Keystone SPJ expands its contest to include NJ

Editor’s note: Stay tuned for news about NJ SPJ’s contest, which opens Jan. 2. However, do know that because of a sharp decrease in contest entries, our contest has been scaled down to our four signature awards: Courage Under Fire (for journalists who, despite strong opposition, defend the principles of a free press), the Barto (our “rookie of the year” award); the Awbrey (for local journalism that goes above and beyond); and the O’Brien (for investigative journalism that digs deep through effective use of public records).

To those who miss the old NJ SPJ contest that we all know and love, there’s no need to despair.

The SPJ Keystone Chapter has invited Jersey journalists to enter their annual 2018 Best in Journalism Contest. The contest — which is comprised of about 30 categories — is open for submissions from now until Feb. 26.

As our members know, we had hoped to run a joint contest with Keystone but there were logistical issues, so we are elated that our friends in Pennsylvania have expanded their contest to include submissions from New Jersey.  As members of SPJ’s Region 1, our two chapters have had a strong relationship: we have shared news about jobs, sought solutions to the issues facing the profession, and opened our doors to each other’s seminars.  We hope this invitation will help strengthen Keystone’s contest and foster further bonding between our two chapters.

The contest may be opened at through this link: https://betternewspapercontest.com/2018SpotlightAwards

Any questions or concerns may be directed to Pat Trosky at pattrosky@gmail.com or spjkeystone@mail.com.

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SkillsFest 2018 on Jan. 27

Our SkillsFest 2018 is beginning to take shape and it’s looking pretty good so far.

SkillsFest is our day-long set of training sessions aimed at giving journalists – both students and professionals – the tools they need to better do their job.

The next SkillsFest will take place on Saturday, Jan. 27 starting at 10 a.m. on the Newark campus of the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Here’s a partial list of our speakers and what they will be talking about:

David Bergeland is an award-winning photojournalist who teaches multimedia skills at the Newark campus of Rutgers University. His specialty is digital media including video, audio slideshows, podcasts, documentary and editorial content for the web. David will talk about the basics of multimedia journalism.

Renee Ernst is a producer for the social publishing unit of CNN. She previously worked as a social media editor at The Huffington Post and The Record. Renee will talk about the social media skills that have been useful in her career.

Carla Astudillo, a data journalist for the Star-Ledger and NJ.com. Carla is a self-described “data chaser and interactive graphics maker” She previously worked for the International Business Times as deputy data visuals editor. Carla will discuss the basics of data visualization.

-David Sheingold, the data and computer assisted reporting specialist for The Record. He will discuss how to use Microsoft Excel spreadsheets as a reporting tool.

Stay tuned for more details in the weeks to come.

Our SkillsFest offers a full day of useful and relevant training that you can use in your own work. And it’s affordable.

The cost is $85 for professionals and $45 for students. Besides the training, that includes a box lunch and a one-year membership in SPJ for new and renewing SPJ members.

Click here to register for this event.

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See “The Post” with us on Jan. 12

We extend a special invitation for you to attend a fun social event that our New Jersey chapter will be hosting on the evening of Friday, Jan. 12 – not Dec. 29 as previously announced.

Our plan is to attend a screening that night of the new Steven Spielberg film “The Post,” which tells the story of the Washington Post’s decision to publish stories on the Pentagon Papers after they were first revealed in the New York Times.

Here’s the official trailer for the movie:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WmbUHtxGf8

We don’t know yet which theaters will be screening the film when it opens on a limited basis on Dec. 22.

But as soon as that is known, we’ll pick a theater, purchase a block of tickets and sell them to any members who wish to attend.

After the movie, we’ll head to a nearby restaurant where we can discuss the film over a late dinner and drinks.

I’m looking forward to seeing this movie.

The story behind the publication of the Pentagon Paper by the Times, The Post, The Boston Globe and other newspapers is one of the great, defining moments in the history of American journalism.

The film holds a special resonance

As a college student, I took a history class in which we dove into the contents of the Pentagon Papers.

Many years later in Denver, I had the opportunity to interview Daniel Ellsburg, the former RAND Corp. analyst responsible for leaking the documents to the press, and former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, who commissioned the study.

Let me know by no later than Jan. 5 if you wish to purchase a ticket for the Jan. 12 screening. You can do so by emailing me at johnensslin@gmail.com

I’ll send out a follow-up message as soon as we know the details of which theater we’ll go to as well as ticket prices and screening time. Hope you can come with us that night.

Let me know if you can.

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2018 conference; new scholarship; Nov. 19 meeting

Hello SPJ members,

I have some big news to share with you: our Regional 1 Spring Conference will be held on April 21-22 at Temple University in Philadelphia.

This weekend of training and discussion – dubbed “For the Love of Journalism” will be a joint production of the New Jersey and Keystone SPJ chapters.

I’m very excited about the prospect of co-hosting a regional conference in Philadelphia. It’s a great city with a rich journalism history and a wealth of talent.

So watch for more details in the weeks ahead and please save the date.

When it rains, we work

The SPJ NJ Board had a very productive meeting on Oct. 29. Heavy rain that day forced the board to meet by a telephone conference call, but we took some significant steps:

The Fran Burns Memorial Scholarship

The board voted unanimously to create a $500 annual scholarship to help a deserving SPJ NJ student member attend our annual conference, starting with the Excellence in Journalism conference in Baltimore on Sept. 27-29, 2018.

We decided to name the scholarship after Fran Burns, a former chapter president who passed away earlier this year. Fran was as loyal an SPJ member as ever there was. And she attended our regional conferences faithfully, even in years where her health presented a challenge. So we believe she would have appreciated this memorial.

The recipient of the scholarship will be asked to present a written report on the conference and to detail their experience via social media.

Watch for more details in the weeks ahead on how to apply for the scholarship.

“Oh, the humanity…”

The board also voted unanimously to add the Lakehurst Air Station to our list of historic sites in New Jersey journalism.

The site is where radio journalist Herbert Morrison broadcast his famous account of the Hindenberg crash.

The crash occurred on May 6, 1937, as Morrison was covering the landing for Chicago radio station WSL. His emotional words “oh, the humanity!” is still one of the most famous examples of live radio reporting.

This brings to three the number of sites on our chapter’s list of historic sites in journalism.

The other two are the Union Hotel in Flemington – where the press corps stayed during the Lindbergh kidnap-murder trial – and the T. Thomas Fortune House in Red Bank – home of a pioneering African-American journalist.

A meeting and a tour

Our next board meeting will take place on Sunday, Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. at the Center for Cooperative Media in the new School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University.

Our meeting will be preceded by a tour of the building. Members are welcome to attend, but please RSVP to me at johnensslin@gmail.com 

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Open records law presentation in Ridgewood Nov. 8

Editors note: This event was originally planned for Nov. 2. It has been rescheduled for Nov. 8. Details below. 

Government transparency is the topic of the League of Women Voters of Ridgewood at a presentation by New Jersey Foundation for Open Government from 6 to 7:45 p.m.

 Wednesday, Nov. 8, at Ridgewood Village Hall.

The speakers for “It’s All About Transparency” are Walter Luers of NJ FOG and special guest Sen. Loretta Weinberg. Sen. Weinberg has recently introduced bills to update the Open Public Records Act and the Open Public Meetings Act.

At this event, you can learn about submitting an OPRA request and the process for announcing public meetings

Ridgewood Village Hall is at 131 N. Maple Ave., Ridgewood. The event is free and no registration is required. For more information, email RidgewoodLWV@gmail.com

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