Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

The Coleman Bridge over the James River at Yorktown.


SPJ Virginia Pro Chapter gathered by the James River for the 2016 George Mason Award Brunch on Sunday, Oct. 30. About two dozen members met at Riverwalk Restaurant in Yorktown to honor George Mason Award recipient Dave Ress.

A reporter at The Daily Press and noted Virginia freedom of information and open government expert, Ress accepted the award from chapter President Robyn Sidersky. Betsy Edwards, executive director of the Virginia Press Association and the person who nominated Ress, remarked on his willingness to share his knowledge with fellow reporters and open government advocates.

Dave Ress speaks during the George Mason Award Brunch.

Dave Ress speaks during the George Mason Award Brunch.

The Mason Award, established in 1964, is presented annually to an individual for outstanding contributions to Virginia journalism. It is named for the principal author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the forerunner of the Bill of Rights.

Catherine Wiedman, a senior at Emory & Henry and recipient of the Virginia SPJ/SDX Educational Foundation’s fellowship, was also honored during the event.


Catherine Wiedman, Dave Ress, Clissa England, Paul Fletcher and Robyn Sidersky at the brunch.


National Immediate Past President Paul Fletcher shares his thoughts.

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: Robyn Sidersky
President, Virginia Pro Chapter SPJ
Phone: (954) 296-4407
Email: robyn.sidersky@gmail.com

 Buy tickets here.

Ress to Receive 2016 George Mason Award


RICHMOND, VA – (Oct 12, 2016) – Dave Ress, an investigative reporter with The Daily Press (Newport News), has been selected as recipient of the 2016 George Mason Award by the Virginia Pro Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists.

The Mason award, established in 1964, is presented annually to an individual for outstanding contributions to Virginia journalism. It is named for the principal author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the forerunner of the Bill of Rights.

Ress will be honored during a luncheon Sunday, Oct. 30 at Riverwalk Restaurant, 323 Water St., Suite 1-A, Yorktown. Ticket information will be available soon at www.spjva.com.

Ress has spent more than two decades in Virginia newsrooms. His efforts to press lawmakers and public officials on public information, records and transparency issues is matched by his willingness to share what he has learned.

“His extensive knowledge of FOIA has been invaluable in his job for The Daily Press – but even more invaluable is David’s willingness to share this knowledge with reporters across the Commonwealth,” wrote Betsy Edwards in her nomination letter. “His commitment to open government will make a real difference in how the Freedom of Information Act in Virginia is applied in years to come.”

Past recipients of the award include journalists, educators, attorneys and others who have made lasting impacts in Virginia. Recent recipients and more information are available at https://spjva.com/2015/02/01/the-george-mason-award/.

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We’re excited to announce the full line up of panels and workshops for the Virginia Press Association/Society of Professional Journalists Conference April 8-9 in Short Pump, Va.

The following programming is included with the purchase of a ticket through SPJ. You can purchase tickets here.

Friday Activities

2-4:30 p.m. Job/Internship Fair featuring representatives from The Daily Press, Richmond Magazine, Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Virginian-Pilot
Clips and resume critique

7-11 p.m. Screening of “Spotlight”

Saturday Panels

Keynote Speaker: (during the SPJ luncheon) T. Rees Shapiro, Reporter, The Washington Post (during the luncheon, the Mark of Excellence Awards will be presented)

Our Right to Know: The Future of Open Access

This roundtable discussion will explore the ongoing legal battle to open up circuit court case databases to the public, the ongoing proposals to revise the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, and how the General Assembly came down on FOIA/access issues in the 2016 session.
Moderator: Marisa Porto, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief, Daily Press Media Group, VPA President
Panelists: Dave Ress, Reporter, Daily Press; Megan Rhyne, Executive Director, Virginia Coalition for Open Government; Ginger Stanley, Executive Director, Virginia Press Association

Case Study in Tragedy: WDBJ

Hear from those affected by the August 2015 shooting of two WDBJ7 journalists and their interviewee as they discuss the practical and ethical conversations media organizations need to take when covering a tragedy in their newsroom.
Moderator: Nicole Livas, Veteran Broadcaster
Panelists: Kelly Zuber, News Director, WDBJ7, Roanoke; Ryan Parkhurst, Assistant Professor of Journalism, James Madison University; Brad Jenkins, General Manager, The Breeze

So You Want to be An International Reporter: Hear From Those Who Have Done It and How You Can Do the Same
Learn what it takes to become a foreign correspondent from journalists who have headed overseas bureaus and covered wars, disasters and other news all over the world. Renew your passport, start taking Rosetta Stone lessons and come to this session for a primer on going global.
Session leaders: David Lynch, Correspondent, Washington bureau of the Federal Times; Suzanne McBride, Interim Chair, Communication and the Media Innovation, Columbia College Chicago; Paul Wiseman, International Economics Writer, The Associated Press

Using Unmanned Aerial Systems for Newsgathering
Discussion about the future of unmanned aerial systems and their applications in news gathering. Learn about current and proposed regulations and what they mean for the future of aerial photography.
Moderator: Evan Jones, The Southside Messenger
Panelists: Charles Tobin, Partner, Holland & Knight; Daryl Watkins, Founder, Creative Dog Media; Gary Gillam, Career Videographer and Producer; Jeff South, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Robertson School of Media and Culture, VCU

The State of the Mid-Atlantic News Media and the Climate of Today’s News Outlets
Newsrooms have undergone multiple changes over the past year – from how we deliver news, to the audiences we target, to how we report. Our speakers will discuss the status of their newsrooms, how they’ve managed the changes and what they see for the future of news.
Session leaders: Steve Gunn, Editor, The Virginian-Pilot; Paige Mudd, Editor, The Richmond Times-Dispatch


Sharpen Your Social Media Skills: How to Use It to Expand Your Reach and Attract More Readers
These days your social media presence is just as important as your stories. Hear from pros who will tell you about today’s social media landscape and how to best navigate it for the highest impact.
Session Leaders: Bob Bennett, Senior Producer, WAVY-TV/WVBT-TV Norfolk; Alix Bryan, Interactive Producer, WTVR-TV CBS6 Richmond; Bryan Devasher, Breaking News Reporter, Richmond Times-Dispatch

New Products and Existing Products: “Steal Our Ideas”
How are news organizations in Virginia adjusting to find new sources of revenue and audience? We invite you to bring your ideas and to hear about the success the Richmond Times-Dispatch had with expanding its Discover Richmond magazine franchise.
Session Leaders: Paige Mudd, Editor, Richmond Times-Dispatch; Lewis Brissman, Editor, Discover Richmond

Stop Errors in Their Tracks: Copy Editing for Everyone
With fewer copy editors at local newspapers, reporters have to be their own copy editors. Panelists will offer tips about how to write cleaner copy, making reporters and their publications look smarter. Learn basic copy editing tips that will take you far no matter what kind of stories you write.
Session Leaders: Karen Denny, Director, Annapolis Bureau, Maryland Capital News Service; Suzanne Wardle, Copy Editor & Books Editor, The Roanoke-Times

Ethics Advice: How to Act When You Find Yourself in Questionable Situations
Ethical thinking is like a muscle. Use it often to keep it strong. Explore and talk through sticky situations with an expert.
Session Leader: Paul Fletcher, Publisher, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and SPJ National President



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Our friends at the Virginia Press Association need your help judging the Georgia Press Association’s contest next month.

Advertising: Georgia is looking for 16 to 20 people to judge advertising contest entries on February 13.
News: Georgia is looking for at least 40 people to judge its editorial contest entries on February 27.

Judging will take place at VPA Headquarters in Glen Allen. Judging will start at 9 a.m. on both dates and will include a lunch.  Judging should be finished by 4 p.m. Please sign up today to help by  contacting Janet Madison at janetm@vpa.net.

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The Society of Professional Journalists, Virginia Pro chapter, gave its George and Frances Crutchfield Distinguished Service Award for 2013 to longtime chapter leader Brian Eckert at the annual George Mason Banquet and Celebration June 18.

Eckert, an SPJ member since 1987, joined the Virginia Pro board in the late 1990s and would hold a number of positions over the years, including president from 2003 to 2005. Virginia Pro was named the outstanding small chapter by SPJ National during this time frame, in no small part due to his efforts.

More recently Eckert has served two terms as Regional Director for SPJ’s Region 2, covering states from Delaware to North Carolina. He was recognized by SPJ National as regional director of the year in 2011. During this past year, he has been a member of the eight-person SPJ executive committee that oversees the entire society and its 8,000 members. He will be leaving the national board this summer.

Eckert will continue to serve SPJVA as executive director of the Virginia SPJ,SDX Education Foundation, the chapter’s educational group.

As outgoing SPJVA President Paul Fletcher noted, “Through his leadership and dedication to SPJ, Brian truly has shown the rest of us how it’s done.”

The Crutchfield Distinguished Service Award is not given every year, but it is given when appropriate. SPJVA last gave this award in 2010, to George and Francine Crutchfield, longtime supporters and friends of the chapter and the educational foundation. The chapter renamed the award in their honor the following year.

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Join Studio SPJ producer Holly Fisher as she talks with Corinne Reilly of The Virginian-Pilot about her 2011 Sigma Delta Chi Award-winning piece “A Chance in Hell,” a story of the daily life of U.S. military medics in Afghanistan.

The program will air this morning, June 25, at 11:00 a.m.

Read Reilly’s story at http://spj.org/sdxa11.asp. Call in during the show at 347-857-2441.

Listen: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/spj/2012/06/25/studio-spj-talking-with-sdx-winner-corinne-reilly

The SDX Awards Banquet will be July 20, 2012, in Washington, D.C.

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