Archive for the ‘Chapter business’ Category

The Virginia Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists seeks nominees for the following open positions on its board of directors:

President (one year term)
Vice President (one year term)
Secretary (one year term)
Treasurer (one year term)

Board positions
One director to serve one term expiring in 2018
Two directors to serve terms expiring in 2019

What’s required in a nutshell: help plan programming around the state for SPJ, call in to monthly board meetings, support SPJ’s mission, represent SPJ in your newsroom and at journalism events, including regional and national conferences.

If you are interested in filling one of these positions or have questions, please send chapter president Robyn Sidersky an email at robyn.sidersky@gmail.com by Dec. 7.


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Five student journalists in Virginia will have the chance have their registration paid for to attend this year’s Excellence in Journalism Conference, being held Sept.18-20 in New Orleans.
Any college journalist in Virginia who is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists may enter to have their registration covered to attend the conference. One of the highlights of this year’s event is a question and answer session with The Washington Post’s Marty Baron, who is portrayed in the movie “Spotlight.”
To enter, students should write a 200-word essay explaining why they deserve to attend and what they’ll learn from the conference.
The deadline to enter is July 15, 2016. Entrants should email their essays to Greg Gilligan, business editor at The Richmond Times-Dispatch and an SPJ Virginia Board Member. Send essays to ggilligan@timesdispatch.com. Along with your essay, please include a few clips showing that you are a student journalist, along with your name, school, phone number, email, and mailing address.
The state’s professional SPJ chapter is sponsoring the scholarships.
The winners will be notified soon after.

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The Society of Professional Journalists, Virginia Pro Chapter, seeks nominations for its 53rd George Mason Award, to be presented in September 2016.

The annual award recognizes a person in Virginia has done something extraordinary for journalism and the public: reporting and writing that has righted a wrong, caused a sea change in attitudes, changed a law, started a watchdog group that exposed violation of the public trust, defended a reporter or news organization from unjust persecution, forced a reluctant government to make the people’s business public, mentored young reporters who went on to outstanding careers, or some other specific, noteworthy accomplishment.

Past winners have included reporters, columnists, editorial writers, publishers, broadcast station owners, attorneys, directors of public interest organizations and professional development associations, among others. They have worked for organizations large and small.

SPJ Virginia Pro named the award for Mason, Virginia’s “forgotten founding father,” because he risked lifelong friendships and personal fortune by insisting that the fledgling United States protect freedom of the press and the other civil liberties by enacting a Bill of Rights. He was born in Fairfax County in 1725, helped frame the Virginia Constitution and in 1776 wrote its Declaration of Rights, the first authoritative formulation of the doctrine of inalienable rights. Mason’s work influenced Thomas Jefferson in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.

The chapter has presented the George Mason Award annually since 1964 to journalists and others who have supported freedom of the press and made significant contributions to Virginia journalism. It expresses the esteem of SPJ members, who are committed to ethics, freedom of information, education and legal defense of reporters in the practice of journalism. The award plaque carries Mason’s conviction regarding the role of the press: “Freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of Liberty and can never be restrained but by despotick governments.”

Nominations should be made in letter form, complete with reference to supporting information, to the chapter’s George Mason Committee chair, Robyn Sidersky and sent to robyn.sidersky@gmail.com.

Deadline for nominations is June 30, 2016.

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The Board of Directors of the Virginia Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will meet via phone at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17.

The call-in number is 641-715-3580 and the access code is 583987.

Any member is welcome to call in and listen.

This post will be updated with the agenda.

Tentative Meeting agenda:

SPJVA May Board Meeting Agenda



  • Call to order/roll call
  • Financial Report from Rachel
  • Old business: Wrap up of Richmond Conference
  • Update from Paul Fletcher about National
  • George Mason Banquet

  • Update on Fellowships
  • Programming
  • Annual report due May 30
  • Start discussing nominations for board for 16-17 year



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Planning is underway for the Region 2 Spring Conference, to take place Friday, March 28 and Saturday, March 29 on the campus of Georgetown University Downtown in Washington, D.C.

Events will open with a screening of “A Fragile Trust,” a new documentary examining the Jayson Blair plagiarism and fabrication scandal and how it reverberated throughout journalism. Winners of the SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards will be honored during a Saturday luncheon, with panels and workshops to take place in the morning and afternoon.

We hope to see many Virginia Pro members at the event!

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House Bill 95, which would have stripped public notices from newspapers and shifted them to local government websites, died in subcommittee this morning. The bill, filed by Del. Chris Head, R-Roanoke, was opposed by the Virginia Press Association and SPJ Virginia Pro Chapter as a matter of the public’s right to know.

The bill failed 6-3, said SPJ Secretary-Treasurer Paul Fletcher, who spoke against the bill.

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Happy New Year

January 2, 2014 Agenda

1) Jeff South – Approval of the October meeting minutes

2) Mary Ellin Arch – Treasurer’s Report

3) Appointment of a temporary secretary to serve during Jeff South’s Fullbright Scholarship, which begins January 15. Rachel DePompa has volunteered.

4) Report from Paul Fletcher on rescheduling the George Mason Birthday celebration at Gunston Hall to a date TBD. Paul plans to speak; board members are asked to attend if possible.

5) Report from Pat Kane – The Region 2 Spring Conference at Georgetown University is slated for March 28-29. Pat is co-chair with Amy Kovak-Ashley from Georgetown, so please let me know any ideas or suggestions.

7) Sunshine Week event  – I have asked Emily Grannis, freedom of information fellow at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, to come to Richmond and present about the recently-launched iFOIA letter generator. We are tentative for Sunshine Week, March 16-22.

7) Recap of recent events – SPJVA recently financially supported two great events with close ties to our mission. AP Day at the Capital took place Wednesday, Dec. 4, offering a chance for dozens of journalists to get an early look at the big issues in the 2014 General Assembly. Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe also spoke. Robyn and Pat attended.
On Friday, Dec. 6, the Virginia Coalition for Open Government annual conference was held, with great discussion of the gift scandal, ethics reform and other issues. Paul, who is a board member, and Pat attended.

8) Other upcoming events

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