‘Off the Record’ Holiday Party Is December 9

SPJHolidayPartyTime to celebrate the season with your fellow Minnesota journalists at this year’s “Off the Record” Holiday Party! Anyone who is a journalist or is a friend of journalism is welcome.


 “Off the Record” Holiday Party

Date: Wednesday, Dec. 9

Time: 7 p.m.

Location:  Pizza Lucé, 119 N 4th St, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401

Cash bar.

As usual, we supply the appetizers and you supply the holiday cheer

Respond to Facebook invite. 


This year’s event is organized by the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association of Minnesota, the Online News Association–Twin Cities and the local chapter of NLGJA, the Association of LGBT Journalists. Other local journalism organizations are welcome to sponsor. Reach out to MNSPJ at minnesota.spj@gmail.com if you represent a group and are interested.





MNSPJ hosts free screening of ‘Spotlight’

You’re invited to a special Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists’ screening of “Spotlight” — a film about the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer-winning investigation of the sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church. “We wanted to show the power of well-funded, boots-on-the-ground local journalism,” Tom McCarthy, the film’s director and co-writer, told the New York Times.

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4
Where: Landmark Lagoon Cinema, 1320 Lagoon Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408
Cost: Free
If you wish to attend, you must RSVP to Lisa Balzo (lbalzo@alliedim.com)

A synopsis, from the studio:

Starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Brian d’Arcy James and Stanley Tucci, SPOTLIGHT tells the riveting true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation that would rock the city and cause a crisis in one of the world’s oldest and most trusted institutions. When the newspaper’s tenacious “Spotlight” team of reporters delves into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment, touching off a wave of revelations around the world. Directed by Academy Award-nominee Tom McCarthy, SPOTLIGHT is a tense investigative dramatic-thriller, tracing the steps to one of the biggest cover-ups in modern times.

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Intern Night draws more than 50 students

More than 50 college students participated in MNSPJ’s 2015 Intern Night on Oct. 21 at the WCCO-TV headquarters in Minneapolis.

Students from the University of Minnesota, the University of St. Thomas, St. Cloud State University and other schools took part in a panel discussion with representatives from several Minnesota media outlets.

“I was so impressed with the student turnout and the quality of questions they asked the panel,” said Jonathan Kealing, Minnesota SPJ chapter president. “This is a bright group of students who will do Minnesota proud in internships around the state — and beyond. A big thank you to all of the panelists who fielded questions, as well.”

In addition to Kealing, the news editor at Public Radio International, panelists included senior reporter Sam Black of Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal; editor-in-chief Dale Kurschner of Twin Cities Business; assistant editor Dylan Thomas of The Journal/Southwest Journal; news editor Doug Glass of The Associated Press; producer Tim Burns of KSTP-TV; deputy managing editor Colleen Stoxen of the Star Tribune; community relations manager Max Huber of WCCO-TV; and reporter Adrienne Broaddus of KARE-TV.

Internship Night is designed to give students the opportunity to learn about internships, meet recruiters and managers, and get a behind-the-scenes look at the Twin Cities media market.

More than 50 students from Minnesota colleges and universities took part in SPJ's 2015 Intern Night.

More than 50 students from Minnesota colleges and universities took part in SPJ’s 2015 Intern Night.













30th annual Silha lecture set for Monday

The 30th annual Silha lecture at the University of Minnesota is set for 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, at the Coffman Memorial Union Theatre.

Admission is free and open to the public. The Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law sponsors the annual event.

This year’s lecture, “Clear and Present Danger: Covering National Security Issues in the Post-9/11 World” will feature Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist James Risen and media attorney Joel Kurtzberg.

Risen is an investigative reporter for The New York Times whose work focuses on national security and intelligence issues. He has won two Pulitzer Prizes. The first was for his work in 2001 as part of The New York Times reporting team covering the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The second was for his reporting with Eric Lichtblau in 2006 that revealed the National Security Administration’s illegal wiretapping program. In 2006, Risen published State of War, which examined the George W. Bush administration’s U.S. intelligence operations after the September 11 attacks. Federal prosecutors later subpoenaed Risen, demanding that he reveal his confidential source for specific information disclosed in State of War. Risen argued that he had a First Amendment right to protect his source and refused to testify after a federal circuit court of appeals decision ordered that he must. Despite the threat of being jailed, Risen never revealed his source during the years-long battle the federal government fought in pursuing his testimony.

Kurtzberg is a partner at the law firm Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP in New York who focuses on general commercial litigation. Kurtzberg has extensive experience in legal issues related to media organizations and the First Amendment. He also teaches a mass media law course as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School as well as a course on Internet law as an adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law. Kurtzberg formerly served as the New York State Bar Association’s chair of the Media Law Committee and was an editor of the American Bar Association’s First Amendment and Media Litigation Committee Newsletter. Kurtzberg graduated from Harvard Law School in 1996 and is admitted to the bar in New York.

MNSPJ partners with The Uptake for Tuesday night’s Conflict-Sensitive Video Journalism fellowship

The Minnesota Pro Chapter has partnered with The UpTake Institute to explore the role of journalists in covering conflict the evening of Tuesday, September 29 and Thursday, October 22.

These symposiums are part of The UpTake Institute’s Conflict-Sensitive Video Journalism Fellowship, a new 12-week educational program dedicated to enhancing five journalism fellows’ ability to report on the political, social, economic, and cultural conflict that impacts the civic well being of their communities through the unique power of video journalism.

Conflict-sensitive journalism borrows from conflict resolution research and practice to help journalists understand the many types of conflict—political, social, economic, cultural, religious—that they cover on a daily basis. In doing so, journalists can then operate with greater sensitivity and understanding of the role they play as writers, photographers and video journalists reporting on issues where conflict is a central feature. The goal for journalists should be to “minimize harm.” To do so, they must first understand what journalism practices are harmful and exacerbate conflict.

The Sept. 29 and Oct. 22 symposiums will be live streamed at theuptake.org from 7 to 9 p.m.

Download our first guest speaker Ross Howard’s “Handbook for Conflict-Sensitive Journalism” and register for the Sept. 29 symposium and the Oct. 22 symposium.

This Open Access Decision Really Matters

The Minnesota Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists applauds the Minnesota Court of Appeals’ recent decision to affirm the public’s right to access onboard Metro Transit bus video — in a case brought by local TV station KSTP. KSTP has been engaged in important work to preserve the public’s right to open data. We hope that the Metropolitan Council, which is in charge of Metro Transit, makes the decision to turn over the video KSTP has requested, rather than further appeal the case.

“Open access to records and other information is crucial to good government. We were disappointed when Metro Transit tried to hide this clearly public data and are pleased that the Minnesota courts agree,” said Jonathan Kealing, president of MNSPJ. “Bravo to KSTP for committing the resources to pursue this case until they get the information that the public so rightly deserves.”

The Met Council has argued that the requested video cannot be released because it wants to protect the privacy of its bus drivers, even though the video is from a public setting where passengers themselves can legally take their own video. KSTP says it wants the video to help answer questions about important news events that include a bus driver inexplicably driving off the road and another bus driver who reportedly left his bus and assaulted a bicyclist.

“Because the video recordings were maintained for a variety of purposes, and not solely because the bus drivers were government employees, they are public data,” Judge Margaret H. Chutich wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel that heard the case.

We couldn’t agree more.

Read the full decision here.