Posts Tagged ‘Lincoln’


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.

Two fledgling chapters take first steps forward

As fall descends on Region 7, interest in SPJ continues to rise, and two prospective chapters are rising as well to meet that interest.

The society finally is gaining traction again in the Cornhusker State, a place where it once was prominent, as the fledgling Omaha-Lincoln chapter reintroduced the society by hosting last month in Omaha a get-to-know-you happy hour for media types, resplendent with swag bags and complementary chili con queso.

Nebraska does not have either a pro or student chapter, and is the only state in the region without them.

Though attendance at the event was modest, co-organizer Rob McLean said “it was a good beginning step to restart the chapter. People are interested, they see we’re here, and that’s the first step.”

“There’s professional interest” in SPJ “in Omaha, and we’ve got students from (the University of) Nebraska who are working with us, too,” Rob said.

To keep it going, Rob, of Hearst Television, and Katie Knapp Schubert, of Omaha Public Radio, are hosting an “election prep” study session at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, at NuVibe Juice and Java in Lincoln. Besides refreshments, SPJ will provide election “cheat sheets” with contact information for candidates, as well as other election information and resources.

(Editor’s note: I campaigned for region director in part on the promise to bring SPJ back to Nebraska, and Rob is a former member of the award-winning St. Louis Pro chapter.)

Meanwhile, another fledgling chapter debuts next week at Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., with its first function: an Ethics Hold ‘em card tournament, led off by a presentation on professional ethics by Rob Schneider, a Truman State alumnus and presentation director for the Dallas Morning News.

The card tournament features poker matches with cards incorporating ethical ideas and situations, and pits students against each other on their knowledge and understanding of both. Ashley Jost, who’s organizing the tournament and leading the drive for a new chapter, says local businesses are donating prizes to the event.

The tournament goes from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, in the Barnett Hall Atrium. Anyone interested in playing a hand or two for a very good cause can contact Ashley for more details.

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Seeds Planted in Nebraska

Region 7 had a great spring conference in Omaha! We had about 75 participants, which I think is pretty good for a state without a professional chapter.  Speaking of that, I am excited to report that several Nebraska journalists have stepped up to get the ball rolling on reviving the state’s professional chapter.  If you are interested in getting in on this, contact one of the following folks:

Joe Radske, News Director FOX 42: jradske@kptm.com or 402-554-4207

Katie Knapp Schubert, News Director KIOS-FM: katie.schubert@ops.org

Carol Zuegner, Assoc. Professor Creighton University: czuegner@creighton.edu

It’s important to make this chapter a statewide outreach, so even if you’re far from Omaha & Lincoln, I hope you will consider joining SPJ to take advantage of great services and support. In fact, you can join right now! Then, let Joe, Katie or Carol know you’re on board.

Here is my Facebook photo album, showing the original Nebraska Pro Chapter charter for Sigma Delta Chi (SPJ’s original name), which hangs in the halls of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and snaps from the conference.

Planting Seeds in Nebraska

In just two days I will be heading to Omaha, Nebraska for the Region 7 Spring Conference. I am really excited about meeting with fellow journalists, journalism students, and anyone else who may show up!

We have a great lineup of sessions planned, which I hope will serve to enthuse and enlighten our attendees.  Another big hope: That by the end of the conference we will have planted the seeds of a new professional chapter for Nebraska.  I heard from Ruth Brown of Nebraska Press Women that there indeed used to be a professional SPJ chapter in the state.  These folks at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln were among the driving forces:

Larry Walklin

John Bender

Charlyne Berens

Tim Anderson

I have invited all of them to attend the conference and hope we can convince them to get involved with SPJ again.  Apparently, the original 1947 charter for the chapter still hangs in the halls of the UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications!

We will talk about starting a Nebraska professional chapter at the conference business meeting on Saturday, April 10.  All conference attendees are welcome.

By the way, if you still want to register for the conference, you can do so online now, or on-site (more expensive).

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