Posts Tagged ‘Maryland Pro’


Gleanings from chapter reports (campus)

After reviewing this year’s SPJ chapter annual reports for Region 2, I’ve already summarized the latest with the pro chapters.

Now, some highlights from the campus chapters:

• Western Carolina University: One of its two programs in the past year was a Google training session.

• Washington & Lee University: The chapter had a down period a few years ago, but is coming back strong, roughly tripling in membership in the past year. Its program of the year was a keynote speech by alumna Alisha Laventure, a WFAA Dallas morning news anchor, who decided to respond on air to comments President Trump made about Haiti.

• Virginia Commonwealth University: The chapter co-hosted this year’s Region 2 conference. Its programs included a screening of the documentary “Obit,” a joint dodgeball tournament with the Public Relations Student Society of America and the Ad Club, and a resume workshop.

• University of Maryland: The chapter is solid every year. Its program of the year was called “Free Speech in the Age of Trump” and included multiple angles on free speech, including what limits are in place on campus. Other highlights: Creating a video on open government for Sunshine Week; raising $300 for the University of Puerto Rico School of Communication after it was damaged by Hurricane Maria; a nice variety of journalism and social events; and the sale of “Not the Enemy” T-shirts.

• Salisbury University: The chapter’s program of the year was “Fact or Fake? Media Literacy in Politics.” The Maryland Pro chapter and the Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement were cosponsors. There was a First Amendment podcast with Delmarva Public Radio. Other programs examined citizen journalism, the MeToo moment and “sensitive” journalism when reporting on crime.

• James Madison University: The chapter got its name out there with a successful sale of T-shirts (more than 200) on behalf of the Media Arts and Design major. There were two movie screenings (“The Post” and “Nightcrawler”), a social media seminar and a program with an ethics scenario.

• High Point University: The program of the year was “Is Time Really Up”? Female journalists shared stories and advice about working in journalism. The chapter held a First Amendment Free Food Festival, had a speaker from “People” magazine and showed the film “Christine.”

• George Mason University: In a busy year, the chapter hosted speakers from various media and news organizations and helped with a RealNews forum. There was a simulated press conference, a look at election coverage, a panel on creative careers and broadcast journalism training. The chapter went on tours of The Washington Post, the National Press Club and the Newseum; held a toy drive; wrote postcards to incarcerated journalists; and interviewed candidates for the school’s next director of journalism.

• Elon University: The program of the year was a panel discussion on fake news. Adviser Anthony Hatcher spoke to two large continuing education classes on the topic, as well. In a separate program, an alumnus spoke about filing FOIA requests.

• Appalachian State University: One program was about ethnicity in the newsroom. The chapter also attended a presentation by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.

Thanks to students and advisers for their good work for SPJ and journalism in the past year.

Gleanings from chapter reports (pro)

As SPJ chapters know, it’s annual report time. That’s when chapters lay out what they have been doing, particularly with programs, as well how they are doing financially. It’s an important process, and I thank chapter leaders for the time and effort they put into them.

In recent years, there have been six pro chapters in Region 2.

• Last year, the Delaware Pro chapter folded.

• Both the North Carolina and Greater Charlotte Pro chapters have had a downturn, but committed volunteers (Ken Ripley for North Carolina, Frank Barrows for Charlotte) are working on plans to revive them.

• I know that the Virginia Pro chapter has been active, but was late in turning in its report, so I have not seen it yet.

Virginia Pro chapter members Robyn Sidersky and Jeff South did the heavy lifting on this year’s Region 2 conference near Richmond. The conference went well thanks to their work.

• The Maryland Pro chapter has been in transition lately, as officers and members have come and gone. Kudos to Jennifer Brannock Cox for holding the chapter together and recruiting new volunteers to help. Anna Walsh has enthusiastically taken over as president.

The chapter’s program of the past year was a panel on fake news, in collaboration with the Salisbury University chapter (which Cox advises) and the Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement.

• The Washington, D.C., Pro chapter has been a standout (disclosure: it’s my chapter). The quantity and quality of programs in the past year has been very good, including Google News training, FOIA training and happy hour mixers. An annual job fair, in partnership with other journalism organizations, is successful.

The annual Hall of Fame and Dateline Awards dinner at the National Press Club always draws a big crowd.

Annual report observations (pros)

Some items of interest as I reviewed this year’s Region 2 annual reports for pro chapters:

Washington, D.C., Pro:

  • A job fair held jointly with other journalism organizations for the second straight year did well. There were 235 job seekers, 22 media companies and 74 volunteers.
  • The journalism service project was interesting: working with interns at Street Sense, a biweekly newspaper written largely by people who are or were homeless.
  • The chapter co-sponsored the D.C. Open Government Summit.

Delaware Pro:

  • One program was a joint screening with the ACLU of a film called “Shadows of Liberty,” a look at media “censorship, cover-ups and corporate control.”
  • The chapter hosted a discussion on criminal justice reform with the state attorney general.
  • There is a special rate on chapter dues for retirees and students.

Maryland Pro:

  • Cool program idea #1: A look back at coverage of the Baltimore protests and riots
  • Cool program idea #2: A talk with Maryland’s new Public Information Act ombudsman
  • Cool program idea #3: A joint meeting with Tweetmasters of Anne Arundel County to look at the best ways to use Periscope

North Carolina Pro:

  • Worked with the Triangle Association of Black Journalists
  • Held a meeting and dinner to hear from local authors
  • A neat statement in the chapter bylaws: All membership meetings and programs are on the record and open to coverage.

Virginia Pro:

  • The chapter stood up for journalists covering the statehouse in Richmond after their seats were moved off the floor and into the gallery.
  • It awarded two fellowships — for one professional and one student — to attend EIJ 15.
  • Under its bylaws, the chapter board includes a representative from the Virginia Commonwealth University chapter.

Greater Charlotte Pro:

  • Programs included a tour of the ESPNU/SEC studios, a discussion of career resilience for journalists and another on good writing.

Annual report tidbits (pro edition)

As journos know, the first time is interesting, the second indicates a trend.

In that vein, we continue the annual tradition of sharing intriguing nuggets from the annual reports SPJ chapters are required to file. It started with last year’s pro and campus chapter reports.

There are six SPJ professional chapters in Region 2. Here are highlights of what they did in the past journo-fiscal year.

Washington, D.C., Pro (my home chapter): Two of the more unusual programs this year were about net neutrality and obituary writing. For the second year, the chapter was a co-sponsor of a successful job fair held at Georgetown University (210 job seekers, 19 recruiters). It’s a good example of journalism organizations working together. The other co-sponsors are the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association and the Washington Association of Black Journalists. When the chapter did a direct-mail campaign to retain people with expiring memberships, 10 to 12 percent responded with renewal checks.

Virginia Pro: The chapter was instrumental in College Media Day, which also was held for the second time. For $10, students hear from pros on topics such as jobs and internships, covering campus crime, drones, FOI, interviewing and much more. There’s also a Virginia Pro tradition of honoring George Mason, who wrote Virginia’s Declaration of Rights, the forerunner of the Bill of Rights. The chapter lays a wreath at the Mason Memorial in D.C., reads the Declaration of Rights and visits his home, which is now a museum.

Delaware Pro: Just like the D.C. effort, Delaware Pro contacts people to let them know their membership is expiring. It’s important to hold onto the existing members as you also try to attract new one. There was a “tweet up” and holiday happy hour, in which journos and Delaware PR people had some face-to-face time. The chapter was the first organization in the state to organize a debate for the Democratic candidates for state treasurer. The chapter has a mentoring program in which journalism students can connect with a pro.

Maryland Pro: The chapter’s leaders did a lot of the planning work for this year’s regional conference at the University of Maryland, College Park. One of the programs this year, through a collaboration with the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association, was a lively panel discussion in Annapolis on social media. The chapter built a new website. It had the most detailed financial records accompanying its annual report, with dozens of pages of bank statements, receipts and membership dues payments.

Charlotte Pro: By the numbers, this was the most active chapter in Region 2, listing 12 programs on its annual report. Of course, quality matters, too; there was good stuff on the list. Professional development programs included effective videography, skillful interviewing and social media for reporting, podcasting and coverage of religion. Programs looked ahead and back at significant events. Journalism movie night – “Absence of Malice,” with an ethics discussion – was a good idea. This year, the chapter started a contest for journalism excellence.

North Carolina Pro: The chapter was right up there with the Charlotte Pro chapter in terms of activity; it had 11 programs listed on its report. It touched on an SPJ core value with a program on race relations coverage and diversity in the newsroom. The chapter scored points for creativity for some of its other activities, including a Thanksgiving social (guests shared what journalistic things they were thankful for) and two community service programs – answering phones at a telethon and volunteering at the Duke University campus farm.

To all: Keep up the good work. Your time and efforts are much appreciated.

SPJ immersion

That’s the best way I can think of to describe the Ted Scripps Leadership Institute – SPJ immersion.

You learn a lot about a lot, from what SPJ is and does to the psychology of leadership.

I’ll leave it at that, so as not to give away the curriculum from this coming weekend’s leadership session in Richmond, Va. I will be there as Region 2 director, sharing my SPJ experiences and wisdom.

Under the new “traveling” format for the Scripps Institute (coming to a region near you), the Richmond session will be heavy on Region 2 participants:

Christina Jackson from the Western Carolina University chapter

Keith Cannon from Greater Charlotte Pro

Jonathan Michels from North Carolina Pro

Melissa Burke from Delaware Pro

Amy Cherry from Delaware Pro

David Cabrera from the Salisbury University chapter

Minal Bopaiah from Washington, D.C., Pro

April Bethea from Greater Charlotte Pro

David Burns from Maryland Pro

Brett Hall from the University of Maryland chapter

Emily Schweich from the University of Maryland chapter

 

I am excited to spend some time with this Region 2 crew, several of whom I have met in person and electronically.

See you in Virginia.

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