Archive for the ‘Society of Professional Journalists’ Category


Virginia SPJ,SDX Educational Foundation
and Society of Professional Journalists, Virginia Pro Chapter


Two $1,500 cash fellowships that support summer newsroom internships are available to rising juniors or seniors at an accredited Virginia college or university.  The internships must be at least six weeks’ full-time work at bona fide news organization approved by the foundation board of trustees.

The responsibility of securing a summer internship rests entirely with the student. Applicants are not required to have an internship pre-arranged in order to apply. The foundation may help students arrange an internship, but it cannot guarantee one can be found. Payment of the fellowship stipend to the student (or internship provider, if required) can be made in advance, upon formal confirmation of the internship by the host news organization and approval of the internship by the foundation trustees. The stipend will be paid regardless of any salary offered by the host news organization, and it can be used for living expenses or any other purpose related to the summer internship.

Applicants are not required to be journalism majors, but they must demonstrate intent to pursue a career in journalism (print, broadcast and/or online media). Both 2017 fellowship winners will be recognized at the annual George Mason Banquet, held annually to honor a Virginian who has supported freedom of the press and contributed significantly to journalism.

Applications are now being accepted and must be postmarked by March 13, 2017. Here is the application form. (The form is also embedded below.) Fill out the Word document, and then send it to:

Ms. Clissa England
SPJ Fellowship Chair
5803 Fox Hollow Dr.
North Chesterfield, VA  23237-3103

Fellowships will be announced in April 2017.

Internships must meet the following requirements:

  • Internship experience should include writing for publication/broadcast.
  • The internship must be offered by a bona fide news organization and last at least six weeks.
  • The internship must be approved by the Virginia SPJ/SDX Educational Foundation board of trustees before payment of the fellowship stipend will be made.

Supporting materials:


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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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Join us for a special workshop before the 2016 VPA/AP/SJP Region 2 conference in early April:

Shooting and Editing Video 101

Video is hot these days. It’s never been easier to shoot, edit and then post it on YouTube, Facebook or a website. But what’s the difference between good and bad video? How can you use inexpensive cameras–and even your phone–to capture the best video? Or the best interview? Then how about editing? This session gets you thinking and acting like a video photojournalist so your video not only gets clicks, but hopefully compliments.

What you’ll learn:
What’s important (and not) when looking at video cameras
Basic shooting techniques
Important points about recording an interview on camera
Handling video files
Basic editing in Adobe Premiere Pro

Friday, April 8, 1-4 p.m. on the VCU Monroe Park campus

$30 for those paying registered to attend the conference with VPA or SPJ Region 2
$50 for VPA or SPJ Region 2 members not attending annual conference
$100 for non-members

Form and info:


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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.


The Virginia Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists

Virginia Press Association

Virginia Coalition for Open Government



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SPJ President Sonny Albarado today condemned the Department of Justice’s secret seizure of two months’ worth of business and personal phone records of reporters for The Associated Press.

Calling the action “shameful and outrageous,” Albarado said the incident once again points up the need for a federal shield law.

The full text of Albarado’s statement is available at the SPJ website.

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