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MNSPJ invites you to the Page One Awards banquet

The Board of Directors of the Minnesota Pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to invite you to the 2016 Page One Awards banquet, celebrating the best in Minnesota journalism.

This year’s banquet will be held June 15 at Town & Country Club in St. Paul. The event will start with a reception at 5:30 p.m., with dinner being served at 7 p.m.

Price for dinner this year will be $55 for non-SPJ members and just $40 for SPJ members — a $5 reduction from the cost in 2014 and 2015.

In addition to honoring the best in Minnesota journalism, MNSPJ will award two $2,000 scholarships. Funding those scholarships is the annual Silent Auction. If you can help us with items for our silent auction, please email minnesota.spj@gmail.com. Donations will be accepted through June 1 — and every bit helps us help upcoming journalists.

Keynoting this year’s banquet is Jonathan Capehart, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and member of the Washington Post editorial board who writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.

To register for this year’s banquet, please complete this form by June 8, 2016. If you or your organization is interested in purchasing a table for the event — which comes at a discount on the non-member price — please email MNSPJ at minnesota.spj@gmail.com.

RSVP today!

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.

Page One Awards – May 19!

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.

Date: Tuesday, May 19

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

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

Tickets:
Tickets sales ended on Tuesday, May 12. There’s a chance a few tickets may still be available. Please contact MN SPJ directly to check availability: minnesota.spj@gmail.com.

 

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!

2015 Midwest Journalism Conference

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The Midwest Journalism Conference is fast approaching, and the conference planning group has been hard at work planning a great conference for 2015.  Click here to preview the conference schedule and information. Registration information, forms and much, much more can be found on the conference site: www.midwestjournalism.com.  

A  block of rooms has been reserved at the Crowne Plaza MSP Airport Mall of America for conference attendees.  Rooms are only $105.  To ensure that you get the promotional conference rate, please click on the link below and reserve your room by March 17.  Attendees staying at the hotel will enjoy a conference registration discount.

Click HERE to reserve your guestroom by Tuesday, March 17, 2015!

Do you know any students who should be applying for the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association’s Shelley Scholarship? The deadline is next Friday, March 6.  The application can be found at:  http://midwestjournalists.org/shelley-scholarship-applications-open/

MN SPJ invites newsrooms and student journalists to participate in Sunshine Week 2015

UPDATE: We have our first official #SunshineMN participant!

St. Cloud Times: http://www.sctimes.com/story/watchdog/2015/03/18/sunshine-week/24959675/

swlogoSunshine Week 2015 is coming up and journalists around the nation will participate the week of March 15 through March 21. 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, the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, in collaboration with the Minnesota Newspaper Association, is reaching out to newsrooms and student journalists across the state to cover and look into the increasing amount of public work that is being done by private organizations. Private charter schools, surveying firms, even private police forces are being used more and more to conduct business that was once the purview of public officials. College campuses are not immune to this phenomenon either, increasingly relying on private foundations to raise revenue and communicate on behalf of the university or partnering with private companies to handle student services like policing, dining or financial aid.

To contribute to this year’s Sunshine Week event, which we are dubbing #SunshineMN, we are asking professional and student newsrooms around the state to produce at least one story that raises awareness in your community about public work that is being done by private organizations. Our aim is to shed a light on transparency and accountability issues that may arise as a result of these public-private partnerships.

Conducting a “transparency audit” is simple.  We are asking journalists across the state to obtain documents related to public-private partnerships. Such documents could include: contracts, audits, bids, budgets, any reports required by law, etc. – any documents that help shed light on work being done in service of the public by private organizations.

The final step is to report on what you’ve discovered. Again the aim of sunshine week is to tell the public about importance of open and transparent government. Was it easy to obtain information? Were there roadblocks? What did the information you found say about the public-private partnership? How transparent or accountable to the public is the agency/program it is serving? Your reporters can also go even further, especially if they make some interesting discoveries during their search.

We will highlight the stories that professional and student newsrooms publish as part of Sunshine Week on this website, our Facebook page and on Twitter using the #SunshineMN hashtag. We will also publish a list of participating newsrooms. To add yourself to the list email minnesota.spj@gmail.com. Also let us know if you have questions, comments or concerns.

Check back to this page, and mnspj.org for #SunshineMN updates . This page will continue to be updated with useful information including contact information for freedom of information experts, resources on open government law and making information requests, and story ideas for your newsroom. Good luck with your information requests! Resources for Reporters: SPJ’s freedom of information how-to guide for students SPJ’s freedom of information how-to guide for professionals Reporters’ Committee for Freedom of the Press Open Government Guide for Minnesota RCFP Federal Open Government Guide IFOIA.org help with making state and federal information requests (project of RCFP) The Student Press Law Center, a national first amendment and open government organization for student journalists Student Press Law Center public records request letter generator Sunshine Week Experts and Contacts: MN SPJ Project Lead: Nathan Hansen La Crosse Tribune Education Reporter 507-313-2372 nathanhansen2010@gmail.com Local experts: Mark Anfinson Media law attorney representing the Minnesota Newspaper Association. 612-827-5611 mranfinson@lawyersofminnesota.com Jane Kirtley Director, Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law School of Journalism and Mass Communication,University of Minnesota 612-625-9038 kirtl001@umn.edu Tips for Successful Information Requests: Ask for your information early. Organizations can balk at requests for information on a tight deadline. Give them some time to get the information you want and allow for follow-ups, appeals and interviews about the documents you wish to report on. Be specific. Being overly broad in your request can cause hassles for both sides. Consider the organization’s view if your request is too generic or confusing. If your request doesn’t make sense, they can’t get the information you need. If you only need one document like a contract or email but ask for a broad assortment, it can lengthen the time of request and the agency can require more in fees for the time searching and copying. Ask for narrowly defined documents and specific dates when possible, and if you are unsure of what a document is called, ask first before making the request. Make personal contact. It is easier to work with people who know you and you have a working relationship with. An information request from a stranger is easier to ignore, and you never know what new story ideas or leads might come from a meeting to discuss your request. Don’t take no for an answer. You can appeal an organization’s decision to deny your request, or you might realize you need to modify what you are looking for. At the very least, a denial is a story in its own right if an organization is denying you access to public information and records. Sunshine Week Story Ideas: Follow the money: Is a private business or organization making large profits from running an institution or providing a service that used to be under public purview? Hiring: Both local governments and units of government spend tens of thousands of dollars on hiring top level employees like university presidents or county administrators. What are they paying for and what do they get for their money? Student Debit Cards: Does your college or a university have a relationship with a local or federal financial institution? Some student IDs double as debit or credit cards, and is there a financial arrangement involved with this relationship between the university and the bank? Transparency: Are private contractors as transparent or accountable as the public agency or staff they replaced? Check and see why kinds of reports the public agency was creating in the past and compare that to the reporting requirement for the private contractor. What does the public not know now that is used to? Relationships: Is the mayor’s private business collecting trash for the city? Is the brother of a municipal official on the board of the lobbying firm representing the city at the Legislature? What is the relationship between between the public and the private organization they are working with?


 

Sunshine Week 2015 Activities are brought to you by:

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