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 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.

Sunshine Week celebrated at CSU with SPJ

Students and faculty heard firsthand accounts of efforts to obtain public records information and open closed-door government meetings at a Society of Professional Journalists Sunshine Week forum March 12 at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

“The session provided practical advice for student journalists to use as they cover university and government meetings and work with public records,” said Kris Kodrich, associate professor in the Department of Journalism & Technical Communication and adviser to the SPJ student chapter. “It also provided an interesting conversation about how journalists have utilized the law to better serve their readers, viewers and listeners.”

The forum, cosponsored by SPJ’s Colorado Pro Chapter and CSU student chapter, featured First Amendment attorney Chris Beall of Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz in Denver, KUNC public radio reporter Grace Hood and Fort Collins Coloradoan executive editor Josh Awtry.

“I thought the panelists did a great job of explaining the law and giving practical examples of how journalists and other members of the public are served by freedom of information laws,” Kodrich said. “The crowd appreciated the expertise and asked interesting questions about some of the challenges journalists and others face when seeking public information.”

The audience included journalism students and faculty and members of the SPJ student chapter.

Sunshine Week, March 10-16, is a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include news media, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and others interested in the public’s right to know.

“Sunshine Week isn’t just a time to inform prospective journalists about the laws in place to both protect us and keep the public informed,” Awtry said. “It’s also a great time to recommit and review those same laws ourselves. I learned a lot just from being a part of the panel. The quality of information that was bandied about was riveting.”

The Colorado Pro Chapter sponsors Sunshine Week programs each year. In March 2012, the chapter conducted a Sunshine Week forum at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. The panel for that event included Grand Junction Daily Sentinel managing editor Laurena Mayne Davis, Durango Herald managing editor Don Lindley and a Grand Junction resident who battled city hall over a public records issue.