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Aloha! The Hawaii Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will take nominations for chapter officers and directors for 2015 during a meeting at noon
Nov. 15 in the conference room of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser,
500 Ala Moana Blvd., Tower 7, Suite 210.

Recap from the 2014 SPJ
Excellence in Journalism conference

SPJ Hawaii Secretary

At the 2014 Excellence in Journalism National Convention held September 3-6 in Nashville, Tennessee, the Society of Professional Journalists revised its Code of Ethics for the first time since 1996. Over the past year, the society's Ethics Committee worked to draft a new code to address many of the new challenges journalists face today.

"We're in a different world now," committee member Hagit Limor said at the convention.

The new code includes minor tweaks to old tenets, as well as entirely new components, such as, "Remember that neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy," "Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity, even if others do," and "Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two. Clearly label sponsored content."

After the final vote on the revised code, many delegates cheered, some even hugged each other, but the decision was far from unanimous. Despite several last-minute changes to address concerns raised by individual members and the Northern California Pro Chapter, some delegates still seemed to think the code needed more work. Others thought the revisions should be voted on by the entire SPJ membership, rather than just the delegates at the convention.

The new code, available at www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp, will be appended by an online repository of case studies, Ethics Committee position papers, and other supplemental materials.

A strong push to change SPJ's name from the Society of Professional Journalists to the Society for Professional Journalism failed. Michael Koretzky, Region 3 director, argued that the change would result in an infusion of more members, especially younger ones, and would better reflect what SPJ actually does. He noted that many SPJ members, including some who are on the SPJ board of directors, are not practicing journalists. Some are retired or teach or work in public relations.

SPJ has about 7,500 members, down from 9,600 in 2008.

"The backbone of SPJ was newsrooms," he said during a session on the name change. "If you agree that newsrooms are still shrinking, where are we going to get our membership?" he asked.

Several, if not all, of the convention's sessions in some way addressed this "different world" we're in, perhaps none more than Kara Swisher's Super Session. Swisher, a former writer for the Wall Street Journal, is co-founder of the digital news site Re/Code.

Traditional media continues "to offer things people don't want in ways they don't want them," she said, ridiculing especially efforts to get more young people to read newspapers. "If you taped a joint between every page, that might work," she said. (In a later session, she clarified that she wasn't against print media, but said she thought it needed to be done "for the right reasons and beautifully.")

Other sessions focused on truth and accuracy in reporting; the journalistic applications of Google Glass and other wearable technologies, as well as the ethical challenges they pose; the various business models for new media, and more.

See our Twitter feed and website for details and links.

Finally, Region 11 has a new director: Matthew Hall, public engagement director at U-T San Diego.


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