A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

SPJ Report: SDX awards more than $200,000 to improve journalism

By Quill

The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation board of directors approved grants totaling $203,400 at its April 23 meeting in Indianapolis.

Grant recipients included the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Freedom of Information Coalition, the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government and the Chicago Headline Club’s Ethics Adviceline.

Of the funds granted, $148,200 was earmarked for journalism training programs, $15,000 designated for freedom of information issues and $27,720 awarded to journalism ethics programs. In addition, $12,480 will help support SPJ’s Mark of Excellence Awards honoring the work of collegiate journalists.

A previously allocated $20,000 will go to the National Conference of Editorial Writers Foundation to help endow its Minority Writers Seminar. Other grants that will continue from previous years are a $5,000 grant to the National Freedom of Information Coalition for its annual conference and a $3,000 grant to the University of Georgia to fund an annual journalism salary survey.

“It’s another great year for the Foundation,” said President Todd Gillman. “We’ve managed to support a lot of great training programs. I’m very proud of the aid and encouragement we’ve provided to student journalists. And I’m pleased at the way we’ve leveraged our resources by partnering with other great groups that share our goals.

“The generosity of our donors and the hard work of our board and volunteers make it all possible. I just wish we had even more resources, because the great opportunities to make a difference haven’t been exhausted. Not by a long shot.”

The Foundation awards grants based on available funds, the relevance and value of the proposal and, for projects that are renewed, evidence of sound usage.

These projects and programs were funded by the Foundation during the spring grant cycle.

• SPJ Training on the Go, $27,000. SPJ will continue its series of one-day, in-newsroom training programs designed to raise the level of reporting and editing nationwide.

• SPJ Narrative Writing Seminars, $31,440. Led by Pulitzer-Prize winner Tom Hallman Jr., these programs teach reporters narrative writing concepts and techniques.

• SPJ Reporters Institute, $35,000. SPJ will research and develop an in-depth institute to help young professionals improve their journalism work. The institute will include freedom of information, ethics and diversity training; journalism skills building; and understanding and working in the newsroom culture.

• SPJ Webcasting Project, $7,060. SPJ will make audio recordings of national and local professional development programs available to members through the Web.

• SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards Program Staff Support, $12,480. This grant supports the Mark of Excellence Awards programming, designed to stimulate, promote and recognize outstanding achievement in student journalism.

• SPJ Regional Conference Programming, $6,000. This grant provides funding for a speaker (or speakers) at each of SPJ’s 12 regional conferences on a topic related to one of SPJ’s core missions of ethics, FOI, diversity and education.

• SPJ National Convention Education, $41,700. This grant will help support the 2006 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference.

• Ethics in Journalism Week, $22,720. SPJ will continue the annual Ethics in Journalism Week in 2007, with programming events throughout the country.

• National Freedom of Information Coalition National Conference, $5,000. The Foundation continues its longtime support of NFOIC’s annual conference. Specifically, this grant will allow NFOIC to target individuals in states with no existing FOI coalition presence and provide them with financial assistance to participate in the conference.

• Coalition of Journalists for Open Government, $10,000. This grant furthers the work of CJOG as it champions open government at the national level. The group identifies developing access issues and coordinates the response of member organizations, including SPJ.

• Chicago Headline Club/Loyola University Ethics Adviceline, $5,000. The grant helps fund the Ethics Adviceline, a service that provides support for journalists facing an ethical dilemma.

The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation was founded in 1961. It is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) public foundation that is dedicated to ensuring that those who carry on the tradition of a free press are prepared for the challenge. Its goal is to support the educational programs of the Society of Professional Journalists and to serve the professional needs of journalists and students pursuing careers in journalism.

For information about the Foundation and its work, write to sdx@spj.org.