SPJ Colorado professional chapter is accepting applications from Colorado high school and college students for 2019 scholarships.

Check out and download the requirements on our scholarships page, and get your resume, clips and essay together.

Applications are due Jan. 31, 2019, but don’t procrastinate!


SPJ Colorado Pro Elections Chair Deb Hurley is calling for self-nominations for the five positions up for election on the board: four directors at-large and the secretary.

We want to make our chapter better. To do that, to adapt to change hitting our industry, we need fresh ideas and extra hands willing to help us take on programming, connect with and support student journalists, and find ways to carry out our mission of supporting ethics, diversity and freedom of information advocacy.

Board meetings are held at least every other month1, 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 email Deb your name, the position you are running for, 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 is 5 p.m. June 13.

The election information will be e-mailed to all members of Colorado Pro on June 18, and members will have until June 22, to cast your ballot.

Send self-nominations to dchurley@aol.com​. 

If there are no contested elections, Deb will declare that an election is not necessary and declare those candidates the winners of the election.

If you have any questions about the process, the duties or how you can get involved with the Colorado Pro Chapter — whether as a board member or as a volunteer — please contact board president Kara Mason at karalmason@gmail.com.

Open positions:

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 national Society.

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.

Society of Professional Journalists Region 9 winners and finalists in the Mark of Excellence contest were announced April 21 at the Excellence in the Rockies conference on the Auraria campus in Denver.

The 2017 contest for collegiate journalists in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming attracted 359 entries, an increase over the 253 entries the previous year. Certificates for the 119 winners and finalists were distributed at the April 21 MOE awards luncheon.

The list of Region 9 winners and finalists is posted here: Judging_result_vertical2111174542(2018-03-14).

Schools represented by winners/finalists: Adams State University, Arapahoe Community College, Brigham Young University, Colorado College, Community College of Denver, Colorado Mesa University, Colorado State University-Fort Collins, Colorado State University-Pueblo, Laramie County Community College, Metropolitan State University-Denver, New Mexico State University, University of Colorado-Boulder, University of New Mexico, University of Utah, Utah State University, Utah Valley University, and Weber State University.

One hundred and five students, faculty and professional journalists plus more than two dozen speakers attended the two-day conference, which began April 20 with half-day sessions on Facebook and Google training.

Conference sponsors included the Metropolitan State University of Denver Department of Journalism and Technical Communication, the Univeristy of Colorado-Boulder College of Media, Communication and Information, Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, Rio Grande SPJ Pro Chapter, Utah Headliners SPJ Pro Chapter, and the journalism/mass communication departments at Colorado State University-Pueblo, University of Northern Colorado and Colorado State University-Fort Collins.

SPJ National Conference 4.20-21.18

Reporting on Sexual Harassment was the first session on April 21 at the SPJ Region 9 Excellence in the Rockies conference on the Auraria campus in Denver. From left: Moderator Corey Hutchins of the Columbia Journalism Review, Colorado Politics chief legislative reporter Marianne Goodland, KUNC public radio capitol reporter Bente Birkeland, KUNC news director Michael de Yoanna, Arapahoe Community College The Arapahoe Pinnacle managing editor Emily Langenberg. (Photo by Justine Suzanne Johnson)


Freelance journalists Julian Rubinstein, left, Rachel Sturtz and Steve Knopper discuss the various stories they’ve had published in national publications at the April 21 Freelancing 101 session.(Photo by Justine Suzanne Johnson)


From left: Ashley Schaerfl of Colorado State University-Pueblo, Auraria SPJ Chapter members Rebecca Ramos and Desiree Gillespie, and Fort Collins Coloradoan reporter Kelly Ragan discuss challenges they’ve faced at the April 21 Campus Coverage Roundtable. (Photo by Justine Suzanne Johnson)

The SPJ Colorado Pro chapter thanks the following for their support of and work on the conference:

Shaun Schafer, chair, Metropolitan State University of Denver Journalism and Technical Communication Department
Kristi Strother, journalism chair, Community College of Denver
Auraria Campus SPJ Chapter members:
Angel Rivera
Kaitlin Quinn
Desiree Gillespie
Claudia Tena Guzman
Jonathan Hidalgo
Justine Johnson
Alexandra Gaddison
Rebecca Ramos
Todd Smith
Veronica Holyfield
Krystn Powers

See the winners of this year’s Top of the Rockies on this spreadsheet: Judging_result_vertical2111174542(2018-03-14)

Please check back next week for posts with links to all the winning work.

The Colorado Pro Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists recognized four professionals for their contributions to journalism Friday.

The chapter annually honors individual Colorado journalists nominated for outstanding contributions at its Top of the Rockies awards event.

Bente Birkeland

Bente Birkeland

Radio reporter Bente Birkeland is recognized as Journalist of the Year for her groundbreaking work covering the #MeToo movement and a culture of sexual harassment at Colorado’s capitol. Birkeland is the statehouse reporter for a collaborative of 15 public radio stations, including KUNC in northern Colorado and KRCC in Colorado Springs. She has reported 40 stories about sexual harassment at the capitol since Nov. 10.

Birkeland was the first reporter to report workplace harassment allegations against Democratic Rep. Steve Lebsock and Republican Sens. Randy Baumgardner, Larry Crowder and Jack Tate, and Democratic Sen. Daniel Kagan. The House voted to expel Lebsock in March, while GOP Senate leaders determined allegations against Tate were unfounded. Senators voted against expelling Baumgardner. Kagan’s complaint is pending and Crowder’s complaint was resolved, though not to the accuser’s satisfaction.

Jamey Trotter

Jamey Trotter

Jamey Trotter of Arapahoe Community College is Educator of the Year. Trotter runs the only program in Colorado that offers an associate’s degree in journalism, and oversees the student online news site, the Arapahoe Pinnacle.

Trotter, an English instructor, ensured that credits from ACC transfer to Metropolitan State University of Denver’s journalism program.

The Colorado Independent Editor Susan Greene is recipient of the First Amendment Award. She’s being recognized for her aggressive coverage of violence at the Denver County Jail, District Attorney George Brauchler’s pursuit of the death penalty and more.

Susan Greene

Susan Greene

Greene and The Colorado Independent have successfully sued for government documents in several instances, holding Colorado’s law enforcement community to account.

Denver Business Journal Editor In Chief Neil Westergaard received the Keeper of the Flame Award. This honor recognizes Westergaard’s significant Colorado career, first as executive editor of the Denver Post and for the past 18 years at the Business Journal. 

Neil Westergaard

Neil Westergaard

Under his leadership, the Denver Business Journal has won numerous national and regional awards. He oversaw an online transition in 2009 that tripled the site’s traffic. Westergaard is retiring this year, but will remain a contributing editor and consultant to the Denver Business Journal.

The state chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has awarded 10 scholarships to Colorado college students for the 2019 academic year.

SPJ’s Colorado Pro Chapter awards the scholarships annually in a competition in which students submit samples of published work and an essay about why they are passionate about the profession.

Scholarship amounts, which are based on quality of published work, academic performance and financial need, topped out at $2,000 for the leading recipient.

The scholarship recipients are:

  • Haley Candelario, a sophomore studying journalism and media communications at Colorado State University.
  • Lina Takahashi, a junior at the University of Colorado-Boulder pursuing a degree in broadcast journalism.
  • Audrey Rodriguez, a student at CU-Boulder majoring in broadcasting with an emphasis on sports reporting.
  • Justin Guerriero, a junior at CU-Boulder who is majoring in broadcast production, with a double minor in history and communications.
  • Natalie Wadas, is a sophomore at CU-Boulder who is majoring in broadcast journalism.
  • Conner Davis, a CU-Boulder student majoring in journalism with a focus on photography.
  • Grace Carson, a third-year student at the University of Denver double-majoring in journalism and political science.
  • Bryden Smith, a student in the journalism certificate program at Arapahoe Community College and editor of the Arapahoe Pinnacle.
  • Serena Montoya, an ACC journalism student and an editor at the Pinnacle.
  • Emily Langenberg, also a student in the ACC journalism program and the Pinnacle’s managing editor.

Any Colorado journalism student, including high school students, may apply for the SPJ scholarships, which are announced at the chapter’s awards ceremony each spring. Students should contact journalism instructors or advisers on their campuses for information on how to apply, or they can visit http://www.spjcolorado.com.

SPJ Colorado Pro is excited to host the SPJ Region 9 Conference in Denver in 2018, Excellence in the Rockies.

This year, we’re featuring a weekend of Excellence in the Rockies. Whether you’re looking to learn new skills, hone the ones you already have or make new connections in the industry, it’s time to plan your trip. Please visit this website for more details about the conference.

After the sessions, grab a bite to eat and meet us at The Denver Press Club for the Top of the Rockies awards ceremony. We’re celebrating the best journalism in the region.


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Tivoli Student Union, 900 Auraria Parkway. Photo provided by the Auraria Higher Education Center