KETC, Channel 9), where the Beacon has resided nearly six years.

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Jayson Blair’s story is told again in a new documentary

A Fragile TrustWhen reporter Jayson Blair was exposed as a serial plagiarist in 2003, his employer, The New York Times, regarded the admission as “a low point in the 152-year history of the newspaper.”

The resulting crisis in confidence cast a long shadow over not just the Times, but also over all of newspaper journalism and the efficacy of affirmative action hiring.

Blair’s case and its impact re-enter the spotlight this weekend in the documentary “A Fragile Trust: Plagiarism, Power and Jayson Blair at the New York Times,” a featured presentation at the Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival on Saturday at the Landmark Plaza Frontenac cinema.

“A Fragile Trust” examines Blair’s case and the course he charted through journalism, which included attacks on his integrity going back to his college days, and the spectacle of his undoing in media nationwide. Woven through the narrative are tales of deception, drug abuse, mental illness, racism, and power struggles at the Times.

The documentary will be shown at 1:30 p.m. Among those interviewed are Blair and St. Louis-native Gerald Boyd, former Times managing editor, who with executive editor Howell Raines resigned in the wake of the Blair revelations. Film director Samantha Grant will answer questions from the audience after the showing.

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Gateway Journalism Review needs your help

Gateway Journalism Review logoMedia criticism is alive and well in the Midwest ― but it needs your help.

The Gateway Journalism Review, published continuously in magazine form since 1970, analyzes media behavior across a 16-state region, from Ohio to Oklahoma, from Arkansas to North Dakota.

It appears four times annually in print, as well as on a regularly updated website.

It is one of just three journalism reviews in the country, apart from the Columbia Journalism Review in New York and the American Journalism Review in the Washington, D.C., area.

And GJR depends on contributions for its content.

“GJR is a publication whose readers tend to be a mix of media professionals, academics, students and the general public,” explained the editor, Bill Babcock. “The style of all items is professional in nature rather than academic/footnoted.”

That means contributions should be:

  • Media-focused on topics involving journalism, new media, advertising, public relations and broadcast, among others.
  • Critically analytical in nature, rather than first-person or opinionated in nature.

Content is contemporary, too. Recent articles posted online involved reporter access, civil drones, and a debate over impartiality in the Edward Snowden case.

But monitoring the media over a 16-state area requires a wide network of writers attuned to media behavior in their regions, and so GJR seeks contributors who can help extend its reach and awareness beyond the St. Louis area, where the publication was founded.

Babcock says anyone interested in writing for GJR is invited to contact him at 618-453-3262, or by email at gatewayjr@siu.edu. The deadline for the next print edition is Dec. 5.

 

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Newest Posts

SPJ membership numbers September 16, 2014, 12:05 am
Region 7 Career Connection, Vol. 1 September 15, 2014, 8:35 pm
Last week’s highlights September 15, 2014, 8:22 pm
OU hosts ‘Tinker Tour’ September 15, 2014, 5:52 pm
What can Instagram’s new app do for journalism? September 12, 2014, 8:00 pm
SPJ Int’l connections? September 11, 2014, 9:21 pm
Following in the footsteps of giants September 11, 2014, 4:08 pm

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