TOR invite 2017Come celebrate some great journalism! SPJ Colorado Pro’s Top of the Rockies contest award ceremony starts at 6 p.m. Friday at the Denver Press Club.

The Top of the Rockies contest is a regional, multi-platform contest for reporters and news organizations in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Awardees and guests are welcome to attend the free award ceremony.

We will also be honoring four Colorado journalists with our prestigious awards: Journalist of the Year, Keeper of the Flame, First Amendment and Educator of the Year.

Hors d’oeuvres will be served at 6 p.m., and a cash bar will be available. Programming will start at about 6:30 p.m. Street parking or paid lots are available near the club, which is at 1330 Glenarm Place in Denver. Get reminders and invite friends by R.S.V.P.’ing on our Facebook page.

For those unable to attend, the contest results will be released on this website after the ceremony begins, and a post will be made available with links to some of the award-winning work.

What does it mean to be a journalist in the West? That was the question I ended up pondering on my way home from the SPJ Region 9 Conference hosted by the Utah Headliners chapter this weekend.

Perhaps, from Wyoming to New Mexico and from Utah across the border to Colorado, we’re rather good at managing our resources. We recognize diversity, whether it’s political, religious or demographic. As truth tellers we know the value of honest news and how communities can benefit from real context and explaining real consequences.

Reporters in the West, as was showcased at SPJ9, realize (even if subconsciously) the issues we cover are issues for our neighbors in surrounding states.

Utah Headliners covered an array of topics. Covering marijuana or polygamy may sound state-specific. But they’re not. As Westword marijuana editor Kate McKee Simmons explained in her session, Colorado’s decision to legalize set forth a trend that’s unlikely to slow down. It’s also unlikely to become less controversial in the coming years.

Nate Carlisle, a reporter at the Salt Lake City Tribute who covers polygamy, showed that the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints is dispersing into other states, away from Utah, and why it’s a big deal.

Even more impressive than the panels themselves was perhaps the number of students attending the conference. SPJ Colorado sponsored three students from SPJ student chapters in Colorado, CSU, Mesa and the Auraria campus.

Here are a few of the students picking up awards at Saturday’s luncheon. 

Auraria students

Auraria student chapter

CSU students

CSU students

Next year SPJ Colorado will be hosting the Region 9 conference in Denver. If there’s something you would like to see us feature or talk about let us know by sending an email to news@spjcolorado.com.

Until then, keep the West wild.

— Kara Mason

SPJ Colorado Pro President

The Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists would like to join our friends at the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, Fort Collins Coloradoan, Denver Post and other media organizations in support of Senate Bill 40.


Since 1949, Colorado SPJ Pro has worked to advance, develop and formally recognize higher standards of journalism in the Rocky Mountain region. During the last 68 years, the way journalists around the state obtain and disseminate the news has undoubtedly changed. However, the need for a transparent government and access to public information has not.


SB 40 is an opportunity for the 2017 General Assembly to bring the Colorado Open Records Act enacted in 1969 into the 21st Century and show its dedication to the public’s right to obtain data in a usable electronic format. Many parties — including the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, small government agencies and legislators — have worked together to bring this legislation forward. We ask that Colorado legislators move the bill past the finish line and put it before Governor John Hickenlooper to sign.


We appreciate all those working to protect and maintain the public’s right to be informed including those behind SB 40, House Bill 1177 and other CORA-related legislation.

The Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists

Sunshine Week logo verticalJoin SPJ Colorado Pro for a Sunshine Week event focusing on the Freedom of Information Act  from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 16 at the Denver Press Club.

Nick Penzenstadler, a reporter with USA TODAY‘s investigative team,  Tom Roeder, a military reporter with The Gazette in Colorado Springs, and Dan Elliott, an AP reporter covering the military and environment in Colorado, will discuss their experiences with FOIA and offer advice and tips.

Bring your specific FOIA questions and experiences for the Q&A part of the event.

The event is free and open to the public. The press club is at 1330 Glenarm Place. Street parking and a cash bar are available. RSVP on our Facebook page! We hope to see you there.

Sunshine Week logo verticalJoin SPJ Colorado Pro, the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition and 9NEWS for a Sunshine Week panel discussion on Facebook Live on Wednesday evening, Mar. 15.

Following a segment on the 6 p.m. show “Next,” 9NEWS anchor Kyle Clark will moderate a discussion of media literacy and new challenges facing news organizations. The discussion will live be on KUSA’s Facebook page and available for viewing on CFOIC’s Facebook page.

Confirmed panelists include:

SPJ’s Region 9 Conference is coming up in Salt Lake City! Join journalists from Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming for 10 events/training sessions March 24-25.

The conference, hosted this year by the Utah Headliners Chapter of SPJ, will include sessions on covering marijuana, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints across the West, National Parks and more.

Book your hotel before March 1 to take advantage of discounts at the Peery Hotel or the Little America Hotel.

Click here to see the full conference schedule

Here’s info on hotels participating in the SPJ discount – again, the discount is only available through March 1.

SPJ Members and students can register for the conference for just $25. Non-members can register for $35.

Visit Colorado SPJ Pro’s Facebook page if you are interested in ridesharing or finding a roommate for the conference.


You got through 2016 in one piece – join your fellow journalists for a drink!
Colorado SPJ Pro is hosting a mixer at the Denver Press Club from 7 to 9 p.m. Jan. 19, and you’re invited to mingle, network or chit-chat while enjoying the cash bar. Hope to see you there!
The press club is located at 1330 Glenarm Place in Denver. No cover fee is charged;  street parking is available.