Tag Archives | New Jersey journalism

New! NJ SPJ contest categories

Our chapter IS accepting entries for an expanded 2018 journalism contest!
Click here to get an overview of our contest.
Click here to go directly to our contest submission form.

Last year we scaled back our contest to four signature award categories. This year, we are expanding the competition to 11 categories, including:

  • The Ron Miskoff award for outstanding journalism educator of the year.
  • The Barbara Reed award for outstanding ethnic publication.
  • The Gabe Pressman award for best video news story.
  • The Herbert Morrison award for best audio news story.
  • The David Carr award for Reporter of the Year.
  • The Grassroots Journalism award for best coverage by a weekly or hyperlocal.
  • Best investigative journalism by a weekly publication.
  • Best investigative journalism by a daily publication.

We will still honor the winners of our traditional signature awards:

  • The Stuart and Beverly Awbrey award for public service by a weekly or hyperlocal publication.
  • The Tim O’Brien award for best use of public records in a story.
  • The Wilson Barto – for outstanding “rookie” journalist of the year.

What I particularly like about these new categories is that they will also keep alive the legacy of the people for whom they are named.

Barbara Reed and Ron Miskoff are former presidents of the New Jersey SPJ chapter and loyal SPJ members.

David Carr was an inspirational reporter for the New York Times and an SPJ member who lived in Montclair.

Gabe Pressman was a legendary New York City television journalist who got his start at the Newark Evening News.

And Herbert Morrison was the radio reporter whose dramatic on-the-scene report of the Hindenburg explosion will never be forgotten.

Watch for more details in early January on contest guidelines and how to enter.

New board member

My Record colleague Melanie Anzidei recently joined the SPJ New Jersey board of directors. Melanie covers Hackensack for the newspaper. She will fill the unexpired term of Matt McGrath, who stepped down from the board recently.

I’d like to close the year by thanking all our board members for their work on behalf of SPJ during 2018.

They are:

  • Jane Primerano, regional director
  • Miriam Ascarelli, vice president
  • Emily Kratzer, secretary
  • Elizabeth Oguss, treasurer
  • Melanie Anzidei
  • Robert Bugai
  • Nicholas Hirshon
  • David Levitt
  • Claire Regan
  • Bob Schapiro
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Award winners improve NJ

From left, Nicholas Muscavage, Stephen Stirling, Karin Price Muller, Susan Livio and Christine O’Brien at the NJ Society of Professional Journalists awards lunch June 16, 2018.

The winners are …

Plumbers in New Jersey crooked? It’s a negative stereotype, but one reporter’s work exposing exploitative business practices won her the Awbrey Award for community journalism.

Karin Price Mueller was one of the winners of our Signature Journalism Awards who spoke eloquently about their work during our lunch on June 16. We gathered at the Maize Restaurant at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark.

Her “Bamboozled” column, which runs in the Star-Ledger and at NJ.com, garnered these comments from members of SPJ’s Alaska chapter, which judged the contest:

“Her research and writing, including excellent use of significant community input, led to direct results. ‘Bamboozled’ fairly demonstrated the questionable practices of one of New Jersey’s largest plumbing companies. And it helped victims win refunds and apologies, while keeping other community members from being ripped off. I would imagine her effort especially helped improve the lives and finances of vulnerable residents, especially those with low incomes.”

The O’Briens

In introducing the Tim O’Brien Award, for best use of public records, his daughter Christine O’Brien recalled her late father’s love of getting into a story, digging for facts and the spirit of the newsroom.

The judges gave first place to Sean Sullivan and Stephen Stirling of the Star-Ledger and NJ.com, for a story about failings in New Jersey’s medical examiners’ offices. Their comments were:

“Even in this worthy field, one entry stands out: Death and Dysfunction, by Sean Sullivan and Stephen Stirling of The Star-Ledger and NJ.com. This work displayed tenacity in applying open records requests, skill in writing and presentation, and solid results that rippled through the Office of the Governor, Attorney General, Department of Health and elsewhere. It will affect millions of citizens. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once proclaimed, ‘Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.’ These journalists have added an emphatic ‘Amen’ to that observation.”

Second place went to Susan Livio, of the Star-Ledger and NJ.com. The judges said: A heartbreaking story of human frailty and failure, ‘The Last Good Night,’ (is a) more circumscribed but no less compelling story, notable for its solid foundation, unusual access and gripping narrative.

Third place went to David Matthau and Sergio Bichao, of New Jersey 101.5, for revealing that doctors can still practice after criminal sexual offenses, with the judge saying “That surely was shocking news to patients all over New Jersey.”

The Barto

The Wilson Barto Award for Rookie of the Year went to Nick Muscavage of the Courier News in Somerville.…

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NJ SPJ board opportunity; Burns scholarship

Hi folks – I’m blessed to have a very good board of directors at New Jersey SPJ. They include several people who have served as past presidents of the chapter. They are a group of people who are passionate about journalism and its role in a democracy.

It’s that time of year, however, when we elect a new board. And it appears we will have one vacancy on our 11-member board. Former chapter president and long-time board member Ron Miskoff has indicated he plans to not run for another one-year term. We will miss Ron and appreciate all he has done for our chapter.

If you are an SPJ member and have an interest in serving on our board, let us know. The job involves attending one two-hour meeting each month, usually on the third Sunday. Members are also called upon to take on additional assignments during the year, such as helping organize programs, working on our annual SkillsFest event or overseeing our signature awards journalism contest.

We also tackle important topics such as diversity, ethics, open public records access and journalism advocacy.

If you would like to be part of this effort, please email our nominations chair Miriam Ascarelli at ascarelli@gmail.com by no later than May 20. Also please put “NJ SPJ Board Nominee” in the subject line and include a JPEG photo of yourself, plus a one-paragraph bio.

Student SPJ members: Go to Baltimore with the Fran Burns scholarship

If you are a SPJ student member in New Jersey, here’s a great opportunity for a $500 scholarship to help enable you to attend our national Excellence in Journalism Conference Sept. 27-29 in Baltimore.

The scholarship is named after Fran Burns, a former SPJ New Jersey chapter president and long-time board member who passed away in September. The $500 stipend is a very good deal.

For example, it will be enough to cover your $175 early bird registration plus a $199 one-night stay at the Baltimore Hilton, which is the conference hotel.

You must, however, be a current SPJ student member to qualify for this money. All we ask in return is that you write a short story about the conference which we can later post to our chapter website.

Interested? Then please contact Karin Price Mueller at karin@njmoneyhelp.com.

You will need to send Karin your resume and a short statement on why you wish to attend the conference.

The application deadline is June 10. The winner will be announced later that month.

ALSO

SCHOLARSHIPS TO 2018 NABJ, AAJA, NAHJ, NAJA, NJGLA EVENTS

Speaking of scholarships, here’s another one: To help move the news ecosystem in the Garden State toward a goal of better reflecting the communities it serves, the Center for Cooperative Media is launching a scholarship fund dedicated to helping New Jersey journalists attend training, events and conferences in 2018 put on by organizations that work on improving diversity, equity and inclusion in media.…

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SPJ Region 1 Conference April 21-22

For the LOVE of Journalism

Celebrate your love of journalism and learn new skills for two days in the city where Freedom of the Press got its start.

The Society of Professional Journalists Regional 1 Spring Conference will take place April 21 and 22 at Temple University in Philadelphia. Visit our website www.spjr1c.org/ or use our hashtag #LoveJournalism.

The theme of the conference is “For the Love of Journalism,” reflecting both our passion for our chosen profession and a growing public appreciation of how the role of a free press serves in a democracy.

Going to Philly!

We are in Philadelphia, the “city of brotherly love” where so many of the founding principles of our free press took root – from Benjamin Franklin’s “Poore Richard’s Almanac” to the Constitution and the First Amendment.

We’ll celebrate that history and help chart our own future by offering useful training in multimedia and social media skills that you can put to immediate use in your newsroom or classroom.

Our focus during the Saturday, April 21, sessions at Annenberg Hall will be on the skills you need to know to be a better journalist – including the latest Google tools, KipCamp’s “Dirty Dozen” useful journalism apps and making the jump from print to digital.

We’ll also help you stay current with important stories such as covering sexual harassment and covering the medical and recreational marijuana business.

Click here to register for the two-day event.

Click here to register for just the Sunday event.

Conference details are here.

First Amendment legal advice

A First Amendment lawyer will be available to help with free consultations on any press freedom issue you may be encountering. And we’ll take a close look at legislation aimed at expanding press freedom for high school students.

On Sunday, April 22, that focus will broaden to some of the bigger challenges facing journalism today.

We’ll start the day with our Mark of Excellence awards brunch at the Philadelphia Media Network building, where our keynote speaker will be Bill Marimow, vice president of strategic development for the PMN, which includes The Inquirer, The Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com.

On Sunday afternoon, we’ll have a panel discussion on the future of journalism in Philadelphia.

We’ll hear from reporters who’ve covered Bill Cosby’s sex assault trial and we’ll hear from Signe Wilkinson on how she draws her Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoons.

Just for fun

The weekend will also include some activities that are just for fun – including a walking tour of historic sites in journalism in downtown Philadelphia and, for those who arrive early, a Friday night ball game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Philadelphia Phillies.

For more information on other things to see and do click here.

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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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