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President’s letter — Sept 2017

A message from the president

September 2017

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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

Excellence in Journalism finalist list now available

The 2016 Excellence in Journalism Contest received more than 700 entries this year.

You can view a PDF of the finalists list here.

The winners of the contest will be announced during the annual Excellence in Journalism awards dinner on Thursday, May 25 at Grassy Hill Country Club.

You can purchase tickets for the dinner by clicking here, or by visiting our Dinner Page.

 

 

SPJ showcases drones and new photo tech

Vern Williams drone demonstration

Vern Williams, assistant professor of Journalism at Southern Connecticut State University, prepares to fly his DJI Mavic Pro drone at Southern Wednesday, April 19, as Richie Rathsack, digital content editor for the Record-Journal in Meriden, looks on. | Jodie Mozdzer Gil photo

Drones are getting smaller, and the cameras more powerful — and journalists continue to explore ways that can translate to better news coverage.

Read more →

Donate to the Bob Eddy Scholarship during the Great Give

The Bob Eddy Scholarship program helps Connecticut students who want to become journalists pay for college.

Each year the committee awards about $6,000 to students from Connecticut, or studying in Connecticut.

The fund is administered through the Community Foundation For Greater New Haven. To donate during The Great Give, click here.

Recap: Making CONNections journalism conference

The Making CONNections regional journalism conference was held at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven on April 8 and 9.

See some of the highlights from the panels in the Storify below.

Testimony Sought for FOI BILLS

Connecticut SPJ’s Board of Directors strongly urges journalists and news outlets to submit testimony during public hearings this week on a number of proposed bills that affect public access to information.

The Government Administration and Elections Committee’s March 7 public hearing includes legislation that, as written, would greatly expand when a public board or agency could call an executive session (HB 5501). The proposal would allow public officials to close off meetings from the public for any consultation with an attorney of the public agency concerning legal matters. This is a tremendous expansion beyond what is currently allowed under the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

A second piece of legislation (HB 5512) would allow municipalities to charge additional fees whenever someone files a FOI request for commercial purposes. The bill expressly states that journalists are exempt from the legislation, although it doesn’t define what constitutes a news outlet. Additional, this bill goes against the FOI Act, which does not grant a public agency to consider the intent of a requester, and this proposal would thus go against the spirit of the FOI Act. The bill also appears to give tremendous flexibility to how much a town can charge, making it potentially cost prohibitive for a requester whose intentions are deemed to be for commercial purposes. Lastly, this bill sets a dangerous precedent in chipping away at the public’s ability to easily access information.

GAE will also hear comments on a proposal requiring the preservation of and improving access to some historical records of value (HB 5499). The bill would improve access to some government records of value, including medical records. This would allow for a better examination on the way certain health ailments or conditions were treated in the past, as well as how the medical history of historically significant people may have affected their actions.

The committee’s hearing begins at 1 p.m., or written testimony can be sent to gaetestimony@cga.ct.gov

The Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee will hear testimony during its March 8 public hearing on a bill that would moderately expand the amount of information that the University of Connecticut Foundation is required to make publicly available (SB 333). It would allow the foundation, though, to otherwise maintain its statutory exemption from the FOI Act.

Testimony can be sent to HEDtestimony@cga.ct.gov

Workshop Recap: My First J-Job

On Nov. 19, about 25 early career and student journalists gathered at the former Middletown Press headquarters for CTSPJ’s “My First J-Job” panel.
Panelists were: Mike Fallon, public relations professional at the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce; Marcus Harun, TV and web news producer at Fox 61; Juliemar Ortiz, town reporter at the New Haven Register; and Kristin Stoller, town reporter at the Hartford Courant.
The discussion, moderated by CTSPJ board member Jordan Otero, covered topics including the job search, adjusting to life after college graduation and the everyday triumphs and challenges that come with being an early career journalist.
The event was streamed live on Periscope and the group headed to First and Last Tavern for informal networking afterward.

CTSPJ Seeks New Board Members

CTSPJ is looking for members or journalists willing to help work for the betterment of the Connecticut journalism community by joining its Board of Directors.

Nominations are now being accepted for one-year positions as president, vice president, vice president/communications, treasurer, secretary or as a member of the board.

The CTSPJ board works to helps support journalists each year through professional development events and the annual Excellence in Journalism Contest. The board also supports student journalists by awarding thousands of dollars worth of scholarships each year. CTSPJ supports journalistic causes, such as CCFOI and CFOG, as well as the national SPJ Legal Defense Fund. Board members get involved in one or more areas of interest.

All candidates must be paid nation as local and local members of SPJ.

If interested contact Cindy Simoneau, Nominations Chair,  at SimoneauC1@southernct.edu

Panel recap: Reporting on Islam

ReportingonIslamPhoto

Imam Refai Arafin, left, makes a point during the panel discussion at Central Connecticut State University, while Andrew Ragali, center and M. Saud Anwar, right, listen | Paul Singley photo.

Words matter.

When the news media uses the word “terrorist” to identify the Muslim man in the Foot Hood attacks, but not the man involved in the Charleston church shooting, it adds to a growing negative sentiment toward Muslims, said M. Saud Anwar, former mayor and current council member in South Windsor.

Anwar was one of three panelists who spoke during a CTSPJ and CCSU SPJ panel discussion on Islam and Muslims in the news. Anwar was joined by Refai Arefin, Imam of the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford, and Andrew Ragali, a reporter with the Meriden Record Journal who handled much of the paper’s coverage of the November mosque shooting. The event was held Wednesday, Feb. 24 at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain.

“The words and descriptions are clearly different, even in similar incidents,” Anwar said, referring to an academic paper his son wrote that compared Washington Post media coverage of the two shootings.

A national conversation on Muslims in America has been ongoing, as many connect ISIS with the religion, which is practiced by about 3.3 million people in America, according to a 2105 Pew Research study. Fears increased in December, when a married couple killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, and the shooters were identified as Muslims who supported ISIS. Shortly after, presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States.

While the news media plays a role, Arefin said it’s “dangerous to talk about journalists as a monolith,” just as it’s not fair to paint all Muslims based on the actions of a few. That said, he sees some news media feeding into the fears of the public.

“The problem is the very nature of the news cycle today, in which the most extreme voices are amplified,” Arefin said.

Arefin said a selection bias leads to journalists covering mainly negative incidents with Muslims.

Ragali noted the pressures of daily news reporting and the shrinking staffs in newsrooms as part of the issue.

“We have to churn out a certain amount of stories every day. We have certain beats, so we cover city hall, education. So sometimes you’re stuck in that beat, and you can’t think broadly on certain things,” Ragali said. “So things like this, just talking, I’m getting story ideas right now.”

The video of the discussion will be posted in this space soon.

 

CTSPJ Contest Revision Proposal

Connecticut SPJ has been talking and thinking a lot about our contest. And we’ve decided it’s time for an update.

So we present to you our plans to move forward for the 2015 Excellence in Journalism Contest, which will open for entries in late December 2015, and close for entries some time in February 2016.

We invite your feedback at this critical stage in the redesign. Please send any comments, questions or suggestions to Contest Chair Jodie Mozdzer Gil at jmozdzer@ctspj.org by Aug. 15.

Read more →

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