May 20, 2020
"We have to report reality as it is, not as we wish it would be, but to question authority. And that’s precisely our role. And so I think we have to put aside that temptation of saying 'well let me help the government' ... because we’re not working for any government. Our role is precisely to serve the people. Our role is precisely to serve the audience, not the government."

Jorge Ramos, anchor of Noticiero Univision,
during Tuesday’s webinar with SPJ Board Member Erica Carabajal
Protesters have held a series of demonstrations against social-distancing restrictions over the last month, leading to challenges for journalists covering them. The large gatherings of people  have made it more difficult to follow social distancing guidelines  and protesters often ignore safety rules, opting not to wear masks or stay the recommended six feet apart. This has led journalists to adopt extra safety precautions and change the way they would typically report. Journalists have also   faced threats and harassment from protesters   angry with the media, including cries of “fake news,” being accused of “terrifying the general public” and being told that they’re “on the wrong side of history.” The  Committee to Protect Journalists issued a safety advisory   and offered some tips for journalists covering these protests.  
Stacey Abrams, former Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Georgia, told the New York Times that we “can’t expect for the nightly news to call the election on the evening of,  because this is not a normal election .” Because of COVID-19, journalists have no campaigns to cover and the last debate was March 15. Every election cycle, the media beats itself up about too much horse race coverage and not enough focus on the issues. Now, with an extremely limited horse race to cover,  journalists are covering how the election even happens  and focusing on access to the ballot.  This was seen during Wisconsin’s spring election , where Rachel Piper, digital news director for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and SPJ member, said “Most of the interest was about the how – how are we going to vote, how is this election going to happen, and less about who was involved.” 
After Dallas Morning News weather reporter Jesus Jimenez  tweeted the day’s forecast in the form of a song   in April 2019, his managing editor challenged him to commit to the bit and keep the forecast songs going for a full year. Although Jimenez planned to complete the challenge in 365 consecutive days, he ended up taking a break for a vacation and after a tornado struck Dallas. The result was  a more than 23-hour long Spotify playlist  of North Texas weather — with a few songs that didn’t have to do with the weather but were related to current events like sharing “Closedown” by the Cure when businesses closed due to COVID-19.  
Rayhan Asat   fights to free her brother who disappeared   after spending time in the U.S. as part of a prestigious U.S. State Department leadership program for foreign citizens — including journalists. Ekpar Asat, an Uyghur digital media entrepreneur and philanthropist, was detained by Chinese authorities upon his return from the U.S. in 2016 and his whereabouts remain unknown. His sister is  seeking signatures on  to demand his release. During that March 2016 trip, the delegation — including Ekpar Asat — visited SPJ HQ in Indianapolis to learn more about American journalism.  
SPJ is seeking candidates who are interested in serving on the SPJ Board of Directors or as a regional coordinator. Open positions for the national board are president-elect, secretary-treasurer and two at-large directors. Regional coordinator positions are open for regions 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9. Individuals can declare their candidacy by  emailing Program Coordinator Matthew Kent . Voting is scheduled to take place electronically during the Excellence in Journalism conference in September. 
We’re hiring!  SPJ is searching for a Director of Education  who will be responsible for developing a wide spectrum of curriculum and delivery methods that position SPJ as an innovator and leader in journalism education .  The ideal candidate will have in-depth knowledge of emerging journalism trends and a firm understanding of the journalism community. Working remotely may be possible.  Deadline to apply is 5 p.m. EDT June 17.   
Are you looking to add a little fun to your seemingly endless videoconference calls?  We’ve added SPJ-branded backdrops to the downloadable resources page!  Here you’ll find four backgrounds to choose from: SPJ logo, DePauw University (SPJ’s birthplace), SPJ HQ in Indianapolis and the 1926 SDX Convention. Rep SPJ on your next videoconference call!   
Congratulations to the " Winners of the Winners " in the  College Coronavirus Coverage contest: WUFT based at University of Florida, Lily Lamadrid from Portland State Vanguard and Amanda Siew from University of Central Oklahoma! Judges were impressed by the college journalists who admirably covered the pandemic while taking online classes.
SPJ Executive Director John Shertzer  was  mentioned in an article from the Local News Initiative from Northwestern University’s Medill School  about how reporters navigate remote-work challenges during the pandemic. He said, “Journalists will have learned new skills just by sheer nature of having to in this time period.” As journalists learn new ways to go about their day-to-day work, Shertzer said it’s helpful to share techniques and support with colleagues in similar situations. 
SPJ continues to  monitor the spread of the coronavirus  and how it could affect SPJ events and conferences. Further updates, COVID-19 information and resources are available on . SPJ members experiencing financial difficulties renewing their membership or who recently were  laid off from full-time employment in the media industry  can apply for a dues waiver that now grants 12 months on their SPJ membership. To submit the waiver request, fill out  this form
If you’re graduating soon, or if you’re a campus adviser, don’t forget to  order your SPJ graduation cords ! They are a great way to show your journalism pride and commemorate all your journalism accomplishments. Thinking about what to give a journalism grad?  Gift them an SPJ Post Grad Membership !  Any newly joining Post Grad member can receive three years for just $75. 
Nominations are being accepted through June 20 for the  Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award , which honors a person or persons who have fought to protect and preserve one or more of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. The award comes with a $10,000 cash prize and an engraved crystal. The honoree(s) will be recognized at the Excellence in Journalism conference later this year.   
The Philadelphia Inquirer is looking for a   newsletter producer  to assist with the writing, editing, sending, strategy and quality control of The Inquirer’s email newsletter portfolio. The ideal candidate will have one to three years of journalism experience. Prior experience working specifically with newsletters is not required, but strong writing and editing skills are essential. 
The Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia is accepting applications for a  metro/local government editor . The ideal candidate would have at least two years’ experience as an editor, managing reporters, budgets, assignments  and schedules. Digital and multi-media experience is a must. 
Spectrum News in Cleveland is hiring a  multimedia journalist . Applicants should have an interest and understanding of current events and news and be able to function as a reporter and photographer. Three years of television news reporting experience is preferred.  

If you’re interested in applying for fellowships, here are a couple you should check out:  The Logan Nonfiction Program   and  Doris O’Donnell Innovations in Investigative Journalism Fellowship .

One way SPJ supports journalism is by initiating and joining amicus (or “friend of the court”) briefs to support First Amendment and open records cases through its  Legal Defense Fund . Here is one of the most recent cases SPJ has signed onto: 
The case stems from CNN's Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI for the Comey memos. It concerns access to a sealed declaration the FBI submitted in the resulting FOIA lawsuit to justify withholding the Comey memos.    
The amicus brief   highlights the continued public interest in the Mueller investigation and Comey Memos, and the resulting public interest in the Archey Declaration, which details the government's justification for withholding the Comey Memos. It points out that unsealed court records in FOIA and other cases have led to important reporting about the judiciary. Finally, it argues that the public's right of access to the Archey Declaration is governed by the common law and First Amendment, not FOIA, and that applying FOIA's exemptions to the release of court records does not comport with FOIA's text or intent.  
View all of SPJ's most recent efforts to assist journalists and journalism in court and elsewhere  on the LDF in Action page
Author/journalist/technologist Andy Boyle presents a free, interactive program geared to freelance journalists  at 1 p.m. EDT Thursday . The focus will be on Google tools new and old that will help you track down the best, most accurate and most up-to-date information more efficiently. For best results, access via computer (rather than smartphone). Email   for Zoom information. 
Looking for more learning opportunities? Don’t forget to check out  SPJ's events calendar !  You’ll find the latest journalism webinars and e-learning offerings from our journalism friends and partners to help you do your job and continue your professional development. 
You know the  SPJ Code of Ethics,   but have you ever wondered what other codes of ethics say? We showcase  excerpts from employers’ codes of ethics and associations’ aspirational codes . They are broken down by subject so you can see the guidance other organizations offer when it comes to ethical issues on a variety of subjects, including conflicts of interest, diversity and the use of social media. 
As the spread of the coronavirus continues, local, state and federal officials throughout the United States have  locked down information  from the public, and newsrooms are experiencing  layoffs, furloughs and closures . In a crisis such as this, the public needs — and has the right to know — information from the government that directly affects their lives. Journalists are most often the ones delivering such information. Please consider “giving a little” to the cause, whether that be a  financial donation to an SPJ fund or the Journalists’ Emergency Fund .
Connect with us!