A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

SPJ Report: Chapter News

By Quill

Buffalo chapter offers scholarships

Student and professional journalists seeking additional academic training now can apply for college and graduate school scholarships for the 2006-07 academic year, courtesy of The Greater Buffalo International Society of Professional Journalists Chapter. To be eligible, applicants must be residents of western New York, northwestern Pennsylvania or southern Ontario, and they must attend an accredited college or university that offers journalism education. For information on how to apply and other requirements, call Annemarie Franczyk at (716) 854-5822, ext. 254, or e-mail her at afranczyk@bizjournals.com. Application deadline is April 30.

New chapter formed in Idaho

A new SPJ chapter has formed, covering north central Idaho and sections of eastern Washington. The newly formed Snake River Professional Chapter recently chose its board of directors: Tom Henderson of the Lewiston Tribune (and editor of SPJ Leads) is president; Kate Baldwin of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News is vice president; and Omie Drawhorn of the Daily News is secretary-treasurer.

The chapter’s first activity included a movie night, showing Good Night and Good Luck in honor of National Sunshine Week.

More information is available by e-mailing Tom Henderson at thenderson@lmtribune.com.

Editor: readership decline perils ‘watchdog’ role

The decline in readership of newspapers, including the Cleveland Plain Dealer, is causing concern in the newspaper industry. Plain Dealer projects editor Dave Davis talked about this trend when he spoke to the student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists at the John Carroll University O’Malley Center on Feb. 7.

Davis said that as the press in America suffers, the county will as well. Believing the press should act as a “watchdog,” he offered the example of a series that he wrote on organ donation programs. Uncovering information from a variety of sources, the Plain Dealer was the first to publish the waiting times for organ transplants. The newspaper discovered that many people were put on waiting lists that extended beyond their life expectancy without the needed organs.

The story became even more interesting when Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., who had hundreds of million of dollars invested in hospitals involved in the organ transplant waits, expressed displeasure about the series by attempting to block Davis and a Plain Dealer photographer from attending a congressional hearing on the matter in Washington, D.C. Davis said they had media credentials and, though the “world is not always a fair place,” “it’s not up to Bill Frist if I can go!”

Davis encouraged the students to know and understand their rights as both journalists and citizens. “Our society has a role for the press” he said, adding that the freedom of press as given by the founding fathers is vital to our democracy.

— Contributed by Robert Duns

High schools register for SPJ/Verizon workshop at JCU

Journalists from at least six northeast Ohio high schools participated in a “press conference” workshop and writing contest sponsored by Cleveland SPJ and Verizon Wireless on Thursday, March 2, at John Carroll University. The topics included how to identify and develop a business news story, how to conduct interviews and participate in group media events, and how to seek follow-up information by telephone and/or the Internet.

NPR reporter shares Katrina experience

While bars were full and parties were brewing throughout Chicago in celebration of Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday on Feb. 28, National Public Radio reporter Cheryl Corley took time to discuss Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath with Chicago journalists and students.

She described the sights, sounds and smells of New Orleans from the break of the storm and the after-effects of the levy’s breaking, to the current rebuilding of the city and its upcoming elections.

Corley said she planned to return to New Orleans in April to report updates on the repairs and repatriation back to the city.

“NPR’s commitment is long range,” Corley said. “Other (media organizations) have also made a commitment, maybe not as deep, but we (will continue) to have reporters and producers there.”

Corley, a reporter for NPR’s Chicago Bureau for the National Desk, has been at the forefront of Katrina coverage.

— Contributed by Stacie Johnson