Page 2 n The Working Press n Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009
The Working Press Student staff
Cristina Boccio Arizona State University Designer Julieta Chiquillo Texas Christian University Copy editor Amanda Dolasinski The Ohio State University Reporter Breanna Gaddie Northern Kentucky University Photographer Joan Khalaf University of Texas at Arlington Copy editor Rashawn Mitchner Howard University Copy editor Jackie Palochko Ithaca College Reporter Meagan Racey University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Reporter Andrew Seaman Wilkes University Designer Josephine Varnier Virginia Commonwealth University Reporter Nicole Villoria University of Nevada, Las Vegas Photographer Emory Williamson University of Louisville Reporter
Dori Hjalmarson Lexington Herald-Leader Editor, The Working Press Joe Grimm Michigan State University J. Ben Kelly The Clarion-Ledger Danese Kenon The Indianapolis Star Billy O’Keefe Society of Professional Journalists Tony Peterson Society of Professional Journalists John P. Stamper Lexington Herald-Leader Reginald A. Stuart The McClatchy Co. Eunice Trotter The Indianapolis Star
nnn Thanks to the Logansport Pharos Tribune, owned by CNHI, for printing The Working Press.
The Buzz: jail, jokes, jobs Doing Time
A surge in journalistic “crimes” — failure to yield to an oncoming editor, dangling participles in public, improperly inverting a pyramid — pumped money into the Legal Defense Fund. The fund helps journalists who need legal assistance and pays for Freedom of Information initiatives in court. It collected about $4,300 over three days. LDF usually raises $4,000 to $5,000 at an auction, which this year was dedicated to the Harper Memorial Fund instead. Journalists paid $5 to have others arrested for the Jail-N-Bail event. Inmates had to stay behind bars for one hour or until they raised $100 to be released. Frank Gibson, former SPJ president, was jailed under several charges including: •Impersonating a University of Tennessee student •Four counts of being a thorn in the side of politicians •Having shingles and being a health risk •Reckless consumption of caffeine and nicotine “These are getting personal,” he said. Holly Fisher, LDF committee vice chair, said the purpose of the mock jail, set up for the first time this year, was not only to raise money but also to raise awareness about the legal woes some journalists face for doing their jobs. “It’s just a fun way to create some buzz about the LDF,” Fisher said.
The largest chapter contribution came from the Press Club of Long Island in New York, which donated $500. The inmate with the most bail was former SPJ President Dave Carlson. He raised $250.
making high school j-education a higher priority. “But they have to know there’s a need for a presence there.’’
— Julieta Chiquillo and Amanda Dolasinski The Working Press
Recruitment Tools Hot giveaway items inside the
— Eunice Trotter The Working Press
Seriously Joking Part of SPJ’s closing business session Saturday turned into a roast of 2008-09 President David Aeikens. Several delegates proposed amendments to the resolution thanking the president for his work. The changes not only corrected grammatical errors in the resolution, written and edited by professional journalists, but they added some flavor to Aeikens'’ legacy. Former SPJ President Dave Carlson proposed that “accomplished” be removed from “Whereas, Aeikens — an accomplished golfer.” Noelle Leavitt, Colorado Pro chapter president, suggested that “avid cranberry-and-soda drinker” be added. Both revoked those amendments as jokes. But 2009-10 SPJ President Kevin Smith requested the addition of “Whereas, Aeikens is the only recent leader to emerge from Minnesota who is not a comedian or a wrestler.” The amendment was typed in. “Sometimes, people pay a lot of
NIKKI VILLORIA/ The Working Press
SPJ celebrates its 100 year anniversary and passed out "I'm 100 years old" pins.
money to go to roasts, but this one was free,” Aeikens said. Also, the official status of the new board of directors is questionable, Aeikens said. The members stumbled through the recitation of the swearing-in statement. — Meagan Racey The Working Press
Covering Bases SPJ might consider paying more attention to high school journalism, said Reginald Ragland, Washington, D.C. director of the Journalism Education Association, an organization of high school journalism advisers. “They don’t have to necessarily go there,’’ Ragland said about
The Working Press 2009 staff thanks the following special patrons: Dave Aeikens Kevin Z. Smith Carol Bowers Bradley Hamm Benjy Hamm
Sue Porter Gordon ‘Mac’ McKerral Howard Dubin Reginald Stuart Hagit Limor
Frank Gibson Neil Ralston Lauren Bartlett Steve Geimann
expo were the “writer” and “editor” T-shirts from Demand Studios, one of the SPJ exhibitors. There were only 25 editor shirts, but 600 writer shirts went nearly as fast. Demand Studios Senior Vice President Jeremy Reed said the company was in Indianapolis recruiting freelancers and intends to recruit next year in Las Vegas. “We were in the right place,” Reed said. Since the company’s founding three years ago in Santa Monica, Calif., it has paid about $16 million to freelancers. The company sells content to publications. — Eunice Trotter The Working Press
University of Connecticut broadcast professor Steven Kalb told The Working Press staffers he used to brew his own liquor when he was in college — sometimes as much as 120 proof. — Amanda Dolasinksi The Working Press
A graphic in Friday's edition incorrectly located the William O. Douglas chapter, which serves the Mid-Columbia and Yakima Valley regions of Washington and northeast Oregon. n A puzzle in Saturday's edition incorrectly identified Steve Geimann and Robert Leger. Geimann is president of the Sigma Delta Chi board, and Leger is vice president.
Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009 n The Working Press n Page 3
Cost drives some convention-goers to attend Tweetup Seasoned organizers say event successful By Josephine Varnier The Working Press From the perspective of a seasoned Tweetup coordinator, the gathering at Alcatraz Brewing Co. in downtown Indianapolis was a success. “It seems like everyone is having a good time,” said Jeff Cutler, delegate of the New England Pro Chapter, who met face-to-face with about 25 others who participated in the Tweetup. The gathering was organized by Ron Sylvester, vice president of the SPJ digital media committee, and Sonya Smith, vice president of the Orange County Pro Chapter. Cutler, a freelance journalist and content specialist, has organized 100 Tweetups in Boston. “My entire livelihood hinges on being a social media journalist … so I’m here at the event that was put together with social media tools,” said Cutler, who teaches
social media and was a workshop speaker at the SPJ convention. A Tweetup is any event where people are brought together through the use of any social media tool, not just Twitter, Cutler said. A successful Tweetup, Cutler added, is when people meet, make connections and get something out of the meeting. Rebecca Pollack, editor of Grocery Manufacturers Association’s daily news briefing SmartBrief, said she began Tweeting for her company but had not attended a Tweetup until Saturday. She attended the Tweetup instead of the SPJ banquet. “I think this event might be more beneficial to me than the banquet,” Pollack said. “Social media is what I’m really interested in with journalism.” Networking wasn’t the only reason SPJ members attended the
Tweetup. Lack of funds was the reason for some, including Michael Stoll, an editor for the online news Web site The Public Press in San Francisco. “I’m from an under-resourced startup organization and can’t afford all the bells and whistles of the conference,” Stoll said. Smith said she wanted to attend the SPJ banquet but didn’t have the $65 to attend. So she organized the Tweetup. “This brings together a random grouping of people who are on Twitter to enjoy the night in a cheap manner, which is nice,” Smith said. Sylvester, who worked on the Tweetup with Smith, had mentioned the idea at the conference last year after noticing the increase in Twitter activity. “The convention is so big you don’t know everybody, and this is a chance to meet people,” he said.
NIKKI VILLORIA/The Working Press
Robert Moran, a member of the California State University chapter of SPJ, at Alcatraz Brewing Co. in downtown Indianapolis,sends a text during a Tweetup organized by two SPJ members.
Society's longest-serving member: 'Our job is content' By Jacqueline Palochko and Amanda Dolasinski The Working Press
The man who has been a member of SPJ longer than anyone else was among those honored during the President’s Installation Banquet. Austin Kiplinger, a 73-year member of SPJ who was named a Fellow of the Society, urged attendees to refocus on the basics of journalism. Technology may change how journalism is distributed, but the need for solid reporting remains, he said. “The flow of information will still flow,” said Kiplinger, who started his journalism career when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president. “It will just flow in different structures. “ During his career, Kiplinger served as a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle and The Ithaca Journal, political commentator for ABC and NBC, and editor-in-
BREANNA GADDIE /The Working Press
Austin Kiplinger, SPJ/SDX member for 70 years, was one of three journalists honored as a Fellow of the society at Saturday's banquet. chief of Kiplinger’s Personal Fi- nism.” Kiplinger, who said he grew up nance. in a newsroom and never took a During his speech, Kiplinger asjournalism course, is the son of sured members that there will alW.M. Kiplinger, the founder of ways be a role for journalists. Kiplinger Publishing Company. “We worry about the demise of “I’ve come from nothing else but the printed word,” he said. “But journalism,” he said. our job is content — not mecha-
In 1936, his sophomore year at Cornell University, Kiplinger became a member of SPJ. At The Ithaca Journal, he was paid $4 a week. More than seven decades later, he still thinks it’s an exciting time to be a journalist. “We’re in the greatest revolution journalism has ever known,” he said. Kiplinger was one of three who were named Fellows of the Society.Meanwhile, the Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award was given posthumously to Robert Churchwell, who died in February. His wife, Mary Elizabeth Buckingham, and son Robert Jr., accepted the award. Churchwell was the first black journalist to work as a full-time reporter for a southern generalinterest newspaper. Buckingham said her husband was at his best when he was with a pencil, notepad and typewriter. “We were married 58 years, but journalism was his first love,”
Buckingham joked. As the banquet concluded, outgoing President David Aeikens said his goodbyes before installing incoming President Kevin Smith. Smith said he looks forward to the job and laid out three challenges he would like the society to tackle: increasing membership, increasing involvement and including SPJ in discussions about the future of journalism. Most important, he said, he wants SPJ to become a powerful resource for journalists facing unemployment. “We need to provide real-time help for displaced workers,” he said. Smith closed by saying SPJ will continue to be successful only with the help of its members nationwide. “Your work, help and commitment is needed to move us forward,” he said. “I promise to not be passive if you roll up your sleeves as well. It has to be a team effort.”
Page 4 n The Working Press n Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009 BUSINESS from Front Page SPJ membership being informed. The auction funds usually go to the Legal Defense Fund, but the Executive Committee decided to use them for a tribute to former executive director Terry Harper after his death on June 2. The JailN-Bail fundraiser was set up to benefit the Legal Defense Fund instead. Nielsen suggested that communication lapses discourage leaders at the chapter, national and Board of Directors levels and influence them to give less time to SPJ. “We want to encourage them to give more time and more effort to this organization,” Nielsen said. “We need to forge a new picture for this industry.” The meeting included the passing of two resolutions thanking 2008-2009 President Dave Aeikens and the SPJ headquarters staff, the awarding of the Circle of Excellence chapter certificates, and the election of the 2009-2010 Board of Directors.
KEY from Front Page of my whole family,” Lee Ann Harper said of SPJ. “They allowed me to serve on the board that decides how the Terry Harper Memorial Fund would be spent.” Irwin Gratz, a former national president, nominated Harper for the award long before his death. “He came in at a time when the finances and staff were in a disarray,” he said. “He really whipped the organization into shape.” Aeikens said Harper might have been honored regardless of his illness, as he was a deserving candidate. “The organization was not very strong. He built it up, we’re strong now, and he deserves it,” he said. Before Harper, said vice presi-
NIKKI VILLORIA/The Working Press
SPJ President Kevin Z. Smith, in his inaugural address to convention delegates Saturday, urges members to be vigilant in this time of economic trauma and promises enhanced focus on membership retention, helping unemployed journalists, ethics and diversity. dent of Sigma Delta Chi Robert Leger, there were numerous problems regarding staff and finances. Leger was part of the team that hired Harper in hopes he could rescue the organization. “We were looking for somebody with experience in fundraising,” he said. “Terry came in with some very smart ideas on budgeting.” Harper found a new way to generate revenue by requesting that SDX pitch in more money to cover SPJ’s payroll and supplies. Leger said that Harper not only made smart decisions while serving, but also set the society up for success with each hiring of stronger and more qualified candidates. “He put people there that could keep the thing going even when he wasn’t there,” he said. “Terry stepped in and did a great job.”
Award Winners Regional Director of the Year: Darcie Lunsford Chapters of the Year: Large – Western Washington Pro Small – Utah Headliners Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award: Jill Riepenhoff and Todd Jones, The Dispatch Sunshine Award: Project on Government Oversight
SPJ First Amendment Awards: The Oklahoman/ NewsOK.com Detroit Free Press Marjie Lundstrom and Sam Stanton, The Sacramento Bee Helen Thomas Award for Lifetime Achievement: Robert Churchwell Fellows of the Society: Nelson Poynter Stanley E. Hubbard Austin Kiplinger
Wells Key: Terry Harper President’s Awards: Brian Bellmont Laurie Babinski Scott Tyson Clint Brewer Chris Vachon Joe Skeel
Page 6 n The Working Press n Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009 PAID ADVERTISEMENT
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Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009 n The Working Press n Page 7
Organizers hope for more innovation, less uncertainty at 2010 convention
Next year's gathering will be held in Las Vegas
By Joan Khalaf The Working Press After a convention spent discussing the uncertainties of their profession, some SPJ members may leave Indianapolis today still in the dark, said newly installed SPJ President Kevin Z. Smith. In Las Vegas next year, Smith hopes for answers. “I hope that a year from now we’ll have a better handle on the question of where this profession is going,” he said. “And I hope that the programming will reflect that answer.” The 2010 SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference will be Oct. 3-6 at Planet Hollywood, formerly the Aladdin Hotel & Casino, where the 2005 convention was held. Standard room rates will be $129.
The sights of Las Vegas will greet attendees at next year's SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference.
PHOTOS BY NIKKI VILLORIA/ The Working Press
Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas will be the site of the next SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference, to be held Oct. 3-6, 2010. Interim co-executive director Chris Vachon said SPJ wanted to do another convention in Las Ve-
gas before combining conventions with the Radio-Television News Directors Association in 2011.
The 2011 location has yet to be determined. SPJ will begin planning pro-
gramming and other details of the 2010 convention in coming months. Vachon said it would be nice to have more recruiters coming to conventions, but getting them to attend has always been a struggle, even in good times. Vachon said she hopes to continue recent additions to the convention, such as newsroom tours, a career center and Jail-N-Bail, the Legal Defense Fund fundraiser that puts journalists behind bars for an hour or until they raise $100. Molly McDonough, 2009 convention programming chair, said she liked that this year’s sessions focused on forward-thinking principles. “Last year, there were many that didn’t even know what Twitter was,” she said. “It’s nice that we don’t have to be bogged down by that anymore.” McDonough said she’s looking forward to potentially seeing more sessions with innovative journalists. “I want to see people who have new models for making journalism work,” she said.
Page 8 n The Working Press n Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009
Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009 n The Working Press n Page 9
Locals rally against health care reform By Julieta Chiquillo The Working Press
The sound of car horns blasted through the Saturday morning lull in Indianapolis as drivers showed support for more than 40-50 protesters opposing President Barack Obama’s health care reform plan. Signs reading “Government-run health care makes me sick” and “No Obama Care” were raised over the heads of several protesters, including children, who rallied at the corner of West Washington Street and North Capitol Avenue. The protesters didn’t learn about the SPJ national convention until Saturday, said Laurie Carlson of Indianapolis. Her group convened
at 10:30 a.m. Saturday to protest a Democratic Party-affiliated group touring several cities to rally support for Obama’s proposed government-run insurance plan. Web sites said the group is scheduled to visit Indianapolis on Monday. Working journalists from various outlets, including The Indianapolis Star, had interviewed some of the protesters Saturday, Carlson said. “We’re here today to let Indianapolis know that we’re concerned about the possibility that his health care bill will be passed,” said Glenda Reber of Indianapolis. She wore a shirt that read “Don’t Tread on Me.”
People rallied Saturday, targeting a scheduled Democratic Partyaffiliated group visit to tout Obama's health care reform proposals.
Paul Wheeler, of Indianapolis, said lawmakers were stomping on citizens’ rights. “We will continue to come out until the last snake legislator has to slither over our cold, smoldering bodies,” said Wheeler, who wore a Colonial-period outfit. He said the founding fathers would roll over in their graves if they knew the government was mandating citizens’ health care. Obama’s proposal raises several concerns, Reber said, like affordability and excessive government power. — Working Press photographer Nikki Villoria contributed to this report.
On the sidewalks outside the Indiana Capitol, protestors gathered Saturday to demonstrate their objection to President Barack Obama's health care plans.
PHOTOS BY NIKKI VILLORIA/The Working Press
“We are beyond socialism, we are now at Marxism. Now it's not just about health care. The people … who are going to help Obama, he will single-handedly put them all down.” ~ Wyllo Sanders, Indianapolis
“What aspect of government controls health care anyway? I think we should have freedom and liberty without government control.” ~ Daniel Levite, Indianapolis “Lawmakers have stepped way beyond the Constitution. We are out here standing up against government-mandated health care.” ~ Paul Wheeler, Indianapolis
"We're here today to let Indianapolis know that we're concerned" about the possibility that the current health care reform plan will pass, a protester said outside the SPJ convention Saturday.
Page 10 n The Working Press n Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009
Disco maniac on 'Stayin' Alive' By Julieta Chiquillo The Working Press
Michael Quintanilla, an awardwinning journalist of more than 30 years who used to cover the cops beat at the San Antonio ExpressNews, had to get something off his chest. Clad in a white suit, black shirt and metallic shoes, Quintanilla leaped on top of an equipment case on stage, bent his knees and pointed to the sky as a disco ball twirled over his head, casting strobe lights on the wall. “My name is Michael Quintanilla, and I have a confession to make,” Quintanilla said, the BeeGee’s “Stayin’ Alive” playing in the background. “I’m a disco maniac, I live in the ’70s and my two favorite gal pals? Poly and Ester.” The crowd burst out laughing as Quintanilla, 54, reminisced about his disco nights when he was a young crime reporter at the Express-News. But after the laughter died down, Quintanilla reminded journalists to remain in touch with their humanity despite the upheaval in the industry. He said it’s a good thing to move forward and keep up with the technology as the industry evolves, but it’s important to remember why journalists go into that profession
NIKKI VILLORIA/ The Working Press San Antonio Express-News features writer Michael Quintanilla entertains attendees during "Confessions of a Disco Maniac: The Write Moves."
in the first place. Curiosity. “After all, we call them human interest stories, don’t we?” It’s important for journalists to relate to the people they write about, not just on an intellectual level, but an emotional one, Quintanilla said. Journalists should look
for the details that will prompt an emotional response from readers, and the best way to do that is “hanging out,” he said. “Observe and write with your eyes,” he said. Quintanilla said he learned to “hang out” from his mother. When an editor at the Express-
NIKKI VILLORIA/ The Working Press Keeping up with the times is important, but human care and compassion are just as important to journalists, Quintanilla said.
News interviewed him fresh out of school, Quintanilla told the editor he had a car and a driver’s license, even though he didn’t, because he wanted the job. “Without the editors knowing, my mother and I covered the police beat together,” Quintanilla said to roaring laughter.
Quintanilla’s mother would drive him to crime scenes in a baby blue Rambler. While he reported, his mom would just “hang out.” “During the drive back to the station, she would feed me better information than I had because she snooped around,” he said. Quintanilla, now senior features writer at the Express-News and former fashion and entertainment writer for the Los Angeles Times, said care for the human condition led him to several human interest stories that struck a chord with his audience. For the Los Angeles Times, Quintanilla chronicled the last months of Raphael Cordero, a man who had become too sick to raise money to help his elderly friends because he was dying of AIDS. For months, Quintanilla would go to Cordero’s home after work. Cordero’s mother flew from Puerto Rico to care for him but she didn’t know English. Quintanilla kept a diary for Cordero’s mother, which was published as a story, with her permission. The caring and passion that comes out of those stories is what readers like about journalists, Quintanilla said. “When you feel, you reveal,” Quintanilla said, “and that advice comes directly from my mom.”
NIKKI VILLORIA/ The Working Press "We call them human interest stories, don't we?" Quintanilla asked during his writing session Saturday. Curiosity and observation are keys to good writing, he said.
Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009 n The Working Press n Page 11
New president seeking greater diversity
NIKKI VILLORIA/The Working Press
SPJ member Donna Rogers says she looks forward to President Kevin Z. Smith's efforts to improve the organization's diversity.
MOVING STORIES, POWERFUL IMAGES.
By Amanda Dolasinski The Working Press SPJ President Kevin Z. Smith wants to see stronger efforts to attract minority journalists to the society. He met with the Diversity Committee Friday and told members he would like them to pick a project that helps recruit members of all ethnicities. “It’s absolutely vital that we do something,” he said. “We ignore diversity far too much.” SPJ does not keep statistics on membership or convention attendees by race or ethnicity, but based on attendees he’s seeing, the makeup of attendees this year is typical — not many minorities. Diversity Committee Chair Pueng Vongs said she was a little disappointed no program was focused on diversity issues this year. She said the rate at which minority journalists are losing jobs is the biggest issue the committee wants
to tackle. “We’re working with (minority journalists') groups to provide training for their members to improve their skills,” she said, “because we think that you need diversity in the newsroom to reflect the issues of a growing, diverse population.” New SPJ member Reginald Ragland, media liaison and the Washington, D.C., director of the Journalism Education Association, works to put journalism programs in U.S. middle and high schools. He is also a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and attended its national conference in Tampa a few weeks ago. After seeing students of color attending SPJ informational sessions and accepting awards, he was impressed with SPJ’s efforts. “I see they planted the seeds in college students. That’s pretty essential,” he said. “The outreach is good.”
Donna Rogers never felt compelled to join SPJ because she didn’t know that the organization could offer her professional benefits but now is looking forward to seeing the society's efforts to recruit more minorities. The South Bend Tribune online editor said she has seen more diverse faces at the convention this year but is disappointed most are students. "As far as professionals go, they could do a lot better," she said. Rogers is a member of SPJ and the National Association of Multicultural Media Executives and a past member of NABJ. Seraphina Lin, who just completed graduate studies at Northwestern University, said she is one of few Asians at the convention this year. She doesn’t, however, feel unwelcome. Instead, she said she’s focused on learning as much about the journalism industry as possible.
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Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009 n The Working Press n Page 13
Joe Grimm/The Working Press
Panelists Moni Basu (left) and Kelly Kennedy (center) talk with new Region 3 Director Jenn Rowell after their presentation.
Covering journalism's most difficult stories By Joe Grimm The Working Press
One of journalism’s most difficult challenges is writing about tragedy. Dart Society journalists, who have received fellowships or awards from the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, gave tips Saturday on covering some of the hardest stories. The Dart Center, http://dartcenter.org/, is “dedicated to informed, innovative and ethical news reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy.” Moni Basu, now with CNN, was a reporter with the Atlanta JournalConstitution when she wrote the eight-part series “Chaplain Turner’s War.” She and photographer Curtis Compton followed Darren Turner as he counseled soldiers in Iraq. “I actually got under desk when he counseled soldiers,” she said, “where I would take notes for one- or two-hour sessions.” In one of those conversations, with Basu under the desk and out of sight, a young sniper recounted the first time he killed a man. The soldiers and chaplain allowed her to listen. “These kinds
of details would never have come out if I hadn’t established this relationship,” she said. Kelly Kennedy, a reporter for Army Times, also went to Iraq and reported the project “Blood Brothers.” There she covered the 15-month tour of an Army battalion that lost 31 soldiers. As a medical reporter, she grappled with how her reports might affect people. “As I was interviewing them about mental health this huge explosion happened,” she said. A Bradley Fighting Vehicle had been blown up, killing everyone inside. “The details of that explosion were so horrific I wrestled with whether I should tell those details and I decided I had to tell those stories so that people would understand war and the causes of post-traumatic stress disorder.” Her project is to be released as a book in March 2010. Tina Croley was features editor at the Detroit Free Press, where one of her writers wrote about homicides at a time when Detroit was experiencing about one a day. She said, decide what makes this story worthwhile to the paper, its editors and the community based on your pre-reporting. Figure out how to provide that.
Page 14 n The Working Press n Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009
Pulliams keep alive family's century-long media legacy By Josephine Varnier The Working Press
“Our whole family are newspaper people,” Russ Pulliam said at the conference celebrating the 100th anniversary of the organization his grandfather founded. The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation board member said he’s “knee deep in this story” of his family’s history with SPJ, and he tries to compare the times. “Today there is a lot more news in journalism,” he said. “A lot more people doing a lot more news than in 1909.” Newspapers may have been more fun back then because writers could write more self-indulgently, he said. But journalism is like teaching school. You do it for the love of the profession, not to make a lot of money, he added. “One reason Sigma Delta Chi was formed in 1909 was my grandfather thought journalists didn’t get enough respect … they wanted to elevate the profession more,” Russ Pulliam said. Eugene C. Pulliam, along with nine other students from DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., created the journalistic fraternity that later became the Society of Professional Journalists. He eventually owned 46 newspapers, and generations of Pulliams who grew up with his legacy are now carrying it on. His son Eugene S. Pulliam was publisher of The Indianapolis Star and The Indianapolis News until he died in 1999. Russ Pulliam writes a weekly political and social issues column for the Star. Russ Pulliam’s sister, Myrta Pulliam, is director of special projects at the Star and is a co-founder of the Investigative Reporters and Editors. The old-time news of the day was always part of family conversation. “I used to ask my grandfather, ‘What about William Jennings Bryan?’ and he’d say he interviewed him … but that (Bryan)
Indianapolis Star File Photo
Eugene C. Pulliam (left) receives the Wells Memorial Key from Ted Koop, vice president of CBS, in November 1969. didn’t trust journalists,” Russ Pulliam said. In order to gain the three-time Democratic presidential nominee’s trust, Eugene C. Pulliam would show him all of the quotes he wrote down during their interviews so Bryan could check them. “My grandfather helped me a lot that way about history,” Russ Pulliam said, noting that he would write his grandfather letters asking about other journalists of his time. Now Russ Pulliam’s daughter, Sarah, who has become a journalist, does the same to him. She says she always asks about all the “old guys” in journalism. Sarah Pulliam, 23, is the online editor for Christianity Today magazine in Illinois. Growing up surrounded by newspapers and magazines stacked on the kitchen counter, Sarah Pulliam got excited about reporting after writing for The Wheaton Record at Wheaton College. She felt the newsroom was the most informed place on campus, with the brightest and most dedicated students. But she said her family was a big influence. “My dad is incredible … he can do so many things at once,” Sarah Pulliam said as she remembered times when Russ Pulliam would come to her brother’s sports games and write his column while sitting
LARRY GEORGE/Indianapolis News
On July 6, 1961, Indianapolis News Managing Editor Eugene S. Pulliam (right) was photographed in the newsroom with many members of The News staff. Shown in the foreground with Pulliam are Asst. Managing Editor Wendell C. Phillippe (left) and Editor M. Stanton Evans (center). in the bleachers. Sarah Pulliam helped her dad create a Facebook page “before older people were on it,” Russ Pulliam said. Sarah Pulliam said she would love to be able to talk to her grandfather, Eugene S. Pulliam, about how technology is changing the face of the business. Russ Pulliam’s son, Daniel, 28, also worked in journalism for three years after graduating from Butler University. He is now attending law school. “I always wondered why we always talked about politics but never got involved,” Daniel Pulliam said. “It’s because journalists serve the public, and they didn’t want to be biased and choose one side over the other. Over the last 100 years you see journalism has become more independent.” The latest generation of Pulliam writers is as passionate about the craft as the generations that preceded them. “People always ask me, ‘If you prick your finger, does black ink come out?’” Sarah Pulliam said.
NIKKI VILLORIA/The Working Press
Russ Pulliam, the grandson of Eugene C. Pulliam, carries on his family's legacy by serving as director of the Pulliam Fellowship Program. He also writes a weekly column for The Indianapolis Star.
Words from a Fellow Eugene C. Pulliam created the Pulliam Journalism Fellowship, which Russ Pulliam now directs. Students accepted for the fellowship are usually graduating seniors and work 10 weeks writing at a newspaper in either Phoenix or Indianapolis. Nicole Blake a 22-year-old graduate from the University of Central Florida, has just completed the fellowship.
She has interned as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel through the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund, as well as the Orlando Business Journal. However, she said the Pulliam Fellowship was the best internship she’s had. Blake said she was not treated like an intern. “You’re going to write articles that are going to affect thousands — and on page A1,” she said.
Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009 n The Working Press n Page 15
Song recalls earlier days of SDX By Emory Williamson The Working Press Theme songs often become embedded in American culture. Think “Star Wars” and “The Andy Griffith Show.” SPJ’s signature tune didn’t work out so well. The song “In Sigma Delta Chi” – originally played at events organized by the Sigma Delta Chi organization – hadn’t been heard in decades before this weekend. Samantha Allen, an Ithaca College student, performed the nearly century-old song on the first floor of the Westin Indianapolis. The Working Press provided her the sheet music. The anthem is past its prime, said Steve Geimann, president of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation. “It’s not music you want to have on your iPod,” he said. The song is one of several traditions of SPJ, which changed its name in 1973 and 1988, that have disappeared since the Sigma Delta Chi fraternity was established in 1909. “When we became a professional organization those kinds of things faded away,” Geimann said. “It’s about what you do and how you do it, not singing a song about it.” Although the song is “part of the legend and the lore” of SPJ, Geimann doubts it will make a comeback anytime soon. Still, “if we could get somebody to update it for the 21st Century that would be nice,” he said.
More online: Watch audio slideshow at SPJ.org.
Fighting for your right to know, one story at a time.
NIKKI VILLORIA/The Working Press
Ithaca College student and SPJ member Samantha Allen takes a moment to learn the historical 'In Sigma Delta Chi' song on Friday at The Westin Indianapolis.
"In Sigma Delta Chi" Words by Franklin M. Reck circa 1925
1. The farmer feeds and clothes the world, the doctor makes it well; The engineer must keep it safe and dry. The journalist amuses it, abuses it, enthuses itAnd makes it giggle, cogitate and cry. CHORUS: In Sigma Delta Chi, our ink is never dry; We'll tell the world, that's how we keep alive.
We throw it into high, and pass the plodders by Then tell them all the news when they arrive. 2. We play the song of life upon a rattletrap machine; And daily sell the music for a sou*. Our business is to brighten you, to frighten and enlighten you; To teach all what they should and shouldn't do. (REPEAT CHORUS) * An old, French 5-cent piece
NIKKI VILLORIA/The Working Press
'In Sigma Delta Chi,' originally the song for the SDX Iowa Chapter, has gradually faded away with the evolution of SPJ.
Page 16 n The Working Press n Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009
Revving their engines
Convention attendees who ventured away from the hotel on Saturday had the chance to watch competitive motorbike freestyle riders in action.
Daniel Farris of Anderson, Ky., practices Saturday for competition in the XDL Sportbike Freestyle Championship at the Indiana War Memorial Plaza Historical District. Farris had a top 10 standing going into Saturday night's finals.
Fans enjoy practice rounds Saturday afternoon in anticipation of the XDL Sportbike Freestyle Championship.
Photos by BreAnna Gaddie The Working Press
Daniel Farris stands his bike while practicing a stunt in preparation for Saturday night's championship.