Ohio University’s campus chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists had quite the 2017. We won National Outstanding Campus Chapter of the Year for the second year in a row, hosted influential speakers and held workshops to help our members. Here’s our year in review.
We welcomed our membership back to campus and looked forward to a great year of programs. To ease everyone back into our programming, we hosted a resume design workshop. Members learned how to make their resume attractive to future employers, just in time for last-minute internship applications.
The month of love was filled with a lot of heart from our speakers. We started off by hearing from Cody Stavenhagen, Oklahoma Sooners beat writer for Tulsa World, about his work and how to be a good storyteller.
Members would keep the lessons they had learned from Stavenhagen in mind when we heard from Elisa Di Benedetto from the International Association of Religion Journalists. Di Benedetto, skyping in from Italy, helped us understand the basics of religion journalism and why it is such a challenging and complex topic.
OU SPJ was honored to host a workshop, presented by John Ackerman from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus and OU SPJ faculty advisor Nerissa Young, on how to cover suicide ethically. Members got advice on not just covering suicide ethically, but also how to take care of themselves when out in the field.
We started the month by hearing from ESPN general assignments reporter Coley Harvey. Harvey spoke to our members and other journalism students about his role and provided insights for aspiring sports journalists.
OU SPJ was honored to host Lynn Walsh, OU alum and then-president of SPJ, later in the month. Walsh talked about ethics in journalism and how to maintain objectivity when covering the Trump administration.
The month would end with a bang when OU SPJ celebrated the birthday of James Madison, the father of the First Amendment, with free cake for everyone.
April was a month of a celebration. We started off with a few of our members attending the Region 4 conference in Detroit where six members and two publications would receive Marks of Excellence Awards.
Later that month, members were reminded of the importance of the First Amendment with our First Amendment Free Food Festival. During this festival members were stripped of all their rights in exchange for free food. Members walked away with the reminder of the importance and impact the First Amendment has.
Later in the month, OU SPJ and PRSSA partnered up for a mock press conference. The press conference was being “held” by the Pepsi Co. in response to the Kylie Jenner ad released earlier that month. Members of both organizations were able to improve their question formulations and public relations skills.
We ended the month and our academic year with our famous Grammar Smackdown. Teams battled in a competition based on grammar expertise with each question testing their AP and general grammar knowledge.
We welcomed back our members while getting to know the new students to OU and OU SPJ. Free pizza and good company made for a great first meeting. We enjoyed talking to freshmen from around the country with interests in a variety of medias.
We kicked into high gear with our jOUrnalism 101 workshop. Our members, new and old, learned how to become official members of SPJ and how to join campus media such as The Post, The New Political, Backdrop, WOUB and more.
Very soon after our kickoff for the year, a few of our members flew off to the SPJ national conference in Anaheim, Ca. OU SPJ won National Outstanding Campus Chapter of the Year for the second year in a row. Also, our former president, Hayley Harding, became a student representative on the national SPJ board.
We celebrated our accomplishments by welcoming Judy Woodruff, anchor of PBS NewsHour, and Lee Ann Colacioppo, first female editor of The Denver Post, to OU. Colacioppo spoke to a journalism class and our membership about ethics in journalism in the afternoon, setting a great stage for our conversation about how to get into journalism and reporting tips with Woodruff.
We would finish off our speaker lineup for September with Jesse Holland, a race and ethnicity beat reporter for the AP. Holland provided tips on how to keep readers reading and objectivity to help our members develop new skills as we went into October.
We started off October with our FOIA and Public Records Workshop hosted by Pulitzer Prize winner Eric Eyre and OU alum Jake Zuckerman, both of who work at the Charleston (WV) Gazette-Mail. Eyre and Zuckerman walked students through how to request records and some little known tips on how to speed up the process.
OU SPJ also welcomed former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland during his stay at OU. Strickland talked about the future of the Democratic Party and the importance of journalism in the current political climate.
Later in our speaker lineup for October, OU SPJ and Scripps Hispanic Network partnered to welcome Michele Salcedo, an editor at the AP. Salcedo talked about the stories we as journalist choose to cover as well as how to improve diversity in the newsroom.
We finished off the month by releasing a statement in opposition of OU’s Freedom of Expression interim policy.
“The practical effect of this policy is to restrict the speech of everyone who comes onto this public university property,” we said in our statement.
November may have been a short month for us but we were able to bring in some great speakers such as Daniel Connolly, Craig Martin and Earl Bridges.
Connolly, author of “The Book of Isias”and reporter for the Memphis Commercial Appeal, explained his coverage of immigration policy to our membership, a relevant topic regardless of member’s career goals. We enjoyed partnering with Scripps Hispanic Network, E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and the Storytelling Institute to bring Connolly to campus.
Martin and Bridges, producers of “Good All Over TV,” explained how to start a docu-series and the business side of production. The tips and lessons they shared provided great insights for students interested in documentary or docu-series production.
We finished our calendar year and fall semester with two celebrations.
For the first time during a fall semester members and beyond proved their grammatical skill superiority in Grammar Smackdown. There was only one winner but our top three teams all walked away with prizes.
We finished off our programming for fall semester by inducting five new members. We choose to end our semester the same way it was started: free food and great company.
We had a great year and we look forward to all we have to bring in 2018. Happy New Year!