By Holly Edgell | June 7th, 2010
I spent the weekend in a Kansas City state of mind. First, because of the wonderful evening at the Heart of America Awards Banquet Saturday, June 5. Second, because the Kansas City Press Club has agreed to host the 2011 Region 7 Spring Conference.
If the annual awards banquet is any indication of this SPJ chapter’s organizational abilities (and I suspect it is) we are all in for a pretty swell regional gathering next year. Stay tuned for details on that.
So, back to the awards banquet. Here is a link to the banquet page, which includes photos and complete list of winners. The list of winners includes comments from the judges (from Regions 2 and 5).
I was pleased as punch to act as MC for the evening. Here are my remarks:
Good evening and welcome to the Kansas City Press Club Heart of America Awards. It’s wonderful to see so many of you here tonight, to enjoy the fellowship, accept awards and honor the outstanding work of your colleagues.
I’d like to begin by asking the members of the Kansas City Press Club board of directors to stand so we can applaud you for your outstanding work supporting the mission of the Society of Professional Journalists in both KCK and KCMO.
This chapter began right here at the Hotel Muehlebach on July 8, 1947. The chapter’s officers were installed, the charter was presented, four new members were initiated and The Kansas City Star received the national Sigma Delta Chi Award for Courage in Journalism. To quote the organization’s Quill magazine:
“The SDX award was made to the Star for that paper’s sensational vote fraud exposures in the 1946 primary election. In accepting the award, Roy A. Roberts, president of the Star, paid tribute to the loyalty and devotion of his staff, giving particular credit for the stories that formed the basis of the fraternity honor to Ira M. McCarty and John P. Swift, reporters.”
So as you can see, the Kansas City Press Club made an impact from the very beginning. With that in mind, I think it’s worth reminding ourselves just what the Society of Professional Journalists exists for, so here goes:
— To promote the free flow of information.
— To maintain constant vigilance in protection of the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and of the press.
— To stimulate high standards and ethical behavior in the practice of journalism.
— To foster excellence among journalists.
— To inspire successive generations of talented individuals to become dedicated journalists.
— To encourage diversity in journalism.
— To be the pre-eminent, broad-based membership organization for journalists.
— And To encourage a climate in which journalism can be practiced freely
I’ve been attending this awards banquet for a few years now. As a national board member of SPJ – it makes me really proud that Region 7 has such a special way to gather and recognize journalists in Kansas and Missouri. Congratulations Kansas City Press Club, on this great program. It all started in 1987, specifically to honor journalists working in communities between US 81 in Kansas and Highway 63 in Missouri, truly the heart of America.
As we emerge from this recession, I think it’s more important than ever that we honor and celebrate hardworking journalists –after all no one else is going to right?
These men and women keep information flowing to the public, seek the truth and report it, and are working harder than ever to adapt to new ways of delivering the news, in a profession, in an industry that is evolving before our very eyes. While it may be true that journalism is more challenging and fast-paced than ever before, it’s also true that journalism is more exciting and has greater opportunities than ever before.
In this regard the chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists – chapters like the Kansas City Press Club – are on the front lines. If you already are a member of SPJ, I congratulate you. If you are not a member, I encourage you to invest $72 a year in yourself, in your career and get involved with your nearest chapter.
With about 8,000 members SPJ is the leading group for journalists. While local chapters form the backbone of the organization, on a national level, SPJ stands ready to support journalists at all levels of their careers.
If you have not already done so, I encourage you to visit the newly revamped SPJ.org – where you can find career resources, training, regional and committee blogs, the diversity tool kit, support for journalists facing ethical and legal challenges, and much more.
And, please consider joining SPJ for this year’s national convention and conference in Las Vegas, Oct. 3-5. We’ve done the math, comparing what you get for your money (at our conference compared to others, and it’s really the best deal in the business. You can find more information about the conference at spj.org – just click on the convention tab.
We almost ready to get started! Just a couple more things…
I am so excited to announce that the Kansas City Press Club will be hosting the 2011 Region 7 Spring Conference in 2011. It’s a great way for journalists in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska to meet, network and learn. I am looking forward to helping the chapter lay the groundwork for this event. By the way, you can keep up with the planning and other regional information via our SPJ Region 7 Facebook page AND the Region 7 blog “The Heartland Beat.”
At a time when social media is really taking off we were going to try something different this year – allowing winners to make acceptance speeches – as long as they could keep their remarks to 140 characters or less. We decided that was a lot to ask of journalists, so no acceptance speeches tonight. You CAN go ahead and Tweet your acceptance speech, with the hash tag “IHEARTKC”
Without further ado, here is your president Steve Kaut.