Eastern Kentucky University combines class and club

Screenshot 2014-01-29 15.02.21 Screenshot 2014-01-29 15.01.44

Eastern Kentucky University used time in its Media Ethics class to revise the Code of Ethics. The leaders of the SPJ chapter at the school guided the discussion while the class participated. The group came up with these journalism fails. To see what they changed in the code, check here.

To host this event at your school, use the information and starter guides in this post.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit

UMD concentrates on social media in revised Code of Ethics

How should journalists handle sources on social media, especially during breaking news? Should a journalist verify a social media account or have to speak directly with the user before posting information from accounts? Is it OK to post your political views on Facebook?

These are just some of the issues students at University of Maryland’s SPJ chapter debated during their Ethics session.

The meeting, which had about 20 attendees, opened with a guest speaker from the UMD journalism school who specialized in ethics.

“She talked a lot about social media ethics for journalists and we were able to incorporate a lot of what she told us into our discussion and revision,” said Secretary Katie Wilhelm.

The chapter decided that yes, the Code of Ethics needs to be changed. They made several additions, which you can see here.

“I definitely think it should be changed,” Wilhelm said. “A lot has changed since the last time it was revised in 1996, especially with social media. The Ethics Code doesn’t address that and it should.”

This group is also in the running for SPJ Region 3 Director Michael Koretzky’s $100 prize.

To host this event at your school, read this post which has all the details.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit

SPJ Code of Ethics changes: Let your voice be heard

The Society of Professional Journalists is in a year of transition. The board, including student representatives Lindsey and Michael, is discussing changing the name and changing the Code of Ethics. Since the last revision of the code was in 1996, we can expect to be with the next version of the code for a while, long into the careers of journalists who are in college now. So, contribute your voice and let SPJ know how you think the code should be changed.

We want to make sure student voices are heard. We’re asking all SPJ student chapters to put on an event with your members to brainstorm changes. Then, you’ll send those changes to us and we’ll include them on this blog for everyone to see.

I’ve created a guide for hosting your event. The guide allows your group to brainstorm problems with modern journalism and use those problems to create changes in the Code of Ethics.

As the leader of University of Georgia’s ONA/SPJ group, I hosted the event with our students. The results were an updated Code of Ethics and a comprehensive list of journalism fails. For example, we included gender identifications in our revisions because of articles like this.

Questions? Email lindzcook@gmail.com.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Students fighting public records blocks

It seems like just yesterday we were writing about the issues at Red and Black and FAMU, but here we go again. In SPJ’s Region 3, student journalists are fighting long, tedious battles against agencies trying to – illegally – block public records requests.

Florida Atlantic University’s Dylan Bouscher and Georgia Perimeter College’s David Schick have spent months trying to obtain obviously public records as they investigate campus crime and budget shortfalls, respectively. Yet the institutions they petitioned have responded with demands for huge amounts of money or simply stalled.

The full stories of these efforts are on the Region 3 blog, Southern Drawl. You can read about them here.

Let’s rally behind them, fellow student journalists.  They’re not alone in this fight.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Fight censorship – and poor grammar – all at once!

Want to save journalism one typo at a time?

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University’s newly independent student news outlet needs help copy editing.

After FAMU’s journalism school shut down the campus newspaper, student editors launched an unofficial news site, Ink and Fangs. Now they need help proofing copy.

SPJ and Region 3 director Michael Koretzky are giving volunteers free registration to MediAtlanta, a First Amendment Free Food Festival T-shirt and a resume critique by Mr. Koretzky himself, a hiring editor at a chain of city magazines.

To quote the Region 3 blog, you’ll also receive, “of course, lots of good karma.”

Check out SPJ Region 3’s Southern Drawl blog to apply.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit

SPJ’s 2012 Student Opportunities

The Society of Professional Journalists offers multiple career development opportunities each year for its valued student members. Here are a few of those opportunities with approaching deadlines.



SPJ annually awards two Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information Internships. One intern works in the offices of the Society’s First Amendment legal counsel in Washington, D.C. The other intern works at the Society’s National Headquarters in Indianapolis.

The interns research and write about freedom of information issues while assisting the Society’s Freedom of Information Committee and First Amendment legal counsel in preparing SPJ’s annual Freedom of Information Report. Other responsibilities may include working on the SPJ Web site and assisting with SPJ programs and initiatives.

Interns receive a stipend of $400 per week and work during a mutually agreeable 10-week period during the summer. Recipients are notified in February and should arrange to start their internships in late May or early June.




Essay Topic: ““Why is it important that we have news media that are independent of the government?”

SPJ wants to increase high school students’ knowledge and understanding of the importance of independent media to our lives. National winners of this essay contest receive scholarship awards.

The contest is open to all students enrolled in grades 9-12 in U.S. public, private and home schools. Students must submit original work and have a sponsoring teacher sign the contest entry form.

The essay should be 300-500 words and must include an entry form. Entries may be typed or  handwritten but must be double-spaced. Send all entries to the participating chapter in your state.

You can download the entry form and read the contest rules here: http://www.spj.org/a-hs.asp




For SPJ student and professional chapters to be successful, they must do the right thing in the right way.

The Ted Scripps Leadership Institute helps participants learn how to do just that by offering a mix of sessions focused on interpersonal and organizational leadership skills, as well as sound chapter management practices. The program was established in 1996 and is funded through a generous grant from the Scripps Howard Foundation.

The program is open to those who will be serving as chapter president during the 2012-2013 school year. This is an invitation-only program. Applications will be reviewed and invitations will be extended to no more than 50 participants. A submitted application does not guarantee an invitation for this program. All applications must be submitted using the online application form.

Participants’ travel, lodging, and meal costs are provided. Incidentals and spending money are the responsibility of the participant.

Each selected participant will be required to make an investment of $100 in their training upon acceptance into the program. If you are accepted into the program, you must participate in all training sessions/activities held during the Institute.

Here is a detailed program schedule: http://www.spj.org/scrippslt-schedule.asp

For more information about participating in this program, contact Heather Dunn at 317/927-8000 ext. 204 or via e-mail.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Mark of Excellence Awards Deadline Approaching

As you spent the first week of 2012 writing your New Year’s resolutions, what did you include on your list?  Hit the gym? Eat healthy? Quit procrastinating? Well, surely you’ve remembered to add this: Become an award-winning journalist. If not, you’ve got just a few more weeks to add it to your list!

Each year the Society of Professional Journalists presents the Mark of Excellence Awards, which honors the best in student journalism. The awards offer categories for print, radio, television and online collegiate journalism. This year’s deadline is on January 25, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Time).

The contest is open to anyone enrolled in a college or university in the U.S. studying for an academic degree in 2011. The entrant must have been enrolled as a student at the time of publication or broadcast. Students who have had full-time, professional journalism experience, outside of internships, are not eligible. Entries must have been published or broadcast during 2011.

Entries are first judged on the regional level. First place regional winners advance to the national competition and are recognized at SPJ spring conferences. National winners will be showcased on spj.org.

Ready to apply? Make sure you read the Mark of Excellence rules before submitting your entry!

What should a winning entry look like? Review the work of the 2010 National MOE Winners and Finalists: http://www.spj.org/moe10.asp

Frequently Asked Questions: http://awards.spj.org/frequently-asked-questions.aspx

Got a question that’s not included above? Contact SPJ at 317/927-8000 or e-mail awards@spj.org.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit

SPJ Chapter Records Musical Minutes

When Columbia University’s SPJ chapter records its meeting minutes, it literally records them. In the short entertaining videos, chapter leaders sing about key items discussed at their meetings.

The chapter has been recording these musical minutes for three months. It all started with this one:

They’ve now made a total of 12 videos with wide-ranging themes — Halloween minutes, Thanksgiving minutes,  and even SPJ workout! minutes

And just in time for the holidays…

Want to see more? Check out the Columbia J-School SPJ chapter’s Vimeo page.

SPJ’s Region 3 Director Michael Koretzky recently interviewed Columbia SPJ’s chapter leaders about the minutes. Read the Q&A interview here.

We hope this SPJ chapter has inspired you to think creatively when operating your campus chapter. If you’re already doing something creative, we want to hear about it! E-mail tmirfendereski@spj.org with details.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Excellence in Journalism 2011

As a long-time student member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), nothing excites me more than a joint convention between two of the largest journalism organizations. On September 25-27, 2011 in New Orleans, LA, student SPJ members will have the opportunity to build twice as many connections, choose between a diverse range of workshops and sessions, and have twice as much fun!

I hope you join me for what is sure to be a memorable end to your September and a great start to your school year. Be sure to register by August 31, 2011 to get the cheapest rate! Check out the convention website for more information or read below.


1.) Resume, Video, and Writing Critiques: Bring your resume and/or work samples to receive helpful tips that will help you land a job and improve your journalistic skills.

2.) Pre-Conference Workshops: SPJ and RTDNA are offering a handful of half-day and all-day Pre-Conference Workshops on Sunday, Sept 25. The workshops include video storytelling bootcamp, great bosses bootcamp, business journalism, backpack journalism, and mobile tools for journalists. Read more about each pre-conference workshop and register here.

3.) The Student Union: On Monday Sept. 26 from 1-2:30 p.m., SPJ will host a free event focused on student networking. At the event, the McCormick Foundation will present awards to national honors to collegiate winners of its Freedom of Speech PSA contest, the National Mark of Excellence Award first-place winners will be recognized, SPJ will present awards to national honors recipients, and students will have the opportunity to mix and mingle with other student journalists from across the country. This is the perfect opportunity to forge relationships with other SPJ students and  learn from collegiate award-winners about how they produced award-winning work.

4.) Featured Speakers: Learn and hear from  some of the best in the business! Convention speakers include Andy Carvin (NPR), Al Tompkins (The Poynter Institute), Victor Hernandez (CNN), Vadim Lavrusik (Facebook), Jan Schaffer (J-Lab), Lara Salah (ABC News), Victoria LIm (Bright House Sports Network), Steve Berkowitz (USA Today), Paula Lavigne (ESPN), Todd Petr (NCAA), Lane DeGregory (St. Petersburg Times), Boyt Huppert (KARE-TV),  Hill Geisler (The Poynter Institute), Kevin Sites (NBC, CNN, Yahoo!’s Hot Zone), and more! Visit the conference website for the complete list and for biographical information.

5.) Breakout Sessions: Topics include: j-school in the New Media World, Mobile Journalism: The Revolution of Capturing News Media, Ten Things Great Bosses Know, Creating Multiplatform Stories, Social Media Ethics: Making It Work for You, What Journalists Can Learn From Radio Peeps, Google 101 for Journalists, Records of Disaster, Cool Free Tools for Online Journalism, More Than 140 Characters, Follow the Money: College Sports in America, Just Who Do You Think You Are? Launch Your Personal Brand, Facebook and Journalism, 20 Tips Your Editor Won’t Tell You, The 10 Commandments of Video, and more! See the complete list here.


If you’re anything like me, being a college student means that money is tight! Register for the convention before August 31, 2011 to save yourself some money. You can register online.


1.) The official conference hotel is the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel. Call 1-888-627-7033 to make a reservation and be sure to mention “SPJ/RTDNA 2011” to receive the special rates. The cut-off date for special convention hotel rates is Sept. 4, 2011. Visit the convention website for pricing information.

2.) Ground Transportation: The Sheraton New Orleans Hotel does not provide ground transportation to and from airports. Visit the convention website for a list of transportation options available to you.

3.) Parking and Driving Directions: Visit the convention website for parking rates and driving directions.

4.) If you’re trying to save yourself some money, consider sharing a room with others from your school or with other SPJ students around the country!

Can’t wait to meet you at Excellence in Journalism 2011 in New Orleans. Be sure to say hello!

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit

20 Toolkits for Journalists

Got some extra time to learn a new skill or two during your remaining few weeks of summer vacation? You’re in luck!

We’ve compiled a list of twenty of the best online resources for journalists. The following links are ranked in no particular order, so be sure to give equal weight and attention to each website. Enjoy!

1.) The Journalist’s Toolbox: www.journaliststoolbox.org

This journalism toolbox is presented by SPJ. The website is a compilation of hundreds of useful links for journalists and is updated frequently. Topics include (but are not limited to) global journalism, college media, high school journalism, fact checking resources, mobile journalism, state and local government, school violence, religion, and Twitter resources.

2.) Journalist’s Resource: www.journalistsresource.org

This website contains information on core journalism skills (AP Style, Interviewing, Math for Journalists,etc), links to online tutorials, and policy studies about a variety of subjects pertaining to the environment, economics, society and government.

3.) Media Bistrowww.mediabistro.com

Media Bistro is the home of many media related blogs such as  TVNewser, TVSpy, MediaJobsDaily and 10,000 Words. The website contains a variety of how to videos with a diverse range of topics. Videos include but are not limited to “How to Build an Online Portfolio,” “How to Write a Cover Letter,” “LinkedIn for Journalists” “Using YouTube Effectively,” and “How To Write a Resume.” The website also offers resources for freelancers and people searching for media-related jobs.

4.) Society of Professional Journalistswww.spj.org

SPJ’s website includes on-demand training videos for members and a variety of other useful tools and guides about topics like freedom of information, diversity, and ethics.

5.) Mashable: www.mashable.com

Mashable is an independent news source dedicated to covering digital culture, social media, and technology. This website is useful to journalists, as it keeps up with the latest trends in technology and the media.

6.) Cyber Journalist: www.cyberjournalist.net

This news and resource website focuses on how digital technology is transforming the media. The site contains a variety of articles about the future of media, innovation and social media. It also includes a gallery of great journalistic work and a few tips & tools for journalists.

7.) Digital News Journalist: digitalnewsjournalist.com

Digital News Journalist is a service of the CUNY Graduated School of Journalism dedicated to providing students and professionals with tips, tools and resources crucial to producing leading-edge multimedia journalism. The website contains articles about miscellaneous journalism & technology related topics and also includes a guide to “Twitter for Journalists.”

8.) Investigative Reporters and Editorswww.ire.org

This website is useful for journalists utilize computer assisted reporting. The IRE Resource center is a major research library containing more than 23,250 investigative stories and more than 3,000 tip sheets on how to cover specific beats or do specific stories. The website also contains a comprehensive database library  with spreadsheets relating top topics like business, elections, public safety, transportation, and health. These records can be very useful to you when producing an investigative piece or searching for the perfect story.

9.) Poynter Institute: www.poynter.org

The Poynter Institute is a school dedicated to teaching and inspiring journalists and media leaders. Seminars and training sessions conducted by the institute are not free, but the website does contains some valuable information and perspective that is free of charge, including news and blogs about the industry and a small “how to” section on the website.

10.) Knight Digital Media Center (Tutorials): http://multimedia.journalism.berkeley.edu/tutorials

This tutorial website is one of the best around! It contains tutorials about both core concepts and skills. The interface is easily accessible and the descriptions in the tutorials are accompanied by photos.

11.) Nieman Journalism Lab: www.niemanlab.org

The Neiman Journalism Lab is a project of the Neiman Foundation at Harvard University. The website contains articles about the future of journalism in an Internet age.

12.) Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press Open Government: http://rcfp.org/ogg

The Open Government Guide is a complete compendium of information on every state’s open records and open meetings laws. Each state’s section is arranged according to a standard outline, making it easy to compare laws in various states. If you’re a new user of this guide, be sure to read the Introductory Note and User’s Guide.

13.) Student Press Law Center: www.splc.org

An excellent resource for learning your rights as a journalist. The website has many handouts and presentations about topics like libel and privacy, the First Amendment, censorship, and shield laws. If you need guidance writing a letter requesting public records, check out SPLC’s FOI letter generator!

14.) Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism: www.journalism.org

This is a great website for keeping up with the latest news in the media industry. It also contains several data sets under the “Numbers” tab, a list of tools for journalists, and a list of ethic codes from multiple journalism organizations.

15.) National Freedom of Information Coalition: www.nfoic.org

NFOIC strives to ensure everyone’s right to information. The website includes information about state and federal FOI laws and also contains resources for both levels.

16.) 10,000 Words: www.mediabistro.com/10000words

10,000 Words is a blog owned by Media Bistro. The blog specifically focuses on journalism and technology. The website is divided into a “Writing” section, a “Blogging” section,  a “Videos” section, a “Photos” section, a “Social Media” section, and a “Jobs” section.

17.) J-Lab: www.j-lab.org

J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism intends to help journalists and citizens use digital technologies to develop new ways for people to participate in public life through the media. While this website does not contain many tangible resources for journalists, it includes some interesting articles about innovation in the field.

18.) Will Sullivan’s and Reynolds Journalism Center’s Mobile Journalism Reporting Tools Guide: http://www.rjionline.org/news/mobile-journalism-reporting-tools-guide

This website contains mobile journalism reporting tools. It includes lists of audio editing apps, file transmission apps, live streaming apps, micro-reporting apps, photo editing apps, video editing apps, note-taking apps, and more.

19.) NewsLab: http://www.newslab.org

NewsLab is an online resource and training center for journalists in all media that has one simple goal: to help journalists do better work by building their skills and broadening their thinking. The website offers offers storytelling strategies, tip sheets, and other tools for journalists.

20.) The Maynard Institute: http://mije.org

The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (MIJE) helps the nation’s news media reflect America’s diversity in staffing, content and business operations. Through its professional development programs, the institute prepares managers for careers in both business — and news — sides of the journalism industry.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit


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