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.

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.

August Newsletter and Mixer save-the-date

New Board Set and Ready for Action

SPJ Colorado Pro ChapterNewsletter July 2012

Your new board is set and ready to deliver some exciting and informative programming, a regional contest that’s second-to-none, college scholarships to help up-and-coming journalists and advocacy to make sure open records and open meeting laws are followed.At the board’s annual retreat at the Colorado Press Association building earlier this month, we welcomed newly-elected board member Amy Maesteas, the news editor of The Durango Herald. She’ll bring us some much-needed representation from the Western Slope and will help us expand our programming, either via web video conferences or other ways, to that area. We also accepted the resignation of Treasurer Christine McManus VonGunden, who left the board because of health issues. She did some wonderful work for this chapter, including helping us adopt an investment strategy in the last year. Thanks Christine and good luck! The board voted to appoint David Milstead to serve the remainder of her term, which runs through July 2013. Milstead is a longtime SPJ member, financial writer for the The Globe and Mail, former finance editor with the Rocky Mountain News and eight-year treasurer for the Denver Press Club (2001-2009). We’re lucky to have David. He’s going to help us put that investment strategy to work to maximize our returns and make sure the Colorado Pro chapter is financially stable for years to come.

Speaking of investments, the investment committee is looking for one more member to serve. It’d be great if you had some knowledge of mutual funds and other investment strategies to help Milstead and President Dennis Huspeni guide our investments. If you’re interested, email us ( or call Huspeni at 719-648-0055. In the meantime, immediate past president Cara DeGette has agreed to serve on the committee until a permanent replacement is found. Thanks Cara!

SPJ-CPA College Campus Visits
logo We’re joining forces with the Colorado Press Association to visit the state’s major college campuses to get students interested in journalism, help the ones who are studying it and offer to help form any student chapters if they’re interested. The schedule is below. If any SPJ members would like to help us with the program (especially members living near campuses on the Western Slope), please email and we’ll get you all the relevant details and a CPA or SPJ contact person who will be there. It’s a mid-day event that involves lunch and a program that is about two hours.Here’s the schedule:

  • Sept. 18, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley
  • Sept. 25, Colorado State University-Pueblo
  • Sept. 26, Adams State, Alamosa
  • Sept. 27 – CSU-Fort Collins
  • Oct. 2, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Oct. 10, Colorado Mesa, Grand Junction
  • Oct. 12, Western State, Gunnison
  • Oct. 16, Metro State, Denver
 SAVE THE DATEPut Friday, Sept. 28 on your calendars for a Diversity mixer we’re having in Eden, 3090 Downing St., Denver. Here’s the FB link. We’re reaching out to all the area journalism societies that represent minorities, the Denver Press Club and the Colorado Press Association, meet each other, find out about our respective organizations, talk journalism and just HAVE FUN! There’s plenty of on-street parking, happy hour drinks until 8 and we’ll buy the appetizers. Hope to see you all there.PO BOX UPDATE          We have a new P.O. box, so if you have any snail mail to send our way, use the new address: P.O. Box 100201, Denver, CO, 80250.

We hope to see some of you at the Excellence in Journalism national SPJ conference in Fort Lauderdale Sept. 20-22. More info at Huspeni and board member Amy Maestas and member (and longtime former board member) Robert Boczkiewicz will be representing the Colorado Pro chapter. The Colorado Pro Chapter won a Circle of Excellence Award for campus visits/scholarships – thanks for all your hard work board members and support members. Follow our tweets at #EIJ12 (I’m @denmanh if you want to follow me)

That’s it for now. Please reach out if you have any programming ideas, want to help volunteer to judge contest entries or anything else. This is YOUR chapter, so help us make it the best it can be.

Thank you for reading this issue of the SPJ Colorado Newsletter.We encourage you to forward this to friends and colleagues!

Please feel free to contact me with our email or with feedback about this newsletter and other chapter communication efforts or if you have something you would like to submit to this publication.


Dennis HuspeniPresident/Communications chairSPJ Colorado Pro

May Colorado Pro News


Fresh off the success of the Region 9 conference held in Denver in April, your SPJ Colorado Pro chapter board has been hard at work making sure our finances stay secure and well-invested, the board is well represented and we’re keeping up with our reporting requirements to SPJ national.


  • First off, we’re proud to announce our 2012 scholarship recipients: Lauren Archuletta, CU-Boulder, 2012 Helen Verba scholar Ye Ming, CSU-Pueblo, 2012 Helen Verba scholar; Christie Sounart, CU-Boulder, 2012 Helen Verba scholar; Brittany M. Moore, CU-Boulder, 2012 Sheldon Peterson scholar. Each was awarded $1,800 to help offset college tuition costs. Members: thanks for your support all year – helping young journalists is one of the most important things we do.


  • At our May meeting, the board approved an investment policy to guide our continued financial stability. Many thanks to Treasurer Christine McManus VonGunden, President Cara DeGette and all the help and guidance we got from David Milstead.


  • Board members appointed Gil Asakawa to fill a vacant board seat. He will stand for election this summer as our diversity chair. Asakawa is a Denver media veteran who began his career in1980 as a reporter and music editor for the alt-weekly Westword, and also served as entertainment editor for the Colorado Springs Gazette. In 1996 he took his first online position running AOL’s Digital City Denver, an early “hyperlocal” effort, and he’s never looked back. He has managed The Denver Post’s website, and worked at the management level for MediaNews Group, and Advance Newspapers. He is currently Manager of Student Media for the University of Colorado.


  • President DeGette has filed out annual report to national, outlining all the educational and fun programs we had this year. The report shows we complied with all requirements to remain a chapter in good standing.


  • We’d like to welcome the Mesa University Chapter of SPJ, which the national board approved in April. Many thanks to Membership Chairman Ed Otte for his continued outreach efforts and visit to the Western Slope newsrooms and campus.


That’s it for this month. As always, please email us programming suggestions or if you have interest in serving on the board – elections are coming this summer.