Call for Nominations for SPJ Colorado Officers, Board


Elections Chair

SPJ Colorado Pro


The self-nomination period is open for the five positions up for election on the board of SPJ Colorado Pro: four directors at-large and the secretary.

Board meetings are held monthly, and board members currently are meeting virtually. 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 with 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.


  • Deadline for nominations is 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 24.
  • Election information will be e-mailed to all members of Colorado Pro on June 25, and members will have until 5 p.m. July 3 to cast ballots. If there are no contested elections, I will declare those who have self-nominated to be new members of the board.
  • If you have any questions about the process, the duties or how you can get involved with SPJ Colorado Pro — whether as a board member or as a volunteer — please contact me at 303-601-8098 or at



Position: Secretary
Term of office: 2 years
Duties: The secretary maintains a log including meeting dates, meeting minutes, pertinent business transacted; maintains an up-to-date roster of all members with notation of their status regarding local and national dues; sends out meeting notices and other communications as directed by the president or as required by the SPJ National. 

Position: Members of the board of directors — four positions are open
Term of office: 2 years
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.

A First-Person Memory About a Student Newspaper in Senegal

DENVER — In the face of so much distressing news (necessary to keep us informed, of course), it can be reassuring to look back at some more reassuring events.

This is one of those times.

In 2018, SPJ Colorado Pro provided start-up funds for a student newspaper in Gueoul, Senegal, part of a program with strong Colorado connections.

Amanda McCracken, a Boulder journalist and writing instructor, offers a very personal report and two-years-later progress report on an SPJ Colorado-funded effort to help girls in Senegal learn about and practice journalism.

–SPJ Colorado Pro


I want to first thank the Colorado Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for supporting the Senegalese project from which the following story unfolds.

Imagine teaching a 16-year-old Senegalese student how to write a story about her life, her village, and/or her country. Then imagine teaching her how to broadcast it so that the whole world can read the story. When you empower someone with the ability to share stories, you ignite change that grows exponentially.

The summer of 2018 kicked off the beginning of a journalism program for female students in Gueoul, Senegal (a village of about 11,000 on the edge of the Sahara). Thanks to the grant provided by SPJ Colorado Pro, Friends of Gueoul was able to purchase software to start an e-newspaper authored by the girls of Gueoul.

Continue reading “A First-Person Memory About a Student Newspaper in Senegal”

Google-Funded Online News Outlet Coming to Longmont


April 21, 2020

Local newsrooms have been hit hard by the crisis over the past month, but several are planning expansions that can provide a much-needed shot of optimism for the industry.

Driving the news: McClatchy plans to launch a new digital local news outlet called The Longmont Leader this spring, serving the residents of Longmont, Colorado, executives tell Axios.

McClatchy will be taking over all of the existing assets of the Longmont Observer, a free, nonprofit, hyperlocal news website in the community currently run by local volunteers.
The new outlet will be designed similarly to how McClatchy launched its first local newsroom in Youngstown, Ohio, six months ago with Google’s funding.

McClatchy will hire 5 people to start. That includes one person for sales and revenue operations, along with two reporters, an editor and an assistant editor.
“We’re in middle of global pandemic, and local news is more a important need than ever,” says Mandy Jenkins, general manager of The Compass Experiment. “We’re just going to jump in and try to make a quick impact on the community.”

Yes, but: McClatchy has had its own financial struggles throughout the pandemic and leading up to it.
Continue reading “Google-Funded Online News Outlet Coming to Longmont”

Job Available: KUNC Looking for Newsroom Leader


Public radio station KUNC in Greeley is searching for a visionary individual to lead its growing newsroom

Applicants should be focused on broadcast and digital coverage of Colorado issues, collaborative coverage of issues with numerous public radio stations across the region and nationally, and in partnership with National Public Radio.

Details are here.  

SPJ Top of Rockies 2020 Winners Are Announced

By SPJ Colorado Pro

April 17, 2020

Those awards, and dozens more in numerous categories, were announced Friday [April 17, 2020] by the Colorado Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. SPJ Colorado Pro, which conducts the annual contest, had planned to grant the awards Friday night at the Denver Press Club – but that gathering was canceled because of the coronavirus.

“This is an especially difficult time for everyone, including journalists,” said Tony Flesor, president of SPJ Colorado Pro. “Thank you to everyone who participated in the contest – and special thanks to all the working journalists who continue to bring essential information to people who need it.”

The contest drew a record number of entries from Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming. The Minnesota Pro Chapter of SPJ and the Chicago Headliners Club judged all categories, except the four individual honors. They were judged by the SPJ Colorado Board.

“The judges were impressed with the quality of the work,” said Deb Hurley Brobst, a board member for SPJ Colorado Pro who coordinates the contest. “Thanks to everyone who entered and to the judges, who managed to get judging done as the COVID-19 crisis was ramping up.” The contest covered material published or presented in 2019, before the coronavirus story exploded on the scene.

The four individual honors went to:

Journalist(s) of the Year: A team from Colorado Public Radio for their productions on teen stress, and the terrible toll it takes on young people, their families and their friends. Confronting the very sobering question “Why are young people killing themselves,” these reporters, and some of their colleagues, asked experts and teens themselves for answers. Named in the award: Kevin J. Beaty, Jenny Brundin, John Daley, Ashley Dean, Hart Van Denburg, Avery Lill and Kate Schimel. Their reports were informative – and chilling.
Freedom of Information: An extraordinary two-person cooperative effort to get information that officials wanted to keep secret about a police-involved civilian death in Rangely, Colo. Niki Turner, editor of the Rio Blanco Herald Times of Rangely and Susan Greene, editor of the Colorado Independent (Denver), teamed up to make public information – well – public.
Keeper of the Flame (for a lifelong body of work): Merle Baranczyk, owner of the Arkansas Valley Publishing Co. in Salida, Colo. He has owned and published The Mountain Mail, a five-day daily since 1978, and he started working there in 1974. He was president of the National Newspaper Association, Colorado Press Association and is in the CPA Hall of Fame. Baranczyk, 73, is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.
Educator of the Year: Rob Reuteman is retiring after serving as an adjunct professor at Colorado State University – Fort Collins. Earlier he was the longtime business editor of the Rocky Mountain News, as well as national president of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. He holds a bachelor’s from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s from the University of Colorado – Boulder.

Listings of winners in categories of individual stories, photos, design, radio, TV online and other entries are on this site, below. Note: Entrants may stay in their own size class, or move up, but they may not move down.

Continue reading “SPJ Top of Rockies 2020 Winners Are Announced”