Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2001
News editors, Business editors, Feature editors,
Photo editors, Assignment desks, Calendar listings
James L. Gray, SPJ Executive Director, 317/927-8000 ext. 220 or jgray @spj.org
INDIANAPOLIS – Leaders of the Society of Professional Journalists today confirmed that the annual convention in Seattle/Bellevue, Wash., will go on as scheduled Oct. 4-6.
Members of the Society’s Executive Committee conferred a number of times since Sept. 11. Disruptions in air service and other events, including the cancellation of other high-profile journalism meetings, created concern for SPJ, not to mention the long hours many of its members have been working in order to produce news coverage.
“Registrations remain strong, and we're looking forward to an informative and lively convention,” said SPJ President Ray Marcano, an assistant managing editor at the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News.
A number of panel programs at the convention have been changed to reflect recent events in New York and Washington, especially as these affect journalists and relate to journalism.
“I always favored going ahead with the convention, for many reasons,” said SPJ President-Elect Al Cross, political writer and columnist for The Courier-Journal in Louisville. “It is the most important event on SPJ's annual schedule and was even more important this year.”
Cross, who will become SPJ president Oct. 6, added, “Part of the attackers' motives appeared to be the disruption of American society, and President Bush urged us all to resume our normal routines. Also, SPJ members needed to convene and discuss the First Amendment implications raised by the nation's move toward a war footing.”
To accommodate members whose plans have been affected by the events of Sept. 11, the Society advanced the date it will accept cancellations without penalties from Sept.15 to Sept. 28.
“We’re going forward because our members clearly want us to go forward,” said SPJ Executive Director Jim Gray. “Registrations continue to come in far outnumbering cancellations. In fact, we expect record attendance.”
The SPJ annual convention will be at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bellevue, Wash., beginning Thursday, Oct. 4. The Opening Night Reception will take place at the Experience Music Project in Seattle, with other events scheduled over the three-day period.
Convention programmers restructured several professional development sessions to discuss practical and ethical issues surrounding responsible and compassionate journalism in the moment of tragedy. Session topics will focus on the use of still and motion photography, intimate storytelling, freedom of information, and first-hand accounts of the ways trauma changes a story.
In addition, journalists covering events at the World Trade Center and the nation's capital on Tuesday, Sept. 11, will share first-hand accounts of how their experiences changed their professional and personal lives.
Registration for the convention is still available via SPJ’s Web site at www.spj.org.
The Society of Professional Journalists works to improve and protect journalism. The organization is the nation’s largest and most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.