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CTSPJ College Contest Open For Entries

The Connecticut SPJ College Contest is open for entries.

Click here to visit the contest website.

All entries must be received by 5 p.m. on April 25, 2014.

The entry fees are:

  • $5 for SPJ members (membership ID number required)
  • $10 for non-members and news organizations

The contest is open for items published or broadcast in the 2013-14 academic year. (Please note, you must use the year 2013 when entering, even for items published in 2014).

Students can enter any work that ran in a print or online newspaper, or that was broadcast or streamed by a radio or TV station during the 2013-14 academic year.

Entries are limited to three per person per category. Each story, editorial, photo, etc. is a separate entry.

Any contest questions may be directed to contest committee co-chair Jodie Mozdzer Gil at jmozdzer@ctspj.org.

 

CTSPJ Members: Get free tickets to see James Risen

Connecticut SPJ will send two chapter members to the New England First Amendment Center luncheon, where New York Times reporter James Risen will speak about his refusal to testify in the trial of a former CIA officer.

CTSPJ is giving away two $100 tickets to the luncheon, which will be held on Feb. 7 in Boston. Any current CTSPJ member is eligible for the tickets, which will be given to the first person or people to contact CTSPJ President Jodie Mozdzer Gil at jmozdzer@gmail.org.

Membership status will be verified with national SPJ before the tickets are distributed. Chapter members are national SPJ members who have also paid the $10 annual chapter dues.

Risen, a Pulitzer Prizing winning journalist, will receive the 2014 Stephen Hamblett Award from the New England First Amendment Coalition at the event. He will speak about his work writing about the CIA and domestic spying, and the legal fallout after he refused to testify and identify his source for the book “State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.”

The New England First Amendment Center was formed in 2006 to advance and protect the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment, including the principle of the public’s right to know. Its members include lawyers, journalists, historians, librarians, academics and private citizens.

Event Details

Place:Boston Park Plaza Hotel

Time: 12:30 p.m.

Date: Friday, Feb. 7

CTSPJ members should e-mail Jodie Mozdzer Gil at jmozdzer@gmail.com to request free tickets.

SCSU looking for freelance writers

Southern Connecticut State University is seeking long-term freelance writers for the Office of Public Affairs. The articles will be used for various publications including, but not limited to, Southern Alumni Magazine, SouthernLife (the university’s monthly newspaper), press releases, the President’s Annual Report, and a variety of marketing materials.

Interested applicants must use the bid/Request for Proposal (RFP) process. Download the RFP with more information here:

https://www.southernct.edu/offices/purchasing/bids/freelancewriter2014.pdf

CTSPJ President’s Statement on Task Force Recommendations

The Task Force on Victim Privacy and the Public’s Right to Know met for the last time Jan. 24 and approved its final report.

Click here to download a PDF version of the report.

The final recommendations from the task force represent a compromise regarding the different viewpoints from the 17 members. The compromise recommends the legislature allow for review — but not release — of certain criminal records, which are now entirely exempt from disclosure under Public Act 13-311.

My support of the compromise comes reluctantly, as I do not agree with its recommendations. However, I supported the compromise because I believed it was the lesser of two evils.

A revision to the state’s FOI act approved by the Connecticut General Assembly in 2013 added unnecessary restrictions to the release of public information regarding crimes. When asked to appoint four members to the task force, the Connecticut Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (CTSPJ) did so with the hope of regaining all of the transparency that was lost.

My first choice would have been to repeal Public Act 13-311 and revert the FOI Act to its existence prior to June 2013. I supported a compromise because it allows review — albeit under burdensome circumstances — and provides a window into possible release.

The task force was stacked with members who indicated they wanted to see MORE restrictions on the release of public records. FOI and press advocates were in the minority. It became clear the best chance at getting movement away from a bad law would be to meet in the middle.

The Task Force held public hearings — an important step that was ignored during the crafting and approval of Public Act 13-311. After hearing broad and balanced testimony, the Task Force came to the consensus that the law needs to be changed.

Public Act 13-311 is not appropriate. It lacks the transparency required in our democracy. While not ideal, the compromise is a shift in the right direction — one supported by even those on the board who initially wanted more restrictions.

The following are my main concerns with the current recommendations:

  • The standard for release should be Perkins, not Favish. The burden should not be on the public to prove a record should be public, as the Favish standard requires. Both Public Act 13-311 as it exists, or the task force’s proposed use of the Favish standard bring Connecticut to the bottom half of the state FOI spectrum in regards to openness and transparency.
  • The addition of 911 calls to the Task Force recommendation is a bad idea. The legislature wisely left 911 calls out of the original act.

I hope this Task Force recommendation is a first step toward a widespread conversation about the need for open government and a move back to the respected FOI Act our state has long had.

 

CTSPJ Journalism Contest Open For Entries

The Connecticut SPJ Excellence in Journalism Contest is open for entries.

Click here to visit the contest website.

A full list of contest categories can be found here.

All entries must be received by 5 p.m. on Feb 17, 2014.
The entry fees are:

  • $10 for SPJ members (membership ID number required)
  • $25 for non-members and news organizations

The contest is open for items published or broadcast in 2013 year.

Entries are limited to three per person per category. Each story, editorial, photo, etc. is a separate entry.

Any contest questions may be directed to contest committee co-chair Jodie Mozdzer Gil at jmozdzer@ctspj.org.

 

Boston Globe announces 2014 internship program deadline

The Boston Globe runs one of the top internship programs in the nation, giving 10 interns the opportunity to work as reporters, as well as photographer, designer or copy editor.

The 12-week paid internship places reporter-interns in our Metro, Business, Living/Arts, and Sports departments; the photo intern shoots stills and video for all sections, the design intern creates sections fronts and information graphics for print and online, and the copy editing intern works on local, national, foreign and business copy. We provide guidance and direction, as well as a writing coach dedicated to the interns. Globe interns produce every day and finely polish their journalism skills over the summer.

The application deadline is Nov. 1. More information on the program and an application can be accessed from our website:www.bostonglobe.com/newsintern.

Ethics Code Revamp, Shield Law Goals for New SPJ National President

Incoming national SPJ President David Cuillier will lead an effort to update SPJ’s Code of Ethics and continue the push for a federal shield law.

Culilier,was was elected by SPJ members in August, outlined his goals in a recent blog post.

“We’ll have a lot of other work to do this year, including development of new resources to foster diversity in journalism, creating new practical training platforms online and in-person to help journalist improve their skills, continue discussion about whether to change the name to the “Society for Professional Journalism,” and help build scholastic journalism to nurture future journalists,” Cuillier wrote in the post. “I will blog about all of this more in the weeks and months to come.”

Click here to read more at his blog.

FOI Commission Made The Right Decision on 911 Calls

The following is a statement from the Connecticut Pro Chapter of SPJ, regarding the FOI Commission decision on the Newtown 911 calls on Sept. 25. 

We’re pleased the FOI Commission upheld its hearing officer’s report demanding release of the 911 calls from Newtown. The decision was appropriate, and reflected the FOI Act requirements for public disclosure.

If the case is appealed, as expected, we urge the higher courts to come to the same conclusion: That 911 calls are important public records.

The 911 calls surrounding an incident allow the community and the press to assess official response, and to try to gain a better understanding about what happened.

The decision of whether material is appropriate for publication or broadcast should not be made by the government; it should remain with the journalists, guided by the various journalistic codes of ethics.

EIJ 2013 from CT SPJ

Three executive board members from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists are representing our chapter during this weekend’s Excellence in Journalism conference in Anaheim, Calif. Immediate Past President Cindy Simoneau, President Jodie Mozdzer-Gil and Secretary Ricky Campbell are all in attendance and will serve as delegates during business meetings.

A few things you should know:

  • For regular updates on the conference, follow along on Twitter. Journalists throughout the country are using #EIJ13 to continue the conversation for the rest of the world to see.
  • The Region 1 convention will be held in Boston this year on April 25 and 26. For more information, visit spjr1c.org.
  • As a member of SPJ, you can vote in the national elections online. Visit this link to learn more about the candidates and to cast your vote.

We’ll keep you updated on the blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter. Stay tuned!

-Ricky Campbell, secretary CT SPJ

Patch Layoffs Hit Connecticut Editors

Some ofpatch-logo1 Connecticut’s 67 Patch hyper-local new sites will be affected by layoffs at the AOL company, the Hartford Courant reported Friday. The layoffs, which will occur through October, will include editors for Berlin, Ellington-Somers, Enfield, Montville, New London and Rocky Hill, according to the Courant.

Read more at the Hartford Courant.

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