By spjmi

Supporting student press freedom!

We’re pleased to announce our chapter has endorsed a budding legislative effort to protect and enhance student press freedom here in Michigan.

The SPJ Mid-Michigan Board of Directors officially endorsed the group New Voices Michigan, which is slated to lead an effort to pass legislation aiming to cut down on faculty-led censorship in high school and collegiate publications.

We at SPJ, at the local level and nationally, support efforts to protect and improve freedom of the press and to ensure that right provided for all in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

There will be more information to come as SPJ Mid-Michigan joins a growing coalition supporting student press rights.

For more information, check out New Voices Michigan’s website and Twitter.

Coming Soon: The SPJ 2015 Fall Cookout

Thursday, October 1 is the date set for our chapter’s annual fall cookout. It serves as the informal kickoff for SPJ activities for the coming fall and winter. We’ll be electing our new officers and raising money for the Legal Defense Fund, which helps journalists who are facing litigation.

There will be more details to come as we get closer, so stay tuned.

Also, as we plan our events for the upcoming year, what would you like to see SPJ do to serve the journalism community in Mid-Michigan? We would love to get your input on what kind of programs to run or causes to support because our chapter is here to support and be a resource for journalists in the Mid-Michigan region.

If you have suggestions, please email President Lindsay VanHulle at lvanhulle (at) gmail (dot) com or Vice President Jacob Kanclerz at kanclerzj (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!

Coming Sunshine Week: FYI On The New State FOIA Law

Our chapter’s annual Sunshine Week event is back, and this year we’ll be tackling an especially timely issue: The updates to the state’s FOIA law approved earlier this year, and what they mean for journalists and other media professionals when the law goes into effect later this year.

Join us Wednesday, March 18 at 6 p.m. at Kelly’s in downtown Lansing for a panelist discussion featuring experts on the topic. Our panelists are:

– State Rep. Brandon Dillon, D-Grand Rapids, who recently sponsored legislation to expand Michigan’s FOIA law
– East Lansing Clerk Marie Wicks
Jeremy Steele, Michigan Coalition for Open Government
Dirk Milliman of the Michigan Press Association (invited)

RSVP on our Facebook event to let us know you’re coming!

Early bird registration for the SPJ Regional ends March 1

Just a reminder that our SPJ region’s conference is coming up — March 20-21 at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

These conferences always offer relevant programming and professional development, as well as networking opportunities and a chance to see some of the region’s best work in student journalism on display.

The early bird registration deadline is March 1. After that, the prices get steeper.

For more information on how to register, follow this link.

Registration for 2015 Regional Conference Now Open

The 2015 regional conference is now officially open for registration!

The Mid-Michigan Pro Chapter is part of Region 4, one of several regions that SPJ sliced the country up into. Each year, SPJ members from our region gather in one place to share programming ideas, network together and recognize the best in student journalism.

The regional conference this year is March 20-21 in Athens, Ohio, home of Ohio University. They’ve got some great programming planned, and I’ve heard the town itself is very fun.

Registration details can be found here: http://www.spjregion4conference.com/

If there’s enough interest, I’m sure some of our members could be interested in shared rides/lodging. Let us know by contacting us!

Awards Reminders

There’s plenty of chances to get your work from the past year honored in both local and national SPJ contests, but the deadlines are fast approaching.

Our friends at SPJ Detroit are holding their Excellence in Journalism contest. The submissions are due Feb. 4. Here’s the website where you can apply.

Also, national SPJ has contests open for both professionals and students.

First, there’s the 2014 Sigma Delta Chi Awards, which recognize the best in journalism.They’ve dated back to 1932. Entries are due Friday, Feb. 6, 2015.

The categories include print, online, radio, magazine, television, online and other.Here’s more information on the Sigma Delta Chi Awards if you’re interested. It should be noted that SPJ members get discounts on the submission fees.

There are also the Mark of Excellence Awards, which are for collegiate journalists. The deadline for submission is Jan. 23, 2015. More information on the Mark of Excellence Awards can be found here.

Support public records — and journalism

There’s some important legislation in the pipeline that could improve the Freedom of Information Act, both at the federal level and here in Michigan.

Here in Michigan, it’s HB 4001, which only suffered 8 no votes when it passed the House earlier this year. Now it’s sitting in the Senate, waiting for a vote. Our friends at the Michigan Coalition for Open Government had an op-ed in Bridge Magazine recently advocating for a vote, and described what the bill would do, including standardizing copying charges and improving the appeals process.

And at the federal level, it’s the FOIA Improvement Act, which recently passed muster at the Senate committee level. National SPJ is urging folks to contact their senators to pass the measure. According to National SPJ, the bill would put in writing that there is a presumption of openness when it comes to records, limit one of the oft-used exemptions and ensure that search-and-copy fees can’t be charged if agencies miss their deadlines.

The urgency here is that session ends for Congress and the Michigan Legislature in a few weeks, which means these bills go away if they’re not approved. Spread the word, contact a legislator and advocate for public records and the First Amendment.

SPJ Awards Season Is Here!

National SPJ has recently opened several of its awards for entries, and there’s plenty of time to apply.

Of note are the 2014 Sigma Delta Chi Awards, which recognize the best in journalism.They’ve dated back to 1932. Entries are due Friday, Feb. 6, 2015.

The categories include print, online, radio, magazine, television, online and other.Here’s more information on the Sigma Delta Chi Awards if you’re interested. It should be noted that SPJ members get discounts on the submission fees.

There are also the Mark of Excellence Awards, which are for collegiate journalists. The deadline for submission is Jan. 23, 2015. More information on the Mark of Excellence Awards can be found here.

Upcoming events for November

Covering the Courts: What Detroit’s Top Legal Minds Think: Join our partners over at SPJ Detroit and the State Bar of Michigan for a two-part series.

The first talk is Monday, Nov. 10 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Crain’s in Detroit. The speakers that night are Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade.

The second talk is Tuesday Nov. 18 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Butzel Long Law Offices in Detroit. The speakers are the Honorable Nancy Edmunds, federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, and the Honorable Robert Colombo, chief judge of the 3rd Circuit Court in Wayne County.

Admission is free but RSVPs are required. Call or email them to Donna Remer, SPJ Detroit executive director, at [email protected] or (586) 306-2035.For more information, go to http://www.spjdetroit.org.

Nov. 18-19, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. The Kiplinger Digital Media Summit is coming to the Midwest. Reboot your digital skills in this full-day workshop, with an optional hands-on lab on the second day. Leading industry experts will share their tips, tools and tactics. Topics include must-have apps and programs for journalists, blogging, data analytics, crowdsourcing, verifying breaking news, data visualization, video editing, hands-on gadget play, and using social media to dig deeper for sources and story ideas.

For more information on registration, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/kiplinger-digital-media-summit-2014-tickets-13181872335