SPJ national conference draws near


Welcome to the new charter members of SPJ Georgia! Don’t forget that YOU CAN JOIN and further your journalistic ambitions and the industry in Georgia.

  • Matt Duffy, Berry College, visiting assistant professor



Marsha Walton
Marsha Walton

In case you missed it, SPJ Georgia recently welcomed a new interim board member – Marsha Walton. She’s a vastly experienced and accomplished journalist across many companies and platforms. Hopefully, you’ll get to meet Marsha in person soon at an SPJ Georgia event, but here’s a little more about her. You can follow Marsha on Twitter at @MarshaWalton.

Tell us about your journalistic career path.

I lived the nomadic life of a local TV reporter and producer for the first act of my career in Detroit; Columbus, Ohio; Milwaukee; Tampa; and Cleveland. Then an amazing 17-year run at CNN, where I focused on the science, technology and environmental beat. When CNN dissolved the sci-tech unit, I began freelancing, and I’ve continued to cover climate change, conservation and natural resources issues for both broadcast and print.

What brought you to SPJ Georgia in the first place?

I’ve been active in local SPJ chapters in Milwaukee and Tampa. I’m delighted to see SPJ Georgia cranking up and reaching out to all of us navigating the brave, new, sometimes confounding journalistic landscape.

As an interim board member of SPJ Georgia, how do you think we can best benefit our members?

A lot of newspapers and TV networks thought people would always read physical papers and watch the nightly news at 6:30 p.m. Much of journalism has been slow to get the evolutionary hint, “adapt or die.” I hope SPJ Georgia can a) help members keep the core strengths of our profession, like exposing corruption and explaining difficult topics like global warming; and b) reach out to readers, listeners and viewers in the ways they are accessing news, from mobile apps to social media to Google Glass!

You’ve won several major journalism awards and worked on countless big stories for big news organizations and various platforms – what do you consider your crowning journalistic achievement?

I did a documentary called “First Strike” on survivors of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. An intense and rewarding project, which keeps me in touch with global experts on nuclear issues.

When you’re not busy committing acts of journalism, what do you like to do for fun?

Hike, garden, create stained glass projects.

-Jason Meucci, SPJ Georgia interim board member



Stephany Fisher

Congratulations to the WGCL CBS Atlanta News at 11 team, including SPJ Georgia member Stephany Fisher, for a 2014 Southeast Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Television News Programming Excellence. Fisher, along with colleagues, was nominated for work covering the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS). The award ceremony was held Saturday, June 7, at the Grand Hyatt in Atlanta. Other team members include Suzanne Gunn, Elizabeth Taylor, Markina Brown, Mike Paluska and Greg Roberts.

Brittini Ray, a senior public affairs journalism major at the University of Georgia, is one of 12 interns who is staffing The EIJ News, a news site that covers the Excellence in Journalism national conference, which is taking place in Nashville in September. SPJ sponsors internships for 12 student journalists at The EIJ News every year.

SPJ Georgia board member Adina Solomon won the Terry Harper Memorial Scholarship from SPJ. The organization gives out four of these scholarships nationally. The scholarship provides funds to attend the Excellence in Journalism conference.

Kennessaw State University student Ellen Eldridge, who serves as Kennesaw State University campus chapter president, was accepted to Will Write For Food. This SPJ program lets 24 students from across the U.S. to take over the second-largest homeless publication in the country. Will Write For Food is during Labor Day weekend in Hollywood, Florida.

If you would like to share news about an SPJ Georgia member, please email spjgeorgia@gmail.com.



Sept. 4-6: SPJ Excellence in Journalism national conference is held in Nashville, Tennessee, at the Opryland Hotel. Registration is now open, and SPJ members get a $200 discount.

Continuing: SPJ national revises its Code of Ethics.



On June 3, the SPJ Georgia interim board met via Google Hangout.  Sharon Dunten, Marsha Walton, Jason Meucci, Adina Solomon and Phelps Hawkins were in attendance.

The following are highlights of the June 3 interim board meeting:

  • As of June 3, SPJ Georgia had 55 members.
  • The board wants to make introductions to newsrooms in Macon, Augusta, Savannah and Northeast Georgia.
  • SPJ Georgia is considering printing its own brochures to give out to prospective members.
  • Present board members agreed to look at the bylaws and provide any comments to Phelps, who is spearheading the project to create SPJ Georgia’s bylaws.
  • The board talked about mentorship opportunities with student journalism organizations.
  • Ruksana and Adina will be the delegates for SPJ Georgia at the Excellence in Journalism conference.

The next board meeting will be held by video chat on Tuesday, July 1 at 7 p.m. Please contact spjgeorgia@gmail.com if you want to attend the meeting. Please note that all records are open to SPJ Georgia members upon request.


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