Freelance? Talk to editors and writers who work in the fastest growing segment of journalism
What: Operation: Freelance – Learn the ins and outs of freelancing from editors and freelance professionals
When: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Feb. 21
Where: Kennesaw State University, Social Science Building, Room 1017, 402 Bartow Avenue, Kennesaw, Georgia 30144
Who: Go to http://bit.ly/1EigpCP to register and see who will be the panelists for this freelancing event
With more and more professional journalists moving into the freelance journalism market, SPJ Georgia’s first 2015 event, “Operation: Freelance,” on Feb. 21, 2015, at Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia, will dive into information ranging from starting a freelance business, how to pitch ideas to editors and what wages to expect. Operation: Freelance’s panelists include successful journalists who work as freelance professionals or work directly with freelancers as editors. This is the time to ask those difficult questions about approaching an editor for the first time or maybe finding a particular niche market to explore. Either way, Operation: Freelance will provide the beginner or seasoned journalists the options available in this growing journalism market.
SPJ offers boot camp for day-long journalism training
When: Friday, February 27, Journo Camp in Atlanta
Where: Embassy Suites Centennial Olympic Park, 267 Marietta Street, Atlanta, Georgia 30312 (404) 223-2300
Parking: The hotel offers valet parking for $30
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. reception; includes morning coffee and lunch
Registration: Follow this link to register online. The deadline to register is Monday, February 23
Trainers include: Victor Hernandez, news futurist and video/TV news producer; Lane DeGregory, Tampa Bay Times reporter and 2009 Pulitzer winner for feature writing; Andy Boyle, developer, BreakingNews.com
Fee: Professional SPJ member: $35; Student SPJ member: $20; Professional non-member: $55; Student non-member: $40
One of the nation’s oldest journalism contests is back for its 65th year for professionals and student journalists
Attention journalists who work in the Deep South: The Green Eyeshade Awards is open for entries. This venerable all-media contest, created in 1950, is back with new categories – but the same old prices ($60 for pros, $40 for SPJ members).
The Green Eyeshades recognizes the best in print, online, radio, and television from 11 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
This year marks the return of the College Top 10. Unlike other college media contests, the College Top 10 recognizes individuals instead of stories – especially beat reporters. And the entry fee is among the cheapest in the nation at only $20 per category.
All proceeds from the College Top 10 benefit SPJ’s annual homeless shelter newspaper program called Will Write For Food.
If you have questions or seek details on the 65th annual Green Eyeshade Awards, contact contest coordinator Tim Dodson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New SPJ Georgia board member says J-students need to connect more with journalism professionals in Georgia
By Haley Harris, for SPeachJ
Augusta, Georgia -New SPJ Georgia board member Dr. Rick Kenney of Georgia Regents University comes to the journalism leadership position with a long history in working as a professional journalist and more than 15 years inspiring students to become active in collegiate journalism programs.
Kenney has worked as an editor for 13 daily newspapers, including the St. Petersburg Times, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Augusta Chronicle. He is professor and journalism department chair at GRU Augusta, in his sixth full-time teaching job.
“What I hope to promote within SPJ Georgia … is a better connection with college students (and) with campus chapters,” Kenney said. “There are very few now, but I hope to help those existing chapters reach out to other universities that have journalism programs and maybe create SPJ (student) chapters around the state,” he said.
He said he wants to help students to get to know what’s going on at other Georgia campus newspapers with an organization (SPJ Georgia) versus a campus newspaper. Kenney said he likes “being around the students and watching them take ownership of ‘How do you take a student campus organization and affiliate and work with professionals in the networking level,'” Kenney said.
“I think there’s better opportunities for real time and continuous connections,” he said.
Kenney was named National Educator of the Year in the newspaper division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in 2010.
His collegiate career started at Troy State University in Alabama in 1998, where he first became a national member of the Society of Professional Journalists and advised the SPJ Troy State student chapter. “The chapter had actually won the honor of best chapter in the country,” Kenney said. “So those were big shoes to fill, and I was excited to do that.” The two previous advisers had been SPJ National board members.
Making his own mark at Troy State, Kenney, together with his student chapter, earned a $1000 grant from SPJ National to help a local high school begin publishing a student newspaper.
Kenney also advised the SPJ Florida Southern College student chapter and advised student chapters of the National Association of Black Journalists at Troy State and at the University of Central Florida.
“It was always inspiring for me to watch … I just got a lot out of watching the students do things for themselves (and) lift themselves up to that level so that they could enhance their profile and improve their chances of getting a job or an internship by meeting people and networking,” Kenney said.
He earned his undergraduate degree at Bethany College in West Virginia and his Ph.D. at the University of Georgia. At Bethany, Kenney said, one of the members of the “inspiring communication faculty” pushed him to apply for a Newspaper Fund editing internship and it sparked his passion in journalism. That internship led to his professional career, which began at the Palm Beach Post one year later.
Kenney went on to direct the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund Southeastern Center for Editing Excellence from 2002 to 2008. He wrote COPY! The First 50 Years of the Newspaper Fund in 2009.
Harris is a student at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Georgia. She is the news editor for GRU Bell Ringer.
Slapping wrists of those who write the news: journalists discuss First Amendment violations in Atlanta
By Ellen Eldridge, President-Elect, SPJ Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia – John Ruch said he thought someone was being a jerk by waving a hand in front of his cell phone as he tried to take a picture of a protester’s arrest Nov. 26. The Creative Loafing freelance reporter said he had a great view through the crowd in Atlanta, and he was trying to take photographs for his assignment.
Moments later, Ruch realized the hand belonged to an Atlanta police officer. The officer grabbed Ruch’s arm from behind and another officer nodded an okay to arrest Ruch and a few others, who he said seemed randomly chosen from the crowd. A police officer also confiscated his cell phone.
The Nov. 26 Atlanta protest marches were fueled by the Missouri grand jury’s Nov. 24 decision not to indict the white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, on Aug. 9.
“’You’re under arrest. Get on the ground,’ were her first words to me,” Ruch said during a gathering of journalists at an Atlanta pub on Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 19. On this national holiday, the Society of Professional Journalists – Georgia organized a serious chat to discuss the recent First Amendment rights violations in Georgia.
WXIA/WATL News Director Jennifer Rigby attended the gathering as a representative for 11 Alive News because one of the station’s video photojournalists, Tyson Paul, was arrested at the same night as Ruch. Along with Ruch, Creative Loafing Editor-in-Chief Debbie Michaud and News Editor Thomas Wheatley attended. Creative Loafing is an Atlanta alternative online and print news weekly.
Board members from SPJ Georgia, Kennesaw State University SPJ Chapter President Alex Moore and guests joined the discussions with Georgia First Amendment Foundation Executive Director Hollie Manheimer and GFAF board member and Kennesaw University Journalism Professor Carolyn Carlson to address the rights of the press. Even though the amendment is highly regarded by those actively reporting under the freedom of the press, all American citizens have protection under the First Amendment.
Ruch described how his excitement turned to confusion and fear as he spotted his news editor through the masses of people and police.
“I kept asking why I was being arrested, and I see poor Thomas (Wheatley) wandering the sidewalk somehow free to commit journalism on his own,” Ruch said.
Journalists around the table laughed, but then the mood switched to stern opinions on why it should or shouldn’t matter if a journalist carries a formal press credential to identify them as a member of the press, and furthermore, asked why is it illegal to be arrested for taking a photo of an arrest from the sidewalk.
Ruch was asked for his press credentials by the Atlanta police officer who arrested him. Would presenting a press credential have stopped the police officer from arresting the journalist? Unknown. Ruch said journalists or citizens don’t need to carry press credentials under freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. As a freelance reporter for Creative Loafing, Ruch was not issued a press credential from the publication. Since his arrest on Nov. 26, Creative Loafing does provide press credentials to their freelance contributors, said Michaud.
When Wheatley walked over to where Ruch’s arrest was occurring, he said he asked the officer, “Is this your first time arresting a journalist?” Next, looking down at his cell phone, Wheatley said he was frustrated because his cell phone had only one bar of battery power left, but as a news editor facing one of his reporters’ arrest, he went ahead and made the call to a public information officer for the Atlanta Police Department. He later was able to charge his phone at a friend’s home nearby and continued to communicate with Michaud throughout the evening and early morning hours of Thanksgiving Day.
Many protesters were arrested or detained by Georgia and Atlanta law enforcement, loaded into a corrections buses and taken to precincts throughout Atlanta and to Turner (baseball) Field.
Only hours before Ruch and Paul were to appear in front of a judge, they were bailed out. The two journalists appeared in court and stood before a judge in a packed courtroom to hear their charges. Both Wheatley and Rigby agreed the Atlanta city attorney, police chief and mayor apologized quickly. The city attorney was “fairly horrified” and charges had already been dropped, Rigby said.
“Cops need better training,” she added in regard to the newer and lower ranking officers’ lack of knowledge of the First Amendment and arresting journalists doing their jobs by covering breaking news.
The two arrested journalists were bailed out quickly “as is possible” with the booking process, Manheimer said, adding that in terms of advocacy, the burden is not on the journalist. “There isn’t a class of people who have more First Amendment rights than others,” she said.
George Chidi, a freelancer who fought a temporary restraining order filed against him by a political candidate, jumped in to the conversation.
“They do this crap all the time,” Chidi said. “How do we punish them for it?”
Rigby said 11 Alive wouldn’t be pursuing the case further now that the reporter is free and charges have been dropped. The photojournalist was actually filming live when a relatively young Atlanta officer made the arrest. Rigby says the photojournalist told the police officer he was on television and the officer said, “That’s awesome.” The entire arrest was filmed by one of the station’s choppers, Rigby said.
Though Ruch and Paul spent a handful of hours in jail Nov. 26 and Chidi in October was unable to blog for two or more weeks, these Georgia journalists might not see a lasting impact on their careers but did voice that the aggravation was unnecessary and illegal.
Chidi did note that the two weeks he was legally prevented from blogging were the last two weeks of the election he was covering. That makes the time significant, he said.
Rather than seeking revenge, SPJ Georgia and the journalists gathered advocate for more training of new police officers and to continue the conversation on the First Amendment with law enforcement and the general public.
Rigby suggested that the public’s opinion of media doesn’t always support the mission. “People think we’re part of the problem,” she said.
Ruch added that some people think reporters just bring grief. Others may think that if the media didn’t cover protesters, the protests would stop, he said. Even though these sentiments might be said by some individuals, the Supreme Court upholds the freedom of the press to act as a check on government and a way for the public to stay informed.
“Not many people cared about me getting arrested,” Ruch said, but he said he wanted to report the stories of those in the paddy wagon with him. He was less concerned with sharing his own story than reporting about those locked up with him.
“Their stories would be great. Why doesn’t anyone care?” he asked.
To answer those tough questions, the journalists who gathered on Jan. 19 focused on the re-dedication to the craft: stronger storytelling, more in-depth reporting and making First Amendment rights issues more readable.
As for a citizen’s right for freedom of speech or a journalist’s freedom of the press, many at the gathering said “we, like them, are just doing our jobs” under the First Amendment.
Eldridge is a staff writer with Reporter Newspapers in Sandy Springs. She also works as a freelance journalist and content marketer. Her greatest accomplishment is finding a perfect partner in marriage and having two children. She is a graduate of Kennesaw State University. Eldridge resides in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Find her at www.EllenEldridge.com and on Twitter @EllenEldridge27
Society of Professional Journalists’ Legal Defense Fund: The Society’s Legal Defense Fund is a unique account that can be tapped for providing journalists with legal or direct financial assistance. Application to the fund is approved by either a small committee or the national board, depending on the level of assistance sought.
The Society of Professional Journalists collects and distributes contributions for aiding journalists in defending the freedom of speech and press guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The primary role of the Legal Defense Fund is to initiate and support litigation that enforces public access to government records and proceedings, which can be the most expensive way to defend the First Amendment. The fund can also be a source of support for FOI hotlines, coalitions and newsletters, as well as for legislative lobbying activities aimed at enforcing public access to government records and proceedings. All requests for money from the Legal Defense Fund will be weighed with special consideration for activities that will effect the most far-reaching and positive outcomes. For more information, link to http://www.spj.org/ldf.asp
From hometown newspaper to business magazine, Haisten Willis says to keep your eyes open as journalists
By Lauren Booker, for SPeachJ
Atlanta, Georgia – Despite uncertainties that arise when finding a job in the journalism field, Haisten Willis, editor at France Media, said he has always had an interest in the craft.
“You like to think you have some job security, and when you are not sure of that, it makes it challenging,” he said. “But, for me, I have so much passion for what I am doing. I enjoy doing it and couldn’t really see myself doing anything else.”
Willis began to pursue journalism when he received his master’s degree in Mass Communication at California State University, Fresno. While there, he said he appreciated receiving the degree and participating in the college’s newspaper, The Collegian.
“When I saw that (Willis’) piece published, it kind of became clear to me that … that is what I wanted to do. So, it was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed working at the student paper there,” Willis said.
His said his first journalism job was a full-time position at the Douglas County Sentinel, which is in his hometown of Douglasville, Georgia.
“And so it was really a good experience and I got to really see my hometown in a different light,” Willis said. “When you work on the paper you kind of get this whole different perspective on your hometown, and it’s very eye opening.”
He said the individual he worked under was a hard-nosed, aggressive journalist who taught him more about the field.
“He kind of showed me the ropes and he actually very aggressively was always going after different politicians for some committee or filing open records requests.” Willis said. He added that he really admired his aggressiveness and tried be aggressive like that himself.
He said his greatest accomplishments so far have been the investigative journalism he did at the Douglas County Sentinel. He said he did various investigations which included finding a number of councilmen behind on their property taxes by more than $10,000.
“Another was a candidate running for mayor and he had used, kind of, a road cop to help, kind of, threaten other policemen to say that ‘if you don’t vote for me I will fire you after I win the office,’” he said. “It was kind of a subtle thing but that was the subtle threat he was making that I was able to uncover. Willis said both articles were substantial for him as a journalist.
Later, Willis worked as an editor at the Villa Rican, a weekly newspaper in West Georgia. He said the experience was similar to being a reporter, except his was working solo both as a writer and an editor.
“It was like a one man show.” he said. “When the editor from the Douglas County Sentinel was out, I would be the editor there. It was kind of like an assistant editor position as well.”
Now, Willis covers commercial real estate for France Media, which provides business-to-business magazines for the largest commercial real estate publisher in the U.S.
As an experienced journalist and editor, Willis’ advice to prospective journalists is to keep their eyes open in order to succeed and to understand that they will learn more about journalism through work experience than they did in the classroom.
“Be on Twitter. Make sure you are following lots of different news accounts that are in your coverage area. Read a lot and talk to a lot of people if you can,” he said.
As a hobby, Willis said he also covers Georgia Southern’s football for the sports website, SB Nation.
Willis said he joined the Society of Professional Journalists to gain networking opportunities in Georgia.
“In grad school, I didn’t get a lot of networking that I could use in this part of the country. I didn’t know anybody when I came back,” he said. “So, the biggest thing for me was to go out and be able to meet other journalists that are working in the metro area, and you know, exchange business cards, learn about what they do and learn their perspective on things. Just meet people and let them know me.”
Lauren Booker is a journalism major at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to being a contributing writer for SPeachJ, she works as the associate news editor at The Signal newspaper at Georgia State. For over a year at The Signal, she has written online and print news articles on topics ranging from housing maintenance to state legislation. Lauren is also a student at Georgia State’s Honors College, member of the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists, Circle K International and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. When she is not writing, she enjoys reading articles and learning new things.
Apply for Harper Memorial Scholarships to attend EIJ15 in Orlando
Specifically, the scholarships will provide the following:
— A convention registration
— Three nights stay at the conference hotel, the Orlando World Center Marriott
— Airfare to Orlando, Fla. (Up to $250)
— One ticket to the RTDNA Paul White Awards Reception and one ticket to the SPJ President’s Installation Banquet
To be eligible for the scholarship:
— Be an active member of SPJ
— Have contributed to SPJ on the local, regional and/or national level — Be a working, professional journalist
Applications are due May 12, 2015. The selection of the scholarship winners will be made by the Harper Memorial Scholarship Committee. Applicants will be notified by May 31, 2015.
If you have any questions, please contact Chris Vachon at 317-927-8000 x 207 or email@example.com. Please Note: Previous recipients of a Terry Harper Memorial Scholarship are not eligible to apply.
Lewis Scholarship applications for SPJ student members available
This award was created to honor Robert Lewis, SPJ President 1985-86, National FOI Chairman 1978-83 and Wells Key Recipient 1980.
From the generosity of the Lewis family, the award is given each year to a student SPJ member who has demonstrated outstanding service to the First Amendment through the field of journalism. The award assists a student with his/her attendance to SPJ’s annual convention.
Specifically, the scholarships will provide the following:
— A convention registration
— $350.00 for travel expenses
To be eligible for the scholarship:
— Be an active member of SPJ
— Be a student member of SPJ
— Demonstrate outstanding service to the First Amendment
Applications are due May 12, 2015. If you have any questions, please contact Abbi Martzall, Awards Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (317) 927-8000 x 210
SPJ Diversity Leadership Program seek fellows
Strengthening SPJ’s diversity membership representation is important to the organization’s health and future. The Diversity Leadership Program is an opportunity for members to become more acquainted with SPJ through exposure to the Society. This educational process begins at the national conference and includes a complimentary conference registration and paid travel to the event. Each year, SPJ selects six members to participate in the program and they are referred to as SPJ Diversity Leadership Fellows.
Specifically, the program will provide the following:
— A convention registration
— Four-night stay at the conference hotel, the Orlando World Center Marriott
— Airfare to Orlando, Fla. (up to $300)
— One ticket each to the SPJ President’s Banquet and RTDNA Paul White Reception.
To be eligible for the scholarship:
— Have at least three years of post-college journalism experience
— Be a member of SPJ for at least one year
— Be a person of color or other under-represented group (i.e., LGBT/disabled)
— Be willing to attend the entire conference and all events/programs planned for the Fellows
— Be willing to get involved/stay involved in SPJ at the local and/or national level
Applications are due May 12, 2015. Applicants will be notified by May 31, 2015. Previous participants of the Diversity Leadership Program are not eligible to apply. If you have any questions, please contact Chris Vachon at 317-927-8000 x 207 email@example.com.
U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs to appear at Health Journalism 2015
Join hundreds of journalism colleagues in California’s Silicon Valley – an intersection of health and technology, and home to Health Journalism 2015.
- Narrative craft workshop
- Genetics primer for journalists
- Accurately reporting on medical findings
- What’s ahead in insurance exchanges
- Latest research on aging
- Localizing Medicare
- Health aspects of climate change
- Big data in medical research
- Electronic health records
- Wearables and other new tech
- Venture capitalists and health startups
- Several freelancer sessions
- Freelancer PitchFest
Link here for more information.
Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media available at no cost
Who should apply? The ONA-Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media is training designed for women working in the digital space with leadership responsibilities or demonstrated leadership potential who are focused on advancing their careers toward higher leadership in journalism and technology. It will include guidance on the business of journalism, individual leadership style, navigating newsroom culture, entrepreneurship and one-on-one coaching. This interactive curriculum will be led by prominent women faculty in the start up, tech, media and academic fields. All participants will get one-on-one coaching, will seek and analyze 360 feedback and create a personal leadership strategy.
Application Process: The application is several pages long and will likely take you 30 minutes or more to fill out. It does not offer an autosave feature, but you may click through to the final page and submit for later editing. However, we recommend assembling all your required information ahead of time and completing the application in one sitting.
To apply, click here.
Costs: $0.00 What will be covered? Donors and sponsors will cover tuition costs. Participants will cover their own travel costs. A limited number of travel stipends will be available. Once we select the class, we will determine the extent of the need and do our best to meet as many requests as possible.
SPJ Georgia board news
Members in attendance for the Jan. 13, 2015 SPJ Georgia in attendance: Sharon Dunten, Ellen Eldridge, Carolyn Cunningham, Ciara Frisbie, Lindsay Gladu, Dr. Rick Kenney, Devika Rao, Dan Whisenhunt, Curt Yeomans. Absent: Leah Betancourt, Marsha Walton – due to work commitments.
SPJ Georgia board meetings are open to all SPJ and SPJ Georgia members and the general public. Please contact Carolyn Cunningham at firstname.lastname@example.org at least 24 hours before the meeting. If you would like to address the board, contact Carolyn at least seven days before the next meeting.
Highlights of the Jan. 19, 2015 board of directors meeting:
- The board still needs a treasurer. Please contact Sharon Dunten with possible candidates
- The SPJ Georgia bank account will be changing from Chase to Delta Credit Union after Feb. 21
- The chapter quarterly check was late from SPJ national
- Most impressions occurred on Dec. 19 with 2,310 on women in digital media (ONA)
- The board agreed that SPJ Georgia needs to develop a LinkedIn page
- Jim Crane and Stephany Fisher are new members of SPJ Georgia
- Sharon Dunten announced that SPJ National has eliminated chapter grants
- SPJ Georgia has a three-signature policy to write a check or use the debit card
- Dan Whisenhunt asked SPJ Georgia President Sharon Dunten to provide a SPJ and SPJ Georgia membership report to board members within 10 days of the Jan. 19 meeting
- A $250 gift was given by Dr. Kenney to purchase a banner for SPJ Georgia
SPJ National offers six-month dues waiver
SPJ members and chapters are the lifeline to the Society of Professional Journalists.
It has been painful to watch our SPJ Georgia members, our friends, who have lost jobs as a result of the economy and drastic industry changes. In an effort to help through this rough time, the SPJ National is now offering a six-month dues waiver to current members who have been laid off as a result of these unfortunate circumstances. To see if you qualify for the waiver, and to submit a request, please download this form and return it to SPJ headquarters. We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity.
Also, check and SPJ Georgia social media websites frequently. We list new job listings all the time on Facebook and Twitter.
We need each other more than ever.
Become a member of SPJ Georgia
YOU CAN JOIN SPJ Georgia as a new member and further your journalistic ambitions and the industry in Georgia. For more information, email email@example.com or call Sharon Dunten at (317) 410-7217. Would you like to receive a SPJ Georgia Directory? SPJ Georgia members please email SPJGeorgia@gmail.com.
SPEACHJ Breaking News
When breaking news about a journalist or journalism is occurring in Georgia (or nationally), the SPeachJ Breaking News will be covering it. The breaking news will be email blasted immediately to our SPJ Georgia members and SPJ Georgia social media. If you have news about a journalist or journalism occurring in Georgia that needs to covered in SPeachJ Breaking News, contact SPJGeorgia@gmail.com or call Sharon Dunten at (317) 410-7217. The journalist does not need to be a SPJ or SPJ Georgia member. We are advocates for all journalists.
SPeachJ editorial deadlines
The next editorial deadline for SPeachJ is Feb. 23, 2015. For a complete list of SPeachJ editorial deadlines, contact SPJGeorgia@gmail.com. We will be happy to send you the dates.
SPeachJ is the official publication of the Society of Professional Journalists Georgia Professional Chapter with all rights reserved. Any of the copy published on SPeachJ is copyright protected. All authors of individual articles published on SPeachJ own their own copyright to their assigned or contracted articles; yet each author has a contract with SPJ Georgia or SPJ National to use those articles at any time without the author’s permission. For additional information on SPJ Georgia’s copyright policy, contact SPJGeorgia@gmail.com.
Editor: Sharon Dunten: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (317) 410-7217