A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

SPJ/Chapter News

By Quill

Send chapter news items to Quill editor Scott Leadingham.

Early career journalists attend Sigma Delta Chi-funded training

Print and broadcast/video journalists in the first three years of their careers attended one of two SPJ Reporters Institute sessions in May and June. The program, held since 2007, is funded by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation and led by SPJ trainers and staff. Though held at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., it is an SPJ training program.

The 63 participants applied for a competitive spot and received lodging, some transportation and meals from the SDX Foundation grant. The three-day program included sessions on public records access, ethics, multimedia training, work critiques and professional goal setting.

Samira Said, who attended the broadcast/video session, highly recommend the program in a testimonial: “I cannot express how much I have learned. I have attended conferences in the past and none have been this intense, this valuable or this educational,” she wrote. “Reporters Institute is raising the bar in terms of journalistic academics and professional development, unlike anywhere else.”

A recap of each program, including names of all participants and speakers, [b]is here.

Chapters receive funding for First Amendment program

Ten campus chapters have been awarded $250 grants to host a First Amendment Free Food Festival (FAFFF) on their campus during the 2010-11 academic year. Started in 2006 at Florida Atlantic University by Michele Boyet and Michael Koretzky, the FAFFF simulates what it’s like without First Amendment freedoms. Participants symbolically sign away their rights in exchange for free food. Grants were awarded to chapters at:

• Indiana University-Bloomington

• Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)

• Southeast Missouri State University

• Southern Methodist University

• University of Florida

• University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

• University of Arkansas

• University of Maryland

• Western Kentucky University

• Western Washington University

[b]Click here for more information on the program, including how to apply for a grant next year or e-mail Michael Koretzky at michael@koretzky.com.

LA chapter teams up, speaks out, hosts panel

The Greater Los Angeles chapter released a joint statement with the Los Angeles Press Club and National Association of Hispanic Journalists in early July commending a jury verdict that found the rights of three L.A. journalists were infringed while covering a 2007 rally. According to the statement:

“The jury ruled police interfered with the First Amendment rights of all three journalists—Fox 11 TV reporter Christina Gonzalez, Fox camerawoman Patti Ballaz and KPCC reporter Patricia Nazario. Jurors also found officers used unreasonable force when they struck Ballaz and Nazario with police batons from behind.”

The groups said they “hope the outcome of this case serves as a reminder to the city attorney’s office and the Los Angeles Police Department to respect the vital constitutional rights of journalists as public servants.”

The L.A. chapter also hosted a panel on July 27 titled “Ka-Ching! Checkbook Journalism: An Old Dilemma for the New Media.” Centered on the controversy involving technology blog Gizmodo.com paying to obtain a lost-and-found prototype of the Apple iPhone 4, the program addressed how old journalism ethics debates are contemporary issues in changing technological times. Panelists included Marc Cooper, contributing editor of The Nation; Jon Healey, editorial writer for the Los Angeles Times; and Sharon Waxman, founding editor/publisher of TheWrap.com.