Our year in review here at St. Louis SPJ

The St. Louis Pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists submitted our annual report to the national organization at the end of May. We’re happy to say our report was accepted and our charter renewed for another year. Whew.

Aside from all the boring financial documents and bylaws, we recapped our major activities for the past year. So what did we do this year (up through May, at least)? Read on!

• SPJ Student Boot Camp. Each year we bring in working professionals in various disciplines for a day-long “Journalism 101” program as an intensive training opportunity for student journalists.

Subjects range from basic newswriting and interviewing to FOIA, investigative techniques, video and social media, ethics, feature writing, Google Tools and other skills.

We bring in a local police officer to present a mock press conference, and the students ask him questions as they would on the job. They have an hour to write a story, and a group of volunteer judges awards prizes for the best stories.

This annual program is free to students, and a highlight of our year.

The next one is tentatively slated for Sept. 15, and we need volunteers! Contact Elizabeth Donald at elizabethdonald@aol.com.

SPJ Night at the Movies. This year we attended a showing of The Post in February, inviting the public to see the film and join us for a conversation afterward at a local restaurant. We were bedeviled by a snowstorm this year, but we try to repeat this program whenever a journalism-related movie is released in the hopes of continuing public discussion and engagement.

Public presentations and representation. Chapter president Elizabeth Donald gave presentations on the depiction of journalists in television, film and other fiction at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Archon STL, a local popular culture convention; on practical applications of ethics at SIU and journalismSTL; and on the business aspects of a writing career at Imaginarium, a writers’ conference in Louisville, Ky. She also joined other communications professionals from public relations and marketing for a roundtable discussion with a local student chapter of PRSSA.

Donald represented the chapter at the spring regional conference in Iowa and Excellence in Journalism in Anaheim, Calif., and serves on the advisory board for the SIUE Alestle and the national SPJ Ethics Committee.

First Amendment Free* Food Festival. As has become an annual tradition, we help fund the annual festival, in which students and members of the public can sign away their First Amendment rights in return for pizza, and get a “taste” of what it’s like to live without those rights. At least 90 people participated with another 30 or so observing. Volunteers play the enforcers and counter-protesters, and SPJ members often join in. This festival is organized by the Alestle staff at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Advocacy. We issued a public statement in September 2017 protesting the arrest of reporter Mike Faulk by the St. Louis Police Department during protests and unrest following the acquittal of a police officer. A photo circulated of Faulk being arrested while clearly cooperating, with his press pass in plain view. Donald also reached out to Faulk personally and encouraged him to seek help from the SPJ Legal Fund in the event his newspaper did not support him.

Partnerships. We partnered with the Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat and Racial Harmony of Southwestern Illinois to promote a program titled “Then I Knew,” a documentary produced by the BND examining race in our region. We worked with reporter Cara Anthony to help plan and promote the event using our social media and direct email network, and manned an informational table at the event handing out information about SPJ and copies of the Code of Ethics. In addition, we continue to partner with the Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists, St. Louis Press Club and new partners Online News Association to cross-promote and support each others’ programs,.

Chapter fun. We have reinstituted our quarterly happy hours, and are always on the look for other fun activities for our members! We are continuing our bimonthly newsletter and frequent posts on Facebook and Twitter to keep our members well-informed, as well as maintaining an up-to-date website.

Fundraising. Our sole fundraiser all year is our Trivia Night, which takes place in the fall. Last year it was hosted by the International Institute of St. Louis, and plans are already underway for this year.

Keep in mind that our sole sources of funding are this one trivia night and our chapter dues of $15, which are voluntary for SPJ members. It is our philosophy that our programs should be open to as many journalists as possible, not just our members. But to keep doing that, we need support!

Our recent membership drive has grown our numbers by 12.5 percent since the beginning of 2018, but we hope for more to come. Please consider joining SPJ and supporting our programs!

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A visit with Chinese journalists

St. Louis SPJ board members and a group of Chinese journalists, media professionals and academics recently met on June 18, to talk about media in the U.S. Chapter President Elizabeth Donald and Vice President Tammy Merrett fielded questions about what SPJ does, its work supporting the First Amendment and involvement in Freedom of Information cases.

The visitors spent six days in the U.S. through the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, organized by the World Affairs Council of St. Louis. Their goal for the trip was a big one — to examine rights and responsibilities of media, observe operations practices and standards at media organizations and explore consequences of competition in the changing media market.

The 10 visitors and three interpreters asked the SPJ officers about everything from STL SPJ programming, the interaction between national security and the First Amendment, liberal vs. conservative media, political views in journalism, how student media is funded and run, credentialing of journalists and racial diversity and gender equality in SPJ, as well as in media organizations.

There were so many questions that the SPJ representatives were not able to get any of their own questions in about media in China.

“I love these meetups, because we tend to forget in the little microcosms of our newsrooms that there is a whole world out there doing journalism just like we are – but without the freedoms and structures we so often take for granted,” Donald said. “They had so many questions, and we answered them all, but I wish I had kept my eye on the clock so I could remember to ask them some things.”

Discussing political structures was part of the visit with one visitor jumping right in early on to ask about how SPJ views situations like that of Edward Snowden revealing classified information about global surveillance programs run by government and how coverage of that squared with the First Amendment and national security.

Donald referred to the newly updated SPJ Code of Ethics in her response and talked about how the Snowden situation was a tricky one.

They also talked about how SPJ is connected to current events in the area and on the national stage. One of the visitors asked about what sort of events the STL SPJ chapter or SPJ national make official statements about, as well as if the statements represent all of the membership or just the board. He wanted to know if our chapter asks all members what their stance is on an issue before a statement is made.

Donald and Merrett talked about the two most recent official statements that the STL SPJ chapter has issued – both about violent treatment and unlawful detention of journalists covering riots and protests in Ferguson in fall 2014 and after the Stockley verdict in fall 2017. Merrett and Donald, each president at the time of Ferguson and Stockley, respectively, told the visitors that journalists had tear gas canisters dropped at their feet by police in Ferguson and were trapped in police “kettling” tactics in Stockley. Both agreed the active STL SPJ officers at the time of the incidents felt that their chapter had to issue an official statement.

Members of the visiting group were interested in hearing about the various events, programs and training that the STL Pro SPJ chapter hosts and coordinates – in recent years, our annual College Journalism Boot Camp training day; our Ferguson Photojournalists’ Roundtable; and our News At Noon series, in conjunction with the Missouri History Museum, where a broad range of presenters have presented on such topics as using drones in journalism, true crime writing, food writing, photojournalism, coverage of riots and protests and journalism film screenings.

The visitors asked about how independent student media are in the U.S. Merrett explained the general models of funding and business and newsroom structures in student media, as well as how involved administrators should be versus how involved they sometimes are.

How journalists show they are journalists with credentials was asked about as well — How can the public tell the difference between real and “fake” journalists? Donald and Merrett told the group about how there is no license or credentialing agency journalists can get or go through to show they are, in fact, trained journalists. Donald showed them her Belleville News-Democrat identification, but she and Merrett both stressed that anyone can make something like that, and there is no way to prevent those who are not trained journalists from representing themselves as such. Credentials often have to be arranged per event or situation.

Donald also told the group about her credentials that were issued by the Madison County Sheriff’s Department and the process involved.

One of the goals of their visit was to also gain insight into social, economic and political structures in the U.S. while meeting with several other people and groups associated with media in the area — Gateway Media Literacy Partners, faculty and staff at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and KOMU-TV, media educators, as well as a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter and an editor from the St. Louis American.

— Tammy Merrett, STL SPJ Vice President/Treasurer

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Statement on Lindenwood’s “Legacy”

It’s hard to know what’s going on behind the scenes with Lindenwood University’s decision to shut down the print edition of its magazine. Student publications are certainly not immune to the ongoing struggle for print media to stay financially viable in a digital universe.

But this struggle is not new, and too often we have seen college administrators and other leaders hide the stifling of student voices behind the veil of “budget cuts.” The best classroom project cannot compare with the practical experience from producing student media, and by all appearances, the work done by the Lindenwood Legacy has been exemplary.

Learning a new form of media production does not require eliminating another form; a diverse education leads to journalists better prepared for an ever-changing industry.

Students cannot learn responsible journalism if their publications are closed down for a few ruffled feathers. At best they will only learn to write safe marketing campaigns for their institutions, and that is not the kind of journalism we need today.

The St. Louis Society of Professional Journalists stands for a free and unfettered student press and condemns any attempt to silence student media. We implore that all those making decisions regarding the future of student publications consider seriously their responsibility to students and the First Amendment.

 

Attributed to Elizabeth Donald, president of the St. Louis Society of Professional Journalists

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Jobs Postings for June 2018

In light of recent layoffs at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Belleville News-Democrat, here is the listing of recent job postings in the bi-state area – and it turns out there were too many to list here, so please follow the links to other job banks if none of these catch your interest. If you know of additional local jobs available in journalism, please email us at stlouisspj@gmail.com and we will add them. Good luck to all.

• The Troy Times-Tribune is accepting applications for a part-time community reporter. Some experience is helpful. Please send a letter of interest and resume to: Editor, Times-Tribune, P.O. Box 68, Troy, IL 62294, or by email to: editor.times.tribune@gmail.com. The position includes vacation time, sick days, and flexible hours, and is for 10-20 hours per week. Applications for freelance and stringer positions also accepted. The Times-Tribune is also looking for a part-time salesperson. Some sales experience is helpful. Please send a letter of interest and resume to: Paul Ping, Times-Tribune, P.O. Box 68k, Troy, IL 62294, or by email to troynews@aol.com.

• KDNL is looking for a part-time graphic designer/ animator/ producer. The ideal candidate will have knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects. Knowledge of Cinema 4D or other 3D software is a plus. Full listing.

• The Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat is looking for an aggressive, lightning-fast reporter who can jump on breaking news that is essential to our communities and tell the stories through words, photos and video as well as on social media. From late-night mayhem to natural disasters and everything in between, this reporter will identify the breaking stories that our communities need or want to know about, tell them in an engaging way, update them as often as necessary and help them reach a large audience by adding an irresistible headline, impeccable SEO and great visuals. You must understand the need for speed as well as context, and you must be committed to increasing the sense of urgency across the newsroom. Your goal is to help us grow our audience reach and earn loyal readers by making sure we are a credible, timely and compelling source of breaking news in Southern Illinois. Night and weekend shifts are part of the job. Required: Strong writing and reporting skills and excellent news judgment; the ability to shoot passable photos and videos; solid news judgment and excellent journalism ethics; understanding of open records laws and the ability to file, manage and oversee FOIA requests pertinent to the beat; ability to engage with readers and develop sources on social media platforms including but not limited to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; understanding of SEO and other optimization opportunities and a demonstrated ability to learn new skills in social and digital; ability to correctly identify audiences for selected stories; a strong entrepreneurial spirit, deep curiosity and high energy; a collaborative style that works comfortably across teams spread throughout our newsroom and company. This is a job that will be fast-paced, data-driven, shaped constantly by feedback and experimentation and always evolving. Bachelor’s degree from four-year college or university or equivalent combination of education and experience required. Contact is Jeffry Couch at jcouch@bnd.com; full listing is with JobVite.

• The biweekly Missourian is seeking a reporter to cover municipal, school and county beats. This position requires substantial reporting responsibilities and fluency in digital and social media. Experience in community journalism is preferred, but will consider recent graduates. Solid reporting background and photography skills required. Full listing.

• St. Louis Public Radio is part of the Harvest Public Media Cooperative, and they need a food and agriculture reporter stationed in Rolla, Mo. Full listing.

• St. Louis Magazine is looking for an experienced, versatile, and sharp senior editor. The ideal candidate will have a strong passion for magazine journalism, the ability to multi-task and collaborate, as well as impressive chops in digital journalism. Benefits include dental and medical insurance. Required: A bachelor’s degree in journalism or English; a minimum of three years of experience reporting, writing and editing in a magazine or newspaper environment; among other requirements. Full listing.

• The Catholic Health Association is looking for a managing editor for its trade publication, Health Progress. More than five years’ experience and bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required. Full listing.

• The Missouri Institute of Science and Technology is seeking a graphic designer to develop creative designs for a variety of collateral – print publications, special-event materials, alumni magazine, advertising and other visual items – that communicate Missouri S&T’s image and message to on- and off-campus constituencies. Bachelor’s degree and layout/design experience essential. Full listing.

• The Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune is looking for a reporter and news editor. Bachelor’s degree is required; experience preferred. The Daily Tribune is a Gatehouse publication and offers full benefits. Full listing for news editor and reporter.

• The Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune has an immediate opening for a news reporter. You’ll be responsible for covering all kinds of news, from courtroom trials, to local government, to community events. Position offers health, dental and vision benefits, 401(k), paid vacation, holidays and more. To apply, send your materials to Jason Hunsicker at jhunsicker@kirksvilledailyexpress.com.

• The Headliner News, a county seat weekly newspaper in Ozark, Mo. is seeking a sports editor. The paper is weekly in print, but daily online and covers seven school districts in Christian County. Successful candidate will have a journalism degree or equivalent experience, knowledge of AP style, exceptional photography & video skills, a very flexible schedule that leaves room for evening and weekend coverage and other requirements. Position offers health insurance, 401k and PTO. Send resume, cover letter and samples to triciac@ccheadliner.com. Full listing.

Lee Enterprises is hiring a copy editor for print and digital operations in central Illinois based in Decatur, Ill. They’re looking for a highly organized editor with sharp news judgment who can make stories shine under deadline pressure. Your job will be to line-edit news, sports and features copy; coordinate page design with our colleagues at the Regional Design Center; and fine-tune content for digital audiences. Experience with SEO headline techniques and social media is required. This position includes night and some weekend shifts. Apply online at www.herald-review.com/workhere. Full listing.

• Community-minded journalist sought to write, edit and paginate The Breese Journal, a family-owned newspaper that covers Clinton County and the surrounding area. We seek an experienced, existing writer/editor; however, we will consider recent graduates who are able to prove their abilities. A journalism degree is desired but will consider others with appropriate work experience. Proven experience with Mac, InDesign, Photoshop is required. Excellence in photography and graphic design is also a plus. We offer competitive salary, vacation, 401k and health insurance benefits and opportunities for advancement. To apply, please submit your resume, cover letter and samples of your work to dave@breesepub.com. Full listing.

• The Journal-Courier in Jacksonville is seeking applicants for planned or potential openings in news copy editing/design and advertising design for several Hearst Newspapers publications. InDesign experience important for any positions. For copy editing/design positions, previous experience and a working knowledge of Associated Press style required. Basic to intermediate knowledge of Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suites programs necessary. Basic knowledge of HTML and rich text formats and social media platforms beneficial. For advertising design, previous experience with Ad Manager Pro or PNP or similar programs needed. Basic to intermediate knowledge of Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suites programs necessary. Send resumes and samples if available to: jjceditor@myjournalcourier.com, mail them to Publisher David C.L. Bauer, 235 W. State St., Jacksonville, IL 62650, or fax them to 217-245-1226. No phone calls, please. Full listing.

• The Springfield (Ill.) State Journal-Register seeks: breaking news/education reporter and business/economic reporter. At least one year’s professional experience strongly preferred; recent graduates with strong skills considered. Knowledge of AP Style, basic spelling and grammar are musts. Bachelor’s degree strongly preferred; must demonstrate sound professional use of social media. Online skills such as video, audio editing or data highly desirable. Business reporter must be a self-starter and comfortable with using various platforms — video, podcasting, alternative story forms — to tell stories. Business coverage is a high-profile priority for the State Journal-Register, and the reporter also will play a role in discovering/selecting wire content that is relevant to our audience and not just a space-filler. To apply, send resume, cover letter and six samples of work to Executive Editor Angie Muhs at angie.muhs@sj-r.com. Full listing.

• The Rockford Register Star seeks journalist for hybrid reporter-editor position including some reporting, copy editing and occasional management of social media accounts. Weekends and some nights required. Candidates should have at least two years’ experience, proven reporting skills, ability to adapt to different content management systems, HTML knowledge is a plus. Qualified candidates should send resume and cover letter with salary history and up to five work samples to newsjobs@rrstar.com. Full listing.

•  The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin seeks a Springfield-based reporter/staff writer whose primary assignments will be to cover the legislature and the Illinois Supreme Court; must be able to work independently and know AP style. Apply by sending clips/links, a letter that notes salary expectations and resume ASAP to hr@lawbulletingmedia.com. Full listing.

GateHouse Media seeks editors who love local news, think small and mid-sized towns are great places to call home and want to run a newsroom. With 494 community publications and more than 250 related Web sites from Chicago to New York and California, GateHouse-owned media reach 10 million people each week; must be innovative, digitally savvy, be great storytellers who will delight and inform readers and want to lead newsrooms into the future. Work samples and resume to Jean Hodges at jhodges@gatehousemedia.com.

• The weekly Vandalia (Ill.) Leader-Union seeks a community reporter/sports editor with at least two years’ experience who can paginate and proof, is a strong writer, is a good photographer, is familiar with a broad range of stories, can write hard news and features, is well organized, meets deadlines and is a stickler for accuracy. Apply online

• Openings at the Indianapolis Star: Breaking news reporterwho can work weeknights, can emphasize public safety reporting, can do nighttime general assignment and shows urgency/versatility/resourcefulness/independence; Reporter who can react to developing or trending news, has a sense of urgency to get the news out but at the same time helps readers strive for what’s broken; Arts and culture columnist who can cover the beat in an entertaining/relatable/entrepreneurial way that increases awareness of and participation in the local arts scene; position is part of a two-year partnership with a nonprofit funder. Apply online.

WSIU-FM of Carbondale, Ill. seeks a digital media news specialist with at least four years’ experience responsible for researching, interviewing, editing, and writing stories with a focus on health and environment on a variety of platforms and throughout the Regional Journalism Collaborative, requiring some travel that can include nights and weekends; must have demonstrated successful supervisory experience with professionals, students, or volunteers. Work samples, resume and contact information for at least three references to the Screening Committee, Digital Media News Specialist, Broadcasting Service, Communications Building Suite 1003, Mail Code 6602, SIU-C, 1100 Lincoln Dr., Carbondale, IL 62901.   Full listing. 

 

LINKS

Missouri Press Association Job Bank

Illinois Press Association Job Bank

Chicago Headline Club JobFile

Poynter Journalism Jobs Listings

MediaBistro Job Bank

SPJ Freelancer Directory

 

STORY CALL: Belt Publishing is looking for nonfiction and poetry relating to ST. Louis for an anthology to be published next year. It will explore local stories that became national headlines, including refugee resettlement, the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement, etc. as well as St. Louis’ unique culture. They are actively seeking stories from the African American, Bosnian/Kosovar, Latinx, LGBTQ and other communities. No fiction. Contributors receive an honorarium. Deadline is July 1. Click here for details.

 

If you’re looking for work, check out the SPJ Career Center! In addition to the SPJ listings, you’ll find links to 39 other job banks, as well as training programs, resume help, webinars on job hunting, networking, salary negotiation, interviewing and more. Some resources may only be available to paid members.

A previous version of this listing incorrectly listed a senior editor job at St. Louis Public Radio. SPJ regrets the error.
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