SPJ opposes violence against, provides resources for, journalists covering protests
June 3, 2020
“When journalists are attacked, societies are attacked. No democracy can function without press freedom nor can any society be fair without journalists who investigate wrongdoing and speak truth to power.”
Journalists at thePost & Courier in South Carolina returned to work Monday, despite seeing the largest increase of COVID-19 deaths in one day in the state. Top editors have not given a reason for the decision to return to work but said that it was a “business decision.” The Daily Beast reports that staff have expressed concerns and one staffer said, “people are terrified.” The Post & Courier is an outlier compared to many other media organizations who are returning to work later. The New York Timesand Washington Post won’t be returning until at least September; the majority of CNNstaff won’t go back to the office until 2021; andNBC Universal is keeping its plans open ended, but likely won’t return to offices before the end of the year. Earlier, the Post & Courier was criticized for requiring staff to come to work at least one day a week in early May.
Monday marked the 40th anniversary of the first CNN broadcast. Now, CNN is a global news operation available to more than 2 billion people in more than 200 countries and territories around the world.CNN took a look back at the topics of its first newscast and shared clips from early broadcasts, including a tour of the studio.
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In her latestFreedom of the Prez blog post, SPJ National President Patricia Gallagher Newberry says, "In the past week, we’ve devoted considerable energy on two fronts: pointing journalists to resources to help their coverage of [George] Floyd-related events and defending – loudly and frequently – their right to cover the story without harassment and harm." She outlines the multiple letters and statements SPJ has signed and issued regarding the protests, and highlights Friday's panel discussion with Brian Stelter and other journalists.
Atlanta-based freelance journalistand SPJ member Haisten Willis was arrested Saturday while covering the protests in Atlanta for The Washington Post. In a new piece for Quill, he wrote about his experience, talked to Chicago freelancer Jonathan Ballew who had a police officer unload pepper spray directly into his face and discussed why it's important to have journalists reporting from the front lines.
SPJ demands answers from the Minnesota State Patrolregarding the arrests of CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez, CNN Producer Bill Kirkos and CNN photojournalist Leonel Mendez Friday morning. In the moments before the arrest, Jimenez could be heard clearly identifying himself as a reporter and offering to move wherever he and his crew were directed. Instead they were placed in custody. The three were released about an hour later. SPJ is offering its expertise and resources to Minnesota law enforcement, to educate them on the First Amendment rights of journalists to report the news without interference or threats.
Having trouble motivating yourself as a freelancer? Last week, the SPJ Freelance Community held a goal setting workshop with the author of "Your Goal Guide" Debra Eckerling on how to set goals that will propel you toward the career and life that you want. If you missed it but would like to view the workshop now, email Susan Valotfor the link.
SPJ mourns the loss of Virginia "Ginny" Frizzi, a longtime SPJ member and leader, who died Monday due to complications from COVID-19. A former SPJ board member, Frizzi was a Pittsburgh stalwart in journalism, longtime spokesperson for Point Park University and worked tirelessly for SPJ in contest judging, committee assignments and upholding SPJ's principles. She will be greatly missed.
We’re hiring! SPJ is searching for a Director of Education who will be responsible for developing a wide spectrum of curriculum and delivery methods that position SPJ as an innovator and leader in journalism education. The ideal candidate will have in-depth knowledge of emerging journalism trends and a firm understanding of the journalism community. Working remotely may be possible. Deadline to apply is 5 p.m. EDT June 17.
Annual Reports for both professional and campus chapters are due June 19. This is for the time frame of April 30, 2019 – May 1, 2020. All reports are due no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT. There will be no exceptions. If you have any questions, please email Manager of Membership and Chapters Caroline Escobar.
SPJ is seeking candidates who are interested in serving on the SPJ Board of Directors or as a regional coordinator. Open positions for the national board are president-elect, secretary-treasurer and two at-large directors. Regional coordinator positions are open for regions 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9. Individuals can declare their candidacy by emailing Program Coordinator Matthew Kent. Voting is scheduled to take place electronically during the Excellence in Journalism conference in September.
Nominations are being accepted through June 20 for the Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award, which honors an individual, group of individuals, or organization who have fought to protect and preserve one or more of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. The award comes with a $10,000 cash prize and an engraved crystal. The honoree(s) will be recognized at the Excellence in Journalism conference later this year.
Cincinnati Public Radio seeks a producerfor Cincinnati Edition, its live one-hour daily talk show. Applicants should have three to five years’ experience in radio as a news host/reporter/producer, familiarity and appreciation for public radio news style and an understanding of Cincinnati Public Radio’s programming.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press in Tennessee is hiring an education reporter. The chosen applicant will be a resourceful and persistent reporter who can develop sources, working collaboratively across the newsroom. Applicants must be able to work in a digital-first environment with the ability to tweet and shoot video from news events, obtain and analyze data and engage readers intelligently before and after a story publishes.
The GroundTruth Project is accepting applications for the Preserving Democracy & Voting Rights Fellowship. The fellowship is open to candidates from anywhere in the world. Candidates may apply with a partner or partners, and each fellow will receive a total of $5,000 — which will cover all travel expenses and a fee to the fellow. Experience covering voting rights, politics or threats to democracy is preferred. Deadline to apply is June 15.
SPJ joined the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 114 other local, state and national media and news organizations in sending a letterTuesday urging Minnesota officials to take immediate, concrete steps to end the series of police arrests and attacks on clearly identifiable members of the news media.
SPJ also joined the National Press Club and 16 other journalism and press freedom organizations Monday to call on law enforcement, mayors and governors across the country to halt the unprecedented assault against journalists in the field covering the protests for social justice. The open lettersays, “These cities belong to all of us. The people that live in them will learn of your bravery and courage and training through news coverage by journalists. Do not fire upon them. Do not arrest them. The world is watching. Let the Press tell the story.”
Sometimes the best way to tell a story isn't through text, photos or video, but through data and maps. Join journalist Dan Petty, an SPJ digital tools trainer and President of the Denver Press Club, for 90-minute sessionon how to build basic and complex Google Maps, Google Earth flyovers and more at 1 p.m. EST June 10. Be sure to have a Google account before you take the class.
Looking for more learning opportunities? Don’t forget to check out SPJ's events calendar! You’ll find the latest journalism webinars and e-learning offerings from our journalism friends and partners to help you do your job and continue your professional development. New protest-related webinars have been added this week.
For journalists covering protests around the country, the SPJ Code of Ethicsprovides guidance on reporting and covering stories accurately, fairly and thoroughly. Keep in mind that journalists should:
Remember that neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy.
Take care not to misrepresent or oversimplify.
Gather, update and correct info throughout the life of a story.
Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.
Give voice to the voiceless.
Diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond.
Show compassion for those who may be affected by coverage.
Weigh consequences of reporting personal info.
Balance public's need for info against potential harm or discomfort.
As cities across the country see protests and we continue to grapple with the global pandemic, information is crucial. Journalists work day and night, in potentially dangerous situations, to keep citizens informed. A donation to the Legal Defense Fund supports your right to know. Every penny assists with the legal expenses of journalists on the front lines.