Posts Tagged ‘SPJ’

SPJ Region 7 launches 2016 SPJ fellowship for student/recently graduated SPJ members

For the past several months, a group of SPJ leaders has been working behind the scenes to develop an SPJ Region 7 fellowship exclusively for SPJ student members and members who have graduated recently.

That fellowship is becoming a reality thanks to a generous grant from the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.

I am thrilled to announce the SPJ Region 7 Fellowship will launch in summer 2016.

Fellowship recipients will help with the daily journalism tasks of two nonprofit news organizations (either the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, based at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, or Omaha Public Radio, based in Omaha, Nebraska). They will also work on larger capstone projects to be published at his/her host news organization’s discretion.

After the fellowship’s summer portion has ended, recipients will present sessions at the most convenient SPJ spring regional conference in 2017.

Thanks to a grant from the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, the fellowships will include a stipend of $1,333.33 per month and funds for recipients to use for travel to present SPJ Spring regional conference sessions.

Our selection committee, composed of SPJ professionals from across the country, will choose two fellows who live in Region 7 or are students at/recent graduates of a university within the region. We’ll place one fellow at each organization for three months — beginning in mid-May 2016.

Fellows will meet weekly to discuss their capstone progress. These meetings will also serve as a brown-bag discussion series with journalism professionals to discuss the state of media, answer questions about the news business and more.

The organizing committee established four criteria for eligibility…

  • Fellows must be enrolled in or have graduated from an accredited university within Region 7 (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas) or be resident of a state within the region studying or have graduated from an accredited university outside Region 7.
  • Students who have earned or are earning undergraduate degrees AND graduate degrees will be considered.
  • Fellows must be members of the Society of Professional Journalists and in good standing with the organization. Applicants’ SPJ membership numbers from the national office will be required on the application form.
  • Fellow applicants who have graduated from their institution will be considered up to 18 months after commencement.

Applications and additional details will become available in the fall. Look for more information soon! Until then, feel free to email me any questions you have about the fellowship.

This fellowship would not be possible without the support of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation. Visit to learn more about how you can support the foundation.

Following in the footsteps of giants

After I tweeted my thanks to Region 7 SPJ members for electing me to serve as director, former SPJ Region 7 Director Holly Edgell — who was my boss a few years ago — tweeted in response…

The tweet reminded me that I’m filling some big shoes. The amazing journalists who have previously served as SPJ Region 7 Director contributed a lot to SPJ and to the journalism industry. David Sheets, my immediate predecessor, worked tirelessly on issues facing freelance journalists. He encouraged students and professionals across the region to join SPJ and to think critically about the journalism they produce.

David has been an amazing leader for the region. I will do my best to follow his efforts to serve journalists in our slice of the map.

In the coming weeks, I will announce details for the 2015 Spring Conference, to be held in Omaha, Neb.

Additionally, I’m beginning the legwork to connect journalists with employers within the region and freelancers with editors. More on that soon.

Finally, per the SPJ bylaws, I have appointed Lauren Whan regional assistant for campus affairs.

According to the SPJ bylaws, “each regional director shall appoint a student member as his regional assistant for campus affairs. The latter shall advise the regional director on campus problems and activities, shall act in a liaison capacity with campus chapters in developing programs, and shall assist the regional director in any other ways desired or requested.”

I met Lauren at the Ted Scripps Leadership Institute in Kansas City earlier this year and have been impressed with her dedication to journalism and leadership skills. She’s going to help me work with campus chapters across the region to bolster their chapters and encourage students to pursue their journalism aspirations.

Here’s a little bit about Lauren:

“Lauren Whan is a junior at Lindenwood University where she is majoring in journalism, with a minor in mass communications. She is a founder of the Lindenwood SPJ student chapter and is involved with the university’s student newspaper, television station and online news publications.

“Lauren is also Lindenwood’s student public relations officer for the Lindenwood Student Government Association. She is an animal lover, a racing fan and an avid traveler. She looks forward to serving the students within Region 7 and helping Rob McLean plan the regional conference in Nebraska.”

Stay tuned to the blog for regular updates on Region 7 news, events and opportunities!

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.

St. Louis Media History Foundation awards first Pollack scholarship

Tabitha Williams, courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

A St. Louis University student is the first recipient of the Joe Pollack Scholarship established by the St. Louis Media History Foundation.

Tabitha Williams, a 2012 graduate of Mehlville High, studies occupational therapy. The $4,000 award she will receive honors the former St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer, critic, labor advocate and local radio commentator who died in 2012.

Pollack was also a lifetime member of SPJ’s St. Louis Pro chapter.

Despite its focus on preserving local media history, and Pollack’s media prominence, the Foundation elected not to restrict the scholarship to just media students.

“Joe wouldn’t have wanted it that way,” said Dave Garino, Foundation president, speaking at the time the scholarship was established. “He was for every student getting an equal chance.”

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.


Regional Excellence

Congratulations to students at the following schools! They have placed in the Region 7 Mark of Excellence Awards. We will announce 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places in each category at a special luncheon during regional conference April 9-10 in Omaha. First place winners are automatically entered into the national Mark of Excellence competition. See you there!

Kansas State University

General Column Writing-4 Year College/UniversityGeneral News Reporting-4 Year College/University

The University of Kansas

Best Affiliated Web Site-4 Year College/University; Best All-Around Daily Student Newspaper- 4 Year College/University; Breaking News Reporting-4 Year College/UniversityBreaking News Reporting-4 Year College/UniversityFeature Writing-4 Year College/UniversityGeneral News Reporting-4 Year College/UniversityIn-Depth Reporting-4 Year College/UniversityTelevision Feature-4 Year College/UniversityTelevision General News Reporting-4 Year College-University

The University of Iowa

In-Depth Reporting-4 Year College/UniversityOnline In-Depth Reporting-4 Year College/UniversitySports Writing-4 Year College/UniversityTelevision In-Depth Reporting-4 Year College/University

Iowa State University

Best All-Around Daily Student Newspaper- 4 Year College/University; Best Student Magazine-4 Year College/UniversityBreaking News Reporting-4 Year College/University; Editorial Writing-4 Year College/UniversityFeature Writing-4 Year College/University;
General Column Writing-4 Year College/UniversityGeneral News Reporting-4 Year College/UniversityPhoto Illustration-4 Year College/University

Creighton University

Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper-4 Year College/University; Photo Illustration-4 Year College/University

Drake University

Best Student Magazine-4 Year College/UniversityBest Affiliated Web Site-4 Year College/University; Best Affiliated Web Site-4 Year College/University; Non-Fiction Magazine Article-4 Year College/UniversityPhoto Illustration-4 Year College/University

Truman State University

Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper-4 Year College/UniversitySports Column Writing-4 Year College/University

Baker University

Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper-4 Year College/UniversityOnline Feature Reporting-4 Year College/UniversityOnline Sports Reporting-4 Year College/UniversitySports Column Writing-4 Year College/University

Missouri State University

Television Feature Photography-4 Year College/UniversityTelevision Feature-4 Year College/University

St. Louis Community College

Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper-2 Year/Community CollegeSports Writing-2 Year/Community College

Missouri Southern State University

Editorial Writing-4 Year College/University

The University of Missouri

Radio Feature-4 Year College/University; Radio In-Depth Reporting-4 year College/University; Radio News Reporting-4 Year College/University; Radio Sports Reporting-4 Year College/University; Online Sports Reporting-4 Year College/University; Sports Writing-4 Year College/University; Non-Fiction Magazine Article-4 Year College/University; Online Feature Reporting-4 Year College/University; Television Breaking News Reporting-4 Year College/University; Television Feature-4 Year College/University; Television General News Reporting-4 Year College-University; Television In-Depth Reporting-4 Year College/University; Television Sports Photography-4 Year College/University; Television Sports Reporting-4 Year College/University

The Other Shoe Drops in Dodge City, KS

The Dodge City Globe has fired Claire O’Brien, the reporter who found herself in the eye of a legal storm over her refusal to reveal the identity of a confidential source. Here’s an excerpt from the AP story (via the Topeka Capital-Journal):

Reporter Claire O’Brien said her firing on Friday from the Dodge City Daily Globe stems from comments she made to media outlets after she was found in contempt for failing to appear at an inquisition, the Kansas equivalent of a grand jury.

O’Brien told reporters at the time that the newspaper’s corporate owners had refused to pay for her legal representation and scuttled her efforts to find independent legal help unless she testified claims that GateHouse Media Kansas Holdings, which owns the newspaper, has denied.

On Sunday, O’Brien said she was fired in “retaliation” for making those public comments.

Claire will be a featured speaker at the SPJ Region 7 Conference, in a “super-session” on Saturday, April 10 at the Doubletree Hotel in Downtown Omaha.


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