Archive for the ‘SPJ Convention’ Category


SPJ in 2017: The Year in Review

It’s been quite a year for journalism. In 2017, journalists have been arrested, threatened and bullied. They’ve been harassed by sources – and each other. But more than anything, 2017 has been a year when journalists have proven they will continue to do their jobs no matter the obstacles they face.

That’s why SPJ has been hard at work fighting for journalists everywhere, but much of our work is done behind the scenes.

In 2017, SPJ has continued strong advocacy work in fighting for journalists’ rights; recognized amazing works of journalism with our Sigma Delta Chi Awards, Mark of Excellence Awards and many others; launched an Inauguration Day membership drive and continued to partner and support other journalism organizations.

Here are some of our highlights:

ADVOCACY

We signed onto at least 17 court briefs whose cases would have major effects on journalism this year. We wrote and signed onto a plethora of letters in support of issues that would affect free press, ethical journalism, net neutrality and more. We also committed thousands of dollars from the SPJ Legal Defense Fund this year to journalists facing legal issues.

SPJ spearheaded a letter, signed by 70 journalism and open government organizations, to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence requesting a meeting about government transparency. The groups seek to build on the meeting SPJ led in December 2015 with the Obama administration. To date, however, the Trump administration has not responded.

In February, SPJ – along with Committee to Protect Journalists, Native American Journalists Association, National Press Photographers Association and Online News Association – sent a letter to officials in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, to allow journalists to cover the events at Standing Rock safely.

After speaking out against a judge’s actions regarding “prior restraint” in December 2016, SPJ’s Legal Defense Fund Committee granted Isaac Avilucea, a reporter for the (Trenton, New Jersey) Trentonian, $5,000 in March to help with his legal fees. Avilucea obtained a confidential child custody report from the child’s mother. Without giving notice to the newspaper or Avilucea, a New Jersey judge issued an emergency order prohibiting him and the newspaper from publishing information obtained from the complaint. Avilucea won his case in March.

SPJ had its biggest and best Ethics Week in April – with the help of some friends in New York City, we displayed the Code of Ethics on billboards in Times Square. We also had our very first Day of Giving, where we raised $22,025.

Dan Heyman, a West Virginia Public News Service journalist, was arrested in May for questioning Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and White House adviser Kellyanne Conway. SPJ urged West Virginia officials to drop the charges. SPJ’s Legal Defense Fund Committee later granted Heyman’s lawyer, Tim DiPiero, $5,000 to cover his fees. DiPiero, along with the law firm of Wilmer Hale, which worked on a pro bono basis, was instrumental in securing a complete and unconditional dismissal of the charges.

In June, SPJ headquarters staffers and leaders met with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., to discuss the importance of journalism and explain what organizations like SPJ do to help the industry. We also joined a group of press freedom groups in filing a formal complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics asking that Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) be disciplined after his assault charge for allegedly “body-slamming” a reporter for The Guardian.

SPJ and 32 other journalism and open government organizations sent a letter in July to Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) urging the Senate Commerce Committee to hold a hearing on the state of media in the United States.

Throughout the year, SPJ Ethics Committee Chairman Andrew Seaman shared his thoughts on ethical journalism and the SPJ Code of Ethics, via the Code Words blog. He wrote about journalists speaking out against discrimination; the reasons why journalists are not the dishonest enemies of America like POTUS says; how to cover natural disasters and the situation in Puerto Rico; why journalism organizations and institutions should be held accountable and more.

SPJ joined Committee to Protect Journalists, Freedom of the Press Foundation and 17 other press freedom organizations to launch the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. We also launched a website to continue fighting restrictions on information from Public Information Officers.

SPJ raised more than $10,000 for Giving News Day in support of the Legal Defense Fund, the First Amendment Forever Fund, the President’s Club and the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.

SPJ spoke out against the secretive new owners of LA Weekly and, most recently, compiled and released a list of resources for journalists combating sexual harassment in the newsroom.

AWARDS

SPJ received more than 3,500 entries for the Mark of Excellence collegiate awards. There were 51 national winners across 12 regions. This year, SPJ also introduced a new videography category for the 2017 awards.

SPJ had more than 1,300 entries for the Sigma Delta Chi awards for professional journalists, with 86 national winners. These awards recognize the best of the best in journalism, which truly makes a difference in people’s lives.

Bruce Sanford, longtime SPJ attorney and First Amendment advocate, was given the highest SPJ honor – the Wells Memorial Key. Jerry Seib, Lawrence Pintak and Stephen Shepard were named Fellows of the Society for their extraordinary contributions to journalism. Rochelle Riley was given the $75,000 Pulliam Fellowship in Editorial Writing. Riley plans to spend the next year studying the effect of trauma and a toxic environment on children’s learning.

Ohio University was named the best SPJ campus chapter, and the Press Club of Long Island, Florida Pro Chapter and Cincinnati Pro Chapter were named the best professional chapters of SPJ.

MEMBERSHIP

SPJ gained 219 members in response to an Inauguration Day special membership promotion for professional members. Thanks to the “Fight Back” campaign, we’re trending up in membership compared to this time last year, finally reversing a multi-year decline.

EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM 2017

More than 1,800 people attended this year’s journalism conference in Anaheim, California. At EIJ17, more than $5,500 was raised for the Legal Defense Fund through the LDF auction, and #EIJ17 was tweeted more than 11,600 times during the three-day conference.

JOURNALISM SUPPORT

SPJ’s partnerships with other journalism organizations also grew in 2017. Now, SPJ provides association management services such as bookkeeping, communications and conference planning to the American Copy Editors Society, Journalism and Women Symposium, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Society of Environmental Journalists and Radio Television Digital News Association, to name a few. Our work with the “boring office stuff” allows them to focus heavily on their mission, which continues to improve journalism across the board.

SPJ regularly partners with more than 100 other journalism and open government organizations across the country on letters, statements, court briefs, etc. We couldn’t do what we do without them.

We know 2018 will bring more challenges for all of us to fight for the First Amendment, freedom of the press and journalists everywhere. It will also bring more opportunities to share with the public who we are, what we do and how and why we do it.

From all of us at SPJ to all of you, best wishes for a happy, healthy and productive 2018.

The #EIJ15 early bird deadline is coming

The early bird special for Excellence in Journalism 2015 ends Aug. 4. I know I’ve spent the past few days pretending that it isn’t August already, but it is. That means you need to register now to be sure that you make the deadline!

Why should you even attend EIJ15 in the first place?

You’re going to gain a lot of journo knowledge.
You’ll learn about a large variety of topics, from the latest technology trends in the industry to how to ethically cover recent topics, and it’s all taught by highly skilled trainers. You can view all of the breakout sessions online, read about the trainers and look at the entire schedule at a glance. Still need more journo training? Sign up for one of the workshops on Sept. 18. Read all of the descriptions carefully; some have their own deadlines and applications.

There will be plenty of awesome people to meet.
Between breakout sessions and workshops, you can drop by the J-Expo and Career Fair to meet with organizations and even talk about career opportunities. Attend one of the receptions to help honor great journalists and meet conference attendees. You can also find a roommate to save on your hotel room.

You will be better prepared for your job search.
I don’t think that I can mention the J-Expo and Career Fair enough because it’s just that awesome. You can have a professional headshot taken at the J-Expo and Career Fair, too! Before you go speak to recruiters, you can have your career profile critiqued by experts. Need interview practice? There’s a breakout session for that. EIJ15 is a must attend conference if you’re a student, recent graduate or just looking for a new journo job.

You’re also going to have a lot of fun.
You’re going to learn a ton of great stuff at EIJ15 but you’re also going to have a lot of fun. Have you looked at the highlights page? If not to, you need to. Not only are the breakout sessions and workshops about exciting topics, but there are plenty of additional activities to supplement your weekend. Come early to sample wine at Epcot, take a Wild Florida Airboat Tour and dance the night away with other EIJ15 attendees. Come to Orlando and party like a journalist.

Okay, so now you’re convinced to go. So why am I rushing you to register?

Maybe it’s just me being the recent-college grad that I am, but saving up to $200 is a pretty big deal. And to get all of the things EIJ15 as to offer for that low price is incredible.

Here are some ideas on how to use the money saved with the early bird special:

  • Sign up for one of the great workshops offered before EIJ15
  • Stay an extra day at the Orlando World Center Marriott
  • Register for the Wild Florida Airboat Tour
  • Explore one or more of the many attractions that Orlando has to offer
  • Use it toward your transportation costs to EIJ15

Become a better journalist, have a lot of fun and save money. Register for EIJ15 today.

I can’t wait to see you all in Florida!

The Working Press reporting interns: Life in the staff lane

Each year, before SPJ and RTDNA’s fabulous national Excellence in Journalism conference kicks off, a dozen talented student journalists gather in an eerily quiet hotel. The building will soon be full of journalists, professors, industry experts and students buzzing with new knowledge and thousands of coffee cups.

Through a competitive application process, SPJ chose these students to cover one of the largest annual journalism conferences in the country. They are The Working Press, and they do not take their jobs lightly.

Nikki Villoria (@NikkiVilloria) worked for TWP first as a student intern and later as a professional mentor. She sums it this way: “For almost a week, you surround yourself with the best journalists in their fields… all of whom are more than happy to share their knowledge, answer questions and take the time to get to know aspiring journalists.”

She’s referring not only to the more than 1,000 attendees the interns interact with, but specifically TWP advisers who work closely with student reporters.

Hannah Birch (@birch_hannah), a senior at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and a 2011 TWP intern in New Orleans, recalls reading the bios of the advisers before arriving “and being intimidated (New York Times, Associated Press, Dow Jones…), but they all worked to create a positive environment.

“A lot of them had been on staff with TWP for years, and it was clear they knew when to offer advice and when to step back a little,” Birch said. That’s the kind of guidance SPJ knows will give students a boost in their journalism education and, of course, their job hunt after graduation.

Birch is happy to report not only that potential employers ask about her TWP experience in interviews, but that she’s “headed to the Seattle Times this summer for a copy-editing internship, and I wouldn’t have even applied for that if Reginald Stuart, who hired me for TWP, hadn’t called me about it.”

Journalists who serve as TWP advisers are there with two goals: to facilitate the best reporting possible at SPJ’s largest event, and to ensure students on TWP staff get the most out of their experience.

That’s why SPJ continues to support this opportunity. All Working Press staffers receive complimentary conference registration and hotel accommodations. More importantly, though, students receive invaluable training, mentoring and networking opportunities.

Olivia Ingle (@Olivia_Ingle), a senior at Butler University and an SPJ member since her freshman year (now Butler chapter president), explains: “My experience on TWP staff reaffirmed to me that I’m taking the right career path…I also came back from the conference with several clips, stories that were edited by journalists who work for The New York Times and the AP.”

In addition to a daily print tabloid, The Working Press maintains a website during the conference. Click here to see last year’s reporting.

Interested in applying for an internship with The Working Press? Here’s the low-down:

By Abby Henkel, SPJ Communications Coordinator.

Discuss the proposed “One Member, One Vote” amendment

All SPJ members are invited and encouraged to discuss the One Member, One Vote amendment that chapter delegates will vote on during the Excellence in Journalism 2011 conference, Sept. 24-27 in New Orleans. Please contribute to the discussion in the comments of this post.

If you would like to discuss the other amendments, we have set up a separate thread for that discussion here.

Discuss the proposed bylaws amendments

All SPJ members are invited and encouraged to discuss the proposed bylaws amendments that chapter delegates will vote on during the Excellence in Journalism 2011 conference, Sept. 24-27 in New Orleans. Please contribute to the discussion in the comments of this post.

If you would like to discuss the proposed One Member, One Vote amendment, we have set up a thread specifically for that discussion here.

Need a Roommate for Excellence in Journalism 2011?

PLEASE NOTE: As of August 25, all rooms sold under SPJ and RTDNA’s reservation code have sold out. Availability of additional sleeping rooms is subject to hotel capacity, and prevailing hotel rates will apply. Roommate requests are still being taken, however.

If you would like to know about other Excellence in Journalism 2011 attendees who are interested in sharing the cost of a hotel room in New Orleans this September, please feel free post your request in the comments section of this post. You should include the following information:

— Name
— City
— SPJ Chapter Affiliation (if any)
— E-mail address
— Phone number
— Indicate whether you are male or female
— Indicate your smoking preference

Need a roommate for the 2010 SPJ Convention?

If you would like to know about other convention attendees who are interested in sharing the cost of a hotel room, post your request . You also should include the following information:

— Name
— City
— SPJ Chapter Affiliation (if any)
— E-mail address
— Phone number
— Indicate whether you are male or female
— Indicate your smoking preference

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