Monday, May 21, 2018

Cincinnati SPJ Spring Newsletter - Out Now

The Greater Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists
Newsletter, May 2018
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In this edition:

Cincy SPJ Celebrates 50th Anniversary at The Phoenix

Top left: Emil Dansker, Jo-Ann Huff Albers, Hagit Limor, Gregory Korte and Tom McKee; Top right: Past chapter presidents L to R: Patti Gallagher Newberry, Sacha DeVroomen Bellman, John Fox, Marc Emral, John Kiesewetter, Hagit Limor and Tom McKee; Bottom left: Some of Cincinnati SPJ's current board members - L to R: Corinne Minard, Ginny McCabe, Tom McKee, Carly Hagedon, Gregory Korte and Jenny Wohlfarth; Bottom right: Dansker - far right - with some of the attendees
All photos: Carly Hagedon (top left), Jenny Wohlfarth (top right, bottom right), Lisa Korte (bottom left)
The Society of Professional Journalists Greater Cincinnati Pro Chapter recently celebrated the chapter’s 50th Anniversary (1967-2017) “Celebrating Five Decades of Cincinnati Journalism,” on Saturday, March 24, 2018, at The Phoenix in downtown Cincinnati. About 75 guests attended the gala, which featured keynote speaker Gregory Korte, White House Correspondent for USA Today.

Although snow was falling outside, everyone enjoyed the lovely dining room in which a lot of warm, professional memories were shared.

The celebration kicked off at 11 a.m. with a social hour, followed by a luncheon at noon. The program began at 12:30 p.m. Highlights included a video featuring founding member, Emil Dansker, recognition of past chapter presidents, the keynote from Korte and a special presentation honoring those who have made recent contributions to the chapter, promoting journalism in Cincinnati and beyond.

Past President John Kiesewetter also prepared a display of historic pictures, which captured journalism through the years in Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati SPJ chapter was founded in 1967. Past Chapter President and Region 4 Director Tom McKee produced a video featuring Dansker, which highlighted some of the chapter’s history.

McKee introduced Dansker’s video by saying, “Let me take you back to 1967 – ‘The Summer of Love,’ The Beatles released their classic album, ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.’ Aretha Franklin was singing about ‘Respect.’ The Doors had a big hit with ‘Light My Fire.’ Sam and Dave were talking about ‘Soul Man.’ Jimi Hendrix was in a ‘Purple Haze.’”

“…That sets the scene for March 10th with a gathering much like this one to mark the founding of The Greater Cincinnati Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists,” he continued.

Dansker, who was also in attendance, was honored for his contribution to the chapter with a special award, which was presented by Chapter President Ginny McCabe.

President McCabe, Vice President Jenny Wohlfarth and Secretary Corinne Minard also presented service awards to Jo-Ann Huff Albers, Hagit Limor, Tom McKee, honoring them for making significant contributions to the chapter. Korte, a native Cincinnatian, was also presented with a plaque for his efforts in furthering journalism in Cincinnati, Washington and across the globe.

Korte, who was mentored by Dansker, is an Ohio University graduate, and a former reporter for The Cincinnati Enquirer. Currently, he resides in the Washington, D.C., area, and serves as the White House Correspondent for USA Today. Korte’s talk addressed “Journalism in the Age of Trump.”

Past chapter presidents, including McKee, Limor, Patti Gallagher Newberry, Sacha DeVroomen Bellman, Marc Emral, John Fox and Kiesewetter were in attendance. On behalf of the Cincinnati SPJ Board of Directors, McCabe presented the past presidents with a “chocolate bouquet” of Dove chocolates to recognize them. They were also applauded by the crowd of attendees.

Additionally, McCabe gave special thanks to presenting sponsor, The Scripps Howard Foundation, and to table sponsors Frost Brown Todd and Graydon.

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The Cincinnati Enquirer Wins a Pulitzer Prize

Amber Hunt, reporter for The Cincinnati Enquirer (right, foreground), and other journalists celebrate as they learn of winning the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting for "Seven Days of Heroin," Monday, April 16, 2018. Photography: Cara Owsley/The Cincinnati Enquirer

Congratulations to The Cincinnati Enquirer and all of the #pulitzer winners! Great job! Thanks for making Cincinnati proud.

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SPJ Names New Executive Director

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists recently announced that veteran journalist and association leader Alison Bethel McKenzie has been named as its 20th executive director. 

"Alison is a game changer for SPJ," said SPJ National President Rebecca Baker. "Her track record of successes, both as a working journalist and a tireless advocate for press rights and the practice of journalism, will help SPJ combat the forces that seek to diminish or destroy the role of the free press as a cornerstone of democracy in this country. SPJ and its members are fortunate to have Alison as our executive director, and I look forward to working with her."

Bethel McKenzie succeeds Joe Skeel, who took the executive director position with the Indiana State Bar Association in December.

A native of Miami, Bethel McKenzie served for five years as executive director of the International Press Institute, the world’s oldest global press freedom organization, in Vienna. She was the first American, first woman and first African-American to hold the position since it was founded in 1950. In addition, she has worked as a visiting professor of print and investigative journalism at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media in Bangalore, India.

Bethel McKenzie is the first African-American to serve as SPJ’s executive director.

"I am beyond excited to join an organization that I have held in high esteem since I first learned of it as a high school rookie reporter at The Miami Herald," Bethel McKenzie said. "The work that SPJ has done in supporting both student and professional journalists, as well as its diligent fight for press freedom in the United States and abroad, is crucial – now more than ever.

"I look forward to sharing my experience with and passion for press freedom and best journalistic practices to help elevate SPJ’s work, including increasing the diversity among its membership," she continued. 

Bethel McKenzie was a Knight International Journalism Fellow in Ghana in 2008-09, managing director of the Nassau Guardian in the Bahamas in 2007 and executive editor of the Legal Times in Washington, D.C., in 2006-07. She has also worked at The Los Angeles Times and The Miami Herald.

Earlier in her career, Bethel McKenzie worked as a reporter and editor at several newspapers in Louisiana, New York and Michigan. She was deputy business editor and senior assistant city editor at The Boston Globe and served as Washington Bureau Chief for The Detroit News.

In 2010, she was named one of the 60 Most Influential Black Women in Europe by Black Women in Europe. She is also on the Advisory Board of the Center for International Media Ethics, and is founder of the Media Institute of the Caribbean. She previously served on the board of the now-defunct Al Jazeera America.

Bethel McKenzie is a graduate of Howard University, with a degree in journalism. She studied non-profit leadership at Harvard Kennedy School of Executive Education and is nearing completion of an MBA in media leadership at the University of Cumbria (U.K.) in collaboration with the Robert F. Kennedy College (Switzerland). 

"Alison is the real deal," said Robert Leger, president of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, SPJ’s supporting foundation. "She’s been in the trenches with high-profile reporting positions, and she’s run a well-respected international journalism association. But what really impresses me is her passion for journalism and the First Amendment. She’s going to do great things."

Bethel McKenzie’s start date is March 19. She is the second woman executive director for SPJ. Vivian E. Vahlberg was the first, serving from 1987 to 1990. The top leadership positions in SPJ are all currently held by women: president, president-elect, immediate past president, secretary-treasurer, associate executive director and now, executive director. 

"Alison has spent the last decade emulating SPJ's work abroad: advocating for journalists' rights and training them in best practices," said Irwin Gratz, vice president of the SDX Foundation board and chair of the search committee. "We're thrilled she's coming back to the U.S. to work with us at a time when journalists here face their greatest challenge in generations."

SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a membergive to the Legal Defense Fund, or give to the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.

The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation is a public foundation dedicated to ensuring that those who carry on the tradition of a free press are prepared for the challenge. The SDX Foundation supports educational and professional needs of journalists and journalism students. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Give to the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation

Rebecca Baker, SPJ National President, 203-640-3904,
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Communications Strategist, 317-361-4134,

Welcome, Alison, and congratulations from Cincinnati SPJ!

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Save the Date: NSNC18

The National Association of Newspaper Columnists will be in Cincinnati on June 7-10, 2018. For details and to register, go to 
The Cincinnati SPJ Pro Chapter is a sponsor of this year's event!

SPJ members can register for the NSNC conference at a reduced rate of $315, which is the NSNC member rate. (Typically, the non-member rate is $399). Plus, when you register, you'll receive a free one-year membership to NSNC. 

Here's the link to register: 

SPJ members can select the member rate when registering and then click that they are an SPJ member when it asks for membership information on the registration form.
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Board Member Recognized

Congrats to Cincinnati SPJ Board Member Cara Owsley on her recent honor and for being recognized in the feature, “Finding Your Voice: 32 Southern Bred, African American Women in Journalism.”

Here’s the link to the story:

Way to go! Thanks, Cara, for all you do.

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Journalism Boot Camp for High School Students Taking Place in June

The Greater Cincinnati Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is partnering with the Greater Cincinnati Association of Black Journalists and the University of Cincinnati to provide a hands-on experience for high school students interested in pursuing a career in journalism.

The “Breaking the News” Journalism Boot Camp will explore what it takes to "break news" from different aspects of journalism including print, broadcast and digital.

The 2018 camp will be held on Friday, June 15 (8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.), and Saturday, June 16 (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.), at the University of Cincinnati’s main campus in the Langsam Library.

The camp is open to incoming freshman through seniors in the 2018-2019 academic school year. (Applications for the camp were accepted through early May.)

This is a free, hands-on boot camp experience designed for students who attend high school in the Greater Cincinnati area.

Quick-thinking students who are ready to work hard to enhance their journalism skills will have an opportunity to thrive by participating in the camp. The experience will also give the students a better idea of what a future career in journalism would entail.

Students will experience interactive exercises with area journalism professionals, which will provide an opportunity for training and mentorship. During the boot camp, students will take notes, ask questions, and work in a real newsroom atmosphere under the direction of professional journalists from local newspapers, multimedia outlets and television stations.

GCABJ, SPJ and UC are committed to promoting, educating and enhancing diversity in news coverage, newsrooms and promoting excellence in journalism.

A free breakfast and lunch will be provided to the students. The students will also be provided with a camp t-shirt. Transportation will not be provided. The boot camp is for high school students only.

The camp will be supported with a $500 grant made possible by SPJ. 

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New Date for Martha Raddatz Speaker Event Sponsored by Woman's City Club

The Woman’s City Club of Greater Cincinnati presents
2018 National Speaker
Martha Raddatz
“What in the World: Global Hot Spots and U.S. Foreign Policy”

Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Memorial Hall 
1225 Elm Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202


A huge thank you to everyone for your understanding in this difficult time. Due to circumstances beyond our control the original date for this event had to be cancelled at the last minute. We are happy to announce that we now have a new date,Tuesday, May 29, at 7 p.m.

We hope that this meets with your availability.

Everything about the event will remain the same as before, including the time, 7 p.m. Your previously issued ticket will be honored at the new date. You do not need to do anything, just come with your ticket or pick it up at Will Call. If you cannot attend we hope that you will consider the cost of the ticket a donation to Woman’s City Club. If you would like a refund, this can be arranged through the Memorial Hall box office. Once again a big thank you to everyone who helped make this transition as seamless as possible.

Martha Raddatz, a multiple award-winning reporter, has covered national security, foreign policy, and politics for decades – reporting from the Pentagon, the State Department, the White House, campaign trails, and war zones around the world. She is known for her extraordinary and often exclusive reporting from conflict areas, and the emotional detail of her stories. For many years a reporter with ABC News, she is the network’s Chief Global Affairs Correspondent. She co-anchors This Week with George Stephanopoulos and appears on other network broadcasts. Ms. Raddatz is the author of an acclaimed best-selling book, "The Long Road Home: a Story of  War and Family." This past fall, the National Geographic channel aired an 8-hour miniseries inspired by the book.

The United States is faced with multiple foreign policy challenges — the US role in conflict areas, nuclear threats, terrorism, trade, immigration, and policy disagreements with other countries. The country lacks consensus about the best way forward. Who better to help us sort through what is happening and help us understand than Martha Raddatz!

Join us for what is sure to be a remarkable evening!

History of National Speaker ForumThe club’s annual fund-raising National Speaker Forum brings to the community nationally-known women who speak on topics of current interest.

Each spring, Woman’s City Club invites a nationally known woman leader to speak to our community at its Annual National Speaker Forum. The event has become a time-honored tradition in the Greater Cincinnati area over time drawing thousands of people to the events.

WCC’s annual National Speaker Forum has become our major fundraising event, enabling the Club to fulfill its ongoing mission: to educate, empower and engage the citizens of Cincinnati to participate as active stakeholders in promoting the common good. Each year, we invite citizens and organizations in the Greater Cincinnati area to support and cosponsor the event so that we can continue to provide the public leadership and civic education programs so important for our area.

The Status of Women Committee, under the leadership of Mary Wells in 1993, established the National Speaker Forum as an annual fundraiser. WCC and 28 co-sponsoring organizations brought Lani Guinier to Cincinnati for the event. Guinier had just testified at the confirmation of Justice Clarence Thomas for the U.S. Supreme Court. She spoke about “her version of civil rights, as opposed to conservative opponents’ views” to a sold-out venue. This forum surpassed the organization’s initial fundraising expectations and netted a large profit. The club’s annual National Speaker Forum became its primary fundraising event, bringing to the community nationally-known women, including NPR host Susan Stamburg, Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, NPR interviewer Terry Gross, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Naomi Tutu, Diane Rehm, Kerry Kennedy, Robin Wright and Candy Crowley. — from “Lighting the Fire, Leading the Way” by Rachel Powell

Cincinnati SPJ is a co-sponsor of the event. 

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Save the Date: Ohio SPJ Awards

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Cincinnati SPJ will host the Ohio's Best Journalism awards this year.

Watch for more details soon at

Ohio's Best Journalism is the SPJ contest for the entire State of Ohio. It is coordinated jointly by the SPJ Pro Chapters in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus.

Journalists are eligible who work for newspaper, magazine, radio, television, trade, digital and college media in Ohio and adjacent states that have significant reach into Ohio. Freelance journalists, who are Ohio residents, are eligible, regardless of where their work is published, broadcast or webcast. Entrants need not be members of the Society of Professional Journalists. Submitted work must have been published or broadcast in 2017.

Winners are expected to be announced in the coming days.
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Region 4 Spring Conference Recap

by Tom McKee, SPJ Region 4 Director


The Region 4 Spring Conference was held in Pittsburgh in early March. If you’ve never been to the Steel City, you missed a chance to see a renaissance along three rivers and Point Park University.

Point Park IS in the heart of the city and the university community was a terrific host for “Building Bridges:  Navigating the Ever Changing World of Journalism.”

On-site coordinator Aimee-Marie Dorsten — ably assisted by Laura Smith —did a terrific job of planning the two-day event — from catering, to registration and session planning.

Nearly 100 people attended the conference, many of them students traveling to the Steel City to get their awards for Mark of Excellence entries.

The Friday night reception was unique in that students and professionals broke into groups to exchange ideas and swap stories about the profession.  There were 55 people in the room.

SPJ President Rebecca Baker suggested that every region hold a session on sexual harassment in the work place and Region 4 kicked things off on Saturday morning with a super session on the topic.

Asked by moderator Dorsten if anyone in the crowd had a story to tell, a number of hands went up around the room and many were empowered by the session to speak up about personal experiences.

The conference featured a dozen breakout sessions. Morning workshops included reporting on a crisis, truth matters — facts matter and how to land internships and early career jobs.

The luncheon speaker was Daniel Heyman, West Virginia Correspondent for the Public News service.  He was arrested for shouting a question at Health & Human Services Director Tom Price.

The charge against Heyman was later dismissed with help from the SDX Legal Defense Fund, but it left a lasting impression on the journalist.

Heyman told the conference if something like that could happen to him, it could happen to anyone.  He urged all journalists to be wary of attempts to impose retractions on the press.

More than 100 Mark of Excellence Awards were presented to students from a wide range of colleges and universities in Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania.

Afternoon sessions included covering trauma, multi-media journalism today and a session on the changing ownership structures of media companies.

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Save the Date: Excellence in Journalism 2018

Excellence in Journalism 2018 is the place for news leaders to learn about industry trends, tech, talent and trust. Join us Sept. 27-29 in Baltimore.
Register now to save $100!
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Freelancers Luncheon Recap

Pictured l to r: Lisa Murtha, Christina Tenhundfeld, Meghan Wesley and Laura Hobson

Guest speakers Meghan Wesley of WCPO and Christina Tenhundfeld of joined us for the May 1 luncheon for freelancers. They talked about freelancing for their outlets, story pitches, writing for digital platforms and more. Special thanks to Meghan and Christina and to Cincinnati SPJ and Graydon for hosting the luncheon. The May 1 luncheon marked the one-year anniversary of the quarterly luncheons, which are geared toward those who freelance for print, broadcasting, radio and digital.

If you'd like to join this talented group of writers as a guest speaker or a participant, contact coordinator Ginny McCabe at The next luncheon will be held in September.

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SPJ/VOA panel discussion: Who Can I Trust to Give Me the Real News?

Photography: Melinda Zemper/Oak Tree Communications

The Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists and the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting panel discussion, "Who Can I Trust to Give Me the Real News" was a success! The panelists were honest, passionate and compelling, and the audience was engaged throughout the evening.

Seventy-five people attended, including the panelists and students from Dean Hume’s journalism class at Lakota East High School.

The event underwriter was Kehoe Financial Advisors of Cincinnati—Steve Kehoe and Kevin Webb attended from the company.

The discussion included Channel 9/WCPO reporter Tom McKee, moderating a panel of local journalists including: Kevin Aldridge, opinion editor of The Cincinnati Enquirer; Ann Thompson, news reporter at WVXU; Jim Bebbington, senior news editor for the Dayton Daily News; and Hagit Limor, former investigative reporter and associate professor of electronic media at the University of Cincinnati.

The media plays a vital role in presenting the public with the truth in a manner that is fair, thorough and accurate. Journalists have a responsibility to act with honesty and integrity as they gather the news and report it. In 2017, the SPJ/VOA panel discussion on "Fake News" was VOA's most popular program of the year.

Thank you to SPJ, VOA, Kehoe Financial Advisors and to the panelists, emcee and participants! 

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Chapter Membership Reminder

The chapter's membership list on file with the SPJ National Office lists a number that is down significantly from prior years.
One reason may be that when new members are signing up they forget to designate GREATER CINCINNATI PRO as their local chapter.
That's important because membership determines the number of votes the chapter has at the SPJ national convention.
So, if you've recently become an SPJ member, thank you very much. If you haven't designed GREATER CINCINNATI PRO as the chapter, a quick trip to can take care of it.
Join Society of Professional Journalists
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SPJ National Board Meeting Update

by Tom McKee, Region 4 Director


As Region 4 Director, I have a seat on the SPJ National Board through the EIJ Conference in Baltimore.

That allowed me to attend my first board meeting April 14-15 in Indianapolis and it was very enlightening.

Also attending her first meeting was the new SPJ Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie. She's a great addition to the organization and already is hard at work on multiple initiatives.

There were plenty of items on the agenda for the board to consider.  What follows is an overview of decisions made by the board.

Board members approved a $1.21 million dollar budget for Fiscal Year 2019 in which expenses are anticipated to be higher than revenues.  Cuts are being made to reduce the shortfall and new Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie is already reaching to organizations to try and raise money for the SPJ mission going forward.

A new policy was approved for handling regional funds.  It tightens guidelines and is designed to boost accountability.  Each of the 12 regions must have a treasurer and that person and the regional director will be required to be involved in additional training.  Presidents of chapters in all regions will be entitled to see copies of regional fund bank statements.  A regional director (or soon-to-be regional coordinator) could be removed from office for not following the new procedures.

Three new SPJ chapters were welcoming into the organization -- William Paterson University in New Jersey, Augusta University in Georgia and Georgia Southern University.

Don Meyers is the new Region 10 Director.  Find out more about his background and goals for the region at


At the request of student board member Hayley Harding, the board unanimously voted to support the national Save Student Newsrooms movement.

The "Press For Education" campaign resulted in 100 people speaking about the professional of journalism to schools in a seven week period.

There was discussion during an executive session about a specific company's involvement in EIJ18.

There are many other procedural items discussed as well -- EIIJ18 programming, board member term ends as the new board structure is implemented and future sites for the EIJ conference.

It was a very interesting experience -- a chance to get to know the other board members -- and have a hand in discussions on key issues.
Going forward, expect Alison Bethel McKenzie to be very aggressive about re-positioning SPJ as the professional of journalism continues to change on an almost daily basis.

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Join SPJ

Here's a challenge for every SPJ member — active or retired. Make it a point to recruit a new member this year. Doing that will double the size of the chapter. The board continues to work on presenting unique and interesting programs that make SPJ membership extremely valuable.
The national membership fee is $75.00 which can be paid online in one lump sum or in monthly deductions.
Check it out at
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Newsletter Staff

Managing Editors
Ginny McCabe, Carly Hagedon
Assistant Editors
Tom McKee

Cincinnati Pro Chapter SPJ Board Members
Ginny McCabe, President; Jenny Wohlfarth, Vice President; Hagit Limor, Treasurer; Corinne Minard, Secretary; Tom McKee; Jo-Ann Albers; Emil Dansker; Kevin Schultz; Monica Dias; Carly Hagedon; Cara Owsley; Maija Zummo; Tony Mastriani, Board Member Emeritus
Copyright © 2017, Greater Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
SPJ Greater Cincinnati
C/O Tom McKee, WCPO
1720 Gilbert Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45202