By Scott Leadingham
SPJ Communications Department
ONE FINAL REMINDER. Don't delay! You've got less than one week to submit entries for the Sigma Delta Chi Awards. All entries must be postmarked by Feb. 4 if you want your hard work to be considered for this prestigious professional contest, which recognizes journalism in 53 categories. Entry forms and contest rules are at the SPJ Web site. As always, Awards Coordinator Lauren Rochester is on hand to answer your questions. Contact her at 317-927-8000 ext. 210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
GET REMEMBERED, HEROES. It's often said that heroes get remembered, but legends never die. "Legendary" status might be hard to achieve, so why not be a hero? And because of the Heroes of the 50 States award, you'll certainly be remembered. SPJ has joined with the National Freedom of Information Coalition to offer Heroes of the 50 States: The State Government Hall of Fame. The award recognizes contributions to open government at the state level. Nominations are due by Feb. 4 to NFOIC Executive Director Charles Davis. Click here for more information.
AWARDS FOR YOU, SO CONTACT SUE. Since 1953 the Scripps Howard Foundation has recognized the best work in journalism through its National Journalism Awards, with prize money totaling $195,000. The competition recognizes excellence in 17 categories, including those of particular interest to SPJ members: radio and television journalism, service to the First Amendment, editorial writing, human interest writing, environmental and public service reporting, investigative reporting, business/economics reporting, commentary and photojournalism. There is even a special collegiate category for student cartoonists and journalism teacher of the year. Cash prizes are $10,000 for each category with the exception of investigative reporting, which carries a $25,000 cash prize. But you'd better hurry the postmark deadline is Jan. 31. Winners will be announced March 13 and honored at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. April 24. Entry forms and contest details are available at the Foundation Web site. Direct questions to Sue Porter at 513-977-3030.
NOW THAT'S CHANGE TO BELIEVE IN! SPJ's Green Eyeshade Awards, which honor journalistic excellence in 11 Southeastern states, just became a little cheaper. And in a time of constrained budgets and tight wallets, it's certainly a welcome change. Entry fees for SPJ members have been lowered to $40 from $50. The nonmember fee is now $55, down from $75. Rules and entry forms are available at the SPJ Web site. The deadline for entries is Feb. 18. Contact Sarah Prickett, contest administrator, with any questions: email@example.com or 501-399-3639.
WANTED: MENTEES. Everybody needs a little help from their friends. Now, young SPJ members can find friends in their (slightly) older and seasoned colleagues by joining the Mentor Match-up Program. The program matches young journalists with industry and academic veterans to offer valuable perspective and networking potential. Of course, mentees can certainly help their mentors in the new ways of practicing journalism. Getting into the program is easy just sign up online and SPJ will make a match for you.
OPEN THE TOOLBOX. If you haven't heard the news, SPJ recently acquired an amazing reporting resource. The Journalist's Toolbox, maintained by DePaul University instructor Mike Reilley, offers more than 10,000 links to Web resources on a diverse range of topics, from the environment to crime to religion. Do yourself a favor and bookmark the site and use it often. Early feedback from users has been overwhelmingly positive. The site even got a mention in the E-media Tidbits column by Poynter's Barbara Iverson. Your feedback and suggestions for the site are always welcomed and can be e-mailed to Mike Reilley.
ALOHA, INTERNS. There are few things better in the minds of journalism students than paid newsroom internships. That is, unless the internships happen to be in Hawaii! The state's professional SPJ chapter is sponsoring 11 full and part-time paid summer internships at various news outlets, encompassing print and broadcast media. Preference is given to students already attending college in the state of Hawaii studying on the U.S. mainland. Recent graduates are also eligible. So put down your tropical drink and take off the hula skirt the application deadline is Feb. 17. Details and an application are at the chapter's Web site. Contact Craig DeSilva with questions: firstname.lastname@example.org or 808-282-1038.
A LIGHT IN THE MOUNTAIN NIGHT. By now you've likely heard of the fight employees of the Rocky Mountain News are waging to keep their newspaper alive after the announcement by owner E.W. Scripps Company to sell the paper. SPJ Region 9 Director John Ensslin and his colleagues started a Web site to rally support, and now they're going beyond the Web and into the community. As this edition of Leads goes into cyberspace, 150 candle-carrying supporters are preparing to hold a vigil, each candle representing one year of the paper's existence.
THERE SHE IS, MISS JOURNALISM. Residents of Indiana the location of SPJ Headquarters recently received what they've been waiting for so many decades: a homegrown, authentic Miss America from the Hoosier state. Journalists around the country have reason to be proud, too. The newly-crowned beauty queen, Katie Stam, is an aspiring broadcast journalist at the University of Indianapolis who hopes to work in TV news. And to top it off, her work as a student won an award from the Hoosier Pro SPJ chapter recently.