Mark of Excellence Awards at Region 7 conference!

Several Mark of Excellence awards went to St. Louis-area college students this weekend at the Region 7 conference!

A full list of MoE awards will be posted soon on the Kansas City Press Club website. In the meantime, here are the awards that I picked up on behalf of our St. Louis students:

• Michelle Sproat of Lindenwood University, winner for television sports photography, “Lindenwood men’s water polo hosts tournament”; and winner for television general news reporting, “Yik Yak takes Lindenwood by storm.”

• Caitlin Baker of Lindenwood University, winner for television in-depth reporting, “Stop heroin.”

• Kristine Gipperich of Lindenwood University, finalist for television in-depth reporting, “Body of Jane Doe exhumed.”

• Phil Scherer of Lindenwood University, winner for sports writing (small college), “From palm trees to cobblestones: Journeyman QB to end college career at LU.”

• Je’Nell McCrary of St. Louis Community College, finalist for general column writing (small college), “National sexual assault awareness month.”

• Phil Brahm of Lindenwood University, finalist for best use of multimedia, “Road work will cause delays on major route along Lindenwood campus.”

• Emily Adair, Phil Brahm and staff of Lindenlink at Lindenwood University, finalist for best associated website.

• Viktoria Muench of Lindenwood University, winner for general news reporting (small college), “Dorm key raise security concerns.”

There were many other awards handed out, so please visit the Kansas City Press Club in the coming days and we will add a link when the full list is posted. St. Louis Pro chapter president Elizabeth Donald accepted the Lindenwood and SLCC certificates on behalf of those who could not be there, and will distribute them to the winners as soon as possible. For lots of detail on the conference, check out #spjregion7con on Twitter!

Congratulations to the winners!

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Terry Harper scholarship deadline approaching!

The Terry Harper scholarship permits a journalist to attend the Excellence in Journalism conference at the society’s expense. Harper was the executive director of SPJ from 2002 until his death from cancer in 2009. Sigma Delta Chi then set up a memorial fund that permits a few journalists to attend EIJ each year.

I am proud to have been one of the two initial recipients of the Terry Harper Scholarship, and it opened up a number of opportunities for me. EIJ is a profoundly useful and reinvigorating experience, with many opportunities for professional development and an excitement and energy that always renews my focus on my work. As a Harper recipient, I met a number of wonderful colleagues and brilliant minds, and was eventually honored with a seat on the Ethics Commission, which has been my passion throughout my career.

The Harper scholarship provides a convention registration, four nights’ stay at the conference hotel (the Sheraton New Orleans), airfare to New Orleans up to $250, and a ticket to the SPJ president’s installation banquet.

To be eligible, you must have been a member of SPJ for at least one year, have contributed to SPJ on the local, regional and/or national level, and have graduated from college (undergrad or grad) at least one year ago.

Applications are due June 5, 2016. The selection of the scholarship winners will be made by the Harper Memorial Scholarship Committee. Applicants will be notified by June 30, 2016.

Wait! You’re a student and thus aren’t eligible? Don’t give up! There are a number of opportunities for students to attend! The Columbia Graduate School of Journalism funds five students each year; and the Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment Award provides a student with a convention membership and funds toward expenses. And for graduated pros, there’s also the Dori Maynard Diversity Leadership Program. Check out more details here!

In the coming months, there will be messages and posts from SPJ about deadlines for EIJ fellowships and scholarships, including a roommate board that might be a good way to save money. EIJ isn’t cheap, but it’s very much worth the trip!

– Elizabeth Donald

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Gateway Journalism Review to host Ted Koppel (by recording) and David Yepsen

The fifth annual Gateway Journalism Review benefit will take place at 6 p.m. April 21 at Edward Jones Headquarters in Des Peres. Keynote speakers are ABC Nightline anchor Ted Koppel and David Yepsen, veteran political reporter and director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Koppel will appear by special recorded video from Washington, and both will be interviewed by Supreme Court reporter William Freivogel.

The event begins with heavy hors do’oeuvres, with the interviews beginning at 7 pm. regarding the 2016 presidential race: Are the media responsible for the electoral circus? Koppel will be interviewed the day of the event, and questions can be submitted in advance. Tickets begin at $75 per person.

Click here for more information and how to register: Gateway Journalism Review benefit

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St. Louis SPJ adds to chorus for New Voices Act

The following was presented to the Missouri House of Representatives last month in support of the Walter Cronkite New Voices Act. It has since been passed by the House and has been sent to the state Senate.

Please feel free to contact chapter president Elizabeth Donald at if you have any questions or concerns.


Statement in Support of the Walter Cronkite New Voices Act

Emerging Issues Committee

February 1, 2016

Committee Members,

The St. Louis Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists joins the SPJ national office in strongly supporting passage of the Walter Cronkite New Voices Act.

We believe the Act will help college and high school journalists better understand their role in a democratic society as it provides some protection from harmful and unnecessary censorship efforts.

“It is more important than ever that journalists act as independent and unfettered watchdogs on the systems they cover, and this is no less important for student journalists than it is for their older counterparts,” said Elizabeth Donald, chapter president of St. Louis Pro. “These young people will be the future journalists holding our public bodies accountable to their readers. They cannot learn these skills or the judgment to use them wisely if they are muzzled into silence whenever they write something disconcerting to those in power.”

In a press release issued on Jan. 26, 2016, SPJ National President Paul Fletcher said, “Student journalists set the foundation for the future of the profession. They are limited in their ability to do their job as journalists when government officials and administrations weaken their press rights.”

He added, “By passing the New Voices Act, Missouri will set a positive example for student press freedom everywhere. SPJ strongly supports the New Voices bill in Missouri and in every state where there is a New Voices campaign.”

The Society of Professional Journalists is the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry through the daily work of its nearly 7,500 members; works to inspire and educate current and future journalists through professional development; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press through its advocacy efforts.


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