Want to go to SPJ EIJ? July Elections and June Programs reminder

We hope everyone’s summer is going well. We’ve got an information-packed Newsletter, including: a chance to let Colorado Pro help YOU go to the SPJ Excellence in Journalism national conference Sept. 4; A public radio primer at a June 26 Fireside chat at the Denver Press club; July elections (call for candidates) and a chapter board member update.


SPJ’s national conference, Excellence in Journalism, is Sept. 4-6 in Nashville. As part of our commitment to professional development, the Colorado Pro chapter gives a member in good standing $500 to apply towards hotel, airfare and/or conference registration. You must be a Colorado Pro member (“in good standing” means you paid your dues for 2014! 😉 Please send us an email (president@spjcolorado.com) of why we should send you by July 15 and the board will pick a winner by July 21. The stipend will reimburse expenses; it’s not an advance.

Here’s what 2013’s winner Boulder freelance writer Jayme Moye had to say about her EIJ experience in California: “I’d say the best part of the national conference is the networking. I got lost walking to a bowling alley in Anaheim with the President of the Colorado Chapter of SPJ (Dennis Huspeni) and ended up with a board position … talked teaching positions with the University of Colorado’s Director of Journalism and Mass Communication (Christopher Braider), had lunch (and landed an assignment) with a senior editor at the Christian Science Monitor, and mentored a college student from Kentucky over burgers and fries.”


Harvest Public Media reporter Luke Runyon and KUNC reporter Grace Hood will discuss community public radio in a Fireside Chat at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 26, at the Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm. Admission is free and the event is open to all.

Harvest Public Media, based at KCUR in Kansas City, is a network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest that covers agriculture and agribusiness. Runyon joined KUNC in Greeley in 2013 after spending two years as a reporter at Aspen Public Radio.

Since joining KUNC in 2008, Hood has won a number of state, regional and national awards. She received the Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize in 2012 from the Boston NPR news station for her series “Investigating Colorado’s Online K-12 Schools.” She also received the national Edward R. Murrow awards in 2010, 2011 and 2012 for her feature and investigative reporting.


My name is Deb Hurley. I’m the contributing editor at Evergreen Newspapers and the elections chair for the Colorado Professional Chapter of SPJ. I am calling for self-nominations for the five positions up for election on the board: four directors at-large and the secretary. Per the chapter’s bylaws, the president-elect Ed Otte, who you elected last year, will automatically become president of the chapter without a vote.

Board meetings are held once per month, and board members may attend in person or via conference call/Google hangout. 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 me (dchurley@aol.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. Deadline is 5 p.m. Friday, July 11.

The election information will be e-mailed to all members of Colorado Pro on July 18, and you will have until noon on Friday, July 25, to cast your ballot.

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 me at 303-601-8098 or at dchurley@aol.com or contact Dennis Huspeni at 719-648-0055 or president@spjcolorado.com


The board had three members (Otte, Cara DeGette and Vicky Gits) review the chapter’s finances for 2013/14 earlier this month. We sent the annual report to national and anticipate getting our “good standing” certification in September at EIJ. Thanks for a successful year, members.

FROM THE PRESIDENT: On a personal note, it’s been tremendous serving as your president for the past two years. There are ton of great journalists in this state who care deeply about the state and future of journalism. Your president-elect Ed Otte takes over in August and will do a fantastic job, as he did with the Colorado Press Association. After more than 5 years on the board, I’m resigning effective the end of July when my term expires. That’s for two reasons: I’ve taken job in public relations and it will give other members a chance to serve on the board and I encourage you to do so! Thank you for a rewarding two years.



Top of Rockies set to ROCK DPC, Scholarship winners and more ….

It’s April and Colorado Pro is hoping your Spring has sprung. We are deep into planning for our biggest event of the year, the Top of the Rockies Awards Reception Friday April 25 at the Denver Press Club. More details below, but we hope you all can make it. We’ve awarded our 2014 scholarships and there’s also a cool May program coming up.

Top of the Rockies to ROCK the Denver Press Club

The Top of the Rockies Awards night, as we said, is next week! The fun starts at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, April 25, at the Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm, Denver. After socializing, networking, beverages and light appetizers, we’ll start the awards presentation at 7 p.m. We’ve got a NEW format for announcing awards that doesn’t involve a lot of name reading (don’t worry, you all will still get cool recognition in front of your peers). With a record number of entries this year, we’re expecting a lot of attendees to celebrate recognition for a lot of hard work and fantastic journalism in 2013. Entry is free to winners and we’ll ask for a small donation from others to help defray costs. Light appetizers will be provided with a cash bar. Our keynote speaker is Patty Calhoun, editor of Westword. Don’t forget to RSVP on our Facebook page, so we know how much food to make.

2014 Scholarship Winners Announced

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s scholarships by SPJ’s Colorado Pro chapter. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit, need and desire to be a journalist.
We had more applicants this year than we’ve had in a while, so thanks all you students for your interest. And because of the elevated number of applicants, the board awarded more money than ever: $7,500!
The envelope please.
The 2014 Helen Verba Awards for print journalism:
* Kiki Turner of the University of Colorado at Boulder, $1,500.
* Kara Mason of Colorado State University-Pueblo, $1,500.
* Scott Fromberg of Colorado State University, $1,500.
* Allison Dyer Bluemel of Colorado State University, $1,000.
* Cali Rastrelli of Colorado State University, $500.
* Hunter Goddard of Colorado State University, $500.

2014 Sheldon Peterson Award for broadcast journalism:
* Sasha Klepitskaya of the University of Colorado at Boulder, $1,000.

Here’s what Sasha had to say on FaceBook after being informed of her scholarship: “Today I was awarded a scholarship from the Society of Professional Journalists! It’s such an honor to be believed in by the best in the business, and it sure takes a little load off my pockets. I can’t thank the SPJ enough! Seems like after everything is said and done, I’m right where I need to be. – feeling blessed.”

We wish all the winners much luck in your continued journalistic endeavors.

May Programming update

Colorado will again play a prominent national role in the November elections and where there’s interest, there’s money – a lot of it – with much of it pouring in from outside the state.

Journalism and Women Symposium and the Colorado Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will co-sponsor a program on elections and campaign finances on Thursday, May 1, at the Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Place. The 6:30 p.m. event is free and open to the public.

Join Nancy Waltzman of the Sunlight Foundation, who will show you tools to follow the federal money that flows into the state, and Sandra Fish, an independent journalist, who will offer tips on tracking money at the state level.

The Sunlight Foundation is a nonpartisan nonprofit founded in 2006 that uses the power of the Internet to catalyze greater government openness and transparency.

JAWS supports the professional empowerment and personal growth of women in journalism and works toward a more accurate portrayal of the whole society.

From the face off between U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman and former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff to the competitive race between U.S. Sen Mark Udall and U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, to the battle over control of the Colorado Senate, there is much to watchdog. Fortunately, there are resources to help.

At the May 1 program, find out how to use Sunlight’s suite of tools and apps to track the latest campaign finance reports, ad spending, fundraisers and more. Learn to navigate the Secretary of State’s campaign finance system and where else to go for Colorado information (think TV ad contracts, with caveats and cautions on what to look for and what to look out for.

Programs GALORE coming YOUR way from SPJ!

Colorado Pro Sept. Newsletter

Hello members and friends.
Your new board has been busy and we’ve got a ton of great programs coming up in the rest of the month and in October. Feel free to forward all this useful information to anyone you think might be interested.
Stay tuned to the end of this newsletter for an entertaining story on one member’s excellent trip to SPJ’s Excellence in Journalism national conference.

Quick reminder on the APME NewsTrain two-day journalism workshop in Colorado Springs Sept. 27-28. Get details from the Colorado Press Association’s website. NewsTrain is sponsored by APME (Associated Press Media Editors) and the workshop is hosted by the CPA and the Colorado Springs Gazette. Click here to register. The Colorado Pro chapter provided two $75 stipends for members to attend.


The first Fireside Chat of the season is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, at the Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Place, featuring Dusty and Patrick Saunders talking about sports journalism. Admission is free.

The father-son duo will discuss how ESPN, Fox and other broadcast networks affect local sports coverage, both on TV and in print, how the Internet affects sports reporting, the popularity of radio sports talk shows, how newspaper economics affect sports coverage, and, of course, the future of sports journalism.

Dusty worked at the Rocky Mountain News for 54 years as a copy boy, police reporter, city hall reporter, features editor, and covered the broadcasting beat as a critic and columnist for more than 40 years. He currently writes a Monday TV/radio sports column for The Denver Post.
Dusty was named the Colorado Journalist of the Year in 1993 by the Society of Professional Journalists and is a member of the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame. In 2011, he published “Here’s Dusty: Life in the TV & Newspaper World.”

Patrick covers the Colorado Rockies for The Denver Post. After working at the Longmont Times-Call, he joined the Post in 1998 as a Denver Broncos beat writer, covering the team’s second run to the Super Bowl title. He also worked as the Post’s online sports editor.
Patrick has won numerous writing awards including the 2003 Dick Schaap Excellence in Sports Journalism Award from Northwestern University for his series on the difficulties pro athletes face when battling mental illness.

Colorado Pro is teaming with the Denver Press Club to present an intriguing BOOK BEAT LUNCHEON with authors Robert McChesney and John Nichols, whose new book is titled “Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America,” on Monday, Oct. 14. The book covers the nexus of media consolidation, politics, elections and democracy. Nichols is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for The Nation magazine. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and dozens of other papers. McChesney is the Gutsell Endowed Professor in Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the co-founder of Free Press one of the nation’s leading media policy and reform organizations, which held its biennial national convention last April in Denver, with more than 2,000 attending.

The event starts at noon, Monday, Oct. 14, at the DPC, 1330 Glenarm St. Menu: Chicken cordon bleu, roasted potatoes and mixed vegetables. Cost is $14 for DPC or SPJ members, $16 for nonmembers. MANDATORY REGISTRATION by noon Friday, Oct. 11. Here’s a link to a video of the authors speaking in Denver in April.

We’ve got an information-packed event coming up Oct. 16 to train journalists (and students!) how to mine U.S. Census data for story ideas and manipulate it to load your stories with accurate information. The free event, hosted by Angeles Ortega-Moore of the Partnership & Data Services
at the Denver Regional Census Office, is from 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16, at the Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm St., Denver. Did we mention ADMISSION IS FREE!


In the spirit of offering more professional training to our members, the Colorado Pro board awarded a $500 stipend to Boulder freelance writer Jayme Moye to attend SPJ’s Excellence In Journalism conference last month in Anaheim. (Didn’t you see all our #EIJ13 tweets and FB posts?). Moye, whose travel writing has been published in 5280 and National Geographic, got so excited about SPJ she volunteered to be a board member and will now help run our Top of the Rockies regional journalism conference. It’s hard not to get excited about SPJ and its important mission at a national convention. Here’s Jayme’s experience at EIJ:

“Apparently I wasn’t the only virgin conference attendee at SPJ National this year. The Excellence in Journalism Conference August 24-26 set a new record with nearly 1,500 participants, many first-timers. While I can’t speak for the rest of the neophytes, I was lured by the Anaheim, California location (free Disney tickets!), and some very high-profile presenters including Mark S. Luckie, Twitter’s Manager of Journalism and News.

Social media-oriented breakout sessions had high participation. But in the three I attended, it seemed most people wanted more basic information than what was being presented. For example, Mark S. Luckie presented “The Business of Me,” an entrepreneurial vision for branding yourself and pitching your ideas. The audience questions, however, were not in that vein. Participants wanted to know if it’s okay to tweet the same thing twice (Yes, but not the exact same tweet—perhaps tweet the headline first, then a pull quote next), and what the best times are to tweet (Twitter traffic breaks out as follows: 8-10 am Morning News, 12-2 pm Lunchtime Personal Info, 5-8 pm Longer Form Content). It seems that going forward, in addition to advanced social media topics, a best practices presentation would be appropriate.

My favorite presentation was Louise Knott Ahern’s “Understanding the Fundamentals of Fiction (or Everything I Know About Writing I Learned from Romance Novels).” A reporter for the Lansing Journal, Knott Ahern could easily be an actress, or perhaps a politician, with her charmingly powerful presentation style. Her session distilled the best techniques from fiction, and how they can be applied to nonfiction to create a more compelling story. For example, she lambasted the anecdotal lead for having become too formulaic (“If you start your story with When Sally Smith woke up this morning you’ve already failed.”) and urged writers to begin with an inciting incident, a true moment of change, or what Knott Ahern calls “the holy shit moment.” She had the audience at times in stitches, at other times bemoaning their suboptimal narratives, and typically both at once.

Overall, I’d say the best part of the national conference is the networking. I got lost walking to a bowling alley in Anaheim with the President of the Colorado Chapter of SPJ (Dennis Huspeni) and ended up with a board position, drank scotch and talked teaching positions with the University of Colorado’s Director of Journalism and Mass Communication (Christopher Braider) , had lunch (and landed an assignment) with a senior editor at the Christian Science Monitor, and mentored a college student from Kentucky over burgers and fries.
I’ve heard that next year’s conference will be in Nashville. Anyone need a roommate?”

Contests, Conferences and Chats

OK, fellow SPJers and friends. We’ve got the busiest month of our year coming up with the Top of the Rockies contest (https://coloradospj.wordpress.com/contest/) in full swing, the online registration live for the Region 9 Spring Conference in Santa Fe on April 13, our Feb. 20 Fireside Chat with Colorado Springs Gazette editor Joe Hight and some advocacy issues – so hang on until the end of this newsletter!


New circulation groups! New categories! New competitors! The 2013 Top of the Rockies is officially opened. Here are the key dates:
• Jan. 28: contest opens
• March 3: contest closes at midnight DEADLINE EXTENDED UNTIL MARCH 10
• March 15: contest fees due
• March 20: judging begins
• April 10: judging ends
• April 17: finalists notified
• May 18: Top of the Rockies reception
Download the rules and category information here: TOR or visit http://betternewspapercontest.com or https://coloradospj.wordpress.com/contest/ Questions? Email contest Chairman Nic Garcia at contest@spjcolorado.com

Spend an evening with the Colorado Springs Gazette’s new editor, Joe Hight, who started in December when the paper got new owners determined to improve it. In 2011, Hight was elected to a three-year term to the Associated Press Media Editors board, based in New York. He’ll talk about his experience, the state of Colorado journalism today and plans for @Gazette.com Free and open to all. 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20 at the Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm. The Fireside Chats are gatherings where student and pro journalists can talk with distinguished professionals in an informal setting about career paths and experiences.

Online registration and detailed program information is now available for a spectacular gathering at the Society of Professional Journalists Region 9 Spring Conference on April 12-13 in Santa Fe, N.M.
http://www.eventbrite.com/event/5379165228?ref=ebtn We’ve worked hard to keep ticket and hotel prices low, and we hope to see lots of you!
… Speaking of conferences, the 135th Annual Convention of the Colorado Press Association is Feb. 21-23 at the Westin Denver Downtown Hotel, 1672 Lawrence St. http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1154448

Colorado Pro is presenting two panels: one Friday morning on ethics and one that afternoon on social media.

The Colorado Supreme Court is considering a request by news organizations for access to a preliminary hearing for Austin Sigg, accused of kidnapping, sexually assault and murder in the abduction-slaying of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway of Westminster last year. Jefferson County District Court Judge Stephen Munsinger closed the hearing on his own initiative, saying it was to ensure a fair trial and to protect the privacy of victims and their families. Prosecutor Scott Storey opposed the closing, and media organizations argue Munsinger didn’t consider alternatives.

The Supreme Court gave Munsinger until Feb. 11 to show cause for the closure. News organizations have until Feb. 18 to respond. The Associated Press, Colorado Broadcasters Association, Colorado Press Association, The Denver Post, KCNC-TV, KMGH-TV, KDVR-TV, KUSA-TV, KWGN-TV and Univision Colorado protested the closure.

James Holmes case: The judge in the James Holmes case said Feb. 19 he will not loosen his gag order, as Aurora city officials had asked him to do. Judge William Sylvester said it was up to Aurora officials to decide what information they can legally disclose.
Aurora City Attorney Charles Richardson said as a result, he will continue to deny media requests for information.

Aurora made the request after a January preliminary hearing for Holmes, arguing that because evidence was aired at the hearing, the city should be able to allow its officials, including police, to share information about its response to the July 20 shootings with other cities, law-enforcement agencies, and in certain cases the news media.

Sylvester issued the gag order days after the shootings.

Holmes is scheduled to be arraigned in March on 166 felony counts.
A news media consortium continued to urge Sylvester to unseal the court file. The news organizations renewed their request after a preliminary hearing in January, noting Sylvester said he’d reconsider sealing the file after the hearing.

Sylvester did lift the gag order as it applied to the University of Colorado, where Holmes was a graduate student. He left it to CU to determine how to handle open records requests. CU has denied most if not all of those requests, citing health or educational privacy laws.

The news media consortium continues to challenge what it considers over-redactions of certain documents released by the court. Some of those court redactions included stories published by The Denver Post and other news organizations that are readily available to the public.

Plaintiffs since the case began in July include ABC Inc., The Associated Press, CNN, CBS News, The Denver Post, Dow Jones & Company, Fox News Network, Gannett, KCNC-TV, KDVR-TV, KMGH-TV, KUSA-TV, Los Angeles Times, The McClatchy Co., National Public Radio, NBC Universal Media, The New York Times, The E.W. Scripps Co., and The Washington Post.

October: movies, convention and contest

Welcome to fall.

We are thrilled to be sponsoring the upcoming premiere of a powerful documentary about Anna Politkovskaya, an investigative journalist for Moscow’s newspaper Novaya Gazeta, who was murdered at age 48 for simply doing her job.

"A Bitter Taste of Freedom" will be screened at the Denver Film Fest.

The film, by one of Russia’s most celebrated filmmakers Marina Golovskaya, is part of the upcoming 34th Starz Denver Film Festival in Denver. The SPJ-sponsored screening is Saturday, Nov. 12 at 12:15 p.m. at the Tivoli.

We have a bloc of tickets for the film, and they are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. SPJ member cost is $11.50 per ticket. Secure your ticket today by contacting SPJ President Cara DeGette @ cdegette@gmail.com.

Now, some more great news. During the September national convention in New Orleans, Denver was selected as the site of the 2012 SPJ Region 9 Spring Conference. We are working with the newly revived Auraria student SPJ chapter to secure space on the Auraria campus. The conference, scheduled April 13 and 14, 2012, should be jam-packed with great programs, training and networking opportunities for student and pro journalists alike.

Colorado SPJ is planning to host the annual Top of the Rockies regional contest reception to coincide with the regional conference.

More details to come as planning gets underway.

Finally, we are already planning a repeat of last year’s wild and successful SPJ holiday party at the Denver Press Club in December — complete with an invigorating guest speaker. Stay tuned, and we’ll update you on details as they are finalized.

We look forward to seeing you at an event soon. As always, let us know how we can better serve you by emailing us at news@spjcolorado.com, or contacting a board member through spjcolorado.org. Also, make sure to check out and “like” our Facebook page, at Colorado SPJ Pro. The SPJ family is posting journalism-related news there quite often, so join in the discussion!