East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists

September 2008


I’m pleased to report that Region 12 was well represented at the national SPJ Convention & Journalism Conference in Atlanta Sept. 4-7.
The roster of registrants printed by SPJ-HQ on Aug. 29 showed 39 people from our four-state region. Not all of those actually attended the conference. Some stayed home trying to recover from Hurricane Gustav’s destruction. Others missed the conference for other reasons, I’m told.
Still, for a region as poor as ours and with so few active professional chapters, the numbers heartened me.
The names of those on the registration list are included later in this post. I apologize to those I missed while in Atlanta. I hope we meet soon.

ANNOUNCING a search for program proposals

In a couple of weeks, I’ll send to chapter leaders a request for proposals for programs that you’d like to present to your members or the public in your respective areas.
From the proposals I receive, I’ll award financial support to two program ideas from professional chapters and two from student chapters. Amounts to be announced later.
The RFP applications will be modeled on national SPJ’s chapter grant program, but these grants are not connected to the national subsidies. The deadline for applying for the national grants is Sept. 29.
The deadline for applying for these regional grants will be in October.
Stay tuned.

THE LATEST on Spring Conference 2009

Next year’s spring conference will take place in Little Rock. The Arkansas Pro Chapter will host the event April 3-5.
Conference planning committee members are AP bureau honchos Andrew DeMillo (ADeMillo@ap.org), Kelly Kissel (kkissel@ap.org), and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Capitol bureau ace Charlie Frago (cfrago@arkansasonline.com).
They’ve already started putting together program ideas and negotiating with potential sites. I expect them to have a conference agenda fleshed out by the end of the year or early January at the latest.


First, please join me in a cheer for Dr. Kathleen Woodruff Wickham of the University of Mississippi. She was honored as the campus chapter adviser of the year at the President’s Installation Banquet at the convention. And the Ole Miss chapter was recognized as the Region 12 campus chapter of the year.
Here’s what I said in my nomination of the Ole Miss chapter for national outstanding regional chapter of the year:
“This chapter deserved to be national campus chapter of the year last year (2007), and it probably deserves that honor again this year. Adviser Kathleen Wickham works tirelessly to promote SPJ’s mission among her students and on her campus. She took on the added duty in the past year of organizing programming for the 2008 Spring Conference in New Orleans. The joint conference of Regions 8 & 12 could not have happened without her.”
And here’s what I said in my review of the Ole Miss chapter’s annual report:
“This chapter aims high and usually excels. It casts a broad net in its membership recruitment. It stages strong programs and holds monthly meetings. Members and the adviser take a proactive stance.”

On the pro chapter side, the East Tennessee Pro Chapter was recognized at the president’s banquet as the nation’s best small chapter for diversity efforts.
Here’s what the SPJ press release said about the ETSPJ chapter:

“The small chapter honoree for diversity is the East Tennessee Pro Chapter for its concerted effort to market the SPJ High School Essay Contest to schools with high percentages of minorities. The chapter targeted the minority populations by soliciting the help of non-journalists working in the area of diversity, one from Oak Ridge National Laboratories’ Office of Diversity, and the other a school outreach advisor for SECME, a nonprofit organization that helps minority educational efforts. The chapter also sponsored a workshop on newsroom leadership, which, among other skills, featured a section on generational diversity.”

The Northwest Arkansas Pro Chapter took honors as outstanding small chapter for professional development. Here’s what the SPJ press release said:

“Because of several poignant and meaningful events, the Northwest Arkansas Chapter is the small chapter honoree for Professional Development. The group held an event with Joe Adams, a nationally recognized and awarded editorial writer for The Florida Times-Union. Adams trained journalists on FOI requests and Sunshine Laws. Other programs included two workshops from St. Petersburg Times features writer Lane Degregory that gave reporters the inside scoop on writing tips that editors won’t share and how to make an otherwise dry profile piece capture the attention of readers.”

Finally, please give former ETSPJ president John Huotari a round of applause for being named chairman of SPJ’s national membership committee.
Again, congratulations to John, Dr. Wickham, the Ole Miss chapter and the East Tennessee and Northwest Arkansas chapters!

AND NOW, the list of convention registrants …

Allison Alfonso, Johnson City Press, Johnson City, TN, representing the Tri-Cities Pro Chapter
Jean Ash, representing the East Tennessee Pro Chapter, Knoxville, TN
Vincent Ball, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
Clint Brewer, Nashville City Paper and immediate past president of SPJ-national, Nashville, TN.
Abbey Brown, The Town Talk, Alexandria, LA. Abbey was a featured panelist on the topic of lessons learned from covering the Jena 6 controversy.
Jamie Bumpus, Knoxville News Sentinel, East Tenn. Pro Chapter
Michael Cavanagh, University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He’s the new chapter adviser in Ragin’ Cajun land because longtime SPJ adviser Bob Buckman has returned to uniform and is serving in Afghanistan.
(Isn’t there an age-limit on soldiering? Be safe, Bob.)
Kenneth Cummings, Tennessee State University, Nashville.
Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press, Little Rock, AR. Andrew’s the Arkansas Pro Chapter president.
Benjamin Dorsey, University of Lafayette at Louisiana.
Elenora Edwards, The Tennessee Press, Clinton, TN.
Jacqueline Fellows, WPLN, Nashville Public Radio. She’s Middle Tennessee Pro Chapter president.
Michael Giusti, Loyola University-New Orleans and adviser to the campus chapter there.
Bonnie Gonzalez, KLAX-TV, Alexandra, LA. Bonnie also was on the Jena 6 panel.
Samir Husni, University of Mississippi. Dr. Husni, aka “Mr. Magazine,” is chairman of the Ole Miss Journalism Department.
John Huotari, The Oak Ridger, Oak Ridge, TN.
Jaune Jackson, Loyola University-New Orleans.
Ben Kelly, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, MS.
Justin LaGrande, Grambling State University, Grambling, LA.
Terry Likes, Tennessee State University, Nashville.
Jimmy McCollum, Lipscomb University, Nashville.
Alex McDaniel, University of Mississippi, Oxford.
Kaitie McDermott, Lipscomb University.
Kristi Nelson, Knoxville News Sentinel, Knoxville, TN.
Wanda Peters, Grambling State University. Wanda advises the student newspaper and is a great supporter of SPJ.
Leslie Presnall, Louisiana State University.
Caroline Price, Lipscomb University.
William Proctor, Lipscomb University.
Mia Rhodarmer, Advocate & Democrat, Sweetwater, TN. Mia is current ETSPJ president.
Sunny Smith, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS. Sunny is enthusiastic about starting a news chapter at JSU. Yes!
Todd South, Times Free Press, Chattanooga, TN.
Terrance Stokes, Grambling State University.
Reginald Stuart, The McClatchy Co., Silver Spring, MD. What? That’s not Region 12. Yes, but Reggie, a past national president of SPJ, spent a big part of his career in Tennessee and has been a stalwart supporter of the region over the years.
Summer Suleiman, Louisiana State University.
Johnathan Thacker, East Tennessee State University, Blountville.
Elizabeth Trexler, East Tennessee State University.
Georgiana Vines, Knoxville News Sentinel and another past national president.
Kathleen Wickham, University of Mississippi.
Amanda Womac, Hellbender Press, Knoxville, TN.

If I’ve missed anyone, please let me know.

Sonny Albarado
Region 12 Director
Society of Professional Journalists
121 E. Capitol Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201


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