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Dispatch from the freelance front

Yes, there is some good news for freelancers.  Three women rallied their fellow freelance writers and editors to file a group grievance for unpaid fees against Heart and Soul magazine—and they just won a settlement of over $125,000.  The case took 18-months, during which time the National Writers Union also won a $360,000 settlement in federal court against a textbook publisher.  In all the NWU’s “Pay the Writer” efforts have won more than $1.5-million dollars for members across the nation.  Regarding the Heart and Soul victory, NWU President Larry Goldbetter says, “This settlement goes far beyond a national magazine making the long overdue payment to our members for work they performed. It sends a signal to the growing number of freelance writers and the publishers that profit from our work, that—in this new economy of independent workers—we can effectively organize into unions. We can fight to protect our interests.”
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Saturday keynote sold out

Thanks to a robust demand in registration for the SPJ Region 1 spring conference, our keynote luncheon on Saturday, April 13, is now sold out.

As a result, we will be making the following scheduling changes:

We are dividing up the luncheon keynote speech by Record Editor Martin Gottlieb and the Mark of Excellence Awards presentation into two separate events.

Those of you who registered prior to March 31 will have a ticket for the 11:45 a.m. luncheon in the faculty dining hall at Brower Commons where Gottlieb will give his talk “Doing Great Journalism in Tough Times.”

Then at 1:15 p.m. we will begin the Mark of Excellence awards presentation, also in the faculty dining hall at Brower Commons.

For those of you who register after March 31, we will still be offering plenty of great programs as a slightly reduced rate. But you will be on your own for lunch during the conference.

Effective March 30, here are those rates:

  • Professional non-member: $90
  • Professional SPJ member: $70
  • Student non-member: $45
  • Student member: $30
  • Professional non-member Saturday only: $70
  • Professional member Saturday only: $60

We will be adding programs to the conference this week so stay tuned to our conference website for details.

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What’s next? Only an SPJ regional conference.

March 7 NJSPJ meeting and open house at Montclair State.

See this photo? It shows the great time that was had at last week’s NJSPJ open house, tour and meeting at Montclair State’s Center for Cooperative Media.  And, yes, more things are a-coming, starting April 12-13 with the SPJ Region 1 conference at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.

Our line-up includes a reception with Victor Navasky, publisher emeritus of  The Nation; a keynote address by Martin Gottlieb, editor of The Record; a presentation on narrative journalism with Pulitzer-prize winner Amy Nutt Ellis; a session on “How to avoid spin” with SPJ National President Sonny Albarado; and workshops on the latest web, video and digital journalism tools.

And here’s another headline: There’s an early-bird discount for anyone who registers between now and March 20. This makes our conference one of the most affordable SPJ conferences in the nation.

Our bargain prices? Here they are:

  • Professional non-members $90*
  • Professional members $70*
  • Student non-members $45*
  • Student members $30*
  • Saturday only (pro non-members) $80**
  • Saturday only (pro members) $60 **

(* includes opening night reception and Saturday lunch)
(** includes Saturday lunch)

Invest in yourself. See you there.


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Not-to-be-missed networking: NJ-SPJ meeting and open house

Meet the people who are creating new jobs and opportunities in both commercial and public ventures.  They’re coming together from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on  March 7 for an open house  at the Center for Cooperative Media, an initiative of Montclair State University’s newly expanded School of Communication and Media.  The event is free, and we’re even providing dinner—well, sandwiches, veggies and desert.

In addition to hearing about the New Jersey chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists,  here’s the line-up of VIPs you’ll get to meet: 

  • Merrill Brown, new director of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State and founding editor-in-chief of
  • Mike Schneider, Anchorman and Managing Editor of NJ Today, the nightly newscast of NJTV.
  • Bob Males, Executive Producer of NJ Today.
  • Debbie Galant, Director of the NJ News Commons, founder of Baristanet, NJ’s first hyper-local news website & co-founder of Hack Jersey.  Debbie is also a former columnist for The New York Times.
  • Thurston Briscoe, VP of Programming and Production / WBGO Jazz 88.3FM &
  • Nicholas Tzanis, Director of Broadcast & Digital Media Facilities, Montclair State University.  He supervises the new studios for NJ Public Radio, WBGO, NJTV and WMSC.
  • The people running the new resources that the Society of Professional Journalists is offering in the Garden State.  This includes the Job Bank, Annual Contest and Regional Conference as well as the new Documentary Group and the upcoming White Paper.

RSVP to bob@newsonthefrontlines.comFor directions and more details, click here

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Contest deadline extended until 11:59 p.m. EST March 10

Attention procrastinators: You’ve been granted a reprieve. The contest deadline has been extended to 11:59 p.m. March 10.  Cost is is $20 per entry for SPJ members and $25 per entry for non-SPJ members. The only exception is the O’Brien award, which is $25 for everybody. You can pay using PayPal or by check.  For information about contest submissions and payment, go to  the Enter Now page. Entries that are submitted without payment are automatically disqualified.…

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