EIJ coming to New Orleans

SPJ’s national convention, Excellence in Journalism, is coming to New Orleans Sept. 18-21, the national committee is taking proposed resolutions up until Sept. 1. St. Louis Pro will be represented by chapter president Elizabeth Donald, serving as delegate. If there are issues or opinions that you would like Elizabeth to represent to the national organization, please contact her at edonald@bnd.com.

One issue in particular will likely be debated: a proposal to change SPJ’s bylaws to redefine the Associate Membership, in the hopes of encouraging more people to support our mission – people who may have a vested interest in journalism, but aren’t necessarily practicing journalism. Read President Paul Fletcher’s take on it here, and please communicate your opinions to Elizabeth as your delegate.

Ever been to EIJ? It’s a terrific opportunity to expand your skills, network with journalists from across the country, listen to leaders in the fields and find out more about how SPJ can help you and your newsroom. Headliners this year include Marty Baron, former Boston Globe editor who oversaw the real Spotlight investigation, as well as a wide variety of training sessions. This year’s conference is held in partnership with RTDNA and the Native American Journalists Association.

Earlybird registration has ended, but there are still discounts for registering in advance, so hurry to EIJ’s website! And if you can’t make it, follow Elizabeth’s Twitter account @BNDedonald as she will be live-tweeting her experience from New Orleans.

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Summer Happy Hour: Taco Tuesday!

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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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