A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

Chapter and Member News

By Quill

Send member and chapter news items to editor Scott Leadingham at sleadingham@spj.org.

Students spend Labor Day in homeless shelter

College journalists from nine schools around the country spent their Labor Day weekend in a homeless shelter in South Florida – and they had to fill out a lengthy application for the privilege.

They participated in the Will Write for Food program, which brought them to the COSAC shelter in Hollywood, Fla., and handed them editorial control of the nation’s second-largest homeless newspaper. The students ate dinner at the shelter and spent the weekend writing, editing, photographing and designing a 20-page issue of the Homeless Voice, which will be sold on the streets of South Florida in October.

See their multimedia efforts here.

The event was co-sponsored by the SPJ South Florida Pro chapter, SPJ Region 3 director Jenn Rowell and the Florida College Press Association. Supervising the students were SPJ South Florida secretary Rachael Joyner and 2010 Robert D.G. Lewis Award winner Michele Boyet. Also assisting were former NPR correspondent Lyn Millner and SPJ South Florida membership vice president Dori Zinn.

SPJ South Florida founded the program at the 2009 Region 3 conference, and it has since been duplicated by chapters at Arizona State University and Southern Methodist University. For details on hosting your own Will Write for Food program, e-mail Michael Koretzky at michael@korezky.com.

SPJ welcomes first international chapter

Journalism students at Northwestern University in Qatar have the distinction of being members of SPJ’s first international chapter. 2009-10 SPJ President Kevin Smith and 2010-11 President Hagit Limor traveled to the campus in September to preside over an unofficial “induction ceremony” for more than 50 new student members.

“This is an exciting moment in SPJ history.” Smith said after the ceremony. “In my time here in Qatar, I’ve been impressed with the interest and dedication students have shown to journalism, and I see many of the same ideals and values we advocate in SPJ being exhibited by the Northwestern students in this country. This is a welcomed addition.”

Leading the effort to organize the chapter was Richard Roth, senior associate dean for journalism at NU-Qatar, who will serve as chapter faculty adviser. Roth has worked for Northwestern since 1998 and was part of the planning group for the now two-year-old Qatar campus. He is a former SPJ Education Committee chairman and Region 5 director.

The SPJ board of directors approved the chapter at its April 2010 meeting.

Western Washington hosts annual freelancing event

Seattle-area journalists and those seeking to boost their freelancing skills got help from the Western Washington Pro chapter Sept. 21. The fourth annual “All Access Pass” program organized around the theme “The Freelancer’s Survival Guide.” Sessions included hidden markets; how to diversify income sources; how to manage relationships with editors; financial planning for freelancers; and how journalists can stand out by creating their own brand.

The first 15 people to register received a 15-minute, one-on-one session with a career coach.

Member named NLGJA’s Journalist of the Year

SPJ member Randy Gener of American Theatre magazine was named Journalist of the Year by the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association. The award, recognizing professional achievements of an LGBT journalist, was presented Sept. 4 at the 20th anniversary gala of NLGJA, held at the National Convention and 7th Annual LGBT Media Summit in San Francisco.

Of Gener, judges said: “Some of the best journalism is being done outside of traditional newsrooms and by people covering niche areas. Gener’s writing on theater, especially as it interacts with LGBT lives, is beautifully done, knowledgeable and almost lyrical in its language.”

Gener won the 2010 Best Arts Reporting award from the New York Deadline Club, an SPJ chapter. He is a writer, editor, critic, playwright and visual artist based in New York City. In 2009, he won the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, the highest award for dramatic criticism in the U.S.

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