A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

SPJ Report: Society awards $5,000 for chapter programs

By Quill

Over the next few months, many of SPJ’s local chapters will host professional development programs in their area. Sixteen of those programs will be funded through SPJ’s national chapter grant program, with awards totaling $5,000.

Following are brief descriptions of the events funded by the chapter grant program:

Truman State University will bring Pulitzer-Prize winner Leon Dash to campus March 29-30 to meet with journalism classes and give a talk for the entire campus on “Challenges of Social Justice: What is Media’s Responsibility?”

The University of La Verne will host a high school journalism competition to reach out to high school students in an effort to spark their interest in a journalism career. The daylong seminar will include educational seminars, a rules and regulations briefing and allow the afternoon for the students to gather news and experience working on a deadline. Faculty members will judge the high school students’ work.

The University of Memphis Chapter will host a community forum on media coverage of race.

The University of Minnesota Chapter will host a program called “Red Lake Revisited,” a two-hour panel that will explore media coverage of the March 2005 school shooting.

The University of Missouri, Columbia Chapter, will offer their members the opportunity to learn basic computer-assisted reporting skills. The workshop will be coordinated with the National Institute of Computer Assisted Reporting.

The University of Washington Chapter hosted a collegiate journalism conference on Jan. 21 designed specifically for college students and high school students who are interested in pursuing journalism. The schedule of events includes breakout sessions and a keynote address from Terry Tazioli of The Seattle Times.

The Arkansas Pro Chapter will host “Why’s THAT on the Front Page?” to foster better understanding between journalists and the readers and community they serve. Citizens will gain a better understanding of how journalists make decisions on what and how to report.

The Colorado Pro Chapter hosted an event on Jan. 5 titled, “The JOA: Five Years Later,” to review and discuss the benefits and pitfalls of the Joint Operating Agreement between the owners of The Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News.

The Connecticut Pro Chapter will team up with the Connecticut Bar Association to co-sponsor a two or three-part program titled, “Freedom of Information: Journalists and Lawyers Acting Responsibly.”

Members of the Inland Southern California Pro Chapter will host a program to provide journalists with the tools and practical knowledge they need to succeed in today’s rapidly changing media environment.

The Los Angeles Pro Chapter will host “Are Newspapers Losing Their Voices?” to explore why editorial cartoonists are a dying breed and why columnists are no longer as valued as they once were.

The Louisville Pro Chapter will host a four-hour seminar on “Disseminating Information in Local Media Markets” with Paul Davis of FACS.

The Mid-Michigan Pro Chapter will host a half-day seminar in May on convergence to help area journalists and media outlets cope with the changes taking place in many newsrooms across the country.

The Northern California Pro Chapter will host “Do Newspapers Have a Future?” The panel will feature four professionals from the newspaper industry who come from different perspectives on the topic.

The Press Club of Long Island will host a Freelance Writers Panel and Job Fair in early 2006. Participants will have the chance to attend a panel consisting of editors offering advice on pitching story ideas and working with the editors to get the story to print. They will then attend a job fair with editors and human resource personnel seeking freelance writers.

The San Diego Pro Chapter will host “Beyond Google: Web Sites and Tools You Shouldn’t Live Without.” The program will be presented by Alan M. Schlein.