Welcome to Region 8’s first blog!

We hope the Red River Report will become a valuable resource for keeping our vast Oklahoma-Texas region informed about what chapters are doing, what we can learn from each other, professional development opportunities, and ways we can mentor students and keep our profession growing and viable at a time when it’s under attack from so many directions – financial, societal and political.

It’s been a busy spring with judging for the Mark of Excellence student journalism awards and preparations for the annual Region 8 conference held March 22-23 at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. The regional conference drew about 100 professionals and student journalists from Oklahoma and Texas. The informative sessions, lively panel discussions and an inspiring keynote address by Beth Frerking, vertical editor of The Dallas Morning News, connected those attending with a sense of camaraderie and a feeling that, yes, we are engaged in work that matters to our communities and to the world. And, of course, it’s so exciting to see enthusiastic student journalists recognized for doing outstanding work.

A giant THANK YOU to the 23 journalists and journalism educators who judged MOE categories for Region 12, which encompasses Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. (Out of fairness, we don’t judge entries from our own region.) Those who graciously gave of their time were Robert Barowski, Lorynne Benavides, Bob Booth, Linda Campbell, Quanecia Fraser, Ashley Ford, Eddye Gallagher, Saul Garza, Lee Goddard, Robert Hart, Ashley Inge, Kathryn Jones, Dan Malone, Susan McFarland, Lance McFarlin, Forrest Murphy, Gayle Reaves, Katelyn Rivera, Jason Sickles, Travis Smith, Arynn Tomson, Chris Whitley and Kirk Wise.

Texas State University has volunteered to host the 2020 regional conference in San Marcos. Due to conflicts with other journalism-related conferences, it will be held a bit later than usual. Tentative dates right now are April 24-25. Check out the Red River Report for updates.

Scroll down to find important news about our national organization and regional chapters. Several deadlines are coming up: each chapter must file an annual report by May 24. See the separate post for more information about that. Also, apply for SPJ chapter grants by July 15 at https://www.spj.org/chaptergrants.asp.

Pro or student chapters can apply for grants of up to $500 “for innovative programs and events that help build membership.” See more about the criteria and application process at the link above.

Please email news about your chapter to me at kathrynjones1956@gmail.com. New positions, events of interest, awards, available internships, job opportunities – we’re interested in them all!

Is there a journalism-related issue you’re passionate about? Or something that happened professionally that you want others to know about? Write about it. We’d love to run “guest columns” by members on a range of topics of interest to the regional membership. We’re aiming to update the blog the first week of each month, so please send submissions by the end of the previous month.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for reporting. We’re all in this together. Journalism matters.



Kathryn Jones

Region 8 coordinator

Freelance writer, author and journalism instructor



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