By John Ensslin | December 3rd, 2008
Our first-ever regional journalism contest is off to a good start with entries submitted by newspapers and journalists in Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.
For those of us in Colorado, it was particularly pleasing to see entries from papers that had not taken part in the contest in recent years. Apparently, lowering the entry fee plus providing more robust competition persuaded people to enter, lousy newspaper economics not withstanding.
I was also happy to see entries from television stations in several new online categories. As print and broadcast journalism converges on the web, this seems like a natural progress. Watch for more broadcast categories next year when we roll our Top of the Rockies version 2.0.
Our thanks go to a group of volunteers who spend several hours on a sunny Saturday sorting and packing entries so that they can be judged by SPJ chapters from outside the region.
These folks include: Cynthia Hessin, Noelle Leavitt, Cara DeGette, Jim Anderson, Christine McManus, Tonya Ishikawa, Jenny Ivy, Denise Ensslin and Gary Herndon.
In addition to the traditional contest entries, Top of the Rockies also features some special individual awards. Nominations are currently being accepted for the following honors:
Keeper of the Flame Award
For extraordinary dedication to ethical, responsible journalism and professional integrity
First Amendment Award
In recognition of strong and continuing efforts to preserve and strengthen freedom of the press and the First Amendment to the Constitution
Palmer Hoyt Journalist of the Year Award
In recognition of sustained and significant contributions to a print or broadcast organization during 2008.
Journalism Educator of the Year Award
In recognition of accomplishments in training students, in research or in service to the profession.
Rookie of the Year
For first-year journalists, working either as interns or full-time, for outstanding work done in their first year on the job.
If you know of someone in Region 9 who seems worthy of one of these honors, please e-mail our contest Chair Cynthia Hessin at firstname.lastname@example.org by Jan. 1.
We have lined up a special keynote speaker for the Top of the Rockies Awards program at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26 at the Denver Newspaper Agency at 101 West Colfax Avenue in Denver.
Richard Tofel is general manager of ProPublica, a web-based nonprofit that does investigative reporting in the public interest. Tofel, a former editor at the Wall Street Journal, will discuss his new book, Restless Genius – Barney Kilgore, the Wall Street Journal and the Invention of Modern Journalism.
Tofel’s talk is part of the Helen Verba Lecture Series, which is co-sponsored by The Denver Post.
Region 9 Volunteers of the Month
This month’s honor goes to two members of the Colorado SPJ board for their efforts in making Top of the Rockies a success.
Holly Wolcott did a great job of reaching out to journalists, newspapers and television stations in the region to let them know of our contest. Cynthia Hessin did her usual fine work of processing the entries.
Each will receive a Sigma Delta Chi lapel pin and our thanks.
Save the date
It’s official. The Region 9 Spring Conference will be held in Salt Lake City on April 3-4. Watch for more details about speakers and programs in the weeks ahead.
Citizen Journalism Academy
Colorado SPJ will host the next Citizen Journalism Academy at the Denver Newspaper Agency Building on Saturday, May 9.
This half-day seminar is aimed at teaching journalism values to private citizens who have started covering their own communities online. Similar academies have been held in Chicago, Greensboro and Los Angeles.
SPJ believes the world benefits from more news coverage, not less. Through its Citizen Journalism Academy, SPJ seeks to help everyone wanting to practice journalism to do so accurately, ethically and fairly.
The Society aims to help participants understand how responsible practices could increase their reach and help them have strong journalistic reputations within their communities and around the world.