SPeachJ full of features including member spotlight, and Haiti connection; 4 committees meetings scheduled


Welcome new SPJ Georgia member

Jennifer Matthews, Associate Producer at CNN

Katja Ridderbusch: Freelancer works in U.S. and Europe

By Erica Relaford, SPJ Georgia intern, Savannah State University, senior, majoring in journalism

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Katja Ridderbusch. Photo by Caroline Petters Photography

Katja Ridderbusch, a senior foreign correspondent, author and multimedia journalist has been working in the journalism industry for more than 23 years. Born and raised in Gutersloh, Germany, Ridderbusch says she always liked to tell stories. “The great thing about being a journalist is you can actually look into people’s lives, their conditions and passions,” she said.

As Ridderbusch grew older, her passion for writing began to grow as well. She started from The University of Bonn and went on to attend the Free University of Berlin where she received a master’s degree in Contemporary History. After receiving her master’s degree, and through an internship, Ridderbusch got her first journalism job in television in German network television. -more-

Haitian journalists ask members about ethics and working in a democracy

Haitian photo 5
Eight Haitian journalists and two French interpreters joined SPJ Georgia members to discuss journalism in a democratic society. Photo by Sharon Dunten

By Erica Relaford, SPJ Georgia intern, Savannah State University, senior, majoring in journalism

SPJ Georgia hosted eight professional Haitian journalists with two French interpreters at the Regency Suites Hotel in Midtown Atlanta on June 4 to discuss the topic, “Journalism in a Democratic Society.” The international forum was sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the Georgia Council for International Leadership to provide the Haitian journalists with the opportunity to meet and network with U.S. journalists.

Since the Haitian journalists’ primary language is French, the conversation was led by their French interpreters, Veronique Odekirk and Isabelle Parfait. Communication wires, microphones and ear buds spread over half of the table, which aided the two groups of journalists — one speaking French and the other speaking only English — to communicate well in the discussion about a common link: journalism. -more-

The word is out! Submit your entries for the Peterson Award

Larry Peterson logo for WEBSAVANNAH, GEORGIA — Since SPJ Georgia chapter launched the Larry Peterson Memorial Award for Investigative Journalism in early June, its Facebook has received hundreds of posts and close to a thousand professional journalists and student journalists have been contacted in SPJ Region 3:  Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Alabama.  The Larry Peterson Memorial Award for Investigative Journalism was developed to celebrate the life of Larry Peterson and his 40 years of contributions as an investigative journalist and the “dogged seeker of truth.” Peterson worked as a political reporter and as an editor at the Savannah Morning News the last 15 years of his life. He also held journalism positions California, Washington and Wisconsin before landing in Georgia.

The Larry Peterson Memorial Award for Investigative Journalism will recognize professionals and students who have produced quality investigative reporting in either broadcast, print, online or radio.  Don’t wait! Submit your entries early to be the first to be seen by the distinguished judges. 

For professional journalists, along with the inaugural award, there will be a $400 gift* to go to the best investigative reporting from any category.

For student journalists, along with the inaugural award, there will be a $100 gift* to go to the best investigative reporting from any category.

*The monetary award will also be given every year.  

All entries must have been published, broadcast or placed online between September 1, 2014 and August 1, 2015.  All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on August 30, 2015.  Link HERE to go to the award’s website. Visit the award’s Facebook page here.


SPJ Georgia Committees

Help Wanted: Freelancers to help plan fall freelance events

Independent Journalists logoSPJ Georgia is getting together to talk freelancing on Wednesday, July 29 at 7 p.m. at  the Brookhaven Hudson Grille at 4046 Peachtree Road, Atlanta 30319. Freelancing is the fastest growing market for professional journalists, and every day editors are looking for talent and skills to meet their online or publishing needs. But SPJ Georgia needs your help to brainstorm about what kind of programming needed for freelancers. We had an incredible turnout at Operation: Freelance in the spring and many participants have contacted us to request a second event this year. If interested in attending this half-brainstorming, half socializing event, RSVP by July 20 to Sharon Dunten at sdunten.spjgeorgia@gmail.com. This meeting is open to all SPJ members and guests.


SPJ student journalists can now become SPJ Georgia Collegiate Pros

SPJ Georgia is in the process of literally annexing collegiate (student) pros with our professional chapter! Although Georgia colleges and universities may have active or new SPJ student chapters, SPJ Georgia is offering something extra and very new for these future journalists. Become part of the great new student connection that is starting throughout Georgia by attending the Collegiate Pro Committee meeting on Thursday, July 30, at 7 p.m. Location: TBA. Some topics to be discussed include:

  • Collegiate pro logoDefinition of a collegiate pro
  • Supplying documentation to national organization to join a pro chapter as a student
  • Setting up a PayPal account for membership dues to SPJ Georgia
  • Collegiate Pro Council development.

This committee is open to all SPJ Georgia members and Student SPJ Chapter members. SPJ Georgia plans on meeting with student SPJ leaders in August and September to refine the new category before implementation. Please RSVP Sharon Dunten at sdunten.spjgeorgia@gmail.com if you are planning on attending this meeting.


First Amendment/Ethics Committee to address ongoing violations of public records requests and the freedom of the press

First Amendment logoSince SPJ Georgia’s launch in January 2015, the chapter has had to address violations against journalists for doing their jobs. Whether it is meeting with media leadership to converse about a journalist’s arrest during a protest or supporting a small online-only newspaper struggling to obtain critical information from an urban school corporation, SPJ Georgia First Amendment and Ethics Committee will listen and advocate for professional journalists for their rights as the watchdogs for their communities. The first SPJ Georgia First Amendment/Ethics Committee will meet Thursday, July 23, at 7 p.m. at the Brookhaven Hudson Grille, 4046 Peachtree Road, Atlanta 30319.  Please RSVP Sharon Dunten at sdunten.spjgeorgia@gmail.com if planning to attend.  This committee is open to all SPJ Georgia membership and guests.


Committee to build Haitian News Project to meet on July 9

Haitian flagAfter meeting with the Haitian journalists sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the Georgia Council of International Leadership, SPJ Georgia is creating committee to investigate and build a proposal for an ongoing connection to our journalism counterparts in Haiti. The first meeting will be held a Thursday, July 9 at 7 p.m. at Manuel’s Tavern at 604 North Highland Avenue NE, Atlanta  30307. Please RSVP Mary Silver at marysilver2009@gmail.com. Adina Solomon, SPJ Georgia member, will be the French interpreter for our communications between the Haitian journalists and SPJ Georgia.


SPJ Region 3 conference: Want to learn the latest media tech? 

06 2015 Region 3 logoSPJ South Florida, SPJ Region 3, and the South Florida chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists have teamed up for an intense one-day conference in Miami.

On Saturday, Aug. 15, for as little as $30 for professionals and $15 for students, you can learn how to shoot broadcast-quality video from your smartphone, dazzle an employer with a digital resume, and quickly do data journalism. Oh, and you can fly a drone.

Your price of admission includes a boxed lunch in the cozy Koubek Center and a drink before the Sunshine State Awards ceremony — where winners of Florida’s premier media contest will be announced, certificates will be bestowed, and selected first-place recipients will share their secrets for assembling award-winning journalism. For more information or to register, link here. For more information about the updated spjairplay.com link here.


Georgia First Amendment Foundation’s Weltner Award given to commission

Lester Tate, Jeff Davis, Robert Ingram, Judge Brenda Weaver, Richard Hyde, Judge John Allen at the 2014 Weltner Dinner

The Georgia First Amendment Foundation‘s 2014 Weltner Freedom of Information Award Banquet honoring the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission, took place on Thursday, June 26, 2014 at Kilpatrick Towsend & Stockton, LLP. In the spirit of Charles L. Weltner, The Weltner Freedom of Information Banquet, which occurs each year, honors the Georgian who has done the most for freedom of information. It is named for the former chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court who championed F.O.I. and ethics in state government.


 SPJ members have access to MetLife insurance

MetLife_Logo (1)As a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, members have access to affordable solutions to insurance needs through MetLife.  Whether you are freelance or are looking augment your employer’s offerings, take a look at this members’s only benefit by linking HERE.


SPJ National offers six-month dues waiver

TransitionalMembership_Ad small (1) copySPJ 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 and national Society of Professional Journalists

YOU CAN JOIN SPJ Georgia as a new member and further your journalistic ambitions and the industry in Georgia. For more information, email sdunten.spjgeorgia@gmail.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 or Ellen Eldridge at ellen@elleneldridge.com.  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 the last Monday of every month.  The SPeachJ news is sent out the last Wednesday of every month.

 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: sdunten.spjgeorgia@gmail.com or call (317) 410-7217; Associate Editor: Ellen Eldridge: ellen@elleneldridge.com



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