By Willie Schatz
Immediate Past President, Washington DC Pro Chapter
FREE TO FREELANCE. Amy Green is the new chairwoman of SPJ's Freelance Committee. She is a freelance journalist for PEOPLE, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor and other publications. She specializes in faith, ethics and social issues, and her work also has appeared in Christianity Today, Charisma and with Religion News Service. Amy is a former Associated Press reporter in Nashville, Tenn. Have questions about freelancing? Reach Amy at (321) 249-7775 or. Or, visit her on the Web.
TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT. Join SPJ's William O. Douglas Professional Chapter, Washington State University, and the Tri-City Herald this evening for a conversation about Washington's open meetings and open records laws. Tim Ford, ombudsman for the Washington State Attorney General's Office; John Ziobro, former Kennewick city attorney now in private practice; Terry Tanner, West Richland city attorney and former Richland City Councilman; and Ken Robertson, Tri-City Herald executive editor, will participate in the discussion. Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, also will discuss a bill he introduced in the recent legislative session that would have increased the fines for open meetings violations. The free, two-hour discussion is at 7 p.m. TONIGHT in WSU Tri-Cities' East Building Auditorium, 2710 University Drive, Richland. For more information, contact William O. Douglas SPJ President Michelle Dupler at (509) 582-1543 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
KUDOS AND PLAUDITS. SPJ national board member Sally Lehrman will become Santa Clara University's first Knight Ridder San Jose Mercury News Endowed Chair in Journalism and the Public Interest. A member of SPJ's board of directors, Lehrman is a distinguished writer and reporter, and is the former chairwoman of SPJ's Diversity Committee. At SCU, she will teach, work on a book about genetics and race, and collaborate on projects to improve journalism's ability to serve the public.
INTERVIEWS, ANYONE? Past SPJ President Mac McKerral has issued an APB for feature writers willing to be interviewed by an honors journalism student about the craft of feature writing. Mac is looking for a cross-section of pros in various markets and circulation brackets as well as freelancers. If you're willing to participate, contact Mac. Mac thanks you in advance.
WHY ARE WE "FREE AND EQUAL". The German Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future" is holding its second International Journalism Competition. To coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in December, the Foundation is inviting young and talented journalists from Belarus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the United States to submit press articles on the theme "All human beings are free and equal..." Prizes will be awarded to three articles in each language category. The deadline to enter is July 31. For more information, visit the organization's Web site or write to Program Manager Veronika Sellner.
SPJ AWARDS IN LA. The Greater Los Angeles SPJ Chapter will host its 32nd annual Distinguished Journalists Awards Banquet on April 30. Journalist and author Cokie Roberts will speak at the banquet and six area journalists will be honored for their work. For more information, visit SPJ LA's Web site.
FOLLOWING OUR LEADS.
(Reproduced as received. Thanks, Martin!)
Dear SPJ Leads:
I just wanted to take a moment to note your SPJ Lead on April 10 for the AMBER Alert session being hosted by the University of South Carolina's Newsplex.
I attended one of the 2006 sessions about a month after the rescue of Elizabeth Shoaf, the Lugoff, S.C., girl who was kidnapped and held in an underground bunker for 10 days. It was especially interesting to me since I had covered the story from start to finish. I found the session extremely informative and helpful. Also revealing was how I, as a print journalist, and my colleagues, most of whom were in television news, perceived things differently when it came to when an AMBER Alert should be issued. Several people thought an AMBER Alert should be issued in every case. In contrast, of the scenarios presented to us, I couldn't find one where I felt an AMBER Alert would have been appropriate under South Carolina's guidelines.
But other print journalists may see things differently, too; the important thing is to learn more about the system, how it works and how it doesn't. As your lead said, there truly is much more to the alert system than meets the eye.
I urge my fellow journalists, especially print journalists, here in South Carolina, to attend one of the sessions. It's an important part of our roles as both the disseminators of news and, in my opinion, public educators. We need to gain a better understanding of it if we are to fulfill those roles.
Martin L. Cahn, Senior Editor, The Chronicle-Independent.
GREAT WORK! It's time again for the Bastiat Prize for Journalism, sponsored by the International Policy Network (IPN), a London-based think tank. The $15,000 prize will be shared by three authors whose published articles "eloquently and wittily explain, promote and defend the principles of the free society, including property rights, free markets, sound science, limited government and the rule of law." The prize was inspired by 19th-century French philosopher Frédéric Bastiat and his compelling defense of liberty. The entry deadline is June 30. For complete contest details, visit The Bastiat Prize Web site.
YEAH, THEY CAN WRITE, BUT CAN THEY ROCK? Find out on June 8 at the Indiana Pro Chapter's inaugural Battle of the Media Bands, aka BoMB, The rockin'-and maybe rollin'-begins at 8 p.m. at Radio Radio, 1119 East Prospect Street in Indianapolis. Tickets are $5, with proceeds benefiting college journalism scholarships. To register your next E Street Band or to inquire about how to handle the adoring crowds that will follow you everywhere, email email@example.com. All musical genres and abilities welcome.
BLOGGING ABOUT ETHICS. San Diego Pro Chapter members will celebrate SPJ's Ethics Week TONIGHT with their favorite bloggers at "Blogapalooza: Ethical Issues Online." Scott Lewis, the editor of voiceofsandiego.org and a San Diego SPJ board member, will lead a discussion with five local bloggers who will share how they handle news on blogs, whether they have a freer rein than they do when writing for traditional media, whether the rules are different for bloggers than for other journalists, and much more. The program starts with a reception at 6:30 p.m. at The San Diego Union-Tribune's first-floor auditorium, 350 Camino de la Reina, in Mission Valley. There's no cost to attend. Contact Jodi Cleesattle at (619) 665-6710 for more details.
SO WHAT'S NEW? Several media organizations, including SPJ's Northern California chapter are sponsoring the 2008 Innovations in Journalism Expo. It's a one-day event, scheduled for May 3 that combines journalism, technology, new business models and philanthropy. Register in advance (it's really reasonable) because tickets prices increase at the door. And, the Career Counseling Speed Dating Sessions registration ends on Monday, April 28. Also, if you've already made plans to attend, please note that there has been a venue change. The Expo will be at the Domain Hotel in Sunnyvale, Calif.
HYPER-LOCALISM IN LA. Save space on May 25 for the Greater Los Angeles chapter's discussion with journalists from the Latino, African American, Asian and Arab-American media on covering the city's diverse ethnic communities. Since LA has become an ethnic majority city, producing and investigating local stories can present challenges when crossing ethnic, language and cultural barriers. Veteran journalists will share advice to effectively pursue, and even partner with, ethnic media journalists for stories that involve ethnic communities. When: 7 p.m.; Cal Plaza, Suite 3950, 300 S. Grand Ave. RSVP: SPJ/LA's Julian Do. Details are available at SPJ LA's Web site.