ICYMI: SPJ is moving forward

If you didn’t make the SPJ Board of Directors’ Zoom call of last Saturday, you may have missed some bits of big news for SPJ. Thus, a few ICYMIs, plus a hint of good news to come.

Karie Angell Luc’s state fair photo for the Lake County (Illinois) News-Sun is the SDX 2019 best feature photo winner.

ICYMI No. 1: EIJ2020 is canceled – but a virtual conference is springing up in its place. We finally reached the verdict that it was not possible to go forward with our 10th annual Excellence in Journalism conference, scheduled for Sept. 10-13 in Washington, D.C., in partnership with RTDNA. But the board fully endorsed a two-day SPJ-only virtual conference for Sept. 12-13, and has already begun working with staff to pivot to Zoom. Tomorrow, we get down to the nitty-gritty with a Conference Committee meeting. We’ll review earlier picks from program ideas submitted way back in January – and decide which are still feasible. (If you pitched one, you’ll hear back one way or another, very soon). We’ll settle on Super Session ideas and recruit those guests. We’ll determine price points. And we’ll book our 2020 Fellows for starring roles. (More on that below.)

ICYMI No. 2: SDX has its winners! The annual SDX Awards Dinner is second only to EIJ as a marque SPJ event. I was in Journalists’ Heaven the twice I attended at the National Press Club in D.C. That event, like our usual EIJ, was another COVID-19 victim. But the contest went forward – and the super-impressive winners were announced in a virtual ceremony last Friday. Our HQ staff put together a super show (now on YouTube)  and an impressive online announcement to celebrate the winners. If you need a shot of best-of-the-best journalism, take a few minutes to watch the video or read the list. We’ll be pressing some of our winners into service for future SPJ events.

ICYMI No. 3: SPJ is in the webinar business. By my count, we’ve produced about a dozen webinars from HQ since the start of the pandemic. Our International and Freelance Communities likewise have their own impressive line-ups, as do chapters around the country. The SPJ webinar archives now feature such big names as Jorge Ramos of Univision, Brian Stelter of CNN, Maria Ressa of Rappler, Dorothy Tucker of NABJ and Hugo Balta of NAHJ. Watch for the number to continue to rise as we bring on a new director of education around Aug. 1. And if you want some SPJ love for your online programming, be sure to include @spj_tweets when you promote via Twitter.

Next up: Watch for news, coming very soon, about the 2020 Fellows. I was thrilled to join SPJ Executive Director John Shertzer in calling our four picks for the year (plus a relative of a fifth, for post-humous recognition) to invite them to serve as Fellows. All graciously agreed to join the 214 other Fellows we’ve selected over the last 72 years, and agreed to “appear” twice on our behalf – once at the fall conference and a second time for a future SPJ event. Can’t wait to share their names and can’t wait to “meet” them during what promises to be the premiere virtual journalism conference of the fall.

To catch last weekend’s board meeting, you can watch on YouTube or read the full board packet. We moved forward on both existing topics (a strategic plan for SPJ, member awards and committee/community work) and new ones (press badges and our database among them).

Of note: Candidates are still needed for national board positions, along with Regions 7 and 9. Please write me (pattinewberryspj@gmail.com) or President-Elect Matt Hall (smallhalls@gmail.com) to step up!





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