A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

Chapter News – June/July

By Quill

[b]Ole Miss remembers slain journalist, celebrates Centennial

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hank Klibanoff urged more community involvement in catching the person responsible for killing French journalist Paul Guihard in 1962. Klibanoff spoke during the Ole Miss chapter’s daylong program celebrating the April 17 SPJ Centennial. A bench on the school campus was dedicated in Guihard’s honor.

“You, the killer, whoever you are, have by your despicable act played an important role in history,” Klibanoff said. “If you have felt any pain for what you did, consider the pain of the family and friends of Paul Guihard. They have lived for 47 years not knowing what happened.”

Guihard was shot in the back while covering the riot surrounding the enrollment of James Meredith, the first black student at Ole Miss.

Guihard’s is one of 43 unsolved civil rights cases in Mississippi.

Other speakers included Pierre Taillefer, Agence France-Presse executive director for North America, and Sidna Brower Mitchell, the 1962-63 editor of the student newspaper who was censured by the student government for calling for calm during the riots.

[b]Ohio chapter hosts successful conference and annual dinner

New media education was the focus of the April 3-4 Region 4 Spring Conference, hosted by the Central Ohio chapter in Columbus. More than 170 attended to learn how social networking and converging media are changing journalism. Headline speakers were author and Miami Herald Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. and Detroit News assistant managing editor Walter Middlebrook. The chapter also held its annual Founders Day dinner May 7, awarding three journalism scholarships and featuring Columbus Dispatch editor Benjamin Marrison as speaker.

[b]Long Island chapter, leader honored

Student journalists at Long Island University in Brooklyn have reason to celebrate the accomplishments of their chapter. Since reactivating in 2007, the chapter has amassed several recognitions from the university.

After Ria Charles helped restart the chapter, the student government association in May 2008 gave the chapter its Best Re-activated Club Award. In 2009, the university recognized the chapter with its Best Political Awareness Event Award.

LIU journalism department chairman Ralph Engelman helped Charles and a small group of journalism students restart the chapter. Now chapter adviser, Engelman presented Charles with a certificate of appreciation for her classroom and SPJ work at the department’s May 13 awards reception.

[b] Essay contest winner connects chapter to civil rights history

As it does annually, the Winthrop University chapter hosted a reception for winners of its high school essay contest. Third-place winner Jalen Williams brought a notable relative to the event: Willie McCleod, a member of civil rights peaceful protest group the Friendship Nine.

Fellow Friendship Nine member Clarence Graham joined McCleod at the ceremony. The men and their seven counterparts gained notoriety in 1961 during a Rock Hill, S.C., lunch counter sit-in. After refusing to leave the whites-only restaurant, the group was arrested. Opting to take a 30-day jail term over paying fines, the men helped launch the “jail, no bail” movement that became popular with other civil rights activists.

The chapter essay contest was part of the larger SPJ program to offer scholarships for high school students. All participating chapters hosted contests on the theme “Why free news media are important.” First-place chapter winners advanced to the national contest, where the top three winners received $1,000; $500; and $300 scholarships.

[b]San Diego marks Centennial with ethics program

San Diego State University chapter leaders chose the April 17 Centennial to host their first event of the year, an ethics discussion panel led by four esteemed local journalists.

Close to 50 students attended the Centennial event, eager to learn about ethics and how it relates to journalism and the media. The panelists discussed the role of advertisers in the media, objectivity vs. subjectivity, and privacy in the age of social networking.

The panel included Channel 10 News investigative reporter J.W. August; assistant metro editor for the Union-Tribune David Ogul; faculty adviser for the City College student newspaper Roman Koenig; and editor for San Diego CityBeat David Rolland.