Archive for the ‘Regional News’ Category

Cleveland asks who owns public records

The Cleveland chapter is staying busy, with another great program set for March 11, titled “Access to Public Records: Whose Are They?” Here’s the details from the chapter’s “Writer’s Week” e-newsletter, from a posting by chapter president Rodney Bengston:

Public records. Who do they belong to?  The logical answer appears to be – the public.            

But things are not always that simple. As mentioned in an earlier column, there was a little controversy a couple of months ago, when the Cleveland Heights police withheld information from a Northeast Ohio Media Group reporter. That issue will be up for discussion at our next Cleveland SPJ event, on Tuesday, March 11 at 7 p.m. at John Carroll University, which is co-sponsoring the event.

The panel will include:   

  • Cleveland Heights Police Chief Jeffrey E. Robertson.
  • Reporter Adam Ferrise of the Northeast Ohio Media Group.
  • Attorney David Marburger of BakerHostetler, who represented the Northeast Ohio Media Group in this case.


Open Mic Night, journalists’ style

Cool new program from our friends in the Cincinnati chapter of SPJ. From my inbox:

Journalists are used to telling other people’s stories. But for one night, the Cincinnati chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is opening up the stage to allow those folks to tell their own stories.

Join us on Wednesday, Oct. 9 for our inaugural Journalism Cabaret. What’s that, you ask? It’s basically a chance for any and all journalists to share their best stories about being in the profession. They can be funny, sad, enraging, poignant, but as the saying goes in our business, just make ’em interesting. We’ll even have a pianist there for accompaniment if you want. The event will include free appetizers, a cash bar, and chances to win free drinks and other prizes. We’ll also be looking to sign up new SPJ members with prizes and the like (but we promise to keep the sales pitch to a minimum).  

Here are the details:

When: Wednesday Oct. 9 (cocktails start at 6:30 p.m., program starts at 7 p.m.)

Where: Below Zero Lounge, Over-The-Rhine, 1122 Walnut Street, Cincinnati OH 45202.

Questions? Contact chapter president Tom McKee at or vice president James Pilcher at

P.S. Smart move, Tom and James, to open the bar BEFORE the mic. In community theater, we call that liquid courage.

Call for R4 Conference Topics

The folks in Columbus are waaaaay ahead of the pack in planning for the Region 4 Conference next April! How much ahead? They’ve already put out a call for programs. In September. Gonna be a good one. So plan now for a trip to central Ohio April 4-5, 2014. And send all your programming ideas to Central Ohio President Beth Gianforcaro ASAP!

Her call for program ideas will get you started:

This year’s conference will focus on three themes:

1.       Contemporary Issues – Key news or other issues of particular importance to journalists and other communicators;

2.       Tools / Training Needed on the Job – Specific skill-building trainings that journalists and other communicators need to know to do their job well;

3.       Personal / Professional Development— Particular topics that enhance the personal and professional well being of journalists and other communicators.

…. we are seeking recommendations or proposals from you for outstanding speakers who might like to participate in this conference, panelists for a specific topic in one of the three key theme categories. Perhaps you or someone you know or work with would be a good presenter.  We are looking for names, contact information and a brief description of the specific subject matter to which the speaker can address. 

 Please send your e-mail recommendations to me at  by Friday, October 4, 2013. All recommendations will be considered by the 15-member board of directors for the Central Ohio Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists as they finalize plans for the conference.  

 Watch for more conference details at or or follow the event on Facebook.

Great job, Team Columbus!

Cincy planning busy fall

Cincinnati Chapter Prez Tom McKee reports a busy fall in the Queen City:

Sept. 24: Nostalgia Night Mixer, aka “Journalism Karaoke.” (Mmmmm, who will dare?)

Sept. 26:  Lunch With The Pros with University of Cincinnati students.

September TBA: Lunch With The Pros with Northern Kentucky University students.

October TBA: “Internship Night” with area universities.

October TBAs:  Repeats of the Lunch With The Pros at UC and NKU. (Hey, Tom, don’t forget us up the road in Oxford, at Miami University!)

November TBA: Forum with Congressional reps from Greater Cincinnati and/or forum with whoever wins the Cincinnati’s mayor race.

Interested? Wanna help? Contact Tom at

Cleveland hosts timely ‘entrepreneur’ session

Hats off to the Cleveland chapter for a very timely program, in the wake of cuts at the Cleveland Plain Dealer. From the Constant Contact email:

From Newsroom to Entrepreneurship

“Perhaps you’re a journalist who has just lost a job, and you decide it’s time to strike out on your own. Where can you get start-up money? That’s the focus of Cleveland SPJ chapter’s Sept. 21  program “From Newsroom to Entrepreneurship.” It will focus on the nuances of applying for grants to launch non-profit ventures. It will be conducted by Fran McCaffrey, grants developer for Lorain County Community College, and will focus on writing grant proposals for Cleveland’s major philanthropic foundations. The event is free, but registration is requested.”

For more info or registration link, visit

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



Inactive R4 chapters

One more item for the day:

The National Board agenda included much discussion on inactive chapters — with even more discussion about pulling the charter of the Philadelphia chapter for lack of activity.

In Region 4, the following chapters (all student ones) are now considered INACTIVE. That does not mean their charters are revoked, but simply that they are not currently operating.

I will be reaching out to J Programs at all these  institutions, but if you have any help info on any of the chapters, please be in touch.

  • Bethany College
  • California University of Pennsylvania
  • Central Michigan University
  • Cleveland State University
  • Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
  • Lorain County Community College
  • Otterbein College
  • Shepherd University
  • Shippensburg University
  • University of Toledo
  • Wayne State College

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.


Pittsburgh: Off and running

Glad to hear from SPJ veteran Ginny Frizzi that the Pittsburgh chapter has a packed calendar. She sent the following:

The Pittsburgh Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) will present  “Covering All of the Bases: Sports Journalism in Pittsburgh”

Tuesday, September 24, 6-8:30 p.m.

Mullen’s Bar and Grille, 200 Federal Street, North Side

Pittsburgh loves sports. While there is always plenty to cover, this year has been an especially busy one given the Pirates’ success and Pitt moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), not the mention the Steelers, Penguins and high school football.  What is the current state of sports journalism in Pittsburgh? How are reporters able to cover all of the stories? What challenges do they face? Find our when a panel of Pittsburgh sports journalists discuss their work covering local sports.

Moderator: Steve Greenberg, Chair of the Marketing, Sports Marketing, Supply Chain Management and Entrepreneurship Division, Duquesne University and former Vice President of Marketing, Pittsburgh Pirates.

Panelists: Jim Graci, program director, KDKA Radio and “The Fan” (KDKA-FM); Tom McMillan, Vice President of Communications, Pittsburgh Penguins; Dan Potash, anchor/reporter, ROOT Sports; Rob Rossi, Sportswriter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Great line-up, Pittsburgh. Wishing you a great turnout.

In the area? Contact Ginny Frizzi at (412) 624-5448 or with questions or your RSVP.


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