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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 →

Land in Orlando Grant Available for CTSPJ Members

The Connecticut pro chapter of SPJ wants to send you to Orlando to attend the national SPJ Excellence in Journalism convention this September.

The board is offering up to $1,300 in a professional development grant to pay your way to the SPJ convention as a way to thank you for being a member of CTSPJ.

We value professional development, but know funding your own trip to the convention can be difficult. So let us pay your way.

To apply, send a two-to-three paragraph description of why you want to attend the national SPJ convention in Orlando to CTSPJ Past President Cindy Simoneau at simoneauc1@southernct.edu. Please use the e-mail subject CTSPJ LandInOrlando.

Simoneau will prepare a blind review for the current board to read and vote on.

Applications must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday July 24 to be considered by the board.

Winners will be notified before the Aug. 4 early bird registration deadline.

 

The details:

  • All applications must be current CTSPJ members in good standing. New members who join before the deadline are eligible for the grant. To join SPJ, click here to visit the national SPJ website. New CTSPJ members don’t pay local dues their first year. All other CTSPJ members must pay the $10 local dues in addition to the national dues.
  • The CTSPJ board will reimburse your conference travel expenses up to $1,300. You’ll need to save receipts for your travel, hotel, and registration, and get them to the board treasurer in order to get the grant reimbursement.
  • If you sign up as a new member, please save a copy of your confirmation to show proof of membership.
  • All applications will be reviewed by the CTSPJ board without knowledge of your name or publication. They will be handled through non-voting Past President Cindy Simoneau.
  • The person selected will be expected to attend two sessions during the conference with the board delegates, held on Saturday and Sunday.
  • The national convention runs from Sept. 18-20. For more information, go to the convention website.

Storify: Minimize Harm in the Digital Age — Ethics discussion on 4/29/15

CTSPJ Excellence in Journalism Contest Finalists

Here are the finalists for the 2014 Excellence in Journalism Contest. Winners will be announced at the annual dinner on May 21, 2015.

 

2014 CTSPJ Contest Finalists

College Contest Finalist list 4-26-15

CTSPJ 2015-2016 Board of Directors Nominations

The CTSPJ Nominations Committee submits the following slate for the Officers and Board of Directors for 2015-16. The membership will vote on the board at the annual dinner on Thursday, May 21.

PROPOSED 2015-2016 CTSPJ BOARD

OFFICERS

President — Paul Singley, Waterbury Republican-American — (1-year-term, expires June 30, 2016)

Vice President— Mike Savino, Manchester Journal-Inquirer — (1-year-term, expires June 30, 2016)
VP/Communications— Bruno Matarazzo Jr., Waterbury Republican-American (1-year-term, expires June 30, 2016)
Treasurer—  Jodie Mozdzer Gil, Southern CT State University — (1-year-term, expires June 30, 2016)

Secretary—  Zach Janowski, Yankee Institute — (1-year-term, expires June 30, 2016)

Past President — Jamie Deloma, Quinnipiac University — (remains in post until a new immediate past president transitions to position)
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Shahid Abdul-Karim, New Haven Register — (1-year-term, expires June 30, 2016)

Liz Glagowski, Peppers & Rogers Group(2-year-term, expires June 30, 2017)
Jordan Otero, Hartford Courant — (2-year-term, expires June 30, 2017)

Cara Rosner, freelance reporter/editor– (1 year remaining on two-year term, expires June 30, 2016)

Kat Schassler, Middletown Press — (1-year-term, expires June 30, 2016)
Lynn Schnier, Hearst CT Newspapers — (2-year-term, expires June 30, 2017)

Society of Professional Journalists Opposes Prior Restraint Ruling in Connecticut

The Connecticut Pro Chapter and Region 1 of the Society of Professional Journalists are greatly disappointed with and concerned by Judge Stephen Frazzini’s Nov. 24 order barring the Connecticut Law Tribune from publishing a story about a child custody case. The ruling should be overturned.

State law has sought to protect the privacy of children involved in custody disputes, but it also specifies that the First Amendment and the public’s right to know take precedent. Furthermore, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly rejected prior restraint, ruling it constitutional only in matters that pose an extreme threat to public safety and national security.

Paul Singley, CTSPJ President

Rebecca Baker, Region 1 Director

 

CCSU announces journalism scholarship program

Announcing The Sigrid Schultz Scholarship for Future Journalists

Two awards of $6,000 each.
SigridSchultz01
American journalist Sigrid Schultz covered the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi regime during
World War II, and, as chief central Europe correspondent for The Chicago Tribune, was the first
woman to be named the foreign bureau chief of a major U.S. newspaper. This scholarship was
made possible by a bequest her estate made to Central Connecticut State University.

Two $6,000 four-year scholarships will be awarded in academic year 2015-2016 to two high
school seniors who matriculate at Central Connecticut State University, and pursue undergraduate
degrees in journalism.

The deadline to enter is January 16, 2015.

Learn more here.

SCSU student chapter tackles high school censorship

by Mackenzie Hurlbert
Southern Connecticut State University SPJ chapter president

High school newspapers have commonly been a place of intense censorship and
debate. Like a parent to a child, many high schools use the simple justification of
“Because I said so…” to cut, mold, or manipulate their student newspapers. The
Southern Connecticut State University Chapter of SPJ took an opportunity to ask
high school journalists about their thoughts on censorship in school media.

On Friday, Oct. 24, Southern Connecticut State University hosted their annual High
School Journalism Day and invited schools from across Connecticut to spend the day
attending journalism-oriented discussions, panels and guest speakers. Southern’s
SPJ set up a table with a big banner paper banner and asked high school students to
practice their freedom of speech by commenting on how censorship has affected
their student papers.

Some responses were specific complaints about experiences with censorship while
others were more broad statements about First Amendment freedoms.

CTSPJ seeks contest clerk

Connecticut SPJ is looking for a clerk to handle administrative tasks for its annual journalism contest. Applicant should have the following skills/attributes:

  • experience in Microsoft Excel
  • experience using mail merges for e-mails and creating Word documents
  • excellent editing skills, attention to detail in spelling, grammar and consistency
  • ability to meet deadlines, while working varying hours
  • availability to work from home from December through May, a total of 50 to 100 hours, with strict deadlines along the way.
  • excellent time management skills

Please send resume, noting experience and education, to Jodie Mozdzer Gil at  jmozdzer@ctspj.org by June 20. Please also note any media affiliations, past and present, in Connecticut.

Job starts in December 2014, and runs through May 2015, with option for renewal the following year.