Archive for the ‘Excellence in Journalism’ Category


Passing the baton in Region 7

Passing the batonTwo years.

That’s the time it takes to obtain a community college education. It’s also the average lifespan of an iPad, the honeymoon period in a new marriage, the unofficial season length for a U.S. presidential campaign, and the sum of one term for an SPJ regional directorship.

Of course, options exist to extend the calendar on any of these things, though the rationale for that extension differs greatly from person to person.

Which is why on Saturday, my term as Region 7 director came to a quiet, satisfying conclusion during EIJ14 in Nashville, and I handed the baton to Rob McLean, Omaha-based digital managing editor for Hearst Television.

Rob’s recent work with the Society underscores his qualifications. He has been at the forefront to re-establish the Society of Professional Journalists in Nebraska, both at the professional and student levels. A few weeks ago, he started moonlighting as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Before landing in the Cornhusker State, Rob was a reporter for Patch.com in suburban St. Louis and was an active member of the SPJ professional chapter there.

Rob is a good man with drive, determination, and a devotion to SPJ that few can match. The region is in good hands, no doubt.

So let me use the remaining space in my final Region 7 post to thank all the great journalism professionals and students in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri who assisted me, informed me, and enlightened me the past 24 months. Your contributions helped make SPJ stronger, wiser, and better positioned to effectively confront the challenges that journalists and educators strive to turn into opportunities.

For the next year at least, I will continue to work with my home chapter, St. Louis Pro, as well as help launch a new national community, SPJ Digital, which debuted last month, and broaden my continued engagement with SPJ’s Freelance Community. And Rob and I will be working together to plan the Region 7 Spring Conference in Omaha in March.

In the meantime, Rob has my full support and confidence as Region 7 director. I hope he has yours, too.

Five Region 7 honorees are among national MOE recipients

Missouri had three honorees and the states of Iowa and Nebraska had one each to represent Region 7 in the Society of Professional Journalists’ 2013 national Mark of Excellence Awards, which were announced Tuesday.

2013 Mark of Excellence AwardsAllison Pohle of the University of Missouri-Columbia was a finalist in the feature-writing category among large schools for her work, “Kirkwood Father Tries to Find Meaning in Daughter’s Death;” the staff of VoxMagazine.com at the Missouri School of Journalism was a finalist in the online feature reporting category for “Matters of Faith;” and Vox Magazine’s iPad app was chosen best digital-only student publication.

Suhaib Tawil of Iowa State University was a finalist in the general news photography category among large schools for “ROTC Training During Spring 2013.”

Jenna Jaynes of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was a finalist in television feature reporting for “Nebraska’s First Male Color Guard Member Lives His Dream.”

The national awards recognize exceptional collegiate journalism in all 12 of SPJ’s regions over the previous calendar year and are chosen from among the top regional winners. This time, instead of first-, second-, and third-place awards, SPJ named winners and finalists for each category.

If judges determined that no entries were excellent by SPJ’s standards, a category was left blank. All judges have at least three years’ worth of professional experience in their respective fields and are not permitted to review entries from their own regions.

School divisions were based on cumulative undergraduate and graduate enrollment, with large schools having a minimum of 10,000 registered students. For some categories, school size was not a factor.

The winners in each category will be recognized at the Excellence in Journalism 2014 conference in Nashville, Tennessee, Sept. 4-6. A full list of MOE Award recipients appears in an SPJ news release.

Region 7 to have a voice at ACES national convention in St. Louis

If you haven’t heard, Region 7 will host the next national conference of the American Copy Editors Society, April 4-6 at the Hilton at the Ballpark in downtown St. Louis.

American Copy Editors SocietyBesides that though, yours truly will help carry the flag for Region 7 when I give a presentation on copy editing for freelance journalists at the convention. Though I’m not sure yet what I’ll say on the subject at this point, expect the presentation to elaborate on themes I wrote about for the new SPJ digital freelancing guide.

Members of the ACES executive committee were in St. Louis recently to scope out the convention venue, as well as host a daylong copy editing “boot camp” at the DoubleTree hotel in Westport. There, ACES president Teresa Schmedding and I discussed the need for a session on freelancer copy editing at the conference. (Full disclosure: I am a longtime member of ACES.)

Other details of the ACES program schedule are coming together, but anyone interested in attending can find out about hotel reservation information now at the conference website.

Key among the projected events is a plagiarism summit that includes SPJ and several professional and educational groups. The summit was inspired by ACES and spurred by a Poynter blog post about the raft of ethical issues confronting journalism this summer.

ACES planned to hold its 2013 convention elsewhere and the 2014 gathering in St. Louis, but moved up the Gateway City on the agenda when logistical problems at the original location arose. The society has about 800 members spread among a handful of chapters, including a college affiliate at the University of Missouri.

This past April, just over 350 members attended ACES national convention in New Orleans — at the same venue SPJ teamed with the Radio Television Digital News Association for Excellence in Journalism 2011.

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Five Reasons to Attend Excellence in Journalism 2012, Sept. 20-22

It’s almost that time of year again: SPJ’s national convention. Still on the fence on whether you should go? This will be my third convention in a row, so let me share the Top Five Reasons You Should Go to Excellence in Journalism 2012, Sept. 20-22 in Ft. Lauderdale.

5. Meet some of journalism’s best. Rick Bragg, Marvin Kalb, Dean Baquet, the list goes on.

4. It’s way cheaper than most other journalism conferences.  Don’t believe me? Look at this.

3.  It’s on the beach. ‘Nuf said.

2.  You won’t be bored with this action-packed schedule.

1. Invest in yourself. What better way to boost your career than to learn some new skills and brush up on the basics? From mastering videography to learning how to make your stories sing, this conference lineup has something for everyone.

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