Tag Archives | SPJ

Hall of Fame; podcasting; 2019 contest

Hello fellow SPJ members,

A New Jersey Journalism Hall of Fame, podcast workshops and a bigger, better contest were among the topics discussed when the board of the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists held its annual summer retreat recently.

We met on July 28 in the Princeton Room of the Princeton Public Library surrounded by first-edition John McPhee books. The four-hour gathering was an opportunity for our board to make some plans for the year ahead. Here are a few things we discussed:

Holding our first-ever Journalism Hall of Fame event.

We did some initial planning last year by having former chapter presidents suggest and select nominees. This year we discussed actually staging the event, quite possibly at William Paterson University in Wayne. Stay tuned.

Expanding our signature awards contest beyond the current four categories.

This year we awarded our traditional honors of the Wilson Barto “Rookie of the Year,” the Tim O’Brien award for best use of open public records and the Stuart and Beverly Awbrey Award for community journalism. We also continued with our Courage Under Fire award, although no winners were chosen this year.

Next year we hope to add awards for journalism educator of the year, best audio story, best video story and journalist of the year. Do you have any ideas about categories that we should add? If so, let me know.

Hosting two “Podcasting 3.0” workshops

We’d hold one in Philadelphia and one in New York City later this year and early next year. This would be an updated “hands-on” workshop similar to one we did three years ago at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark. Both workshops would be done in collaboration with other SPJ chapters, one with the Keystone SPJ chapter in October and the other with the New York City Deadline Club in the spring.

Collaborating more with other chapters.

Watch for details on all of these events in the months ahead. And if you would like to be a part of the planning process, let me know by emailing me at johnensslin@gmail.com

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Remembering the Union Hotel

SPJ, NJSPJ mark

hotel’s historic role

SPJ New Jersey celebrated a special event in Flemington where we unveiled a plaque that marked the Union Hotel’s entry on SPJ’s national historic sites in journalism registry.

About 35 people attended the ceremony June 30th  when we presented the plaque to the Hunterdon County Historical Society Library in downtown Flemington. Hear the ceremony at Studio SPJ.

The Historical Society has agreed to serve as temporary custodian of the plaque until the future of the Union Hotel is resolved.

The hotel served as a media hub for journalists who came from around the world to cover the Lindbergh baby kidnap-murder trial which took place at the courthouse across the street in January 1935.

Among the journalists covering that trial were:

  • Arthur Brisbane, one of the best-known editors of his day who worked for the Hearst Newspapers
  • H.L. Mencken, the well-known journalist, satirist and social critic from Baltimore.
  • Dorothy Parker, the wisecracking writer from Long Branch who became part of the famous Algonquin Hotel roundtable writers.
  • Walter Winchell, the newspaper and radio gossip columnist who wrote for the Hearst papers.
  • Damon Runyon, the journalist whose stories about characters in New York City were collected in his book “Guys and Dolls.”

SPJ New Jersey recognizes that the Union Hotel has seen some hard times since 1935 and that it’s not what it was when these journalists came to town.

We also note that there has been a fierce debate over the future of the hotel and its redevelopment.

Our role is not to weigh in on the details of that dispute.

But our plaque says loud and clear that this site represents a significant chapter in the history of American journalism.

We hope that in some fashion the site is preserved for future generations to appreciate.

Special thanks here to Patricia Millen, executive director of the historical society, for taking care of our plaque and making this event possible.

Remembering the CapGazette

The dreadful murders of five people within the Capitol-Gazette newsroom in Annapolis last week has left many of us shaken and sorrowful.

We greatly admire the “Hell Yes” persistence of their colleagues who published their paper while working through their grief.

SPJ New Jersey shares that grief.

At our board meeting in Flemington, we voted to donate $100 to the GoFundMe campaign that was set up to help the families of those whose lives were lost.

It is the least we can do to honor their memory.…

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Plaque unveiling is June 30

The Union Hotel named a Historic site in Journalism by NJ-SPJ, SPJ

Join us in Flemington at noon Saturday, June 30 when the New Jersey chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists unveils a plaque commemorating the role of the Union Hotel as the hub of world-wide media coverage during the Lindbergh kidnapping trial in 1935.

The plaque commemorates the hotel’s role in housing an international press corps that converged on Flemington for the trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann, who was tried and convicted for the kidnapping and murder of the infant son of aviator Charles Lindbergh. Reporters covering the trial included Arthur Brisbane, H.L. Mencken, Dorothy Parker, Damon Runyon, and Walter Winchell.

The Union Hotel is the first site in New Jersey to be added to SPJ’s National List of Historic Sites in Journalism.

The Society’s Historic Sites in Journalism program honors the people and places that have played important roles in American journalistic history. The program began in 1942.

The plaque will be unveiled at the Hunterdon Historical Society Library at 114 Main St. in Flemington. The Historical Society has agreed to take temporary custody of the plaque until the future of the Union Hotel becomes more clear.

All are welcome to attend this free event.

For further information, contact John Ensslin at 973-513-5632.

Other historic sites

Other historic sites include The Pennsylvania Packet in Philadelphia, the first successful daily newspaper in the United States and first to publish the Declaration of Independence and the U. S. Constitution, Freedom’s Journal in New York City, the first Black newspaper published in the United States and the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

 …

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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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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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