Posts Tagged ‘North Carolina Pro’


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 (campus edition)

Wednesday afternoon, I posted highlights of the interesting and impressive things that SPJ’s pro chapters in Region 2 did in the past journo-fiscal year. Those details came from the annual reports that chapters were required to submit several weeks ago.

Now, the campus chapters. There are details I picked out from the eight campus chapter reports turned in this year.

Elon University: The chapter participated in the “Race and the Modern Newsroom” program with the North Carolina Pro chapter, talking about race relations and diversity. It worked with the North Carolina Sunshine Center on a discussion of open records requests and laws. Other programs were with the author of a book about SEAL Team 6, a former Associated Press who was featured in the book “Boys on the Bus,” and a panel knowledgeable about freelancing.

George Mason University: This chapter went dormant several years ago, but a core group has done a great job of reviving it. Its programs included a session on digitizing a resume, two separate media panel discussions, a talk by a former USA Today editor, and a tour of the NBC station in D.C. Its idea of fundraising with a contest to guess how many jelly beans was different. I liked the idea of creating a 30-second video to promote the journalism program and the SPJ chapter, a supplement to several recruiting efforts it had.

Georgetown University: The chapter, only four years old, has grown strong. It hosted and did most of the work on the 2014 Region 2 conference and is the host chapter for a journalism job fair with five other organizations, including the Washington, D.C., Pro SPJ chapter. Other activities were a “Powerful Women in the Media” program that built off the Netflix series “House of Cards” and volunteer work with the Washington Association of Black Journalists’ annual Urban Journalism Workshop for high school students. An FOI program had a clever addition: an FOI quiz for anyone on campus who was interested.

 High Point University: The First Amendment Free Food Festival — a fun, thought-provoking event that has been held on numerous campuses — drew the biggest crowd of any High Point U. chapter program did this year. Students get a free meal in exchange for giving up their First Amendment rights. In other programs, a TV investigative reporter talked about trying to get information that other people are trying to hide, Time Warner Cable staff showed their 24/7/365 news operation, and a newspaper publisher and reporter led a discussion on the use of anonymous sources.

Salisbury University: The chapter has been so successful in raising money, it sent 12 students to the 2014 Region 2 conference at Georgetown University. Working with local restaurants that donate 10 to 20 percent of sales during a certain period, the chapter raises $120 to $200 at a time. The money also supports workshops the chapter has done on video journalism, photojournalism, interviewing and other topics. The chapter also raised $300 for the American Cancer Society through Relay for Life.

 University of Maryland: The list of activities on the annual report was long. The chapter is good at outreach, through a fall “welcome back barbecue” for the journalism school and exam goodie baskets, which are a fundraiser, too. The chapter — which hosted the 2015 Region 2 conference — is the only one in the region with programs in FOI (a Region 2 conference session), ethics (a session on the First Amendment and free speech), diversity (a talk by the Washington Post’s first black female reporter) and service (two blood drives). There was a debate watching party, a resume workshop and some journalism field trips, too.

Virginia Commonwealth University: VCU’s chapter organized a panel discussion on diversity in the media, helped organize a ceremony to celebrate the changing of the journalism school’s name and hosted a “journalism and a movie” evening. The chapter was part of several broader programs, such as a student organization fair and a media center mixer. The most unusual activity (and probably the most fun) was a “Battle of the Masses” dodgeball competition with other mass communications groups.

Western Carolina University: Chapter members opened their workshops to the entire communications department, including one on building a multimedia portfolio and another (that was held three times) on verification on social media. On the social front, the chapter jointly held a Christmas social with two other groups and organized a bowling night. To celebrate Constitution Day in September, chapter members created a Free Speech Wall on campus. The chapter raised about $120 through a bake sale.

I found these reports enlightening and inspiring. A great deal of work and thought went into creating many worthwhile professional development and social events, including several things that I never would have thought of. Well done, Region 2.

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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