Archive for the ‘SPJ’ 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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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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UPDATE: Due to inclement weather in Richmond and areas north, we are working on a new date for tonight’s Sunshine Week event. Thanks for you patience, and we’ll update as soon as we have new details.

– Pat Kane

In celebration of Sunshine Week 2014, SPJ Virginia Pro Chapter members and friends are invited to learn a new tool for uncovering government secrets.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press recently launched iFOIA, a new FOIA letter generator and project management system for handling local, state and federal freedom of information requests. On Monday, March 17 RCFP Freedom of Information Fellow Emily Grannis will make a presentation on taking advantage of this new system.
During the event, we would love to hear about a FOIA-driven project that helped you uncover something in your community. Equally, let’s share the struggles Virginia journalists are encountering with freedom of information requests.
Also, SPJ Secretary-Treasurer Paul Fletcher will offer a recap of action related to FOIA, public notice and other issues during the General Assembly session. For the past two sessions, Fletcher has monitored the legislature on behalf of our membership and citizens.
Our Sunshine Week event will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 17 in the second-floor conference room at 707 E. Main St. in Richmond. We hope to see you there! Please RSVP with an e-mail to virginiaprospj@gmail.com so we have a head count for snacks.

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140 characters at a time, journalists are finding sources, uncovering story leads and breaking news. The Society of Professional Journalists, Virginia Pro Chapter is offering a free Twitter for Journalists workshop Thursday, Feb. 28 in Richmond.
Learn the ins and outs of using Twitter in your day-to-day reporting from Robyn Sidersky, city hall reporter(@fxbgcitybeat) for The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg. Bring your smartphone, laptop or tablet for hands-on help!
The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the conference room of the Eighth and Main Building on Main Street in Richmond. Pizza will be provided by the chapter. Please RSVP to virginiaprospj@gmail.com or Tweet @SPJVA. See you there!

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The Virginia Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to announce the Region 2 Spring Conference April 19-20 at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott in Norfolk, Va. Registration with special early-bird pricing for pros and students is now open at http://2013spjregion2.eventbrite.com .

We will kick off the weekend with a cash bar reception just down the street from the hotel in on Friday night.

Saturday, plan on an event packed with compelling speakers, panels, workshops and networking opportunities. During sessions, panelists and presenters will address the pressing issues of journalism, including social media, data journalism, how to navigate jobs in the tough market and more. We will close out the day with a set of small-group workshops on topics such as mobile phone photography, coding for journalists and more.

We will recognize regional winners of the collegiate Mark of Excellence Awards during an included luncheon. Luncheon-only tickets for parents and supporters will be released closer to the event. Registrants of the Region 2 conference are also welcome to attend all non-meal events during the Virginia Press Association’s News Conference at the hotel Saturday.

If you or your organization are interested in taking part in a panel or workshop, learning about sponsorship opportunities or have other questions please contact Conference Co-Chairs Pat Kane and Robyn Sidersky by phone at (804) 986-6804 or e-mail at virginiaprospj at gmail.com

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By Kristine Hadeed

Broadcast Journalism Senior, Virginia Commonwealth University

April 14, 2012

Brian Eckert, Region 2 director of the Society of Professional Journalists, estimated it was the first visit of its kind in over 30 years.

National SPJ president John Ensslin made an appearance as guest speaker at Saturday’s Virginia Pro Chapter meeting, held on the University of Richmond’s campus.

Before Saturday night, Eckert says the last president to visit the Virginia Pro Chapter was Alf Goodykoontz, a former executive editor at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, who headed SPJ’s national organization from 1977-1978.

Ensslin made the trip to Virginia from his home in New Jersey at the invitation of chapter president Paul Fletcher. The national president’s talk focused on ethics, but also touched on ideas to expand SPJ’s membership internationally.

Ensslin commented on the influence SPJ’s Code of Ethics has on practices of journalism in the United States. “It is not law;” he said, “and it has much more power as a result.”  

The system of peer-enforced accountability that SPJ’s ethics code promotes is one that Ensslin said he would like to see more journalists adopt “beyond the borders of this country.”

“We are an organization that values diversity, and I would like to see us grow in that direction,” he said.

However, he also noted concerns about advocating SPJ’s ethical doctrines in countries that do not enjoy as extensive rights to freedom of speech as those offered in the U.S.

“Part of SPJ’s code says that journalists should act independently, but not all journalists have that independence,” Ensslin said, citing Iran as an example of a country where one must carry a license in order to practice journalism. He welcomed thoughts and opinions on that topic as he and other members of SPJ’s national board develop plans to expand the organization’s membership, both domestically and abroad.

Following Ensslin’s talk, Virginia Pro Chapter members watched a screening of the award-winning documentary, “Page One: Inside the New York Times.” The film follows journalists working at the iconic paper’s Media Desk and sheds light on how new technologies have affected practices and perceptions of  one of journalism’s oldest and most influential institutions.

Ensslin said the opening scene of “Page One,” which shows the closing of the Rocky Mountain newspaper, hits close to home for him.

“That was my newspaper, and my editor up on the screen,” he said. “I remember that day; it stabs me right here every time I see it.”  Ensslin is currently a reporter covering local government for The Record, a newspaper in  Bergen, N.J.

For young journalists looking to become viable in an evolving media landscape, Ensslin advised that the training, professional support and camaraderie gained by joining SPJ’s network gives students and professionals alike an advantage in their careers.

“When a newspaper editor gets an application from someone who’s joined SPJ […], that signals that this is a person who’s serious about journalism,” said Ensslin. “If you’re not going to invest in yourself, who will?”

[Photo by Pat Kane][p>

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Dear College Journalists, Students, Professors and Financial Aid Officers:

Applications are now being accepted for two scholarships of $1,500 each, available to rising juniors or seniors attending a Virginia college or university. The Virginia SPJ,SDX Educational Foundation awards the scholarships annually, with support from Society of Professional Journalists, Virginia Pro Chapter. Applications must be postmarked on or before May 1, 2012.

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 winners will be recognized at the annual George Mason Banquet, held in June to honor a person who has supported freedom of the press and contributed significantly to Virginia journalism.

The foundation and the chapter have awarded scholarships to aspiring journalists annually since 1971. Previous scholarship winners now work at the highest levels in national, state and local journalism. This scholarship award on a resume distinguishes an applicant as one of the most talented students entering the profession.

Please encourage students from your college or university to apply by posting and distributing photocopies of this letter and application on your campus. Information and applications also can be downloaded here: SPJ Scholarship Application 2012 . Should you have questions or need assistance, please contact me at clissase@aol.com.

Clissa England

SPJ Scholarship Chair

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