Archive for the ‘Spring Regional Conference’ Category


Region 7 journalists head to Omaha for professional development

Journalists from across the region traveled to Omaha March 27-28 for the 2015 Society of Professional Journalists Region 7 Spring Conference.

Journalists from across the region traveled to Omaha March 27-28 for the 2015 Society of Professional Journalists Region 7 Spring Conference.

The Society of Professional Journalists Region 7 2015 Spring Conference came to a close Saturday at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Journalists from Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska made the trek to Omaha for a weekend of professional development. Organizers held conference sessions about social media, digital, work/family balance and more.

Journalists Mariah Stewart, John Beaudoin, Chase Snider and Ashley Jost discussed their coverage of the protests and police action in Ferguson, Mo. during the SPJ Region 7 conference's keynote presentation.

Journalists Mariah Stewart, John Beaudoin, Chase Snider and Ashley Jost discussed their coverage of the protests and police action in Ferguson, Mo. during the SPJ Region 7 conference’s keynote presentation.

Rob McLean, region 7 director for SPJ, said those who attended the conference had an opportunity to network with colleagues and get a leg-up on their next job hunt.

“One of the best parts about being an SPJ member is the opportunity to make new journalism connections and friends,” McLean said. “As the industry continues to change, those connections can be invaluable when journalists are looking for their next gig.”

The event ended with the regional Mark of Excellence Awards Saturday afternoon, where SPJ recognized the best journalism at the collegiate level within the region.

 

Journalists enjoy conversation at the SPJ Region 7 Spring Conference meet-and-greet March 27.

Journalists enjoy conversation at the SPJ Region 7 Spring Conference meet-and-greet March 27.

Journalists enjoy conversation at the SPJ Region 7 Spring Conference meet-and-greet March 27.

Journalists enjoy conversation at the SPJ Region 7 Spring Conference meet-and-greet March 27.

Journalists enjoy conversation at the SPJ Region 7 Spring Conference meet-and-greet March 27.

Journalists enjoy conversation at the SPJ Region 7 Spring Conference meet-and-greet March 27.

Marjorie Sturgeon and Jonathan Garcia served on a panel, moderated by Sherrie Wilson, about digital in the newsroom.

Marjorie Sturgeon and Jonathan Garcia served on a panel, moderated by Sherrie Wilson (right), about digital in the newsroom.

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.

Convergence is the word at Region 7 conference

 

Convergence journalists at JCCC

Student backpack journalists at JCCC prepare to cover the day’s events at the Region 7 Spring Conference.

For three years, Johnson County Community College asked to host the Society of Professional Journalists’ Region 7 Spring Conference, and when the moment arrived the 20,000-student campus in Overland Park, Kansas, delivered a grand performance.

JCCC is among the leading higher education institutions in the region on convergence journalism. The school placed its print, TV, and radio journalism components under one roof in 2012, and has used the word “convergence” in almost every discussion about media since. Consequently, convergence dominated the day.

Among the highlights, co-organizer Molly Baumgardner, JCCC’s journalism coordinator, started off with a presentation on good taste in journalism, explaining how the Seven Deadly Sins can kill a career before it starts. Sara Smith of The Kansas City Star reinforced the need for the three R’s — research, research, and more research — in writing entertainment reviews. And Maj. Bill Hisle of the Shawnee (Kan.) Police Department revealed the secret to dealing with public information officers.

Johnson County Community College is just a few blocks from the site of the 2011 Region 7 Spring Conference in Overland Park, Kansas.

Johnson County Community College is just a few blocks from the site of the 2011 Region 7 Spring Conference in Overland Park, Kansas. (David Sheets)

Other presenters included Mary Schulte, a photo editor at The Star, and Susan McSpadden, chief photographer for JCCC’s media relations department, explaining how wordsmiths can acquire the wisdom to become visual storytellers; and former Wichita Star reporters Dan Close and Laura Kelly recounting how the BTK serial killings changed their lives and their approach to journalism.

Maria Antonia, communications director for the Kansas City-based Bishop Sullivan Center and before that a veteran TV reporter and anchor in Kansas City, gave the keynote address ahead of the Mark of Excellence Awards banquet, which was catered by JCCC culinary arts students.

JCCC backpack journalists rushed from one event to the next to cover the conference for class projects. Their reports were posted by day’s end on YouTube.

The 2015 Region 7 Spring Conference is tentatively scheduled for Omaha, Nebraska, next spring.

 

 

 

 

Region 7 early registration ends today

Region 7 ConferenceToday is the last day for early registration to the Society of Professional Journalists’ Region 7 Spring Conference, scheduled for April 25-26 at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kan.

The student registration rate is $50 through today, while the SPJ member rate is $75 and the non-member rate is $100. After today, the rates go up to $75, $100 and $125, respectively.

Another early bird discount applies to the conference hotel, the DoubleTree by Hilton at 10100 College Boulevard in Overland Park. Room rates are $89 until April 10, when they go up to $149. (Mention the Region 7 conference when making reservations.)

SPJ’s regional conferences offer the chance for Society members and prospective members to meet, greet, and share ideas. They close the gaps in distance between chapters, for at least one weekend, and foster a greater sense of community.

The conference starts with a get-together Friday evening at Hayward’s Pit Bar B Que, a Kansas City culinary landmark, at 11051 Antioch Road. Dinner will be covered in the registration fee, but bar drinks are separate.

Saturday’s sessions include advice and instruction on basic photojournalism, basic audio editing, job-searching, ethics, TV news coverage, and tips on dealing with public information officers.

So, register today, and save yourself some money.

Regional conference returns to Kansas in 2014

Johnson County Community College logoThe spring conference returns to Kansas in 2014. But the host is unique for Region 7.

Johnson County Community College, based in Overland Park and the largest institution of higher learning in Kansas, with more than 30,000 students. has been selected the first community college to host the conference for the region, winning a bid process that began at the conclusion of this year’s conference in St. Louis.

JCCC representatives first suggested their institution as a possible venue two years ago when the Kansas City Press Club and the national SPJ headquarters co-organized the 2011 conference, also in Overland Park. This year was the first that JCCC made a formal bid.

Corbin Crable, coordinator of JCCC’s Department of Journalism and Media Communications, said he thought it made sense for his school to host the conference because of the diverse curriculum and the attention paid to multimedia in his department.

The journalism program consists of four faculty and seven adjuncts teaching 17 classes that range from video production to advanced reporting. JCCC also has a variety of media internships in the Kansas City area.

“And now that we have the green light, we’ll immediately move forward and have the conference just as we planned,” Crable said upon hearing of JCCC’s selection.

He said the tentative conference dates are April 25-26, and overnight accommodations would be at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, 10100 College Boulevard. A pre-conference get-together would be that Friday at Hayward’s Pit Bar B Que, about a mile west of the hotel.

Conference site extends deadline on discounts

SPJ in STL 2013The special hotel rate reserved for attendees of the Region 5&7 conference next month in St. Louis has been extended by one week.

Management at the Drury Plaza Hotel at the Arch agreed this week to extend the conference rate after seeing a spike in registrations through March. The conference is scheduled for April 26-28 at the hotel.

Besides several programs, there will be Mark of Excellence awards handed out during dual luncheons at the conference.

But the hotel says just a few rooms remain in the block reserved for conference attendees, so anyone interested in an overnight stay needs to book reservations right away.

A happy-hour mixer with free drinks for hotel patrons is Friday, April 26, and a meeting of region leaders is slated for Sunday, April 28, starting at 9 a.m. The conference events take place from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. that Saturday.

Drury management also urges those attendees who drive to the conference to arrive early for parking, as the baseball Cardinals will host the Pittsburgh Pirates a couple blocks away on Saturday and the hotel shares parking space with Busch Stadium.

More big names sign up to speak at dual regional

The lineup for April’s dual regional conference is growing. Drone journalism, hyperlocal news gathering and computer-assisted reporting are all on the agenda, as well as a session on how to be your own best editor.

SPJ in STL 2013And there’s more in store, but if you want to see any of it, sign up soon, so you can get the early bird registration rate and special hotel room discount.

Among the distinguished speakers:

Bill Allen, assistant professor of science journalism at the University of Missouri, who will explain the potential and peril of using civilian drones to gather news and information.

Holly Edgell, a former regional editor for Patch.com, who explains why it’s way too early to write an obituary for hyperlocal journalism.

Mark Horvit, executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors, who will show time-challenged reporters how to do quick-and-dirty enterprise stories using data records.

This year’s conference is a joint production by Regions 5 and 7, covering a broad swath of the nation from Nebraska to Kentucky. There will be two banquets, one each for the regions to hand out their Mark of Excellence awards. There will be free breakfasts, courtesy of the host Drury Plaza Hotel, for conference attendees.

And there will be plenty of activity in downtown St. Louis away from the hotel, in the shadow of the Gateway Arch.

So, visit www.spjinstl2013.com now to land a great deal on a great date with top journalists and educators. You’re bound to have fun, and you’re certain to learn something.

Joint regional conference to be held near the Gateway Arch

When Region 7 and Region 5 have their joint spring conference in St. Louis next April, the event will take place in the shadow of the Gateway Arch.

The Drury Plaza Hotel at the Arch has graciously agreed to host the conference on the weekend of April 26-28, setting aside a large block of rooms reserved for conference attendees and preparing two luncheon banquets for each region’s Mark of Excellence awards. The tentative conference schedule includes an informal welcome gathering on Friday, sessions on Saturday, and a regional strategy meeting Sunday morning.

The location not only has fine amenities and fabulous views, but also is close to downtown historic sites, sports venues, shopping, and nightlife.

This is the first time St. Louis has hosted a regional conference in three years. At the suggestion of Region 5 leadership, the Gateway City’s proximity to south central Indiana and western Kentucky also proved an optimum location for that region’s burgeoning membership in those areas.

Details about the conference sessions are pending, but anyone interested in making individual or group reservations now can do so at this link at a reduced rate for SPJ attendees. This special rate and availability are guaranteed up to March 26.

__________

Tell us what you want to see at the regional conference

Sure, it’s only October, and spring seems too far down the calendar to contemplate.

But time ticks down faster than you think, and soon you’ll have to consider making travel plans for the annual Region 7 conference.

In fact, the foundation is being laid for that conference right now, with help from the leaders of neighboring Region 5 (Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana). Because St. Louis is central to both regions, we decided to convene there, and very soon we expect to announce a venue.

After that, we’ll hammer out the smaller details, such as sponsors and costs.

But the whole show isn’t up to just us: Your input is important, too. Tell us now what kinds of programs you’d like to see included at the dual regional, and maybe also mention the speakers you’d like to see present them.

Last spring, the conference in Ames, Iowa, included sessions on multimedia and mobility, social media and document searches, and helpful tips for freelancers as well as news staffs. The one-day, all-day conference even helped lay the foundations for stronger chapters in Iowa, and a new chapter in Nebraska.

Next spring, journalists from Region 7 are sure to face a host of new issues and challenges, some of which already may be taking shape. What better place then to discuss them and get valuable advice from learned SPJ colleagues and other professionals than the annual conference?

So, take a few moments to let us know now your ideas for program sessions at next spring’s conference. Send those ideas to me, David Sheets, Region 7 director, at dsheets@spj.org. If you want to discuss ideas directly, include a contact number.

Springtime may seem a long way off, but it’s really just around the corner. Help the regional conference’s planners get a jump on the calendar by adding your input to our efforts today.

__________

Connect

Twitter Facebook Google Plus RSS Instagram Pinterest Pinterest LinkedIn


© Society of Professional Journalists. All rights reserved. Legal

Society of Professional Journalists
Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center, 3909 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208
317/927-8000 | Fax: 317/920-4789 | Contact SPJ Headquarters | Employment Opportunities | Advertise with SPJ