Colorado Pro’s Busy March

Welcome to March everyone.

The Colorado Pro chapter has a lot going on, so read on for some great upcoming programs and a recap of our panel discussions at the recent Colorado Press Association convention.

Region 9 Conference hits Salt Lake City March 28/29.

Our Region 9 Conference will be held Friday and Saturday, March 28th and 29th in sunny Salt Lake City.  There’s an outline of the conference schedule and a paypal link for people to register on the Utah Headliners’ website,   The cost is $25 for SPJ members (and students) and $35 for non-members.

The state of scholastic journalism.

Challenges facing scholastic journalism will be discussed at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, at the Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Place. The event is free and open to the public.

The value of journalism in schools (21st century learning and skills) will be discussed by the panel as well as student publication editorial control, finances, staff recruitment and retention, and relations with college journalism programs and working journalists.

Sponsored by the Colorado Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the program will feature four current and former high journalism teachers and advisers:

– Mark Newton, journalism teacher and media adviser at Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch, is president of the Journalism Education Association.

– Jack Kennedy, executive director of the Colorado High School Press Association and JEA past president, is the former newspaper adviser at Rock Canyon High School in Highlands Ranch. He is an adjunct professor at Metro State University of Denver and Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

– Carrie Faust, Smoky Hill High School in Aurora, is the JEA Southwest Region director.

– Kristi Rathbun, Rock Canyon High School, is JEA’s state director.

Anastasiya Bolton leads Fireside Chat

9News reporter Anastasiya Bolton will be featured in a Fireside Chat at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 20, at the Denver Press Club, 1300 Glenarm Place.

The event is free and open to the public.Anastasiya_Bolton

Bolton, who covers crime and justice at 9News, will discuss her coverage of the Sochi Olympics at the Fireside Chat. She went to Russia in June 2013 to do pre-Olympics stories and then spent February in Sochi during the games.

A native of Moscow, Bolton came to the United States to attend college. After graduating from Southern Methodist University, she worked at TV stations in Dallas, Amarillo and Tyler, Texas, and Birmingham, Ala., before joining 9News.

The Sochi Olympics weren’t Bolton’s first return to Russia on a news assignment. While working at the Tyler station she traveled to Siberia to do stories on the plight of Russian orphans.

Bolton and photojournalist Andy Buck received a national Edward R. Murrow award in 2013 for a series on a Fort Collins woman who survived a killer. In 2007, she won a regional Emmy in Spot News for her coverage of the Safeway warehouse shooting.

Sunshine Week approaches

The Colorado Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition will present a one-hour webinar on Sunshine Week at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 4.

Sunshine Week, the annual celebration of your right to know what and why and how decisions are made by your local, state and national government, is March 16-22. The CFOIC is also sponsoring a panel discussion on “Who’s Records Are They Anyway? How to Get Your Hands on Public Records” on March 19.

The 12-year-old event is officially described as a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. At the grassroots level, it is yearly reminder that every resident of every community has a right to know how the town board, city council, school board, county commissioners and every other elected and appointed board operates.

At the practical level, it also serves as a reminder to public officials that they are to be held accountable for their decisions and actions.

While a variety of organizations – nonprofits, libraries, schools and civic groups – participate in Sunshine Week activities, the news media are often at the forefront of open government and freedom of information projects each March and throughout the year. FOI resources and project ideas can be found on the website.

The site features a Sunshine Week Toolkit and Idea Bank.

Last fall, the Colorado Pro Chapter partnered with CFOIC to present open government programs to college students and professors at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, CU-Boulder and on the Auraria campus in Denver.

SPJ and CFOIC also conducted an open government panel session on Feb. 21 at the Colorado Press Association annual convention in Denver.


Colorado Pro Chapter conducted two sessions at this year’s Colorado Press Association annual convention at the Westin Denver Downtown Hotel, Feb. 20.

 Panelists Jim Anderson, left, Steve Zansberg and Jeff Roberts at the Feb. 21 FOI session during the CPA convention. CREDIT:  Thomas Cooper of Lightbox Images

Panelists Jim Anderson, left, Steve Zansberg and Jeff Roberts at the Feb. 21 FOI session during the CPA convention. CREDIT: Thomas Cooper of Lightbox Images

The first was a freedom of information/open government discussion featuring panelists Jeff Roberts, executive director of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition; CFOIC president and First Amendment attorney Steve Zansberg; Cara DeGette, editor of Colorado Public News and immediate past president of  Colorado Pro and Jim Anderson, The Associated Press news editor for Colorado, Montana and Wyoming, and ethics chair of the SPJ Colorado Pro Chapter.

The second SPJ session focused on diversity in newsrooms and in news coverage. The panelists were Denver Post director of news operations Linda Shapley; Tim Ryan, assistant news director at 9News; and Gil Asakawa, manager of student media at CU-Boulder, president of the Denver chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association, and diversity chair of the SPJ Colorado Pro Chapter.

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.”

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.

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?”

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 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!