Google Tools training in February!

Time to learn new tools from Google! SPJ is sending us a trainer for an in-depth training session in Google Tools via the Newslab. We’ve had these trainings in the past, but it’s been four years since the last one and things have advanced significantly!

Our SPJ trainer is Mike Reilley, a lecturer at the University of Illinois-Chicago in digital and data journalism as well as founder of the Red Line Project and co-founder of MediaShift Training Network and Penny Press Digital Consulting. Mike will introduce us to some new Google Earth and verification tools with search shortcuts, as well as data scraping tools, visualizations with Google Flourish, Google Dataset Search, Public Data Explorer and new techniques with MyMaps. These tools can help supplement and support your data collection and help you find new ways to draw audience.

SPJ and the Google News Initiative teamed up in 2015 to provide free training to journalists around the U.S. looking to apply these tools in their news gathering, reporting and storytelling. The programs are provided by talented, personable, knowledgeable SPJ members who have been trained by the Google News Initiative. They are journalists, not Google employees.

Funding for this program is provided through the national Society of Professional Journalists and Google News Initiative. Many thanks go to our friends at St. Louis Public Radio for agreeing to host us for this seminar.

This training is FREE to St. Louis journalists, whether or not you are a member of SPJ! (Though we are always glad to help you join; click here for more information or email St. Louis Pro President Elizabeth Donald.)

Please RSVP at EventBrite! Clicking “interested” on the Facebook event does not reserve you a spot.

Hope to see you in February!

Posted in | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Google Tools training in February!

Enrollment for student journalists is up, despite challenges in profession

Student enrollment in journalism programs is up, and jobs are available but far more varied than they were in decades past, according to this piece from the Associated Press. Student newspapers are also facing some of the same trials as their professional counterparts, but are finding ways to stay alive with sufficient support from students and faculty.

A “Trump bump” is an unexpected positive. Undergraduate enrollment in journalism programs went up nearly 6 percent between 2015 and 2018, the AEJMC said. Journalism is the most popular major for Bellisario’s incoming class at Penn State, after having been surpassed by advertising and PR four years ago…

“When Trump starts calling journalists the enemy of the people and fake news, these kids get ticked off,” Dalglish said.

Years ago, graduates beat a familiar path into low-level reporter jobs at newspapers or television stations. That still happens, but when Kelly Barnett, head of the Newhouse school’s career counseling program, scrolls down the list of jobs taken by recent alumni, she sees titles like digital editorial assistant, social media producer, video streamer, social media specialist.

Also: Quoting our own vice president, Tammy Merrett of the Alestle at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville!


Posted in education | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Enrollment for student journalists is up, despite challenges in profession

Boot camp is this Saturday!

We’re all looking forward to this Saturday’s Student Boot Camp, a day of workshop sessions with working journalists teaching the real work they do every day. We’ve got a great roster of speakers and a lot of students signed up for J-school in a day!

Learn about investigative reporting, research, freelancing, social media and copy editing, and so much more, all of it in a behind-the-scenes perspective. Then participate in a mock press conference with a real police officer, and write a story about the “incident” to compete for gift cards!

This year’s speakers include Danny Wicentowski of the Riverfront Times; Kae Petrin of St. Louis Public Radio; Carl Green of the St. Louis Labor Tribune; freelancers Kathleen Lees and Lynn Venhaus; and St. Louis SPJ president Elizabeth Donald, formerly of the Belleville News-Democrat. Our guest police officer will be Chief Chris Conrad of the Highland Police Department.

Best of all, it’s FREE. There is a $10 deposit per person, which will be refunded upon arrival by request (or may be donated to the chapter scholarship fund if you wish). Breakfast and lunch are provided. It’s not too late to sign up! (We can always run out for more pizza.)

The program takes place Saturday, Sept. 21 in Dunham Hall of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, co-hosted by the SIUE Mass Communications Department and the Alestle. Thanks to all our partners for helping to make this happen!

Watch the event on Facebook, but be sure to register on EventBrite to be counted!

Psst. We always need volunteers! Can you help us help the next generation? Please contact us at!

Holly Edgell speaks to the 2016 SPJ Student Boot Camp about the wonders of Google Tools

Posted in , boot camp, education | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Boot camp is this Saturday!

Wow! We’re second!


I was uncharacteristically speechless when they announced that St. Louis Pro is the runner-up for best small chapter in the nation. I thought we’d had a fairly quiet year, but we’ve done good solid work and apparently someone thinks we’re doing something pretty special.

I happen to agree: I couldn’t be prouder of my wonderful board and our volunteers who help us bring training and support to the journalists of St. Louis. Part of what the national judges cited was our partnerships with other organizations, our friends at the Online News Association, Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists, Editorial Freelancers Association, TechWrite STL and the St. Louis Press Club, as well as our volunteers and supporters.

And that hardly means we’re going to keep doing the same things every year. We are working on plans to bring back Google Tools training, and if there is sufficient interest in a follow-up to our Facebook training project, we will bring Ben back for another round. We have a lot of ideas – more than we can manage! So if you have an idea or want to take point on a project for us, please contact us at!

Remember that I am live-tweeting EIJ at @edonaldmedia, and that the election wraps up tomorrow morning. So check your email for your ballot! Vote!

Thank you all for your support.

— Elizabeth Donald, chapter president and delegate

Posted in awards and honors, excellence in journalism, national convention, SPJ National, training | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Wow! We’re second!