East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists

December 28, 2007

Great Year Behind, Great Year Ahead

Filed under: Blogroll,Hot on the Press! — etspj @ 3:51 pm

December 2007 

This year has gotten off to a great start for the East Tennessee SPJ chapter, and I think next  year will be just as good.  The current ETSPJ board of directors began serving in August. Here are highlights of what we’ve done so far this year:  

  • Had great program attendance. I estimate about 40 people turned out for each of the three  events we’ve had since August: the September Welcome Back picnic, the October SPJ/PRSA ethics panel and the November Video for the Web workshop.
  • Learned a lot. Among other things, we got to chat online with former national SPJ president Christine Tatum and learned how to shoot Web videos with cameras costing as little as $120.
  • Set up a new Web site. It’s available at http://www.etspj.org. I encourage you to check it out.
  • Gained 10 members. They are either new members or people who have rejoined after letting their memberships lapse. We’re getting close to the 75-member mark. If we reach it, we’ll be considered a large SPJ chapter, as opposed to a small one. 

We’ve got more in store for you next year. In January, I hope we can have another “Lunch With the Legislators.” This event offers a preview of issues and legislation likely to come up in the  General Assembly in Nashville. Our legislative lunch in January 2007 was one of our most well attended and enjoyable events. 

On Feb. 6, 2008, the University of Tennessee is bringing author and journalist Seymour Hersh to Knoxville. I have offered to help promote his speech. 

March will be busy. We have agreed to participate in SPJ’s high school essay contest. Shopper-News Editor Larry Van Guilder has agreed to chair the contest, and several other chapter  members have volunteered to help.   Besides that contest, we have proposed a freedom of information program in March.  It will focus on Tennessee’s open meetings and open records laws. SPJ has awarded the East Tennessee chapter a $500 grant for the program. We are still working out the details, but potential panelists so far include Commercial Appeal reporter Marc Perrusquia, state Sen. Randy McNally and Frank Gibson, executive director of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government. Also in March, we have proposed an open meetings panel for the SPJ Region 8/12 conference in New Orleans March 28-29. If accepted, the program could focus on the News Sentinel’s lawsuit against the Knox County Commission. News Sentinel Editor Jack McElroy has said he is interested in participating, although details still have to be worked out. 

Other programs in the works are a possible ethics program in April, the annual Golden Press Cards Awards ceremony in May and, in July, the Front Page Follies, our annual scholarship fund-raiser. We will provide additional details for those programs later.


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