Author: spjmi

Resolutions to honor SPJ Board Members Dawn Parker & Rob South

The SPJ Mid-Michigan Chapter’s Board of Directors recently adopted resolutions honoring the journalism career of current board member Dawn Parker, as well as the service to SPJ chapter by Rob South. Both resolutions were penned by board member Judy Putnam. Below is the text of the resolutions.

Resolution to thank Dawn Parker for an outstanding news career at the Lansing State Journal and Community Newspapers.

Whereas Dawn Parker has dedicated herself to the worthy goal of keeping people well informed in her local communities, particularly East Lansing and Meridian Township, for more than nine years;

Whereas Dawn Parker has filed thousands of local government, schools, business and human interest stories that further the goal of informing members of the community;

Whereas Dawn Parker has all times exhibited the ideals of fairness, accuracy, clarity and respect;

Whereas Dawn Parker has brought something special to her work that can only be described as heart;

Whereas Dawn Parker also found time to give back to the profession through her work and membership with SPJ;

Whereas it’s important to acknowledge the loss to the community as employment declines in local newspapers;

Now be it resolved that the SPJ Mid-Michigan Professional Chapter board and guests attending the organization’s fall barbecue roundly applaud Dawn Parker’s career at the Lansing State Journal and Community Newspapers and thank her for her dedication to her profession and her community.

Resolution to thank Rob South for his dedication to the Mid-Michigan Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists:

Whereas Rob South has been a valued member of the SPJ board for 10 years, serving in at-large and leadership positions;

Whereas Rob South has brought his remarkable wit and grand sense of humor to many meetings of the SPJ board;

Whereas Rob South generously shared his time with a professional organization while balancing demands from his work and young family;

Whereas Rob South has exemplified the SPJ ethical values in his work as a writer, reporter and producer for WKAR and Public News Service from 2004 to 2013;

Whereas Rob South helped nonprofit and public organizations shine in his work for SouthRiver Media and the Eaton County Community Schools;

Whereas Rob South will long be remembered for the most amazing salsa at the annual SPJ picnic;

Whereas Rob South has turned his considerable talents to real estate but we all know that he will always be a journalist at heart;
Now be it resolved that the board of the Mid-Michigan Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists thanks Rob South for his dedication supporting ethical values in journalism and donating his time to SPJ.


Come join us for a free screening of Spotlight!

Our chapter recently acquired the rights to show Spotlight, the Academy Award winning film about the Boston Globe’s investigation into the child sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Archdiocese in Boston.

We’ll be showing it Thursday, April 21 at 7 p.m. at MSU’s Communication Arts and Sciences Building, Room 147, which is the auditorium on the first floor there.

Admission is free, and everyone is welcome — including MSU students. For more information, please see our Facebook event.

Coming soon: Reporting unreported water stories

Following in the footsteps of the Flint water crisis, the MSU Knight Center for Environmental Journalism and the Water Science Network are hosting a free event Saturday, April 16 called “Beyond Flint: Reporting the unreported water stories in your community.”

It will feature ACLU reporter Curt Guyette as one of the speakers, as well as representatives from the Flint River Watershed Coalition, MSU Center for Water Sciences, MSU Public Utilities Institute and the Michigan Environmental Council.

The event will take place April 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lansing BWL’s John Dye Water Plant. Lunch is free, but enrollment is limited. Register to by April 11. 

Coming Soon: Law School for Journalists

We’re passing along event information coming up in Lansing for journalists who want to bolster their legal knowledge! See below:
What: Law School for Journalists, livestreamed from the Supreme Court Courtroom
Where: Your Choice:
Gather in the Supreme Court Courtroom
Michigan Hall of Justice, 925 W. Ottawa, Lansing or
Watch Online From Your Home or Office
When: Friday, March 18, 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Details: Questions about Michigan courts? Have them answered by a panel of distinguished presenters including justices, judges, and staff representing district, circuit, and probate courts; Court of Appeals; and Michigan Supreme Court. Join your colleagues for an up-close look at Michigan’s court system with an interactive opportunity for questions.

Reporters can attend the event in one of two ways: in person in the Supreme Court courtroom or watch from anywhere online.

Please let us know if you plan to attend in person, and we’ll save you a seat in the courtroom. Those planning to be seated in the courtroom will have to go through security so please plan to arrive in plenty of time to make your way to the 6th floor courtroom by 9 a.m.


Those planning to attend online can e-mail a question in advance to or tweet a question live @misupremecourt.

Law School for Journalists 2016 – March 18, 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Live-streamed from the Supreme Court Courtroom
Moderator John Nevin, Communications Director

9:00 Welcome
Justice Joan L. Larsen

9:05 Which Court? District, Circuit, Probate (15 min. each)
Hon. Louise Alderson, 54A District Court – Ingham County
Hon. Michelle Rick, 29th Circuit Court – Clinton County
Hon. Thomas Byerley, Eaton County Probate Court

9:50 They’re Appealing: Court of Appeals and Michigan Supreme Court (10 min. each)
Jerry Zimmer, Michigan Court of Appeals Chief Clerk
Larry Royster, Michigan Supreme Court Clerk and Chief of Staff

10:10 State Court Administrative Office – What SCAO Does and Doesn’t Do
Jodi Latuszek, Region II Administrator

10:25 Break

10:40 Behind the Scenes – How the Michigan Supreme Court Makes Decisions
Justice David F. Viviano

10:50 The MSC’s Rule-making Function
Anne Boomer, Michigan Supreme Court Administrative Counsel

11:00 Specialty Courts – Drug, Mental Health, Veterans
Dana Graham, Management Analyst

11:15 Judicial Performance Dashboards
Jennifer Warner, Trial Court Services Director

11:30 Anatomy of a Criminal Case: What You Need to Know about Criminal Procedure
William Vailliencourt, Livingston County Prosecutor

11:45 Attorney Grievance Commission
Alan Gershel, AGC Administrator

Noon Practical Tips for Covering the Courts
Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Managing Editor

12:15 Closing Remarks
Chief Justice Robert P. Young, Jr.

Curt Guyette in Lansing!

On Monday, March 9, our chapter hosted our annual Sunshine Week event. This year we featured Curt Guyette, an investigative reporter for the ACLU of Michigan. Guyette is credited with breaking open the Flint water crisis through his investigative reporting, which is funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation and was focused on the state’s emergency manager law.

We had a crowd of about 25 come to hear Guyette tell his story and ask him questions about FOIA and nonprofit journalism, among other topics. We hosted the event at the Lansing State Journal’s new building in downtown Lansing.

Check out the photos below of the event, courtesy of attendee Raymond Holt!

Guyette1 Guyette2 Guyette3 Guyette4

Join us for the annual SPJ holiday party!

Join the Mid-Michigan SPJ Chapter for some drinks & appetizers at Midtown Brewing Co. on Tuesday, Dec. 15 in downtown Lansing for our annual holiday get-together!

Hopefully legislators won’t keep session running too long Tuesday, but either way, come by and unwind with journalists, PR pros and more — all are welcome!

We’ll provide appetizers, and Midtown has a fine selection of beer and entrees as well.

Here’s the Facebook event for your RSVP.

Join us for our MSU Tailgate!

Thanks to everyone who joined us for our panel discussion about how the Courser-Gamrat story broke. We hope you enjoyed yourselves! Here’s a photo our board member, Kathy Barks Hoffman, took at the event of our panelists:


Coming up next: Our chapter will host an MSU Tailgate on Saturday, Oct. 24 starting at 10 a.m. near the Engineering Building on the MSU campus. We’ll be out all day until kickoff, which is at 3:30 p.m.

We’ll have food and drinks, but you can bring your own. Parking will be available in the lot of the Communication Arts and Sciences Building. We’ll post on our Facebook event more information about where we specifically end up when we get set up. We hope to see you there!

SPJ Mid-Michigan Presents: How the Courser-Gamrat Story Broke

If you live in Michigan — or anywhere for that matter — we’re sure you’ve heard of the story involving former state Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat and the scandal that involved the botched cover-up of their affair and the misuse of state resources.

We’re going to be hosting a panel discussion with the reporter who broke the story, Chad Livengood of The Detroit News, on Monday, October 19 at 6 p.m. at Kelly’s in downtown Lansing. We’ll be learning more about what went into the story and the ethical considerations that went with covering it.

Also on the panel will be Kyle Melinn, editor of the Michigan Information and Research Service (MIRS) newsletter, as well as David Waymire, partner at Martin Waymire, who have both been following the saga closely.

You’ll be able to order your own food and drinks in the back room at Kelly’s. Join us for what will definitely be an engaging conversation!

New SPJ Board Update, First Event Of 2015-2016 Coming Up!

Thanks to everyone who made it out to the annual SPJ fall cookout. We had a good turnout and good food! Check our Facebook album for all the pictures.

We’re also proud to announce we raised $160 for the Legal Defense Fund!

Also, say hello to our newly-elected board:

President: Jacob Kanclerz
Vice President: Lindsay VanHulle
Treasurer: Judy Putnam
Secretary: Rob South
At-large reps: Kathy Hoffman, Lauren Gibbons, Dawn Parker

Next up, we have our first event of the year tentatively scheduled for Monday, October 19 at 6 p.m. at Kelly’s in downtown Lansing. We’ll have Chad Livengood of The Detroit News come and tell us how he broke the Courser-Gamrat story from over the summer. You’ll want to join us for this!

Date & Time Set For Our Annual Cookout!

Thursday, October 1 at 6 p.m. 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 SPJ Legal Defense Fund, which helps journalists who are facing litigation.

Here’s a link to the Facebook event and our Evite.

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!