2008 Region XI Conference in Tucson, Ariz.
The SPJ Region 11 conference was held April 11-12, 2008, at the University
of Arizona in Tucson. More than 150 journalists from California, Arizona,
Hawaii and Nevada participated.
It kicked off Friday with an intensive, nine-hour boot camp by Mark
a U of Missouri grad (yeah, Mizzou!), who taught the basics of Final Cut Pro
and Final Cut Express. We each were given a miniDV camcorder and 45 minutes
to interview, shoot and write a story. We spent the afternoon in the
computer lab, learning how to capture, log and edit our stories. (It was
worth attending, but let's just say that I still need a lot of practice).
Saturday and Sunday featured another boot camp and the SPJ
itself. Here were some of the highlights from the conference:
• The Future of Journalism: Readers are moving online, creating
interaction between the media and public. Bloggers and citizen journalists
are out there doing the same things mainstream journalists are doing. Print
ads are declining, yet media outlets still haven't found the to secret to
making money on the Web. To survive, journalists need to: improve their
skill-sets; stay on top of technology; experiment with different types of
news delivery; and educate the public about who journalists are and what
they do for the community. The best journalism will rise to the top, was the
message. Panelists were Michael Chihak, Gannett leader and editor and
publisher of the Tucson Citizen; Dan Gillmore, director of the Knight Center
for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State U and author of We The
Media; Kevin Kemper, assistant journalism professor, U of A; Ellen Soeteber,
ethics professor at ASU and former editorial leader of the Chicago Tribune,
South Florida Sun-Sentinel and St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
• Border Control: People on both sides of the border (Mexico and the
in this case) depend on journalists to tell them what's going on. While
journalists covering this beat need to be fair, comprehensive and accurate,
they also need to watch out for their own lives as they deal with gangs and
drugs. The Web site borderreporter.com mentions some of the journalists who
have been hurt on the job. The site also highlights some of the
border-related stories that have been published in newspapers. Hawaii idea:
cover stories about immigration, illegal aliens and the INS/border patrols.
Panelists were Ignacio Nacho Ibarra, metro team leader for the Arizona Daily
Star; Brady Mccombs, border reporter for the ADS; Michael Marisco, crime
reporter and columnist for the borderreporter.com, an interesting blog; and
Lorraine Rivera, reporter and weekend anchor for KVOA-TV.
• Covering Religion: The media tend to cover extremes instead of the
particularly when it comes to religion and faith.
The message was to do your research (go directly to the people)
covering unfamiliar groups, and don't be sensational. Also, when writing
about faith-based communities, go beyond the fluff-journalism "So-and-so
church is having a carnival" type of story and highlight some of the issues
the community faces (without stereotyping). This is a good reminder for
Hawaii journalists who cover communities and ethnic minorities. Panelists
were Jake Rasumussen, a pastor from the Epic Church, an evangelical group;
David Hoefferle, a former broadcast journalist and the PR director for the
Southern Arizona mainstream LDS church; and Maha Nassar, an adjust lecturer
for the U of A's Near Eastern Studies and a member of the Muslim community;
Renee Schafer Horton, a reporter for the Tucson Citizen; and Stephanie
Innes, a faith and values reporter for the Arizona Daily Star.
• Awards and luncheon on Saturday: emceed by Dave Fitzsimmons and
cartoonist for the Arizona Daily Star. College students from Chapter 11 were
recognized that afternoon. Here's the link to the awards results:
• Pre-conference reception on Friday: held at the Center for
Photography at UA. The photography center is an amazing place right on
campus was just a few steps away from the school's journalism department and
the Marriott University Park, where the conference was held. Here's the link
to the center: http://www.creativephotography.org/
• If you visit UA, check out an area near the journalism department
"Main Gate Square." It's a historic street lined with affordable
restaurants, shops and entertainment. There are centuries-old homes
converted into restaurants, and the area is going through an exciting
revitalization right now – kind of like Honolulu's Chinatown. To find out
more, check out the site: http://www.maingatesquare.com/
Hello fellow SPJ member -
As the listed contact for your SPJ Region 11 chapter, I am contacting you to
inform you of the upcoming SPJ Spring Conference for Region 11 to be held in
Tucson, Arizona on April 11-12, 2008. The conference is being hosted by the
SPJ-University of Arizona Student Chapter.
The weekend conference, titled "Pushing Borders", will feature great panels on
pertinent issues covering racial profiling, election coverage, border reporting
and public records. We will also have a special session on journalists whose
jobs lead to threats on their lives.
Our website is now up and running, with a basic outline of many of the events
planned for the jam-packed weekend. More information will continue to be added,
so please continue to check back. Additionally, the Registration and PayPal
links should be set up as early as this Friday, so that members from your SPJ
chapter may sign up and make hotel reservations for the weekend stay. We
encourage at least one member from each chapter to participate in the
conference, if not more.
The link to the SPJ-UA chapter is: http://www.spj.org/uarizona
I hope to serve as your liaison for questions and comments regarding the
registration process for our upcoming regional conference. Please do not
hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. My email is
Please expect continued emails from me with updates on the April conference here
in Tucson. If you are no longer the SPJ contact, please forward me to the proper
adviser. We look forward to your participation and appreciate your invested
interest in SPJ.
Vice President, SPJ - University of Arizona Student Chapter
Adviser, SPJ - University of Arizona Student Chapter
Conference reports / SPJ Ethics Code / Hawaii Sunshine Law