Posts by Connecticut SPJ

CT SPJ testimony on House Bill 5175 regarding FOIA appeals

The Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists would like to submit the following testimony regarding HB 5175, An Act Concerning Appeals Under the Freedom of Information Act.

We stand in strong opposition to this bill so long as it proposes a filing fee on FOI complaints. CT SPJ opposes any effort to levy a fee on FOI complaints, but $125 per filing is excessive.

Such a fee would provide an incentive for municipalities to deny requests for information it doesn’t wish to disclose. Furthermore, it is punitive to the public whenever municipal officials have not been given adequate training on the FOI act, and thus aren’t familiar with all of the requirements.

Please don’t forget that the FOI act also dictates the public’s access to both documents and meetings of government boards and agencies. That means people with a broad range of experience and access to resources, such as legal counsel, decide whether to grant or deny public access at any given time.

We understand that budget constraints have made it difficult for some municipalities to process frequent FOI requests, and for the FOI Commission to adjudicate complaints in a timely manner. We therefore support the stated of intent of the bill, which is to “permit the Freedom of Information Commission to grant relief from vexatious requesters to public agencies.”

Connecticut SPJ does support the changes proposed in section 5 of this bill, which give the Commission some flexibility to address vexatious complaints. Furthermore, the language appears to give that flexibility to the Commission, and relief to municipalities, without prohibiting or deterring the public from exercising its right to access information.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony,

Mike Savino

President, Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists

Be our guest at the Connecticut Forum’s State of Journalism & the News event

Join CTSPJ as our guest at the Connecticut Forum’s State of Journalism & the News forum discussion on the evening of March 16, 2018 at the Bushnell in Hartford.

Featuring David Fahrenthold, Hugh Hewitt, and Joy Reid and moderated by John Dankosky, this timely Forum will explore some of the most pressing issues regarding journalism and the media, including:

  • Challenges to the freedom of the press
  • The relationship between the press and the presidency
  • The difficulty of sorting information in an age of information overload, 24-hour news cycles, Twitter and fake news
  • Media bias
  • The future of investigative journalism
  • The state of local journalism

Hosted by Hartford Courant Media Group

CTSPJ is offering two free tickets for active members.

Simply send an email with your name, affiliation, and contact information to Liz Glagowski at liz.glagowski@gmail.com to be entered into the drawing. Two random active members will be chosen and notified by March 8. You will be accompanied by two CTSPJ board members to this important and timely event.

SPJ Regional 1 Spring Conference details announced

Celebrate your love of journalism and learn new skills for two days in the city where Freedom of the Press got its start during the Society of Professional Journalists Regional 1 Spring Conference.

This year’s conference will take place April 21 and 22 at Temple University in Philadelphia. Visit our website at http://www.spjr1c.org/ or use our hashtag #LoveJournalism.

The theme of the conference is “For the Love of Journalism,” reflecting both our passion for our chosen profession and a growing public appreciation of how the role of a free press serves in a democracy.

We are in Philadelphia, the “city of brotherly love” where so many of the founding principles of our free press took root – from Benjamin Franklin’s “Poore Richard’s Almanac” to the Constitution and the First Amendment.

We’ll celebrate that history and help chart our own future by offering useful training in multimedia and social media skills that you can put to immediate use in your newsroom or classroom.

Our focus during the Saturday, April 21, sessions at Annenberg Hall will be on the skills you need to know to be a better journalist – including the latest Google tools, KipCamp’s “Dirty Dozen” useful journalism apps and making the jump from print to digital.

We’ll also help you stay current with important stories such as covering sexual harassment and covering the medical and recreational marijuana business.

A First Amendment lawyer will be available to help with free consultations on any press freedom issue you may be encountering. And we’ll take a close look at legislation aimed at expanding press freedom for high school students.

On Sunday, April 22, our focus will broaden to some of the bigger challenges facing journalism today.

We’ll start the day with our Mark of Excellence awards brunch at the Philadelphia Media Network building, where our keynote speaker will be Bill Marimow, vice president of strategic development for the PMN, which includes The Inquirer, The Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com.

On Sunday afternoon, we’ll have a panel discussion on the future of journalism in Philadelphia.

We’ll also hear from reporters who’ve covered Bill Cosby’s sex assault trial.

And we’ll hear from Signe Wilkinson on how she draws her Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoons.

The weekend will also include some activities that are just for fun – including a walking tour of historic sites in journalism in downtown Philadelphia and, for those who arrive early, a Friday night ballgame between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Philadelphia Phillies.

We’ve secured a block of discounted hotel rooms at the Courtyard Marriott in downtown Philadelphia.

But a word to the wise: the number of conference tickets and hotel rooms are limited. You’ll want to register for both the conference and the hotel as soon as possible. Don’t procrastinate. We anticipate this event will be sold out well in advance.

 

For more information, contact Jane Primerano.

Connecticut governor issues statement on Trump’s ‘fake news’ awards

HARTFORD – Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Wednesday released the following statement regarding journalism in the United States in reaction to President Trump issuing “fake news” awards:

“The modern-day Republican party seems to have taken a page out of the 20th century fascist regime propaganda playbook. The primary purpose of today’s theater regarding ‘fake news’ awards is to bully and intimidate members of an independent press who seek to report the facts.

“Democracy does not exist without a free and independent press. When our nation’s founders drafted the United States Constitution, they intentionally and with unequivocal purpose had the foresight to include as its first amendment one of the preeminent attributes that make ours the greatest country in the world – freedom of speech and freedom of the press. It’s written clear as day and with good reason, largely because history has not been kind to nations that do not value the importance a free press in regards to upholding the true principles of democracy and the freedom of its people.

“At a time when the relevance of a free press is being challenged by some, I want to thank those who have dedicated their careers to the profession of journalism. Journalists, in large part, receive little recognition for the contributions they bring to our communities. But it is because of them that our democracy continues to thrive, and the voice of the people continues to be heard. The work of journalists is a public service that is fundamental to our free and democratic society.”

2017 Excellence in Journalism Contest open for entries

The CTSPJ 2017 Excellence in Journalism Contest is now open for entries.

You can enter the contest here. Deadline for entries is Feb. 15 at 11:59 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19, at 5 p.m. All entries must have been published or broadcast in 2017.

We are adding two new categories this year: Data and Health reporting.

Magazines remain in their own circulation class, Region C (Magazines). 

Please review the circulation class list before entering. If you do not see your media outlet on the list, please contact contest clerk Jessica Garin at Jessica.Garin.U@gmail.com.

With the changing news industry and changes at individual news outlets, the CTSPJ board will continue to review the circulation classes each year. If you have feedback on the placement of your news outlet, please contact Contest Chair Jodie Mozdzer Gil at jmozdzer@gmail.com. Any requests for review will be considered by the full CTSPJ Board of Directors before the following year’s contest.

Categories

All media outlets compete against each other in the top three special awards categories. For the rest of the categories (below), media outlets will compete in their circulation class.

Stephen A. Collins Public Service Award
This is a special award open to all media for a story or stories having a significant impact in the public interest. Entries must include supporting documentation such as letters, editorials, evidence of a change in public policy, showing how the entry had an impact. Please include a cover letter with the entry.
Theodore Driscoll Award for Investigative Reporting
This is a special award open to all media for a single story or formal series containing information, obtained through reporter initiative not readily available to the news media or public.
First Amendment Award
This is a special award open to all media for a single story, column or series which increases public understanding of the role of the press in a free society.

Editorial Cartoon | A single cartoon online or in print
Single Editorial | Represents the opinion of the publication, station or news website as an organization
General Column | A single (other than sports or humorous) that expresses an opinion or point of view on an issues or event
Humorous Column | A single column on any topic with the purpose to entertain
In-Depth | A single story that helps audience understand situation beyond information provided in a normal news story
Investigative | A single story containing information obtained through reporter initiative that was not readily available to the news media or the public
Data | A reporting project that relied heavily on analyzing data.
Health reporting | A story dealing with health-related topics.
Feature | Any story written for a reason other than timeliness. (Please note, this was omitted from an earlier list in error)
Religion | A story dealing with religious topics
Government | A story dealing with government topics
Courts/Crime | Any story dealing with issues of the criminal justice system, except for breaking news
Arts & Entertainment | A single story dealing with the arts
Business | A single story dealing with business
Leisure | A story dealing with travel, food, gardening, or other leisure topics
Continuing Coverage | No more than 10 articles that follow the same topic over time
Diversity Coverage | Single story on a diversity issue
Education | A single story on an education issue
Reporting Series | A formal series of no more than 10 articles, including investigative, in-depth or feature series
Local Reporting | A story that shines light on an issue important to a single town or region. This category is meant for those stories that fulfill the mission of community journalism.
Breaking News | A single story or package of stories and social media updates that involves coverage of a spot news event written under an immediate deadline.
Sports News | A single story on a sports news topic
Sports Feature | A single story on a sports topic, written for a factor other than timeliness
Sports Column | A single column on a sports topic
Sports Photo | A single sports photo
Feature Photo | A single feature photo
News Photo | A single news photo
Photo Essay | A collection of photos, either in print or online, that together tell one story.
Page 1 Layout | A category for the person who arranged the text and images, not for the writers or photographers of the materials on the page.
Non-Page 1 Layout | Any single page design that was not on page 1
Headline | A single entry is made up of three headlines, all the work on a single individual
Infographic Design | The design of a single static or interactive graphic
Infographic Reporting | The reporting of a single static or interactive graphic
Video Storytelling | Use of video to tell a story alone or bolster written reporting
Audio Storytelling | Use of audio to tell a story alone or bolster written reporting

Entry fees:

  • $10 for active Connecticut SPJ members
  • $25 for non-members and news organizations
  • $50 for the three top awards
  • $5 for student members
  • $10 for students who are not members
  • If you do not know your member number, please contact SPJ’s national membership coordinator, Linda Hall, at LindaH@SPJ.org or at (317) 927-8000
College contest runs from March 15 to April 15, 2018, for the 2017-18 academic year. 
 
We’re offering free entries to those who volunteer to judge.  If your news outlet agrees to judge 10 categories from our swapping partners, we’ll give you a free entry. Individuals who agree to judge two categories will get a free entry. Please sign up for judging swaps with Contest Clerk Jessica Garin at Jessica.Garin.U@gmail.com.

Podcast: How news organizations should handle sexual misconduct allegations

In his new podcast, CT Pro Chapter President Mike Savino talks to national SPJ President Rebecca Baker about how the news media should handle sexual misconduct allegations. Savino and Baker talk about both how to report on allegations, and how news organizations should handle complaints from within. 

Click here to listen to the podcast or listen below. 

 

Navigating Immigration Coverage in the News

The Society of Professional Journalists student chapter at Southern Connecticut State University will present “Navigating Immigration Coverage in the News” on Nov. 15 at 9 a.m. The event will be held at the Adanti Student Center, Room 301, at Southern Connecticut State University.

Invited panelists include: Michael Boyle, Immigration Attorney; Esteban Hernandez, New Haven Register reporter; Sandra Gomez-Aceves, Hartford Courant reporter; Esteban Garcia, SCSU Undocumented Students’ Support Team.

 The panel is co-sponsored by the CT Pro Chapter of the SPJ. Use the #SPJ4ALL for all diversity-related tweets and events. RSVSP by emailing: spj.scsu@gmail.com by Nov. 9. 

President’s Letter – October 2017

Come have pizza and beer

If you missed out on September’s happy hour event in West Hartford, don’t worry. We’re coming to JRoos in North Haven on Oct. 18 from 7 p.m. 9 p.m. Come enjoy free food and catch up with friends, network and even talk with board members. If you and your colleagues would like us to schedule a happy hour in your region of the state, let us know. We’d love to come meet you!

What else is going on?

We’re working on some great programming ideas that we hope to share with you in the near future. In the meantime, we’re working with students, including our friends at the Central Connecticut and Southern Connecticut state universities. President Mike Savino was part of a panel discussion, along with the Hartford Courant’s Matt Kaufman and SPJ national President Rebecca Baker, at CCSU. He is also scheduled to speak at SCSU’s High School Journalism Day at the end of the month.

For those able to get to NYC, meanwhile, our friends with the Asian American Journalists Association is hosting Catalyst: Elevating Media Founders of Color, happening Nov. 9-11. The AAJA is offering a limited number of travel stipends.

See what else is happening

Job Openings

Looking for work, or know someone who is? Perhaps you know a student looking for an internship opportunity. Check out the jobs bank we’ve just added to our website. We’ll keep adding job postings as we learn of them, so please share with us any openings. Keep in mind that some of these postings may have expired or been filled.

See all the opportunities here

It happened in Vegas, and it has happened at home. Stay up on best practices

The Oct. 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas is an unfortunate reminder of the way journalists can be thrown into difficult assignments at a moment’s notice. Veteran Connecticut reporters, sadly, have been forced into similar circumstances in the not too distant past. With that, it’s always a good idea for reporters to remind themselves of best practices before they are thrown into those situations. Journalists can always look to the SPJ Code of Ethics for guidance on how to handle any difficult situation, but here is a recent article from Poynter specific to mass shootings.

The SPJ Code of Ethics

Four CT journalists attending NEFAC institute

The New England First Amendment Coalition has selected four journalists from the Nutmeg State as part of its 25-person 2017 New England First Amendment Institute. Attendees, including WVIT’s Jill Konopka, Hartford Courant’s Stephen Busemeyer, Norwalk Hour’s Kaitlyn Krasselt, and Norwalk Hour’s Martha Shanahan, will spend three days learning about Freedom of Information laws.  

See what else NEFAC is up to

Thanks for your continued support.

Your president,

Mike Savino

President’s letter — Sept 2017

A message from the president

September 2017

SPJ.jpg

Report from EIJ 2017

Connecticut had a strong showing at this year’s conference, with nearly 20 journalism professionals, students, and professors making the trip to Anaheim for the annual Society of Professional Journalists. This year’s meeting saw a major change to the structure for the national board and installation of an old friend as new president. See below for more details.

 

Come meet us for food and drinks!

We’re coming to your area for happy hour

Before we get caught up in EIJ, we want to let you know that we’re coming out to talk with all of you. We’ll be at Bar Louie in West Hartford on Sept. 27 with WVIT-30’s Max Reiss and Hartford Courant’s Daniela Altimari. Join us beginning at 7 p.m. to talk about journalism, politics, sports, or whatever else. Free food, too! The festivities begin at 7 p.m. We’re also working out the details for a similar event in the New Haven area on Oct. 18, so stayed tuned.

See what else is happening

Huge loss for Connecticut journalism

Bob Veillette dies at 72

Before we return to updates from Anaheim, we have some somber news to pass along. Bob Veillette, longtime managing editor of the Republican-American, died Wednesday at Saint Mary’s Hospital. Veillette’s tenure as managing editor was the culmination of a 40-year career at the Rep-Am. He had to leave the paper in 2006 due to a stroke, though. The Rep-Am will have more on Veillette later this week.

Learn more about Veillette’s life and career

Local girl does good!!

Connecticut SPJ alum now national president

Some of you may remember Rebecca Baker, who worked for the New Haven Register and served as Connecticut SPJ secretary during her time in the Nutmeg State. She was installed Saturday as the new SPJ national president. Baker also recently named deputy news director of the New York Daily News.

Learn more about our new SPJ president

Leaner, meaner national board

Convention approves shrinking SPJ board

Delegates at the convention approved reducing the current 23-member board to nine in hopes of making the board more efficient and better able to respond quickly to national issues. We at Connecticut SPJ heard your concerns about the change being too small, and offered an amendment for an 11-member board. The amendment received modest support but fell short of the two-thirds majority needed. Delegates approved the nine-member board, but we at Connecticut SPJ voted against the change, in large part, to your feedback. Please note the change doesn’t affect our chapter’s board.

Learn more about the bylaw change

Learn more about EIJ from your friends

Grant winners participate in the festivities

WVIT-TV 30’s Jill Konopka and Central Connecticut State University student Analisa Novak were part of the Connecticut contingent thanks to travel grants from Connecticut SPJ. It’s the third year in a row we’ve helped members attend the national conference. EIJ is coming to the East Coast twice in the next three years, so make sure to apply and join us in the future.

See all the opportunities here

Job Openings

See who’s hiring

Looking for work, or know someone who is? Check out the jobs bank we’ve just added to our website. We’ll keep adding job postings as we learn of them, so please share with us any openings. Keep in mind that some of these postings may have expired or been filled.

See all the opportunities here


Thanks for your continued support.

Your president,

Mike Savino

How your Connecticut delegates voted at the national convention

One of the big discussions at the national SPJ conference in Anaheim last week was whether to approve proposed bylaw changes to the national board.

The changes, which eventually passed 86-14 among the delegates, will bring the size of the governing body down to nine members from the current 23. It also removes regional directors from the national board.

Mike Savino, president of the Connecticut Pro Chapter of the SPJ, proposed an amendment bringing the board down to 11 members instead of 9, but the amendment failed. 

The Press Club of Long Island proposed an amendment requiring the board to fill one of the available appointed positions with a sitting regional coordinator (the new name for regional directors). That amendment also failed. 

The two delegates from the Connecticut Pro Chapter voted against the bylaw change due to concerns it would limit the amount of local voices that will be heard on the national level and potentially limit diversity on the board. 

The transition to the new board structure will take place over two years. 

You can read more about the bylaw changes here

Convention delegates also approved several resolutions, which your CT delegates voted in favor of:

  • TRUMP & THE PRESS: The Society of Professional Journalists condemns in the harshest possible terms the corrosive actions and words of the Trump administration toward the news media and journalists; asks members of Congress and other public officials to remind the administration of the vital role the First Amendment and the press play in our system of government; encourages journalists not to rise to the social media bait distributed by President Trump and others who choose to mislead the public about the news media and to refrain from responding in kind
  • MANDATED CLEARANCE: The Society of Professional Journalists calls on journalists to put the public’s need to know above the professional desire not to anger official sources and resist official efforts to make reporters nothing more than stenographers and openly oppose restrictions on access to information; calls on all journalists, journalism groups, publishers, editors, journalism schools and freedom of information groups to start and continue discussions on eliminating these restrictions and to explain to the public the hazards to society posed by these restrictions. 
  • PRAISING NEW VOICES: The SPJ commends the work of the Student Press Law Center, its former executive director and new executive director for their fight for student free expression in all 50 states
  • STORM COVERAGE: The SPJ commends the extraordinary journalists covering the impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma for their fortitude, integrity and bravery 
  • PUBLIC BROADCASTING: The SPJ recognizes the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Public Broadcasting Act; recognizes the dedication of all those who work in public media; and believes federal funding is necessary to the enhancement of the democratic and cultural well-being of the country
  • THANK YOUS: The delegates thank Associate Executive Director Chris Vachon for her 14 years of dedicated service to the SPJ; thank Executive Director Joe Skeel for his 8 years of dedicated service to the SPJ; thank the SPJ staff for all its work to put together the convention; thank outgoing President Lynn Walsh for her service.
Copyright 2010-2017. Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists, P.O. Box 5071, Woodbridge CT 06525