Archive for the ‘Southern Ohio’ Category

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!

Miami chapter in high gear

I’d be remiss not to promote what my students are up at Miami University, although many of our plans are, shall we say, still fluid:

On Oct 3, we’ll host “Outside the Classroom,” to promote internships, on-campus media opportunities and the general need to get out there and get busy.

MU-SPJ will also have a hand in these events:

  • ABC News veteran Bill Blakemore will visit Oct. 21-23 and give three talks.
  • Wil Haygood, the Washington Post reporter (and Miami grad) who wrote the story that the new film “The Butler” is based on, will spend time with JRN students and faculty Nov. 4.
  • Doug Haddix, who runs the OSU Kiplinger Program just up the road, will visit Nov. 12, with wife Margaret Peterson Haddix, an author. Both alums, Doug will visit JRN classes and give a talk, with Margaret spending the day with English students and faculty.
  • We’re also chasing NPR’s Mara Liasson, who’ll be in town Nov. 13-14, in hopes of doing a joint chat with students at Miami and the University of Cincinnati.


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

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

Dateline: Oxford, Ohio

Region 4 director Patti Newberry, MU-SPJ president Amanda Schumaker and MU Journalism Program Director Richard Campbell participated in Bill Keller’s public lecture on campus. (Photo by Samantha Kermode)

Bill Keller, the Op-Ed columnist at The New York Times who served as executive editor from 2003-2011, spent part of his Oct. 29-31 trip to campus reporting for a column. Among his interviewees: Profs of Miami grad and veep hopeful Paul Ryan. No telling what he’ll write up for his next column — due to appear Monday, a day before the Big Election — but it’s sure to be political. Students and faculty are both eager to see the fruits of his Oxford reporting.

When he wasn’t off working for The Times, Keller was working for the Miami Journalism Program. He gave a public talk on Monday, fielding questions about Judy Miller, WMDs, Jayson Blair, NSA, Wikileaks and more. On Tuesday and Wednesday, he talked to three classes. In between the visits and the interviews, he dined on shrimp (dinner at the Miami president’s house), noshed pizza (lunch with JRN students) and drank coffee (Starbucks was among his interview venues).

He also posed for LOTS of photos, including a series of grip-n-grins at the presidents’ dinner.

Good sport. Good guest. Gracious, generous — with thoughtful, reflective responses to every question we put to him.

Next big names on campus: First Lady Michelle Obama on Saturday; traveler writer Rick Steves, Nov. 12.

[A Post-Script: Keller’s column, with the headline “Republican id,” focused on the conservative bent of Miami students with an extended interview with Rich Hart, an econ prof and mentor to Ryan. ]


Southern Ohio works toward chapter charter

Greetings, from the Society of Professional Journalists Southern Ohio Chapter!
Several months ago, we hosted an informational meeting in Portsmouth, Ohio, letting people know we were coming to town. I know it seems like we’ve forgotten you, but I promise we haven’t. We’ve spent these past few months working very closely with SPJ national headquarters, to find out what we need to get our chapter up and running, and now we’re finally ready to get things rolling.
What we need now is 20 professional member signatures on a petition of support for the Southern Ohio Chapter of the SPJ. If you’re a member of the organization, and if you support the creation of a southern Ohio chapter, please consider signing our petition.
Please note that ONLY REGISTERED SPJ MEMBERS CAN SIGN OUR PETITION! But that doesn’t mean we’re leaving you out if you’re not yet a member. All you need to do is join the SPJ, at and then you can sign our petition, and once our local chapter is functional you’ll be able to join and participate in our regular meetings and events.
You’ll also get all kinds of great stuff just for being a member – whether you join our chapter or not. The SPJ Web site can tell you all about the perks, which include group discounts, health insurance, journalism magazines, networking opportunties, national conventions and much more!
Southern Ohio is badly in need of a local chapter, and we need YOU to help get it started. Once we’re fully approved, we will be holding regular meetings and functions, and we will elect a board who will then officially decide such things as our chapter name, membership dues (if any), meeting schedules and more. So if you’d like to be part of our chapter, or if you’d just like to join the national organization with no chapter affiliation, check them out online and then please consider signing our petition to establish this new chapter.
If you are a member of the SPJ and support the creation of our this new chapter in southern Ohio, please send me your name, address and phone number, to be added to our petition, which will be sent to national headquarters for approval in January!
With YOUR help, we can bring the Society of Professional Journalists to southern Ohio!
Thank you.
Ryan Scott Ottney
SPJ Southern Ohio
Chapter Coordinator (under construction)


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