By Tom Henderson
Editorial Writer and Columnist, The Lewiston (Idaho) Tribune
Immediate Past President, Snake River SPJ
CAPITOL THRILL! SPJ officials recently hit Capitol Hill to press lawmakers for substantial reform of the federal Freedom of Information Act and for a federal media shield law. FOIA reform has sailed through the U.S. House of Representatives, but has been stalled in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), known to SPJ’ers as “Senator Secrecy." The federal media shield bill is making its way through both chambers. Watch a video summarizing SPJ's recent trip to D.C., and check out some thoughts about the trip from National President Christine Tatum.
ADVOCACY MADE SIMPLE. Here is what you can do — in just under five minutes — to fight for FOIA reform and a media shield:
— Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have the power to bring the FOIA reform bill (S.B. 849) to the floor for a vote. Call their offices today to let them know that you want them to do so as quickly as possible. Reid may be reached at (202) 224-5556; McConnell may be reached at (202) 224-3135.
— Call your senators and representatives, and let them know that you support a media shield law (H.R. 2102 and S.B. 1267). You can read the text of both bills and find more information about the need for a shield law on SPJ.org.
FURTHER SUPPORT. SPJ is one of 200 special interest groups to lend its support to S. 595, the Toxic Right-to-Know Protection Act. Check out the letter that was recently sent to Washington.
BOOB TUBE? A television station in Tyler, Texas, has a beauty pageant queen with no journalism experience anchoring a news show. The woman's experiences are being chronicled for a reality television program titled, "Anchorwoman." Cary Darling of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported SPJ President Christine Tatum's reaction to the station's hiring decision.
GET A JOB. Students at Bowling Green (Ohio) State University are gearing up for the second-annual Great Lakes Journalism Job and Internship Fair on Saturday, Nov. 17. The fair is run entirely by students. Last year, it brought in more than 130 students from around the state and surrounding region. New for this year, the fair will include broadcast recruiters. Registration costs are still among the lowest in the country.
Interested? Check out The Great Lakes Journalism Job Fair Web site or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SURVEY SAYS. Ashland University Professor Gretchen Dworznik is a former television reporter in need of your help. If you’re a television reporter, photographer or live truck engineer, she wants to hear from you. She’s working on her doctoral dissertation and conducting a survey on the topic of job stress and the toll it can take on broadcast journalists. Take the survey and enter to win a gift card to Borders.
EUROPEAN ESCAPADE. Applications are being accepted for the Milena Jesenská Fellowships for North American Journalists, sponsored by the Institute for Human Sciences at Boston University. The program enables two U.S. or Canadian journalists to spend up to three months in Europe working on a European topic of their choice. Each recipient gets a $12,500 stipend, an office, PC with Internet connection, travel money, and access to the research services and programs of the Institute’s sister institution in Vienna, where they will be based. Duration of the fellowships and start dates are negotiable for between Oct. 1, 2007, and Sept. 30, 2008. Deadline: Aug. 31. More information: Visit The Institute for Human Services Web site.
WRITING IN PARADISE. Join longtime Writer´s Center instructor Sara Taber in Mendoza, the wine capital of Argentina, for a week of writing and refreshment Nov. 3 to 10. Each morning, participants will gather for a creative nonfiction-writing workshop. During these sessions, participants will receive in-depth discussion of their work as well as writing exercises meant to awaken them to the surrounding world. Participants will also have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with the instructor. In the afternoon, participants may spend time writing and experiencing the delights of Mendoza. Cost: $1,600 for double occupancy and $1,950 for single occupancy. (The fee covers lodging, tuition, excursions and most meals, but not airfare) Deadline: Aug. 4. More information: Contact Ellen Hoffman at email@example.com.
JOURNALISTS IN EXILE. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, more than 240 journalists have fled their country to escape violence, imprisonment or harassment in the past six years. Few ever return. That amounts to an average of three journalists a month. The exiled journalists came from 36 countries, but more than half were from just five nations: Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Colombia and Uzbekistan. The report, which includes the personal stories of exiled journalists, is available online.
THE LEADING EDGE. SPJ’s Leading Edge e-newsletter is designed to provide chapter leaders and officers with the tools and information to help lead a chapter, build and retain membership and improve and protect journalism in your communities. Read the June edition online.
WHAT HAVE WE DONE FOR YOU LATELY? Check out your region's latest monthly report and find out.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT…AT THE CONVENTION. There's something for everyone at the 2007 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference, Oct. 4-7 in Washington, D.C. Check out a list of professional development workshops, and visit spj.org frequently for information about sessions, speakers and dates and times.
Want to attend the convention? Register today and guarantee the special convention room rate at the Hyatt Capitol Hill.
COMIC BOOK QUOTE OF THE WEEK. Tom Henderson’s back and you know what that means. Correctly identify the person behind the quote and win a prize from Snake River SPJ.
OK, boys and girls, who said it?
“Hidden historical secrets! Small town churches! International incidents! This is like all my reporter fantasies drenched in hot fudge!”
Send your answers to Tom Henderson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also send along your favorite quotes about journalism from comic books, movies and other forms of pop culture.