Register for A Frank Conversation about Burnout

Please join COLab and the Denver Press Club for a candid conversation about newsroom burnout, what it looks like — and what we can do about it.

The discussion, moderated by COLab’s Tina Griego, will feature the stellar panel of Dr. Marc Moss, a Denver MD whose work on burnout and resilience has received national recognition, Selyn Hong, NPR’s director of Employee & Labor Relations and Investigations, Linda Shapley, managing editor at ColoradoPolitics.com, and Elizabeth HernandezDenver Post reporter.

Date: Thursday, July 22

Time: 6:30 p.m. mixer. Panel from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Location: Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Place, Denver, CO 80204

The discussion also will be streamed live and registrants will receive a Zoom link as soon as we have one.

To register, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-frank-conversation-about-burnout-tickets-161278613675?aff=ebdssbdestsearch.

Colorado Pro Chapter Calls for Self-Nominations for Board Positions

The Colorado Pro Chapter is seeking self-nominations for six positions up for election on the
board including four directors at-large, the president-elect and the treasurer.

Board meetings are held every month, and board members may attend in person or via conference call. Board members may reside anywhere in Colorado, and must be members in good standing with national SPJ and the Colorado Professional Chapter.

To indicate your willingness to run for a position and to serve on the board, please e-mail Elections Chair Deb Hurley at deb.hurley.brobst@gmail.com your name, the position you are interested in, a photo, a biography of no more than 250 words and a statement of no more than 200 words
explaining why you want to be on the board.

The deadline to self-nominate yourself is June 27.

The election information will be e-mailed to all members of Colorado Pro on June 28, and members will have until July 8 to cast their ballots.

If you have any questions about the process, the duties or how you can get involved with Colorado Pro — whether as a board member or as a volunteer — please contact Deb Hurley by calling
303-601-8098 or emailing at deb.hurley.brobst@gmail.com.
 
Position: President-elect
Term of office: 1 year as president-elect, 2 years as president, 1 year as past-president
Duties: The president-elect serves one year as assistant to the president, then two years as president, organizing meetings and overseeing other activities.

Position: Treasurer
Term of office: 2 years
Duties: The treasurer serves a two-year term and manages the books for the chapter. Responsibilities include watching investments, paying scholarships, preparing the annual budget and tracking general expenses.

Position: Members of the board of directors
Term of office: 2 years
4 positions are open
Duties: The board is responsible for the general direction and planning of chapter activities. Board members are required to attend board meetings and participate in the chapter’s professional development programming.

CO. Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists Honors Six for Extraordinary Contributions

The Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is honoring six individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to journalism, transparency, education and the First Amendment.

Longtime journalist, professor and author Lee Anne Peck is SPJ Colorado’s 2021 Journalism Educator of the Year.

While Peck’s career has spanned the globe, it began and continues to this day with preparing young Colorado journalists to thrive in the industry.

“Professor Peck has been a tremendous asset for the journalism programs at both Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado,” wrote CSU Associate Professor Kris Kodrich in a nomination letter.  “She is much admired and respected by her students. Likewise, observers of her work in the classroom note that it is obvious she cares deeply about her students,” Kodrich wrote.

Peck wrote for The Coloradoan and The Rocky Mountain News after graduating from CSU in 1978, and she began teaching young journalists as a teaching assistant when she returned to CSU to earn her master’s degree.

Peck has earned three master’s degrees and a doctorate over her career and has worked as a visiting Fulbright lecturer and researcher in Croatia and a visiting professor in Switzerland. She was a professor at UNC from 2003 to 2017, when she was appointed as an assistant professor at CSU.

Peck is an aspiring retiree who continues to teach online media ethics classes at CSU, write for her local newspaper, the Trinidad Chronicle News, substitute teach at a local K-12 school, edit a third edition of her ethics textbook, and work on a book about the history of Colorado Press Women.

With a work ethic and dedication to rival any news outlet in the state, Ouray County Plaindealer co-owners, publishers and editors Erin McIntyre and Mike Wiggins are SPJ Colorado’s 2021 Keepers of the Flame.


McIntyre and Wiggins purchased the Plaindealer in 2019, leaving jobs at the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel to “go out on a very slim limb over a very steep cliff,” wrote Albuquerque Journal Business Editor Gabrielle Porter in a nomination letter. McIntyre and Wiggins have not looked back.


During their tenure, the Plaindealer has doggedly reported on local government officials, whether it be less-than-transparent actions by the school board or the legal, personal and professional issues that plagued now-former Ouray County Sheriff Lance FitzGerald.


Ouray County voters recalled FitzGerald after the Plaindealer reported on his DUI, an alcohol-fueled domestic incident at a statewide law enforcement conference, and the subsequent public outcry.

More recently, McIntyre was sued by Ouray County when she filed a public records request related to two county employees who were disciplined for working too hard while responding to the coronavirus pandemic. The county later settled the lawsuit.


“Buying that paper was an act of sheer bravery, and Mike and Erin have worked tirelessly to keep their community informed in a publication that stands out among newspapers many times its size,” Porter wrote. “They’re everything community news aspires to be.”


Commanding deep sourcing, fast turnaround and a near-encyclopedic knowledge of Colorado business, Denver Business Journal senior reporter Ed Sealover is SPJ Colorado’s 2021 Journalist of the Year.

Sealover’s business coverage has spanned state government, economic development, transportation, hospitality, tourism and breweries, and he has racked up 133 state, regional and national journalism awards for his coverage.


But Sealover’s skills particularly shined during the pandemic, wrote Denver Business Journal Former Editor-in-Chief Rebecca Troyer in a nomination letter.

While some reporters struggled with the transition to 100% remote reporting, Sealover’s ability to cultivate and maintain sources kept him on the cusp of breaking and enterprise stories alike.


Troyer noted that Sealover seamlessly transitioned into telling stories during the pandemic, writing stories that offered a look at the impact of restrictions on sectors that depend on crowds and indoor spaces, while also writing about resources and making sense of regulations and legislation.

He also brought humanity to stories about layoffs, losses and gloomy economic projections.

“In short, Ed Sealover stepped up to report the multifaceted business challenges of the pandemic on a state and local level to a degree that I believe to be unmatched in Colorado and beyond,” Troyer wrote.

For relentless reporting and advocacy that resulted in a more transparent justice system, Denver Post reporter David Migoya and media attorney Steve Zansberg win SPJ Colorado’s 2021 First Amendment Award.

“It’s not easy to get a state law changed. It’s even harder, I believe, to get the Colorado Supreme Court to change rules affecting every criminal court in the state,” wrote Jeff Roberts, executive director of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, in a nomination letter.

But that’s exactly what happened because of Migoya’s reporting and Zansberg’s advocacy.

Until now, judges in Colorado have not been required to publicly explain their reasoning to seal criminal court records and cases.

Migoya’s reporting on the issue began in 2018, when his Shrouded Justice series in the Denver Post illuminated more than 6,000 court cases hidden from public view by judge’s orders, often with no ruling to explain why.

Zansberg first tried to address the issue in 2016 as president of CFOIC, asking the state supreme court to adopt a uniform standard for sealing court files in criminal cases. A Court of Appeals judge denied the request, but Zansberg continued to testify on the issue.

The Colorado Supreme Court adopted a standard for sealing criminal records, known as Rule 55.1, in December, and it takes effect statewide on May 10.

Then-Chief Justice Nathan Coats told the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee that the rule was substantially written as a result of public comments, particularly Zansberg’s on behalf of the press, Roberts wrote.

“Because Zansberg persisted in his quest for a statewide sealing and suppression rule, and because Migoya’s news stories clearly demonstrated the need for such a rule, the Colorado Supreme Court was moved to promulgate a rule that will govern public access to criminal court records going forward,” Roberts wrote.  

SPJ Colorado Pro awards a $500 stipend for each of the four areas. When co-winners are named, each receives half, or $250.

‘MSU’s student journalists should be free to shed light at all times’

Sometimes a moment defines an era. An image of that slice of time can be so iconic, so emblematic of a movement or a societal passion, that it changes everyone who sees it. And sometimes it even changes history.

The photo accompanying this column was taken moments after the Ohio National Guard opened fire on peaceful demonstrators at Kent State University on May 4, 1970. Four students were killed and nine were wounded, and a nation that was growing increasingly uncomfortable with its leaders’ lust for war in Vietnam and Cambodia saw its youth galvanized after the May 4 Massacre.

It was the first time in U.S. history that a student was killed in an anti-war demonstration, and the photo which brought home that terrible reality helped touch off a tidal wave of protest and outrage that ultimately turned public opinion against the Vietnam War.

Shortly after the killings at Kent State, Neil Young sat on a porch and wrote a song that would become an anthem for a generation. Some 4 million students would stage walkouts and sit-ins at hundreds of colleges and high schools.

Newspaper editorial boards around the country began to reconsider their support for the war.
Kenn Bisio, a renowned photojournalist and a retired Metro State journalism professor, is fond of saying that the essence of journalism lies in illuminating the human condition. And he often adds that subject matter is critical because our subjects matter.

How might history have been different if photographer John Filo had not captured the anguish of Mary Ann Vecchio as she watched the lifeblood pour out of that young man? Fortunately, we’ll never know, because Filo was willing to risk his own safety to tell a story that would indeed change all that came after.

By the way, Filo was not simply a photojournalist; he was a student photojournalist, who won the Pulitzer Prize for that stunning image. I often tell the aspiring reporters and photographers in my own classes never to identify themselves as “student journalists.” When doing the job, they are every bit as essential — and sometimes as accomplished — as the professionals who practice the trade.

Metro’s own Office of Student Media gives our students the opportunity to change their world and illuminate the human condition. And you never know when a critical moment will land in their lens or inform their reporting.

We can’t afford to have any of the journalists in the office miss a single one of those moments because of a pause in operations that is currently being proposed by the administration.

Democracy dies in darkness; MSU’s student journalists should be free to shed light at all times and to do their work with the backing of the First Amendment and the desire to make a critical difference in their world.

Doug Bell, an adjunct journalism instructor at MSU for the past 30 years, is president of the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.