Archive for the ‘National News’ Category

Columbus chap co-host of ‘Law & the Media’

The Central Ohio SPJ chapter’s got it going on! Not only is the board deep into planning for the Spring Region 4 conference in Columbus, it is serving as co-sponsor for an Oct. 4 event called Law & the Media, hosted by the Ohio Bar Association.

According to chapter prez Beth Gianfacaro, Ohio journalists, lawyers, judges and academics will attend to discuss media law issues. On the agenda:

* Plenary session about the lasting impact of a U.S. Supreme Court decision limiting student press freedom and current newsgathering challenges.

* Problems and opportunities regarding access to government records and the current state of public records law in Ohio.

* How does a journalist cover a school shooting or a juvenile crime?

* How has the Internet affected journalism and how do journalists practice in this changing environment?

* Media Law 101: Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask.

* Lawyers and journalists: how to improve interactions between the professions.

Download the complete program and registration form at



Congrats to our winners

Hats off — or as a former Cincinnati Enquirer columnist used to say, “clapclapclap” — for Region 4 Mark of Excellence winners recognized at the national conference. While SPJ announced the winners and finalists back in May, they invited all MOE honorees to “The Student Union” in Anaheim to offer an in-person congratulations.

Region 4 had 13 honorees — either winners or finalists. See them in yellow on MOE 12 WINNERS — and send them a congrats if you know them.

Speaking of congrats: Here’s one more. Clapclapclap for the Ohio University SPJ chapter, selected as the Region 4 chapter of the year. Here’s what I said in nominating the chapter, after reading its annual report: “Eighteen programs in one year! Wow and double wow! And all sound very compelling. What an accomplishment. I was especially impressed with your Skype strategy — bringing big names (from Digital First, Reporters Without Borders, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and ESPN) to little Athens without travel costs. Hats off, too, for pairing with the Scripps school, PRSSA and RTDNA to stage events and boost crowds.”

BTW, OU edged out OSU by just one event. It staged 17 solid programs and was a close contender for our chapter of the year.

Good work, all!

News from National

Still catching up after five days at National in Anaheim! (My students didn’t mind me missing the first day of classes….but I’ve been running to catch up since my return.)

First: Congrats to National Staff and Board for great programs, great venue, great organization and an all-round valuable conference. With three sponsoring orgs, attendance was at about 1450.

Next: Get out your calendars!

  • Region 4 Spring Conference will be in Columbus, April 4-5. More details coming soon!
  • The 2014 National Convention will be in Nashville, Sept. 4-6. After that: Orlando, then New Orleans.
  • Region 4 picked up a $500 contribution from Regions 3 and 12 for helping judge their annual Green Eyeshade contest. Thanks!
  • Speaking of money, the RD4 account will now be close to $4000. Ideas welcome on how to spend some of that. Among the possibilities: helping defray costs of the Regional in Columbus; underwriting (some) student registrations for the Regional; creating a scholarship; etc.

More news soon on all fronts.


Membership Events Request

Good evening everyone!

After nearly a year’s hiatus, I thought I would resurrect the Region 4 blog – especially with a lot of cool stuff coming up.

But first, our membership is continuing to grow slowly. We’re above where we were last year, and are back above 8,000 members for the first time in a while.

To that extent, our national president John Ensslin sent this email out this weekend and I’d like everyone in the region to at least think about possible membership event ideas. As an aside, I serve on a national programming committee with that committee’s chair Jeremy Steele from Michigan and the previous Region 4 Director – and we would love to take your ideas and send them around to the rest of the country.

Hi James,

Hope all is well with you.

As you know, one of my priorities this year has been to work on growing our membership.

To that end, I’d like to ask your help. We’ve designated next month as March Membership Month. I’m asking every pro and student chapter to do one event that is geared to recruiting and retaining members.

Could you encourage the chapter leaders in your region to do so?

It doesn’t have to be a huge event and strictly speaking, it doesn’t have to be in March. But if each chapter does something, I’m convinced we can make a real difference.

We’ve had a small measure of success in this area lately. For the first time since January 2008, we’ve started the year with more members than we had the year before. And we’ve been able to get membership back up above the 8,000 mark.

But to keep this trend going, we’ll need help from each and every chapter.

To help, next week we’ll send out a list of program ideas that have worked well for chapters in the past. Chapter also are free to come up with their own ideas.

Later in the month, someone from our membership committee will be in touch with chapter leaders to see if there is some way they can help with this effort.

As you know, keeping our membership strong helps SPJ do better when it comes to our core activities like advocacy, ethics, diversity and training.

Thanks for your help,



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