SPJ Hawaii: December 2022 Newsletter

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National SPJ Convention: Split over proposal to eliminate delegate representation


By Chad Blair
Hawaii SPJ delegate

MediaFest22, held in Washington, D.C., Oct. 27-30, was a terrrific experience. The website below will give you panel and presenter details, but I will talk about a few takeaways.

The first is that it was a real delight to hear from Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in person for one of the keynotes. While I had seen and heard from them both over the years on TV, radio and print, to see them together in the flesh was exciting. Of course, 2022 is the 50th anniversary of the Watergate break-in.

I would not say I learned too much that was new, but the comments from both - especially Woodward, who had just released his audio recordings with Donald Trump, really underscored what they believe to be the unique and continuing threat of the former president to the nation and to democracy.

A second takeaway was how young many of the attendees were, and more female than males and other genders. There seemed to be a concerted effort on the part of organizers to attract college students and people just entering the profession, as some of the panels were about basics like putting together a résumé and how to conduct interviews. I found this refreshing and encouraging, given the general gloomy outlook for the industry.

A final takeway was a panel titled "The Art of Obituary Writing." I love reading obituaries, and have written a few locally myself. The panel brought in writers and editors from the AP, the NYTs and the WaPo, and they were wonderful. For example, they talked about how they handled the death that very week of Jerry Lee Lewis and the sensitive matter of how to address his controversial past - like marrying his underage cousin, for example.

They also mentioned the death of James McCord, the former CIA operator who was convicted as one of the Watergate burglars. That amazing thing is, his death was not reported widely when he died in 2017. The news only came out in a book a year later and was not reported nationally until 2019. How remarkable that the death of such a figure could be unreported, which led to a discussion of the NYT's "Overlooked" series on other deaths of remarkable people that went unreported, including - amazingly - Sylvia Plath.

As we all know, our chapter voted against the change in the delegate system. I won't go in to too much detail, but I can share that the several hours during which delegates met and talked was rather intense - so much so that we had to continue past the allotted 2.5 hours and move out of the Independence Ballroom to a side meeting room. In fact, the SPJ President's Awards Banquet in the ballroom was delayed until SPJ finished its business. (I did not attend the banquet.)

Bottom line, the arguments boiled down to complaints that the current delegate system does not reflect the diversity of SPJ - a view shared by many younger, non-white delegates - versus the view that the delegate system can be revamped … but not at this particular meeting. The former group argued that the current system does not work and disenfranchises members - it should be one member, one vote, they argued - while the latter group argued that a democratic process must be followed and that a lot of work went into the currrent system, however flawed it may seem to some.

The discussion was passionate, though no one fully lost their temper. Some complained about the costs to attend the conference, and there were concerns that certain regions currently dominate SPJ - or that certain regions would instead dominate if the delegate system was changed.

There was a lot of discussion about how Roberts' Rules of Order apply, too. Looking at my notes - albeit, now over one month old - I recall a 48-47 vote, and then a revote that resulted in a 48-48 tie. Ultimately, the amendment at hand was tabled, effectively leaving the current system in place.

One final note: the fall season was truly something to behold. Next year's conference is in Las Vegas. Ugh.


  • Dec. 14, 2022: A Zoom meeting will be held at noon to take nominations for the 2023 SPJ board. Members will be notified via emails containing the link to the Zoom meeting.
  • March 21, 2023 is the deadline to submit stories for the Chapter's 2022 Excellence in Journalism contest. Details will be coming soon.
  • Late March-early April 2023 will the deadline for students to submit applications for 2023 summer internships. Media outlets will review the candidates and name interns. Details will be posted soon at http://www.hawaiispj.org/Interns/InternApplicationDownload.html

SPJ Regional Conference to be held in Hawaii

SPJ Region 11 Conference will be held in Hawaii

You're not wrong. You've read this before.

Back in 2020, the Hawaii Chapter SPJ was preparing to host the Region 11 SPJ conference at the University of Hawaii.

But COVID-19 hit, and the conference was canceled. (Thank you University of Hawaii, East-West Center and Sodexo for waiving costs.)

The regional conference was eventually held online, put on by national SPJ. (Region 11 covers Hawaii, Guam, Arizona, California and Nevada.)

The chapter was put back on the schedule for 2022, but planning proved problematic, and the Los Angeles chapter held a full one-day conference. The Hawaii conference was then scheduled for 2023.

So planning begins in earnest (again) in 2022-23.

If you have any ideas about what you would like to see in a regional conference, contact Stirling Morita at smorita1@twc.com
or Conference Chairman Chad Blair at cblair@civilbeat.org

2022 SPJ Interns

Nine college students studying journalism were selected as Hawaii SPJ interns for summer 2022.

The internships are provided through partnerships between the Hawaii Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and various news media organiations.

Almost all the Hawaii SPJ funding comes from proceeds of the Gridiron show.

Here are your 2022 interns:

  • Honolulu Star Advertiser:
  • Reece Nagaoka (University of Hawaii at Manoa)

  • Honolulu Civil Beat:
  • Megan Tagami (University of California, Los Angeles)

  • Hawaii Business magazine
  • Nichole Whiteley (Brigham Young University - Hawaii)

  • Hawaii magazine
  • Mia Anzalone (Occidental College)

  • Honolulu magazine
  • Emily Smith (University of Hawaii at Manoa)

  • ESPN Radio
  • Kenna Tanouye (Linfield College)

  • Hawaii Public Radio
  • Emily Tom (Brown University)

    Wally Zimmermann Internships for Television Broadcast Journalism

  • Hawaii News Now
  • Matthew Fairfax (Syracuse University)

  • KHON2
  • Anaztazia McIntosh (University of Hawaii West Oahu)

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