2014 Top of the Rockies Winners Announced!

We sent out the following announcement this morning:

“Top of the Rockies 2014 Winners:   

Congratulations. One or more of your entries to the 2014 Top of the Rockies regional journalism competition was recognized as an award winner. You know the drill, we’re not going to announce exact places 1, 2 or 3 until the night of the awards banquet April 25.

That’s a Friday night and will be at the historic Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm, Denver. Cocktails after 5:30 and program starts at 7 p.m.
We will display the winners on our website spjcolorado.com for those who can’t make it that night (though I’d encourage you to do so, it’s going to be a lot of fun) The Colorado Pro board decided to streamline the announcements of the winners, so no sitting there for hours while names are read! We’re re-introducing our special awards this year and will be honoring the Journalist of the Year, Keeper of the Flame, Journalism Educator of the Year and First Amendment Award.

Thanks again everyone for entering and hope to see you Friday, April 25 at the DPC. Certificates will be mailed shortly after that date if you can’t pick up in person.

SPJ Colo Pro meets with Russian journalists

Anyone who would like to join us, you’d be more than welcome and we’re quite sure the delegation of international journalists would welcome many points of view. This will be in a mixer format, so come visit and enjoy the Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm.

The delegation of International Journalists visits Wednesday, November 20th from 6:30-8:00pm. They are a very engaged group and will appreciate warm hospitality and professional insights. This program is sponsored by the U.S. Congress Open World Leadership Program and is administered in part by WorldDenver. The five participants have been selected as emerging leaders throughout Russia for their work as journalists, advancing the public’s access to information.

Meeting Topic: The delegation is looking forward to meeting with the Society of Professional Journalists to talk about various journalism issues and to meet with well-known journalists from across the state of Colorado.


Ms. Darya DANILOVA, News Correspondent, Russian Public Television

Dr. Denis DOKUCHAYEV, Director of Media & Information Projects, Seryeznyye Proyekty, LLC

Ms. Alina LVOVA, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Channel 31 News Company

Mr. Pavel POMINOV, Chief Business Development Officer, Omskpress, LLC

Ms. Yuliya SHEVTSOVA, Chief Executive Officer, Vyatsky Nablyudatel Newspaper

Mr. Ilya MICHCHENKO (Facilitator), Deputy Director of Translation and Localisation Centre, “EGO Translation Company”

Escorts: The delegation will be accompanied by Ms. Michelle Woodruff and Mr. Nathan Gallo, representatives of WorldDenver.


Nov. Events Coming Soon

Hey SPJers (and friends of),

Here’s some great programming we’ve got coming up in the next couple of weeks.

Using Census Data

Angeles Ortega-Moore of the Partnership & Data Services at the Denver Regional Census Officee, will lead a training session showing journalists how to mine U.S. Census data for story ideas and manipulate it to load your stories with accurate information. The free event will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm.

November Fireside ChatFirechat

The old joke was that every reporter had an unfinished novel in the bottom desk drawer. Now, it is an unfinished manuscript in computer files.
If you’re one of these folks, you will be interested in our next Fireside Chat, Journalist to Author: How to Publish Non-Fiction and Fiction Books, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, at the Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Place.
Former Rocky Mountain News executives Denny Dressman and Mike Madigan will discuss the process and their published works. Admission is free.
Dressman is the author of five books and the editor of four others. In a 43-year newspaper career in Cincinnati, Louisville(KY), Oakland (CA) and Denver, he was an award-winning report and columnist, held the positions of city editor, executive sports editor, managing editor and editor; and for 10 years at the Rocky Mountain News was vice president labor/human resources. He is a member of the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame and a past president of the Colorado Press Association, and teaches writing in the University College Enrichment Program at the University of Denver.
His books include “Gerry Faust – Notre Dame’s Man in Motion” (1981); “Yes, I can! Tackle Diabetes and Win!” (2006); the only full biography of legendary Grambling football coach Eddie Robinson, titled “Eddie Robinson … he was the Martin Luther King of Football (2009); and “Sterling Heroes of World War II” (2012). His latest book is scheduled to be published in 2014.
Madigan is a former award-winning journalist and editor at the News. His first novel, “Double Dare,” was released in September (reviewed Sept. 22 in The Denver Post) by Adventure Publications. His short story The GyPSy Line was nominated for the 2012 Pushcart Prize for outstanding literature. The story is one of 11 published in the anthology “Gem Street” by Irish publisher Labello Press.
Madigan also has authored two books of non-fiction: “Heroes, Villains, Dames & Disasters/150 Years of Front-Page Stories from the Rocky Mountain News” won the 2010 Colorado Author’s League award for best non-fiction and was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. He also authored “Historic Photos of Denver in the 50s, 60s and 70s.”

The Saunders provide interesting season kickoff to Fireside Chat

By Ed Otte
The father-son team of Dusty and Patrick Saunders emphasized the need for excellence in

Patrick and Dusty Saunders at SPJ Colorado Pro's first Fireside Chat.
Patrick and Dusty Saunders at SPJ Colorado Pro’s first Fireside Chat.

sports coverage at a Fireside Chat on Oct. 3 at the Denver Press Club.

“There is a lot of mediocrity in sports broadcasting, you see it at the national level all the time, but I think Bob Costas and Al Michaels are examples of what you want to see and hear,” Dusty said at the Colorado Pro Chapter event. “They’re thoughtful and articulate. They don’t ramble on, stating the obvious with a bunch of cliches.”

Dusty covered the broadcasting beat as a critic and columnist for more than 40 years at the Rocky Mountain News. He currently writes a Monday TV/radio sports column for The Denver Post.

“Vin Scully is in that same class,” Patrick said. “Economical with words. Very good with words. He narrated a video (retirement) tribute to Todd Helton at Sunday’s game, the Rockies last game, at Dodger Stadium. It was great. I asked Todd afterward about the video and he was moved by it.”

Patrick joined The Post in 1998 as a Denver Broncos beat writer and now covers the Colorado Rockies.

When asked how he handles cliche comments by players and coaches, Patrick said, “At the beginning of the season, that’s what they’re going to say. If they’re saying the same things later in the season, I just don’t quote them in my stories. Readers don’t want to see that over and over.”

Both men advised college journalism students to focus on improving the quality of their work.

“Be a good writer, be a good reporter,” Dusty said. “Resist having your opinion in your stories. Good columnists were reporters before they began writing commentary. You have to be a good reporter to be a good columnist.”

Patrick was asked why he became a sportswriter. “Growing up, the first thing I did in the morning was read the sports pages,” he said. “I still do.”

Dusty said he contributed to the early interest in sports. “When Patrick and his brothers were little, we’d drive up to the highest point in Arvada, Hackberry Hill, and listen to the Cardinals games on KMOX on the car radio. Sports broadcasting has changed a lot since then.”

The father-son relationship was discussed in other aspects.

“When he writes something critical about (Rockies TV game commentator) George Frazier or (Denver Nuggets TV game commentator) Scott Hastings, they’ll ask me, ‘Why doesn’t your dad like me?'” Patrick said. “But being his son helped me gain access to some interviews early in my career.”

“I do cast a big shadow,” the 6-foot-3 father said.

“You said that?” Patrick said. “Well, he does have big shoes.”

NewsTrain delivers!

The SPJ Colorado Pro sponsored two entries to the CPA ASNE NewsTrain in Colorado Springs last weekend (Sept. 28-29). Here’s a great report from Tanya Ishikawa

Data, Video and Social Media Tools at APME NewsTrain
By Tanya Ishikawa

Whether journalists accept it or not, multimedia news reporting continues to grow in significance to our audiences. Associated Press Media Editors NewsTrain, which visited Colorado Springs on Sept 27 and 28, offered tips, tools and ways to keep up with new audience trends and help journalists cope and perhaps even thrive in this evolving digital age.

As a former public relations professional and weekly newspaper reporter, I am definitely in my comfort zone when creating and editing stories for print publications. At the same time, my interests in new communication platforms and filmmaking have led to nearly a decade of training and working in social media and video. So, when I saw NewsTrain’s agenda with two days focusing on reporting with data, social media and video, I was a bit skeptical about whether I would learn new skills or gain new information. I’m happy to report that I came away from the weekend with a long to-do list including plans to download helpful apps, ways to update social media pages and new story ideas to pitch to editors.

Brant Houston shared a wealth of websites and leads for finding interesting statistics that can be used in developing stories. Then, he taught us how to analyze and sort the statistics with spreadsheets for better understanding and to create information graphics. You can learn some of the same lessons by going to the resource center and other areas of the Investigative Reporters & Editors website.

Val Hoeppner inspired us to make short, attention-grabbing (and revenue-generating) videos with simple, inexpensive equipment. She shared the names of a treasure trove of free and low-priced apps and websites for online video production and standards for how to produce the best content.

Misty Montano gave us insight into how her news outlet is garnering outstanding audience reach through clicks, impressions, views, visits, likes, shares and all the other ways that people interact online. She offered a long list of resources to help develop a strategic approach for connecting to audiences through Facebook, Twitter and other sites.

Not to be forgotten were the beginning sessions of both days, when Michael Roberts reminded us of the basic foundation of journalism – how to develop and deliver great stories, and Steven Zansberg gave us an introduction (for some of us a refresher) on Colorado’s Freedom of Information laws.

All this and the opportunity to network with 78 other Colorado journalists, who came from as far away as Grand Junction and Greeley, was offered for only $75 due to the generosity of local hosts that included the Colorado Press Association and University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. I personally thank Colorado SPJ, another sponsor that provided me with one of two scholarships to attend this high-impact training. Valuable to both new and seasoned journalists, NewsTrain provided many tools and tricks to strengthen my audience connection and add power to my storytelling. You can find out more about NewsTrain and future workshops here.

New Board Set, NewsTrain on track and SPJ’s EIJ 2013

Hope everyone’s summer has gone swimmingly. Hard to believe it’s already drawing to a close. Your Colorado Pro board is set, with the July elections behind us (thanks to all who voted). We’d like to welcome new board members: Tak Landrock, a multiple award-winning investigative reporter at KDVR FOX 31 with a 20-year Colorado career in television journalism; and Kara Mason, a student at Colorado State University-Pueblo working a dual degree in journalism and political science, magazine editor at CSU-Pueblo Today and news editor for the Pulp, an alternative news magazine in Pueblo. Tak and Kara bring some fresh ideas and enthusiasm to the board and we’re excited to have them.

CPA’s NewsTrain headed to Colorado Springs
Colorado Pro is happy to help the Colorado Press Association spread the word about NewsTrain. It’s a two-day journalism workshop that will be in Colorado Springs Sept. 27-28. NewsTrain is sponsored by APME and the workshop is hosted by the Colorado Press Association and the Colorado Springs Gazette. We’re so excited about it, we’re going to pay the registration fees for two Colorado SPJ members to attend. If you’re interested, email us at news@spjcolorado.com. For more information about NewsTrain visit CPA’s website.

SPJ’s EIJ 2013
We’re pumped about SPJ’s national convention Excellence in Journalism in Anaheim this weekend. Colorado Pro President Dennis Huspeni is representing the chapter and we gave Colorado freelance writer and SPJ member Jayme Moye a $500 stipend to offset most registration and travel costs for her to attend. They’ll both be tweeting (@denmanh, @jaymemoye and @spjcolo) and posting updates on our FaceBook page. Moye’s stipend, along with the NewsTrain registration stipends, shows the chapter’s commitment to getting our members help with professional training. If you have any tips on available training, let us know!

Official Board of Directors 2013 Ballot – Members please vote.

Colorado Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists
Board of Directors election 2013-2014

Deadline to vote: midnight on Monday, July 22

Directions: Read carefully the bios and position statements of the candidates. Then send an email with a subject line “SPJ vote” with your votes to Deb Hurley at dchurley@aol.com. Please vote for one president-elect candidate or name a write-in candidate, and four board member candidates or send in the name(s) of write-in candidates. There are five candidates for board members, so the four with the top vote totals will serve on the board. There are no treasurer candidates, but write-ins will be accepted.

If you have questions, contact elections chair Deb Hurley at 303-601-8098.

President-elect candidate
Vote for one or send a write-in
Ed Otte:
ed otteEd was elected to the SPJ Colorado Pro Chapter board of directors in 2011 and named membership chair. He helped organize and moderated Sunshine Week forums in 2012 at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction and in 2013 at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. He worked with CMU students and faculty in 2011-12 to help form a campus chapter. The CSU forum was arranged with SPJ campus chapter adviser Kris Kodrich. In 2012, Ed and board member Doug Bell conducted resume/internship meetings with students at CSU and at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. Ed also worked with Colorado Press Association Executive Director Sam Johnston to have SPJ members participate in CPA’s visits to college journalism programs in the fall of 2012. In March 2013, Ed worked with KUNC public radio and Rocky Mountain PBS to arrange The Future of News forum at The Denver Post.
1995-2010 – Executive director Colorado Press Association.
1993-1995 – CPA board of directors.
1980-1995 – Greeley Tribune. City editor, editorial page editor,
editor (1990-1995).
1991-1995 – Adjunct journalism faculty at CSU-Fort Collins.
1969-1980 – Worked in newsrooms at Alamosa Valley Courier, Colorado
Springs Sun, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Santa Fe, NM, and El Paso,
Feb. 18, 2011 – Received CPA Friend of First award.
Aug. 26, 2010 – Gov. Bill Ritter signed proclamation declaring Ed Otte
Day in Colorado
Sept. 11, 2004 – Received Friend of Scholastic Journalism award from
Colorado High School Press Association

Reason for running: I enjoy working with the board members, all of whom are committed to SPJ’s mission and goals and to strengthening the chapter’s role in Colorado journalism. We will continue to provide additional programs and educational opportunities to our members, and to attract new pro and student members. And we will continue to partner with other organizations, such as CPA, to expand our activities around the state.”

No candidates
Please send any write-in names

Board of directors
Vote for four: There are five candidates. The four people with the highest number of votes will serve on the board.

Jim Anderson
jimandersonjpgJim Anderson is The Associated Press news editor for Colorado, Montana and Wyoming. Anderson joined the AP in Mexico City and has worked in Los Angeles, New York, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Caracas, Venezuela, reporting throughout the Caribbean and in Central and South America. Before coming to Colorado, Anderson was an assistant city editor at The Miami Herald. A native of Syracuse, N.Y., Anderson has degrees from Cornell University and the University of Southern California.

Reason for running: My re-election bid is inspired by Colorado SPJ Pro’s critical role in identifying, addressing and publicizing restrictions on the free flow of public information – be it at the local, state or federal level. Working with SPJ members and leveraging our influence with other organizations, we can ensure that the public’s open records laws work – and act when they don’t.

Vicky Gits
VIckyGitsA longtime Colorado resident and former staff writer with Evergreen Newspapers for six years, Vicky recently gave up covering long-lost dogs, aggressive elk, illegal hunting, government, courts, land use, outdoors, parks and fire districts for the Canyon Courier. She was also a staff writer for the Douglas County News-Press for three years, covering business, worked nights for six years at the Denver Post as news copy editor and spent five years at the Boulder Daily Camera as a business reporter and editor. Before that, there was a brief stint at the Denver Business Journal and a few years at Cablevision, a weekly trade magazine. Her first job in newspapers was with the Holly Chieftain the summer before graduating from the University of Colorado-Boulder with a master’s degree in journalism. In 1984, she completed a certificate in business and economics journalism at Columbia University in New York. She was appointed to the board in March to fill the remaining term of a vacancy due to resignation and assigned to the position of program chair. Member of Colorado SPJ Pro for about five years.

Reason for running: As a potential board member I am mainly interested in seeking and staging timely programs and social events, but also advocating for open records, open meetings and financial transparency.

Tak Landrock
taklandrock7newsTak Landrock is a three time Edward R Murrow award-winning investigative reporter/producer for KMGH-TV in Denver. Landrock has called Colorado home since he moved here when he was 12. Landrock joined the CALL7 Investigators in December 2011 to help with daily investigations. Before coming to Denver, he worked in Colorado Springs as the investigative reporter at KRDO-TV. Many of his stories have helped create policy change, making Colorado a safer place to live and work. In one investigation, he was able to track down two murder suspects wanted for killing a 6-year-old girl and burying her body in a crawl space of a vacant home. His work lead to their arrest and conviction. Landrock’s investigations have garnished national attention from major news organizations, including the AP, CNN, ABCNEWS, MSNBC and FOX.

Reason for running: Journalism is changing at a fast pace, and we need to find a formula to respect the traditions of the past, but also understand the needs of the future. I share SPJ’s mission into ethical reporting, fighting for information and inspiring others. Recently, I joined SPJ as a member of the regional program committee and have brought my ideas on how to elevate our presence in the region, handling training seminars and hosted this year’s awards ceremony. I want to carry that forward as a board member. I am looking forward to helping the organization drive its mission as a leader from within.

Kara Mason
karamason1Kara Mason is a student at Colorado State University-Pueblo. While working on a dual degree in journalism and political science, she has been on the CSU-Pueblo Today staff and is currently serving as the magazine editor. Kara also contributes and acts as the news editor for the Pulp, an alternative news magazine in Pueblo. With just about a year of undergraduate school left, Kara hopes to continue on to earn a master’s degree and make a career of writing.

Reason for running: Being involved in the state SPJ is important to me as this is the place I am reporting. As a student, I believe there are many opportunities to grow in a network full of professionals, and I look forward to learning and connecting with those who share my passion for reporting.

Leticia Steffen
LeticiaSteffenLeticia Steffen joined the SPJ and the Colorado Pro chapter in 1995. She is an associate professor in the mass communications department at Colorado State University-Pueblo and occasionally does freelance writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. Recently, Steffen served as guest editor at the Rocky Ford Daily Gazette/Ordway New Era. She hopes to continue her service to the Colorado Pro Chapter as a member of the board and would like to help develop more programming opportunities for journalists outside the metro Denver area.

Reason for running: I would be honored to have the opportunity to serve on the Colorado Pro board for another two-year term. Our membership is growing, and it is good to see members from around the state. Because I’m not located in the metro Denver area, I understand the difficulty of attending some of the wonderful programs that happen there, so this year I would like to research the possibility of streaming some of the talks and presentations that occur in Denver to places around the state. For members in the southeastern part of the state, I’d also like to try organizing carpools for those who want to attend the Denver events. I’m constantly encouraged, in my role as a journalism instructor at CSU-Pueblo, by the enthusiasm that exists among young people for the field of journalism. I have no doubts that our profession will continue to thrive, and I look forward to supporting journalism — through my work on SPJ and through my teaching — well into the future.