Excellence in Journalism delegation

We are happy to report that St. Louis Pro’s charter is approved for another year, and we will be represented at the Excellence in Journalism convention.

This year’s EIJ conference will take place in Anaheim, Calif. in partnership with RTDNA, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association. Earlybird registration is now open through July 11; click here for more details.

As in previous years, St. Louis Pro’s delegate will be chapter president Elizabeth Donald. But keep in mind that since 2011, the delegates only vote on resolutions; officer elections go to the entire membership! So make sure your membership is up to date, and remember to read and electronically vote Sept. 7-9.

As delegate, Elizabeth will keep you apprised of resolutions and issues to be discussed via this page, the St. Louis Pro Facebook and her Twitter account at @BNDedonald. If you have concerns or questions, please feel free to contact her at edonald@bnd.com.

And do consider attending EIJ! Networking opportunities, informative panel sessions, training on new skills… EIJ is a terrific way to jump-start or reinvigorate your professional goals. (And it’s a lot of fun, too.)

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Meet the new secretary!

We are pleased to announce our new secretary, Katelyn Mae Petrin!

Katelyn has kindly agreed to take over the responsibilities of board secretary after prior secretary Jill Moon had to resign. Jill remains on the chapter’s board as a member-at-large.

Katelyn Mae Petrin

Katelyn Mae Petrin wears many hats as editorial assistant for St. Louis Magazine, for whom she copyedits three publications, edits the health and home blogs, and reports news and culture stories. Katelyn is a recent graduate of Washington University, where she was editor-in-chief for Frontiers health magazine and was funded to write literary journalism about real-life cyborgs. Previously she interned for St. Louis Public Radio, KDHX, the Common Reader, Nine Network, and the Riverfront Times.

We all welcome Katelyn to the St. Louis Pro chapter board, and look forward to her contributions.

Have you ever considered volunteering with SPJ? We are always on the lookout for more volunteers, people with fresh ideas to help us develop useful and fun programming for our members and the journalism community. If interested, please contact chapter president Elizabeth Donald at edonald@bnd.com! We’d also love to hear your ideas about programming and events that would be useful for you as journalists. Talk to us!

Current SPJ Pro Board

  • President: Elizabeth Donald, Belleville News-Democrat
  • Vice President/Treasurer: Tammy Merrett, SIUE/The Alestle
  • Secretary: Katelyn Mae Petrin, St. Louis Magazine
  • Membership chair: Gary Meyer, St. Louis Globe-Democrat
  • University Liaison: Neil Ralston, Lindenwood University
  • At large: Carlos Restrepo, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • At large: Jill Moon, the Alton Telegraph
  • At large: David Nicklaus, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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And now, a word from our sponsor…
Today I donated in SPJ’s Day of Giving to the Terry Harper Fellowship, of which I was a proud recipient in 2010.
It was the first year for the Harper scholarship, which funded my attendance at the Excellence in Journalism conference, by the end of which I had been nominated to the national Ethics Committee. EIJ is not the least expensive enrichment experience you will ever see, but it is an amazingly helpful and productive experience, and I have been honored to attend several times in the years since 2010. My participation on the Ethics Committee has been one of the most valuable and meaningful experiences in my professional career, and I am honored to continue to serve on the committee and locally.
Now I am president of the St. Louis Pro chapter, working on our projects to support journalists and the First Amendment here in St. Louis and to spread awareness about the work that we do among the public. We are small but mighty, and the volunteers on your chapter board work diligently to find new programming ideas and support journalists and the First Amendment here in St. Louis.
It’s safe to say none of the work I have done through SPJ would be possible without generosity like the Harper Fellowship, or the support of my employers. I cannot overstate the importance of either, or the value of my participation in SPJ.
But don’t take my word for it. Here’s the top ten reasons to support SPJ, in today’s mail (yes, they quoted me, too):
  • SPJ supports truthful, compassionate, independent, transparent journalism.
  • “There are about 41,440 reasons to be SPJ Proud, but one is that SPJ is an incredible asset to my student journalists.” -Brandon Szuminsky, Waynesburg University.
  • The SDX Foundation awards a $75,000 Pulliam Fellowship to an outstanding editorial writer or columnist to help broaden his or her journalistic horizons and knowledge of the world. Sometimes, that leads to Pulitzer-Prize winning work (See No. 8).
  • SPJ committed $10K to back journalists seeking a database of all public purchases in New Orleans.
  • The SDX Foundation annually supplies grants to support journalism projects like the Drone Tour, which traveled to 10 universities in the south to teach students about ethical drone use.
  • “Journalism is essential to democracy and society. It’s about giving people the information they need to self-govern. Without journalism, we might as well call it in. Without journalism, we are at the will of those in power.” -Dave Cuillier, Past SPJ President.
  • SPJ and the SDX Foundation supports diversity in the newsroom.
  • “I think it’s important for journalists to support each other, and to be able to get together in a space where they can brainstorm, network, share information and get away from the daily grind and think about their own careers and the future of journalism.” – Farah Stockman, Pulliam Editorial Fellow & Pulitzer-prize winner
  • “SPJ serves a vital function to support journalists in their difficult work, but also to educate the public about journalism and its place in our society.” -Elizabeth Donald, member since 2009.
  •  Together, because of journalism, we make our communities better.
I hope my fellow journalists will join me in supporting SPJ. Donate to the funds, join the organization, attend the conferences, find out the amazing resources available to you online and in person. I guarantee you will find it worth your time and energy.
And if you are not a journalist, I hope you will consider supporting us as well: the same First Amendment that protects us protects you, especially the Legal Defense Fund and the First Amendment Forever Fund. In addition to donations to our nonprofit arm, non-journalists can become supporting members for as little as $20.
We are #SPJProud.
– Elizabeth Donald, president of St. Louis Pro
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FREE Google Newslab Tools training Feb. 9!

We’re pleased to welcome back Holly Edgell for a new training workshop in Google News Lab tools! This FREE hands-on seminar is hosted at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9 in SIUE’s Dunham Hall,Room 2007.

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

Google has a suite of free tools that you can use to bring dimension, insight, context (and even fun) to your digital content. Learn about advanced searches and image search; creative interactive maps and using Google Maps to enhance your content; and how to use Google Trends to further your reporting.

Holly Edgell has more than 25 years’ experience as a journalist and journalism educator. She recently returned from Belize, after serving as communications and marketing for that nation’s National Institute of Culture & History. Before that, she was Director of Digital Media at KSHB, the Scripps television and digital property in Kansas City, Mo. Previous positions include: Community Editor at WCPO (Scripps in Cincinnati); Regional Editor for Patch/AOL in St. Louis; teaching at the Missouri School of Journalism and Florida A&M University; and news producing at several television stations around the country.

Edgell has been working in journalism since 1991, when she was hired as the first news director at Great Belize Television. News 5 was the first independent television newscast to air in Belize. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University and earned a masters degree in media management at Kent State University. Edgell has been member of the Society of Professional Journalists since 2002 and is a former Region 7 Director. She joined the SPJ-Google News Lab training network when it launched in 2015.

Participants should bring laptops and chargers, and preferably should have downloaded Google Chrome prior to the training session.

RSVPs are encouraged! Email StLouisSPJ@gmail.com to reserve a seat. Limited to 40 participants. For more information, contact St. Louis SPJ President Elizabeth Donald at edonald@bnd.com or on Twitter at @BNDedonald. Holly Edgell may be reached at edgellholly@gmail.com or on Twitter at @hollyedgell.

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