Around the Web: Highlights of SPJ activities

Like many in SPJ, I have Google Alerts set to deliver links to any stories that mention the Society of Professional Journalists. Here are a few of the more interesting items I’ve come across lately.

First, kudos to the Hofstra chapter of SPJ for hosting a very timely program called “Journalists and Police: Why can’t we just get along?”

Here’s a link to a story and video on the program in the Long Island Report.

I liked the fact that the program provoked discussion between journalists and a representative of a local law enforcement agency.

In light of the recent series of arrests and detention of journalists covering “Occupy” demonstrations, I believe this kind of dialog will be helpful to preventing such incidents going forward.

I also found this New York Times column by Michael Powell. What was especially troubling was the detail on how New York City police used press credentials to cull reporters and photographers from the crowd, removing them to a distance where they could not see what was happening.

A tip of the fedora also to the Middle Tennessee SPJ chapter, for being part of a successful effort to obtain release of court files and help shine a light on an interesting case that had called attention to international adoptions. The Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press has more on the story.

I find there’s a lot to be thankful for in the efforts that individual SPJ chapters are engaged in.

I’m also thankful for some recent good news. For the first time in a long while, our membership numbers are running ahead of last year’s totals.

It’s too soon to call this a trend, but it’s not too soon to do something about it.

Next week, Membership Chairwoman Holly Edgell is organizing an effort to call lapsed members and try to get them to renew. A similar effort proved helpful last year. We call it the Calling Corps.

Holly could always use a few extra volunteers who would be willing to make about five phone calls in this effort. If you would like to help, please contact Holly this week at dateline.belize@gmail.com.

You’ll be making a difference by helping SPJ stay strong so we can continue in the kinds of efforts I’ve highlighted here.

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It was with sadness that I read about the recent death of Robert Estabrook, who joined SPJ in May 1939.

Mr. Estabrook was a former publisher and editor of the Lakeville Journal in Connecticut and a former Washington Post editorial page editor. In 2008, he became part of the Connecticut SPJ Hall of Fame.

Here is a link to a story on the chapter website about his remarkable life and career.

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