Minnesota SPJ Outraged Over Banning of Cameras From Prisons

The Minnesota Pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is outraged over the Minnesota Department of Corrections policy to ban on-camera interviews and still photography from consenting inmates. As the old saying goes, “Seeing is believing.” And that is especially true when it comes to life behind bars for the nearly 10,000 human beings incarcerated in Minnesota.

Read James Eli Shiffer’s description of the policy in the Star Tribune.

The Minnesota DOC is now equating both still and video news cameras with contraband items such as pornography and lighters, which is patently absurd. Other DOC concerns could be dealt with through policies other than a full ban on cameras. We urge the Minnesota DOC to immediately reverse its camera ban.

For more information about the Minnesota Pro chapter’s stance, contact board member Ben Garvin at 612-910-1499, or  bgarvin@kare11.com


Longtime AP Bureau Chief David Pyle Has Passed Away

ObitPyleBy The Associated Press

David L. Pyle, a longtime bureau chief, news editor and reporter during his 33-year career with The Associated Press, has died. He was 61.

Pyle, who worked for the news cooperative in five states, most of it as bureau chief in Minnesota and Wisconsin, died at his home Monday in the St. Paul suburb of Apple Valley, according to his son, Christopher Pyle.

The Iowa native joined AP as a newsman in Omaha in 1979. He later worked in Dallas and Providence, Rhode Island, before moving in 1991 to Minneapolis, where he spent the last two decades of his career and oversaw major breaking news.

Such stories included the 2007 Minneapolis bridge collapse, in which 13 people were killed and 145 injured when the Interstate 35W bridge broke apart over the Mississippi River during evening rush hour, and U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone’s death in a plane crash in 2002. He also oversaw the marathon recount of the state’s U.S. Senate race in 2008, and coverage of a teenage gunman’s 2005 shooting at a high school on the Red Lake reservation that killed 10 people.

Read more of the AP’s remembrances of Pyle here.

A memorial service is scheduled for Pyle at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 17. More info is in the Star Tribune obituary.

2015 Page One Awards Banquet

The 2015 Page One Banquet will celebrate the best in Minnesota journalism from 2014! 

morgenson190We are excited to welcome keynote speaker, Gretchen Morgenson, assistant business and financial editor and a columnist at the New York Times. Ms. Morgenson has covered the world financial markets for the Times since May 1998 and won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for her “trenchant and incisive” coverage of Wall Street.

Ms. Morgenson is the co-author of “Reckless Endangerment,” published by Times Books in 2011; author of “Forbes Great Minds Of Business,” published by John Wiley & Co., in 1997; and co-author of “The Woman’s Guide to the Stock Market,” published by Harmony Books in 1981.

Ms. Morgenson joined The Times as assistant business and financial editor in May 1998. Previously, she was assistant managing editor at Forbes magazine since rejoining the magazine in March 1996. Before that, she was the press secretary for the Forbes for President campaign from September 1995 to March 1996.

Born in State College, Penn., on January 2, 1956, Ms. Morgenson received a B.A. degree in English and history from Saint Olaf College, Northfield Minn., in 1976.

Click here to buy your tickets today!

Date: Tuesday, May 19

Location:The Commons Hotel
615 Washington Avenue S.E.
Minneapolis, MN
Click here for directions

Reception begins at 5:30 p.m.
Dinner served at 7:00 p.m.

$45 for SPJ members (SPJ members in good standing may purchase up to two tickets at the special member rate.)
$55 for non-members

Please contact SPJ (minnesota.spj@gmail.com) if you would like to purchase a table.

RSVP online by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 12.

A block of guest rooms has been reserved at the Commons Hotel for anyone who would like to stay the night in Minneapolis. To secure the special $139/night (+ tax/fees) please mention the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists rate when calling 612-379-8888 or 1-800-822-6757 to make your reservation. Promotional rate expires May 5.

Note (04/06/15): Award winners should expect to be notified by email some time in the next two weeks. Results are currently being processed and verified.

Seeking Gear for the Page One Silent Auction

Proceeds fund scholarships for journalism students.

By Christopher Snowbeck

The Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists is collecting items for our seventh annual Page One Awards Silent Auction. All the proceeds will benefit MNSPJ’s Student Scholarship fund, which helps us provide scholarships to journalism students to help pay for their education.

We are looking for media outlets, businesses, restaurants, event centers, sports teams, and anyone that has cool swag to donate items for this great auction with a great purpose.

The silent auction will take place in conjunction with our Page One Awards banquet.  The event is tentatively scheduled for mid-May (stay tuned for details) so now is the time to line-up donations. 

Items we are looking for include (but are not limited to):

  • Tickets to sporting events, concerts, shows, or local attractions;
  • Gift certificates;
  • Gift baskets/prize packs;
  • Autographed memorabilia (sports gear, photos, books, etc.);
  • Items from local businesses;
  • Dinner and/or hotel packages; and
  • ”Swag” packages with local celebrities.

If you would like to donate an item to MNSPJ’s Page One Silent Auction, please send an email to minnesota.spj@gmail.com We thank you, in advance, for your generous donation!

Sunshine Week-Related Pieces to Inspire You

By Sarah Bauer

This year, the Minnesota Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists teamed up with the Minnesota Newspaper Association to celebrate Sunshine Week across the state of Minnesota.

Sunshine Week 2015 was last week. An annual event, Sunshine Week calls on journalists to shed light on issues of open government and have conversations with their readers about the importance of open and transparent government, whether that government body is a municipality or a large federal agency.

This year we encouraged local media to look into the increasing amount of public work that is being done by private organizations.

Sunshine week audit by St. Cloud Times:
Stearns contracts for more than 60 services
Editorial: Don’t let technology cloud the sunshine

Pioneer Press editorial:

Minnesota: Balancing freedom and security in our age of technology

Column from the St. Peter Herald:
Go ahead, take closed government personally

Editorial from the Shakopee Valley News:
Keeping public business in the open

Redwood Falls Gazette:
Don Landgren cartoon about Sunshine Week

Star Tribune:
On Sunshine Week, a salute to data sharers

Alexandria Echo Press column:
Celebrate Sunshine Week and your right to know

From the Associated Press:
Sunshine Week spotlights how public is kept in the dark
In e-world, public information disappears despite laws

Send us a link to your Sunshine Week story and we’ll feature it here! Email minnesota.spj@gmail.com.

Instructors Needed for High School Journalism Workshop

The National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) is looking for instructors for its annual high school summer journalism workshop, July 24-26 at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. This three-day event pulls in students from Minnesota and around the country to attend sessions arranged around different interest tracks. Instructors would be involved in teaching basic and intermediate skills to students in their tracks, as well as coaching them as they work on a hands-on project. The ideal instructor has a combination of practical skills, journalistic experience and the ability to teach.

Instructors are given an honorarium for their participation. NSPA is currently looking for instructors for the photojournalism (still) track, the broadcast track, multimedia production track and news and feature writing track. If you are interested, please contact Sarah Cavanah, associate director, at sarah@studentpress.org.