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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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The Virginia Senate this week has decided to move the public’s business farther from the public.

The Virginia Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Virginia Press Association, and the Virginia Coalition for Open Government are disappointed by Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment’s action to refuse to allow journalists onto the Senate floor to cover the General Assembly proceedings, as reported by The Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Washington Post and others.

Norment has banished the press to cramped quarters where it is difficult to do its job.

The press serves as the public’s eyes and ears in General Assembly proceedings. The public isn’t allowed on the floor, where the action is happening. By banishing the press from the floor, it is harder to hear what is being said, and some of the members cannot be seen from the new vantage point. By being on the floor, reporters can get a better, fuller sense of what is happening by being present on the floor, not relocated to the gallery.

Removing the press from the floor is also a matter of precedent and symbolism. The press has had access to the Senate floor for decades. Removing the press from the floor symbolically removes open government and public oversight. A lawmaking group that pushes the press away to arm’s length also pushes away public scrutiny.

This action comes at a time when the House is ending its practice of impromptu and largely unrecorded committee meetings at members’ desks, a practice the Senate has not ended.

We request that Norment and other Virginia leaders responsible for these changes immediately allow the press to return to its normal working conditions and show their commitment to transparency and open government.

Sincerely,

The Virginia Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists

Virginia Press Association

Virginia Coalition for Open Government

 

 

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Time to get excited! Here’s the preliminary agenda for the 2016 Society of Professional Journalists Regional Conference, set for April 8-9 at the Short Pump Hilton in Richmond. This year’s Region 2 conference will be held jointly with the Virginia Press Asspj-vert__5_sociation, meaning members of each group who register get access to the others’ activities and events.

This is a preliminary agenda, so check back here and on our Twitter and Facebook accounts for updated information, including how to register.

Friday, April 8

* 10 a.m. – Registration for VPA and SPJ

* 10 a.m. – VPA Contest display room opens.

* 1-4 p.m. – Bonus Session: VCU Photo Shooting & Editing Held at VCU Campus ($30 fee, separate registration required)

* 2-5 p.m. – VPA/VPS Board Meeting

* 2-4:30 p.m. – Job Fair/Clip-Resume Critiques

* 5:30 p.m. – VPA Reception

* 6:30 p.m. – VPA Virginian of the Year/AP Banquet

* 7-11 p.m. – Possible SPJ Reception/Film Screening

Saturday, April 9

* 9 a.m. – Registration for VPA and SPJ

* 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. SPJ Silent Auction & Resume Critiques

* 9 a.m. – VPA Contest Display

* 9:30-11 a.m. – FOIA Session

* 11 a.m.-noon -Reporter Safety: Tips for Doing Your Job Without Compromising Your Safety

* 11 a.m. -noon – So You Want to be An International Reporter: Hear From Those Who Have Done it and How You Can Do the Same

* 12-1:45 p.m. – VPA/AP Annual Meeting/Business Meeting and Awards Luncheon

* 12-1:45 p.m. – SPJ Annual Mark of Excellence Awards/Keynote Luncheon

* 2-3 p.m. – Small Unmanned Aerial Systems

* 2-3 p.m. – The State of the News Media: Discussion of a Pew Report about the Climate of Today’s News Outlets

* 2-3 p.m. – Sharpen Your Social Media Skills: How to Use It to Expand Your Reach and Attract More Readers

* 2-3 p.m. – New Products and Existing Products: “Steal Our Ideas”

* 3-4 p.m. -Stop Errors in Their Tracks: Copy Editing for Everyone

* 3-4 p.m. – Ethics Advice: How to Act When You Find Yourself in Questionable Situations

* 5-6 p.m. – SPJ Reception & Wrap Up

* 5-6 p.m. – VPA Reception & Cash Bar – Foyer

* 6 p.m. – VPA Ad/News/Editorial Awards Banquet

* 8:45 p.m. – 1 a.m. – Possible member-generated After Banquet Party

Questions? Comments? Email SPJ Virginia Pro Chapter Robyn Sidersky. You can also follow SPJ Region 2 on Twitter and Facebook.

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Society of Professional Journalists, Virginia Pro Chapter

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 14, 2014

Contact: Chapter VP Robyn Sidersky, 954-296-4407, or robyn.sidersky@gmail.com

BROWN TO RECEIVE 2013 GEORGE MASON AWARD

Richmond Times-Dispatch photojournalist Bob Brown has been selected as recipient of the 2014 George Mason Award, given by the Society of Professional Journalists, Virginia Pro Chapter.

The Mason award, established in 1964, is presented 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 in the Constitution.

Brown is known, among other things, as the dean of photographers covering the General Assembly, starting in 1970. He joined the Times-Dispatch in 1968, and except for a brief stint in Charlotte from 1979-80, has been at the newspaper ever since. He was named senior photographer in 1992.

He was voted Virginia Press Photographer of the Year three times, and he has won numerous national, regional and state first-place awards. In 2005, he was the first photojournalist inducted into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame.

Brown is the author of two books, “Capitol Comics, a Humorous Look at the Virginia Legislature” (1984), and “Back Roads: People, Places, and Pie from Around Virginia” (2014), which he coauthored with Times-Dispatch columnist Bill Lohmann.

SPJVA will present the Mason award to Brown at its 51st George Mason Banquet on Sept.16 at the Capital Ale House in Richmond. The chapter and its Virginia SPJ,SDX Educational Foundation will also present two scholarships to Virginia college journalists. Tickets are $50 a person, which includes two drink tickets. There will be a silent auction benefiting the scholarship foundation.

For reservations and information, contact Robyn Sidersky at 954-296-4407 or robyn.sidersky@gmail.com.

 

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Journalist’s arrest at Occupy Richmond

Ian Graham, a photojournalist with RVA Magazine, was arrested and charged with trespassing in the early morning hours of Nov. 1, as he attempted to gather news at the Occupy Richmond site at Kanawha Plaza in downtown Richmond.

His account of the evening, which he acknowledged had to be curtailed since he was facing charges, is available here.

The board of the Virginia Pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists on Nov. 8 sent a letter of protest to Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones, Police Chief Bryan Norwood and Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Herring, asking that the charges against Graham be dropped. (Click the following link for a copy of SPJ Virginia Pro letter re journalist’s arrest)

Virginia Code § 15.2-1714 expressly provides journalists the right to be present at police scenes “when gathering news,” and Graham was seeking to cover the removal of the Occupy Richmond protesters for RVA Magazine at the time he was arrested.

Graham was charged with a class 1 misdemeanor, trespassing after being forbidden to do so.

None of the three officials responded to the board’s letter.

A hearing was held in Richmond General District Court on Friday, Nov. 18, but the charge against Graham was continued until January.

Studio SPJ held a session on Nov. 20 entitled, “Covering the Occupy Protests.” The podcast, which featured guests Mickey Osterreicher, counsel to the Press Photographers Association and SPJ Virginia Pro president Paul Fletcher, is archived and available for listening at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/spj.

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