Coming up: Audio training for experienced journalists – FREE!

A great announcement from our friends at St. Louis Public Radio offers a terrific opportunity for experienced journalists to expand and hone their skills. From Holly Edgell at SLPR:

As part of the grant that is funding the Sharing America public radio collaborative, St. Louis Public Radio is offering free audio training to mid to late-career journalists who are interested in broadening their skill set.

Our reasons are partially selfish: Public radio is growing. That’s a big deal. And, as we grow, we want our newsrooms to reflect both the country’s diversity and the communities we cover and call home. Developing a pool of potential job candidates is key. To do anything less would be to fail our public service mission.

So, here are the basics:

·         9 am to 5 pm on Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 1, 2018

·         Free, but if folks are coming from out of town they’ll need to cover their own transportation and lodging

·         Breakfast and lunch provided on both days

·         Space is limited so there will be an application period, from early September through Oct. 15

·         Sessions will take place at St. Louis Public Radio

·         Equipment will be provided for the duration of the training

Day 1: 

•        The philosophies and best practices of storytelling with sound and public radio journalism;

•        How radio journalism differs from print, television and digital-first platforms;

•        The challenges and joys of radio

Day 2:

•        Studio and field equipment and recording techniques;

•        Writing for radio;

•        Editing software and sound-mixing techniques

Applications will open near the end of August, so stay tuned here and on our Facebook page!

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Jobs Jobs Jobs

Given another round of recent layoffs, we’ve compiled some more jobs listings to help those who may be looking for work. If you know of an opening that we haven’t listed, please contact Elizabeth Donald at and we will be sure to add it.

And don’t forget the SPJ Employment and Career Center! It includes more than 50 journalism-related jobs banks, as well as a plethora of information and advice for conducting a job search: videos and training on building a killer resume, standing out in a pool of applications, networking and more.

Good luck to all those pounding the pavement!

• St. Louis Public Radio has created a new position for an investigative journalist who can be both reporter and coordinator of investigative work. Full listing.

• Call Newspapers is looking for a full-time reporter to handle government news and occasional features for four community weekly papers, as well as posting to web and social media, some photography and design. Full listing.

• The Maryville Forum is looking for a news reporter; bachelor’s degree required, experience desired. Family-owned weekly. Full listing.

• The Columbia Daily Tribune is seeking a news editor to drive transition to a digital-first operation, a leadership role working with reporters, photographers, page designers and other editors. Full listing.

• Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, Ill. is seeking an experienced reporter for breaking news, features, community coverage and local events. Ability to shoot photo and video is a must. Full listing.

• 22nd Century Media is seeking freelance reporters and photographers to work directly with editors on local government, features, events, sports and more. Full listing.

• The Joliet (Ill.) Herald News and Watseka Ill. Times-Republic are each seeking a sports editor. Full listings.

• The Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale, Ill. seeks a part-time copy editor who can package content for digital, work with regional designers, can work a flexible schedule and more. Full listing.

• Now News Group in Milwaukee, Wis. seeks a multimedia reporter interested in telling stories on multiple platforms. Full listing.

• Lee Enterprises is seeking a special presentation designer and page designer for its design center in Madison, Wis. and its regional design center in Munster, Ind. Full listing.

• Sauk Valley Media is seeking a staff photographer. Full listing.

The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting is looking for an investigative reporter to work individually and in teams. Required is five years’ experience and a proven track record, comfort with data and documents, and radio experience is a plus.

• Wausau (Wis.) Daily Herald seeks an experienced public issues investigative reporter with a minimum of five years’ experience to work with a team of watchdog reporters. Full listing.

• The Indianapolis Star is seeking a breaking news reporter for public safety weeknights; arts and culture columnist; and a “things to do” reporter for Hamilton County. Full listing.

• The Decatur Herald & Review needs a copy editor; full listing.

• Evansville (Ind.) Courier & Press seeks a neighborhood issues reporter with a focus on Owensboro, Ky. who can shoot photos and video. Full listing.

• The Newton (Iowa) Daily News needs a city reporter with at least one year experience. Full listing.

• The Des Moines (Iowa) Register needs: a rapid response general assignment reporter; political columnist; statehouse reporter; politics reporter; and metro reporter. Full listing.

• The Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal needs a “future city” reporter and political reporter. Full listing.

• The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer needs an assistant editor and military reporter.

• Crain’s Chicago Business seeks a health care reporter for a newsletter and daily breaking news. Full listing.


ACES/Society for Editing

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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

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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