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KatieKuntz

Katie Kuntz, an award-winning investigative reporter with Rocky Mountain PBS I-News, will be featured in a Fireside Chat at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15, at the Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Place. The program, sponsored by the Colorado Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, is free and open to the public.

Kuntz will discuss her recent “The Business of Elections” and other I-News stories. The elections coverage focuses on television campaign ads in Colorado’s key U.S. Senate race and state ballot issues.

Kuntz also has reported extensively about Colorado’s marijuana industry and for the I-News “Losing Ground” series which examines the social and economic disparities that separate the state’s black and Latino residents from their white counterparts.

A multimedia journalist with a background in radio, television, documentary filmmaking and newspaper reporting, Kuntz produced award-winning work while at the University of Iowa and with The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism and IowaWatch.org. She won the 2014 SPJ Region 7 online reporting Mark of Excellence Award for “Breaking the Cycle: Meth Addiction in Council Bluffs.”

Metered street parking is available in front of and near the Press Club on Glenarm Place. The meters accept credit cards. Parking is also available in a public lot on the southwest side of the Press Club.

SPJ Pizza Party at CMU - Journalism students and faculty enjoy pizza during a Society of Professional Journalists Colorado Pro Chapter visit on Oct. 6 to Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. Beecher Threatt, co-publisher of the Ouray County Plaindealer; Richie Ann Ashcraft, web content editor of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel; Brian Calvert, associate editor of High Country News; and SPJ Colorado Pro Chapter president Ed Otte spoke to two journalism classes before the lunch.

SPJ Pizza Party at CMU – Journalism students and faculty enjoy pizza during a Society of Professional Journalists Colorado Pro Chapter visit on Oct. 6 to Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. Beecher Threatt, co-publisher of the Ouray County Plaindealer; Richie Ann Ashcraft, web content editor of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel; Brian Calvert, associate editor of High Country News; and SPJ Colorado Pro Chapter president Ed Otte spoke to two journalism classes before the lunch.

Colorado Mesa University journalism professor Eric Sandstrom is pictured in his office with the 2014 SPJ Colorado Pro Chapter Journalism Educator of the Year award he received in April. Sandstrom, adviser to the CMU student SPJ chapter and to the campus newspaper, hosted an SPJ visit on Oct. 6 at CMU.

Colorado Mesa University journalism professor Eric Sandstrom is pictured in his office with the 2014 SPJ Colorado Pro Chapter Journalism Educator of the Year award he received in April. Sandstrom, adviser to the CMU student SPJ chapter and to the campus newspaper, hosted an SPJ visit on Oct. 6 at CMU.

hochman

By Ed Otte

“I’m Denver Post sports columnist Benjamin Hochman and the sixteenth funniest Jew in Colorado. They asked several people to do this, even the janitor at The Denver Post turned them down, so I’m here tonight.”

Those opening comments set the tone for the Oct. 1 Fireside Chat at the Denver Press Club. Hochman, who joined The Post in 2007, also does stand-up comedy in the Denver area.

Denver 8 TV taped the program, which was sponsored by the Colorado Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and it will be broadcast at a later date.

“I came (to Denver) because, well, I like Coors,” he said. “When I started at The Post, I covered the Nuggets and I jinxed them because they’ve never done anything since then.”

Hochman, 34, credited fellow Post sports columnist Woody Paige – sort of – for his journey from the New Orleans Times-Picayune to The Denver Post. “In 2004 I watched this weird guy on TV screaming. That was Woody. That’s how I learned about Denver. He sets the tone, he’s our brand. What I love about Woody is his passion and, how can I say this on TV, his cojones.”

Asked whether he has ever been reluctant to criticize an athlete, Hochman mentioned a former Nuggets player. “I wrote he was a matador on defense. He hated me because he was anti-Semitic. No, not really. But he did use the f-word to my face the next time I saw him.”

Other topics:

“When people ask me what is the top sports team in Denver, I tell them the Broncos are No. 1, the Broncos are No. 2 and anything else doing well now is No. 3. I can write about anything – as long as it’s the Broncos. I believe the Broncos will win the Super Bowl. I wrote that last year? I didn’t write that, Frodo wrote that. Von Miller is a game changer. By January, if he’s back to 2012 Von Miller and if they don’t have injuries, I think they can win the Super Bowl.”

“I grew up in St. Louis and I learned about baseball with the Cardinals. People in Denver have the Rooftop (at Coors Field). That’s like a big bar in LoDo. At the Rooftop, the game isn’t on TV, it’s right in front of you. The Rockies are a Major League team but not run like one. They cannot draft and they cannot develop players. The quandry is that attendance is still middle of the pack, they’re still turning a profit. But if you were really bad since the late 1990s – with only two successes (2007 and 2009) – don’t you think most people in the galaxy would say we need to replace this guy.”

“For you as a (Rockies) fan, goodness gracious, can’t they fix the problem. (Owner Dick) Monfort is a square peg in a round hole kind of thing. He won’t fire anyone. If you can get a job there, you’re good to go. You’ve got a job for 40 years.”

“Yes, my hair looks different now. I shaved the sides earlier because (Post sportswriter) Adrian Dater shaves the sides of his head. I tried that and the only person who said it looked good was no one. Adrian can do it because he’s cool. That’s probably the only time I’ve said Adrian Dater and cool in the same sentence.”

“It’s amazing to think back to some of the sports heroes we knew and now they’re doing things like putting their keys in the refrigerator. We can’t imagine how life altering one concussion is, let alone several. It takes a certain breed of men to play football. The attitude is ‘it won’t happen to me.’ Pro athletes are wired differently. To win the Super Bowl, they push aside the ‘what if’ of concussions. Unless a superstar’s career is ended by a concussion, people won’t care. But if the Broncos win the Super Bowl, would Wes Welker remember it?”

“We’re a society that loves gladiators. Football is a perfect vehicle for that. You want to see this carnage. Football will always be a billion dollar industry but youth football will change because familes will be concerned (about head injuries). Does the NFL care? I think they care, but they’re businessmen.”

“I literally wanted to be a sports columnist since I was eight years old. The job of a columnist is to make people think, laugh and cry. It’s a cool honor to be a journalist and tell stories for a living. If I’m still writing a column in 10 years, I want my photo to be the slim one. Even if I get fat, I’d want the slim photo. When I lived in New Orleans, I ate everything. I was fat.”

“(Hurricane) Katrina was a heck of a wake-up call for me as a journalist. Katrina taught me to seize the day. It taught me about the fragility of life. As a storyteller, it taught me about actually writing a story that affects a reader. I was honored to help tell the story. I wrote ‘Fourth and New Orleans’ about the Tulane football team’s 2005 season. They played 11 games in 11 weeks in 11 different cities because they couldn’t play in their stadium.”

“If the name of your team offends a lot of people, why don’t you change it? The word Redskins was offensive in the 1950s, in the 1970s. If the NFL announced in a press conference that a team was to be in Los Angeles and they said the name of the team was the blackskins or brownskins or yellowskins – imagine if a person said that.”

SPJ Lunch at CSU - Taking a break from their Oct. 2 lunch at Colorado State University in Fort Collins are, left to right: Tammy Matthews, graduate student; Anna Groeling, SPJ student chapter vice president; Erin Douglas, SPJ student chapter officer-at-large; Allison Dyer Bluemel, SPJ student chapter president; Estes Park Trail-Gazette news editor David Persons; Kris Kodrich, SPJ student chapter adviser and CSU journalism professor; Kate Winkle, editor-in-chief of the Rocky Mountain Collegian; and Evergreen Newspapers editor Doug Bell (foreground). Persons, Bell and SPJ Colorado Pro Chapter president Ed Otte spoke to two journalism classes before the lunch with the SPJ student chapter members.

SPJ Lunch at CSU – Taking a break from their Oct. 2 lunch at Colorado State University in Fort Collins are, left to right: Tammy Matthews, graduate student; Anna Groeling, SPJ student chapter vice president; Erin Douglas, SPJ student chapter officer-at-large; Allison Dyer Bluemel, SPJ student chapter president; Estes Park Trail-Gazette news editor David Persons; Kris Kodrich, SPJ student chapter adviser and CSU journalism professor; Kate Winkle, editor-in-chief of the Rocky Mountain Collegian; and Evergreen Newspapers editor Doug Bell (foreground). Persons, Bell and SPJ Colorado Pro Chapter president Ed Otte spoke to two journalism classes before the lunch with the SPJ student chapter members.

benjamin-hochman-ColumnSigDenver Post sports columnist Benjamin Hochman will be featured in a Fireside Chat at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, at the Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Place.
The program, sponsored by the Colorado Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, will be free and open to the public.

Hochman joined the Post in fall 2007 and covered the Denver Nuggets. He previously worked at the New Orleans Times-Picyune where he wrote a Katrina-themed book “Fourth and New Orleans” which was published in 2007. During his career, he has covered a Super Bowl, NBA Finals, BCS championship game and the 2008 Bejing Olympics.

Hochman has finished top 10 in the Associated Press Sports Editors national sportswriting awards five times in the past five years. In the June issue of Mile High Sports, he is described as a “new generation” sports columnist. According to interviewer Doug Ottewell, in additon to Hochman’s Post column, “he’s tweeting, blogging, chatting, texting. He’s on the radio, on television, on stage.”

His columns range from traditional sports commentary to human interest stories. He also employs self-deprecating humor. On Aug. 30 he wrote about running with Ralphie’s handlers before the Colorado-Colorado State game at Sports Authority Field. “Another friend in the press box asked, “When was the last time you ran that fast?” As I pondered, he then said what we both were thinking: “I don’t think there was a last time.”

In his free time, Hochman performs stand-up comedy around the Denver area.

Metered street parking is available in front of and near the Press Club is available on Glenarm Place. The meters accept credit cards. Parking is also available in a public lot on the southwest side of the Press Club.

The Colorado Pro Chapter received the Society of Professional Journalists 2014 large chapter Circle of Excellence Award for Professional Development and Education.

The award, based on programs and activities in 2013-2014, cited the Colorado Pro Chapter “in recognition of outstanding contributions and excellence in pro development and education.” The awards were announced at the annual SPJ convention Sept. 4-6 in Nashville.

The Colorado Pro Chapter received the large chapter Circle of Excellence Award for campus relations in 2012 and for chapter communications in 2010.

Large state chapters have more than 75 members. Small chapters have less than 75 members.

Here’s the list of 2014 Circle of Excellence Award winners:

Freedom of Information
Large Chapter – Press Club of Long Island
Small Chapter – Utah Headliners

Diversity
Large Chapter – Florida Pro
Small Chapter – Northwest Arkansas Pro

Campus Relations
Large Chapter – Fort Worth Pro
Small Chapter – Madison Pro

Professional Development
Large Chapter – Colorado Pro
Small Chapter – Rio Grande Pro

Chapter Communications
Large Chapter – Minnesota Pro
Small Chapter – East Tennessee Pro

The Society of Professional Journalists Excellence in Journalism conference took place in early September in Nashville. Colorado Pro was represented by board member Amy Maestas. The Colorado chapter had three delegates vote to cast. Here are highlights of the conference, and how our chapter voted on issues:

SPJ Code of Ethics revision

Among the most hotly debated issues at the conference was the revision of the organization’s Code of Ethics. An 18-member committee began working on revising the code after the 2013 Excellence in Journalism conference. Society members and leaders felt the code needed to be updated to recognize and incorporate the changes journalism has undergone since the code was written in 1996. As the committee said, “Language was changed to make sure it reflected that we weren’t tied to traditional forms of journalism.” The committee also wanted to address transparency in reporting, put tougher standards in place for “checkbook journalism,” advocacy journalism and anonymous sources. Of course, the ever-changing world of technology also mandated that the code include changes that reflected how our industry is being affected.

The committee worked on the code revision for more than a year, and it received extensive feedback from SPJ members during this time. At times, feedback challenged the proposed changes; at other times, the proposed revisions were welcomed happily.

A couple of sessions and forums were held at EIJ before delegates voted on the revision on Saturday night. As expected, delegates representing their various chapters had strong opinions about the changes. Some thought the revision was incomplete and lacked substantive meaning. Others thought it was high time to revise the code and wanted it done immediately.

With spirited discussion, the final proposal was approved. Colorado SPJ voted in favor of the change.

To read the new Code of Ethics, go here: http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

SPJ name change

Second to the much-debated revision to the code of ethics was the proposal to change the name of Society of Professional Journalists to Society for Professional Journalism. This year was the fourth time a proposal to change the name came before the society. SPJ Region 3 Director Michael Koretzky led the drive to change the name. Koretzky’s goal was to include a broader range of people who support journalism, and he hoped that would help increase SPJ membership, which has declined 22 percent since 2008. (SPJ wasn’t always called that; in 1988, it was changed from Delta Sigma Chi.) Among the criticism of the name change was that it “rings more like an advocacy group and should be exclusive to practicing journalists.”

“Part of the way we change our name is changing the way we do our membership,” Koretzky said. Ultimately, the proposal to change the name was voted down — 498 to 232 — at the EIJ closing business session. Colorado SPJ voted against the name change.

Read more about the name change here http://www.eijnews.org/2014/09/06/whats-in-a-name-the-debate-behind-the-spj-name-change/

New president

During the conference, the organization installed a new president, Dana Neuts, who is freelance journalist. She replaces Dave Cuillier, assistant professor of journalism at University of Arizona. Among the many areas Neuts says she wants to work on while leading SPJ is diversity – not only among those who participate in SPJ, but also in the media. “Admittedly, SPJ has a long way to go, but the organization recognizes it needs to improve diversity across the board,” Neuts wrote in her blog a couple of weeks ago. To keep up to date on Neuts’ leadership, follow her blog “Freedom of the Prez” here: http://blogs.spjnetwork.org/president/.

Forever Fund

Cuillier is now chairman of the Freedom of Information committee. At the conference, the board approved this endowed fund to support SPJ’s advocacy work. At first, the Forever Fund will be funded through the Legal Defense Fund. Meanwhile, Cuillier will lead the effort to raise money and create an individual endowed fund.

Breakout sessions

As usual, the conference included a variety of excellent breakout sessions that drew dozens of participants. The range of topics included international opportunities to practice journalism, filing FOIA requests, how to be a good manager, how to think about digital when writing or producing stories, ethics, new technology, editing, writing, women in media leadership, accuracy and much, much more.

Among the highlights was a Super Session with Kara Swisher, co-CEO of Revere Digital and co-founder of technology news and analysis site Re/Code. Swisher was a conference favorite, imparting not only her digital wisdom but her business acumen as well. SPJ taped Swisher’s Super Session and has made it available to watch or listen to on its EIJ recap website. It’s worth every minute to watch or listen. You can find it, along with other recordings from EIJ, here: http://www.spj.org/c-recap14.asp#c1.

The 2015 Excellence in Journalism Conference will be held in Orlando, Florida. Follow news of EIJ here: http://www.eijnews.org.

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