Good News, SPJ-style

John Krasinski isn’t the only one with Some Good News.

SPJ’s got some, too, and I couldn’t be happier to share it.

First up: A new director of education. The SPJ Foundation on Saturday voted to fund the position for the first year, as SPJ builds out its digital offerings. In bringing back this position, we’ll be able to identify, create and deliver more training and education to help journalists, journalism students and journalism educators do their jobs. We’ll also be able to resume more training and education for SPJers, especially those in or seeking leadership positions.

As envisioned, the director of education will deliver digital (and, eventually, again, in-person) programming for several audiences: college students, early-career journalists, college faculty and media advisers, independent publishers, freelancers and mid- and late-career journalists.

He or she might, for instance, produce forums on journalism news of the moment. Or TED-style talks featuring thought-leaders in journalism. Or high-impact lessons ready for the classroom.

SPJ already swims in these waters, of course. We train multitudes each year through our  Facebook and Google programs. We’ve beefed up our Journalism Education Committee’s #Press4Education program, with great video support. (Thanks, Kym Fox and Gary Boyer!) In a normal year – think, pre-COVID-19 – education and training is a key takeaway from our local, regional and national conferences and other meetings. And the front page of is chock full of great tools for journalists covering or otherwise impacted by the pandemic.

So our new director of education will have a strong foundation from which to build new digital depth for SPJ.

Executive Director John Shertzer is working on the job ad now, which we’ll soon share widely.

Thanks, by the way, to John for crafting the proposal; to President-Elect Matt Hall and members of the SPJ Strategic Planning Task Force, for providing valuable input; and to our friends on the Foundation board for backing the idea. Special thanks to Board Member Mike Reilley, an early advocate for this addition to the staff, for contributing key insights.

Speaking of good news, here’s even more:

  • We are giving away money! OK, we’re calling them grants, but still. Thanks to generous giving on our April 30 Day of Giving Back, we’ve got about $40,000 to disperse through our new Journalism Emergency Fund. If you’ve found yourself under-employed or unemployed because of COVID-19, please put in for a grant of up to $500. It’s easy, it’s quick and, we hope it will be helpful.
  • We’ve got more winners. Yes, SPJ does love its contests! This week, we’re celebrating students named national Mark of Excellence winners – that is, selected as No. 1 from No. 1s from each of our 12 regional MOE competitions. So, pretty darn good. Take a read (or look or listen) on our MOE page.
  • We’ve got even more winners. Last week, we selected the final winners in our Collegiate Coronavirus Coverage contest – and reported some amazing numbers: 19 first-place winners over seven weeks; 995 entries from 238 student media orgs and 20 professional media groups where students are interns. This week, the 11 participating judges will pick the Winner of Winners – one “best of show” pick. A final number: Two, for the members who made CCC go. One is Michael Koretzky, an SPJ regional coordinator who created and directed the contest and brought in four co-sponsors. The other is Andy Schotz, a former RC now on the SPJ Foundation board, who served as lead judge, running the process all seven rounds.

That’s a lot of good SPJ news at a time when good news can be hard to find. Whaddaya think, Krasinski? We’re ready for our YouTube moment.



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