Board Meeting Minutes – May 21, 2015

SPJ Rio Grande Chapter Board Meeting

May 21 2015

On the call: Andy Lyman (chair), Megan Kamerick, Michael Marcotte, Jeff Proctor, Marisa Demarco, Elva Osterreich, Matt Grubbs, Tom Johnson,  Andrew Oxford, Rachel Sams

Minutes from the previous meeting had already been approved and published

Membership report from Rachel Sams

● Rachel was not on the call but submitted this report via email ahead of Thursday’s meeting: Since our last meeting, we netted one new member, as five joined and four dropped off the roster. We’ve added a net total of five members year to date. Our goal for the year is 15; if we add three more by the end of June, we’ll be halfway there. Keep up your outreach efforts! One member dropped off the roster that I wanted to ask about David

Steinberg. I don’t know him, but I remember a couple of you did. Would someone who knows him be willing to reach out to him about reupping?  Another member who dropped off the roster is Katherine Mozzone from KRQE, who I know and will reach out to about reupping.

One more note: I’ve been talking with Rory McClannahan of the Mountain View Telegraph about joining. He is president of the NMPA and wants to talk with us about SPJ having a mixer at the annual NMPA conference in the fall (it’s typically held at Tamaya out on Santa Ana Pueblo in late October.) I asked him for more specifics and when I get them, I’ll bring them to all of you for discussion.

Financial report from Mike Marcotte

● Andy is still consolidating bank accounts. The chapter’s finances are split with $110 in Guadalupe Federal Credit Union and $5375 in Nusenda Credit Union.

● The only expenditure since our last meeting has been $375 contribution to send Robert Salas (student chapter president) to represent us at the regional conference in Denver.

● Andy says he will follow up with the SPJ in Denver on our check for Top of the Rockies.

Communications report from Megan Kamerick

● Our website now features a “member showcase.”

Programming

● Marisa previously proposed FOIA Friday type events that would serve as skill shares for journalists and provide an opportunity to discuss story ideas as well as issues regarding access to public records. Megan said she now has a membership to the Albuquerque Press Club, which could serve as a venue for such events. Marisa said she will organize the first such event in June. Tom says

Susan Boe of NM FOG has expressed interest in participating. Jeff suggests a panel discussing this year’s changes to IPRA’s damages provisions (discussing, for example, “shaming in the post damages era of IPRA.”)

● Andy said Tristan Ahtone is receptive to participating in a panel on covering Native American communities and issues. Tom mentions freedom of information in tribes would be a particularly interesting and useful. It is suggested that we reach out to journalists who might have expertise in tribal records laws.

● Megan says she is also interested in developing a program jointly with JAWS.

● Tom suggests developing programs tailored to the needs of freelancers, such as connecting with industry conventions and diversifying multimedia skill sets.

● The Damon Runyon Award dinner in Denver could also serve as a model for our chapter, Tom said. Such an event could raise funds and draw prospective members while building name recognition.

● Andy suggests it could be particularly useful to have a workshop on shoestring budget multimedia production. NM SPJ has hosted a similar event in the past. Andy said he can help organize another such event.

Regional conference update from Tom Johnson

● Given how the regional conference has rotated from New Mexico to Utah and Colorado in recent years, it could be our turn to host again in April 2016, Tom said.

● Hosting the conference could require as much as $5,000, Tom noted. Denver reduced its costs this year by securing meeting space at area universities.

● Tom said the same could be done at UNM in Albuquerque. Accommodations would be a challenge, however, as there are not many quality hotels near campus. Santa Fe has several affordable hotels in walking distance, which could make it a better venue.

● There is support for New Mexico hosting the 2016 conference.

● Andy said he will solicit price estimates from a few hotels in the Albuquerque area. Tom said he will inquire about prospective venues in Santa Fe.

● Tom said attendance would be a maximum of 140 people. Dates in April 2016 can be flexible.

● Pricing information will be shared via email in approximately 10 days. The board will then decide whether to move forward with organizing the 2016 conference.

● Tom said the Utah chapter is interested in hosting if we are not but would like a response within the next two weeks.

Other Business

● Message from Rachel: I’d like to discuss ideas for what SPJ can do on the issue of talented journalists leaving the profession and/or the state. This is a huge issue and one where we could potentially have a big impact. That could mean working with newsrooms on ways to retain and promote talented journalists; it could mean training opportunities, which could help people feel like they have a future here; it could mean an event bringing journalism leaders together to discuss ideas for how to address this; it could mean all of those things; or something else entirely. Not every talented journalist will stay in NM forever, or in the field forever. But I think NM can do better in terms of offering those people options if they do want to stick with it, and I’d like to start a discussion on how we can help.

● Megan followed up with IRE on workshop. She has not received a response.

Tom says he will follow up with IRE

● Mike notes the chapter is required this month to file materials for its annual audit with the national chapter. Mike said he has compiled the financial materials. Andy confirms all materials have been submitted.

Our First IPRA Friday

Join us for the first of a monthly hangout where New Mexico journalists compare notes on Inspection of Public Records Act requests, offer tips, generate story ideas, talk to experts and hold local government accountable. (Here’s the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government’s FAQ on the state’s IPRA, if you’re looking for some background.)

We’ll be chatting via Google Hangout with Kelly Hinchcliffe, an investigative reporter at WRAL.com in Raleigh, N.C., about employment contracts. Find her on Twitter: @RecordsGeek

Check out her article for Poynter: Why employment contracts are so much fun for a public records geek.

“Several years ago, I collected contracts for all 115 public school superintendents in North Carolina and found that some received thousands of dollars in bonuses, cars, security details and money to pay for their mortgages.

One of the most memorable contracts came from a small coastal community whose new superintendent got school board members to give her a house. But that wasn’t all. She also convinced them to install a nearly $4,300 fence for her dogs, all paid for with taxpayer money.”

IPRA Friday

July 24, 2015

5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Albuquerque Press Club

201 Highland Park Circle SE, 87102

ASRT Seeks Managing Editor

Are you a strong editor who enjoys collaborating with authors and graphic designers in a technical environment to create a compelling news magazine? Join the premier nonprofit membership organization for medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals.

The American Society of Radiologic Technologists values integrity creativity, professionalism and commitment to excellence. We are seeking a full-time newsmagazine managing editor for our Communications Department.

The position will manage the creation and coordination of the editorial content of the ASRT Scanner, which is a lively and engaging 68-page, bi-monthly member news magazine with a circulation of 153,000. In addition, the newsmagazine editor will be responsible for planning and managing editions, assigning writers, budget control, working with graphic designers and supervising printing elements

Minimum Requirements:

Bachelor’s degree in English, professional writing, technical writing, journalism, communications or a related field, with three to five years of strong writing and editing experience in a similar position or industry.

Solid familiarity with Associated Press editorial style.

Intermediate MS Office skills; familiarity with Adobe InCopy, electronic submission systems, social media and online publication-hosting platforms is a plus.

Ability to work independently and remain composed under pressure in a fast-paced environment while maintaining a high level of attention to detail on multiple projects.

Expertise with publication production schedules is ideal.

Strong organizational, prioritization, project management and analytical skills.

Ability to collaborate with multiple departments and diverse personalities.

Excellent problem solving and decision making skills.

Ability to tactfully interact with, guide and mentor authors and colleagues.

Ideal candidates will have previously served as a news, feature, health care, nonprofit or publications editor, preferably in the journalism field, have a professional and approachable demeanor and a positive attitude, be self-starting and inquisitive, and flexible regarding work assignments. Candidates should be eager to learn and ask questions to better understand the ever-evolving and often technical nature of our audience’s profession.

To apply, interested applicants should visit www.asrt.org/asrtjobs.

ASRT is an equal opportunity employer.

KOB Hiring Reporter

KOB-TV in Albuquerque is hiring a reporter. Applicants should have two years’ experience as a reporter for a network affiliated television station.  The right reporter will enterprise from Day One. They will pitch and turn original stories true to the KOB brand.  Immediately, the requirement is 50 percent enterprise reporting. Our reporters do not and cannot live off the assignment desk. Applicant will handle a variety of news reporting assignments.  We emphasize Breaking News and stories that hold people accountable.

This reporter must be able to get answers to tough questions.  We are active, live storytellers. If you are not moving and showing viewers something on your reel, don’t send it. Active live shots are the expectation at KOB Eyewitness News 4. This reporter must write-it-like-he or she-talks-it, can deal with confrontation, and must be able to work at a high level with multiple hard deadlines every day. The right candidate will use the Web and Social Media as second nature to push viewers to our broadcasts, develop a high personal profile and cultivate stories.  Our reporters are well-coached with an emphasis on weekly, sometimes daily, feedback.  You must be coachable to work in this Newsroom.  You must want to take that constructive coaching to become a better reporter for KOB.

Responsibilities will include, but not limited to: Travel to scenes where news is happening.  Writes, produces, and reports under deadline pressure. Ability to work flexible hours is a must.

The following physical requirements are typical, but not all-inclusive: A valid driver’s license and ability to be insurable.  Dexterity to operate equipment and computer keyboard.  Sufficient mobility to get around the building as well as climb in and out of vehicles, etc. Able to work in all types of weather conditions. Able to see well and sufficient hearing.

Apply to: http://www.kob.com/jobs
Job# 3-15
Albuquerque, NM
No Telephone Calls Please
AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER

SPJ Rio Grande Opposes New Courthouse Restrictions

The Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande Chapter is alarmed by, and staunchly opposed to, new restrictions on the news media’s access to the Second Judicial District Court in Albuquerque.

A memorandum to members of the media issued June 2 by Chief Judge Nan G. Nash and Clerk of the Court James Noel requires “at least twenty-four (24) hours advanced notice to the Clerk of the Court of their desire to report on any matter within or regarding the Court. Members of the media shall enter the Courthouse through its main entrance and through Court Security. Upon entrance, members of the media shall proceed to Court Administration to ‘sign-in’ with the Clerk of the Court and to verify that they provided twenty-four hours advanced notice to the Court.”

The rules not only apply to photographers, broadcasters and film crews but even newspaper reporters carrying nothing more than a notepad and pen. We appreciate the need for security at a courthouse where many of us work each day.

But these rules mock the principle of open courts.

The public has a right to see its justice system at work. Impeding the work of journalists who report from the courts will only erode that right and, we fear, limit the community’s access to this institution.

Moreover, we do not believe the court has any authority to require our members or any other journalists to provide advance notice of reporting on “any matter regarding the court” (emphasis added). Nor do we believe the court has any authority to require reporters “sign in” with security even when carrying nothing more than what a lawyer or litigant might tote around the building.

The memo says “recent violations of these policies, and recent actions aimed at detracting from the dignity of the Court” prompted this “reminder” about the court’s rules.

If this is the case, we expect court administrators to address their concerns to those whose behavior they find disruptive.

Establishing new, burdensome and unnecessary rules is counterproductive. It also leaves us doubting the stated motives for these provisions.

We do not expect unfettered access to the courts but we do expect court officials to remember that the courthouse is not their private domain. The courthouse belongs to our readers, viewers and listeners.

We discourage our members and other journalists from observing these obstructive rules.

Albuquerque Business First Hiring Digital Producer

Want to play a key role in helping an award-winning newsroom break news and grow its audience? Albuquerque Business First, the business news leader in central New Mexico, is hiring a digital producer. We’re looking for someone who will thrive in our breaking-news culture and who has demonstrated content experience in an online environment.

This person will craft timely and compelling content that drives reader interaction, with an emphasis on video, and extend the Business Journal brand in the digital space. The digital producer is expected to curate, report and write posts as well as produce interactive features, galleries and video. The digital producer will also be a key contributor to our social media feeds. In addition, this person will upload weekly files to bizjournals.com and curate our People on the Move and Calendar sections.

This is a part-time position. We’re looking for someone who can be a key contributor in our newsroom for 25 hours a week.

DESIRED EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE AND SKILLS

· Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience

· · 2-3 years experience in online news operation

· · Strong headline writing and copy-editing skills

· · Video production experience

· · Familiarity with AP Style

· · SEO experience

· · Demonstrated use of databases to build interactive elements and features

· · Data entry for content management systems

· · Html skills

· · Excel and/or spreadsheet tools and management

See the full post at JournalismJobs.com. Albuquerque Business First and its 39 sister publications are part of American City Business Journals, the No. 1 source for local business news in the nation. We publish daily online, weekly in print and deliver multiple daily email products, as well as host monthly events attended by hundreds of business executives. We think covering business is just about the most fun thing you could possibly do, and we have a great time doing it.

To apply, email resume, cover letter with salary requirements and three to five published clips to Editor-in-Chief Rachel Sams at rsams@bizjournals.com. No phone calls please.

The Company is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, physical or mental impairment, or any other category protected under federal, state or local law.

New Mexico Journos Clean Up In Top Of The Rockies

Congratulations to all our colleagues who won awards in SPJ’s Region 9 Top of the Rockies contest.

The 422 first-, second- and third-place TOR contest awards went to journalists in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. This year’s contest received 784 entries, which were judged by the SPJ Connecticut Pro Chapter. See a complete list below.

Print circulation under 10,000

*First place for investigative/enterprise reporting
New Mexico In Depth
“Youth ranch controversy calls into question CYFD’s authority”
By Rene Romo

*First place for breaking news story
Albuquerque Business First
“New Mexico a finalist for Tesla Gigafactory”
By Dan Mayfield

*First place for public service
New Mexico In Depth
Child abuse series
By Lindsey Anderson

*First place for feature photography
Albuquerque Business First
Farm to table
By Randy Siner

*First place for front page design
Albuquerque Business First
“High stakes”
By Rachel Baca

*First place for enterprise health reporting
Albuquerque Business First
“New medical school in the works”
By Dennis Domrzalski

*First place for news reporting
New Mexico Street Press
“Navajo family loses home, loses faith in Navajo government”
By Colleen Keane

*First place for politics enterprise reporting
New Mexico In Depth
“Meet New Mexico’s top 10 political donors”
By Sandra Fish

*First place for business enterprise reporting
Albuquerque Business First
“Reinventing Our City”
By Dennis Domrzalski, Dan Mayfield and Damon Scott

*First place for single page design
Albuquerque Business First
“Big dollars for big research at UNM”
By Rachel Baca

*First place for general website excellence
Albuquerque Business First
Albuquerque Business First website

*First place for mobile applications
Albuquerque Business First
Albuquerque Business First app

*Second place for health enterprise reporting
New Mexico In Depth
“Health guides work to convince Native Americans to try Obamacare”
By Bryant Furlow

*Second place for news column
Albuquerque Business First
“What’s so scary about change, Albuquerque?”
By Rachel Sams

*Third place for business enterprise reporting
Albuquerque Business First
“Gone for Good”
By Dennis Domrzalski

*Third place for health enterprise reporting
“The Medicaid Freeze”
By Trip Jennings, Heath Haussamen and Rene Romo

Print circulation between 10,000 and 29,999

*First place for education general reporting
Gallup Independent
“The Long Walk and the Holocaust”
By Diane J. Schmidt

*First place for politics enterprise reporting
Santa Fe Reporter
“Email Fail”
By Joey Peters

*First place for investigative/enterprise reporting
Santa Fe Reporter
“Rx Test. Edible Medical Cannabis Doesn’t Always Prove Potent”
By Peter St. Cyr

*First place for news feature
Santa Fe Reporter
“Ticket to Nowhere”
By Peter St. Cyr

*First place for environment enterprise reporting
Santa Fe Reporter
“New Mexico’s dubious — and expensive — plans to divert the Gila River”
By Laura Paskus

*First place for arts and entertainment single story
“Powerful, Painful Comedy Abounds at Tricklock’s Revolutions Fest”
AdobeAirstream
By Megan Kamerick

*First place for general environment reporting
Santa Fe Reporter
“Top 10 Water Guzzlers”
By Justin Horwath

*First place for front page design
Santa Fe Reporter
“Inside the Chorizo Lab”
By Anson Stevens-Bollen

*First place for headline writing
Santa Fe Reporter
“Highway to Bell; Mime, body, spirt; G Wiz”
By Enrique Limón

*Second place for news reporting — single story
The Navajo Times
“Since Brutal Killings, community waiting for tribe and city to take action – homeless community innocent victims of violent assaults”
By Colleen Keane

*Second place for legal general reporting
Santa Fe Reporter
Jamie Estrada trial
By Justin Horwath and Peter St. Cyr

*Second place for column/humor
Gallup Independent
An Answer So Simple I Couldn’t See It; Play Catch with Balls, Not Missiles; Alternate Perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian Situation
By Diane J. Schmidt

*Second place for general website excellence
AdobeAirstream
By Ellen Berkovitch

*Second place for multimedia story
Santa Fe Reporter
Restaurant Guide
By Enrique Limón, Brianna Kirkland and Anson Stevens-Bollen

*Second place for education enterprise reporting
Santa Fe Reporter
“How politics and bureaucracy from above are impacting the classroom”
By Joey Peters

*Second place for arts and entertainment enterprise reporting
Santa Fe Reporter
“George RR Martin Talks North Korea, Unveils Dragonstone Studio”
By Enrique Limón

*Second place for arts and entertainment enterprise reporting
Santa Fe Reporter
“Wham, Glam, Thank You Ma’am”
By Enrique Limón

*Second place for health general reporting
Santa Fe Reporter
Obstacles
By Joey Peters

*Third place for general website excellence
Santa Fe Reporter
By Brianna Kirkland, Anson Stevens-Bollen and the Santa Fe Reporter Staff

*Third place for general reporting series or package
Santa Fe Reporter
“Marijuana Reform Efforts”
By Joey Peters

*Third place for legal enterprise reporting
Santa Fe Reporter
Casanova Con Man
By Justin Horwath

Circulation of more than 75,000

*First place for spot news photography
Albuquerque Journal
Mounted Police vs. Protestor
By Roberto Rosales

*First place for news column
Albuquerque Journal
D’Val Westphal

*First place for editorial
Albuquerque Journal
D’Val Westphal

*First place for sports general reporting
Albuquerque Journal
“Driving Different Paths”
By Mark Smith

*First place for sports enterprise reporting
Albuquerque Journal
Rick Wright

*First place for politics enterprise reporting
Albuquerque Journal
Homeland Security series
By Mike Coleman

*First place for infographic
Albuquerque Journal
“From MRAPS to mowers”
By Cathryn Cunningham

*Second place for sports general reporting
Albuquerque Journal
“Castillo counts her blessings”
By Mark Smith

*Second place for sports columns
Albuquerque Journal
Randy Harrison

*Second place for spot news photography
Albuquerque Journal
Flooding in the streets
By Roberto Rosales

*Second place for single page design
Albuquerque Journal
“Multibillion Dollar Question”
By Beth Trujillo

*Second place for headline writing
Albuquerque Journal
Robyn Vines Smith

*Third place for news photography
Albuquerque Journal
Roswell student hugging
By Roberto Rosales

*Third place for editorials
Albuquerque Journal
Sharon Hendrix

*Third place for front page design
Albuquerque Journal
“Another great day to be up in the air”
By Joe Black

*Third place for sports photography
Albuquerque Journal
Isotopes baseball
By Jim Thompson

*Third place for sports columns
Albuquerque Journal
Ed Johnson

*Third place for health enterprise reporting
Albuquerque Journal
“Code Blue vs. 911″
By Colleen Heild

*Third place for general business reporting
Albuquerque Journal
“Downtown Fighting to Stay Alive”
By Jessica Dyer

*Third place for general reporting series or package
Albuquerque Journal
Omaree Varela series
By Rick Nathanson

*Third place for general education reporting
Albuquerque Journal
“Why do boys fall behind?”
By Jon Swedien

Radio: All stations

*First place for general broadcast excellence
KUNM Public Radio
“Do Teacher Evals Make the Grade?”
By Kathleen Sabo, Kaveh Mowahed, Michael Hess, Jefferson White and Elaine Baumgartel

*Second place for general broadcast excellence
KUNM Public Radio
“The Trinity Test Legacy And The Birth Of The Atomic Bomb”
By Marisa Demarco, Kaveh Mowahed, Michael Hess, Jefferson White and Elaine Baumgartel

Third place or general broadcast excellence
KUNM Public Radio
“Seeing Inside APD: Albuquerque Police And Public Records”
By Gwyneth Doland, Kaveh Mowahed, Michael Hess, Jefferson White and Elaine  Baumgartel

*First place for enterprise reporting
KUNM Public Radio
“Searching For Answers On Fetal Alcohol Syndrome”
By Ed Williams

*Second place for enterprise reporting
KUNM Public Radio
“Immigrant Detention Center Not Approved By State For Childcare”
By Ed Williams

*Third place for enterprise reporting
KUNM Public Radio
“Mothers Fight Stigma Of Drug Addiction”
By Marisa Demarco

Television: All TV stations

*First place for general broadcast excellence
KNME
“Public Square: Improving Child Well-Being”
By Megan Kamerick, Michael Kamins, Casey Curtiss, Antony Lostetter, Kevin McDonald, Laurel Wyckoff and Randy Lantz

*Second place for general broadcast excellence
KNME
“Public Square: Impact of Early Learning”
By Megan Kamerick, Michael Kamins, Casey Curtiss, Antony Lostetter, Randy  Lantz, Kevin McDonald and Laurel Wyckoff

*Third place general broadcast excellence
KNME
“New Mexico in Focus: Families Who Lost Sons to Police Shootings”
Megan Kamerick, Michael Kamins, Kathy Wimmer, Casey Curtiss, Randy Lantz, Kevin McDonald

KOB Hiring News Photogapher

KOB-TV in Albuquerque is hiring a news photographer. Applicants should have at least two years’ experience as a television news photographer or a closely related field.  Must be able to demonstrate the ability to operate TV news field cameras and videotape editing systems. Must be able to edit with Final Cut Pro.  Must be able to demonstrate ability to visually represent news stories.  Must work closely with reporters and producers. Mac and Windows computer literacy is required. Must have a valid driver’s license.

Responsibilities will include, but not limited to: Photography and editing TV news stories.  Operating field TV news gathering cameras (Panasonic HPX370 P2), videotape/digital editing equipment and software. Driving and operating live trucks, microwave and ENG equipment. Must be proficient on Final Cut Pro. Must be willing to work weekends, holidays, and overtime when needed.

The following physical requirements are typical, but not all-inclusive: Carry equipment weighing approximately 45 lbs. Climb stairs. Drive larger news vehicles. Full mobility is necessary to move quickly to shoot news stories and events. Some of the work is done in a very confined area.

Apply To:

http://www.kob.com/jobs
Job# 17-15
Albuquerque, NM
No Telephone Calls Please
AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER

New Member Welcome – Tom O’Connell

tomoconnell
Tom O’Connell worked in publishing in New York City for 10 years, mostly as a copy editor and writer for national consumer magazines, including Entertainment Weekly, Spin, Self, Stuff, Celebrity Living Weekly, Penthouse, Vanity Fair, InStyle, WWE and Details. In 2006, he moved to Albuquerque, N.M., where he worked as a staff reporter for New Mexico Business Weekly before leaving to launch the editorial consulting company Executive Ink, whose clients have included The New York Times Co., the London Times, Fast Company, Stratus Energy Group, MyFox.com, the U.S. Dept. of Energy and the University of Southern California. He continues to provide a number of editorial services to a wide-ranging clientele, and enjoys calling his own shots outside Cubicle Land.

Passion, Intellect and Innovation Marked Region 9 Conference

By Robert Salas, President of SPJ University of New Mexico Chapter

Hosted by the SPJ Colorado Pro Chapter and the SPJ Aurauria Student Chapter, in the heart of the lively University of Colorado Denver downtown, the 2015 Society of Professional Journalism Region 9 conference proved to be fruitful and invigorating.

The theme of the conference, Scaling New(s) Heights, included multiple sessions with topics ranging from covering freedom of information to the evolving landscape of news media and its future in our democracy.

The conference drew students and professionals from institutions within Region 9 including but not limited to, The University of Colorado, Brigham Young University and the University of New Mexico. During the “Multimedia Journalism: The Present and the Future” session, a panel of passionate and successful professionals provided their valuable input on how to enhance news and sports journalism using the tools and technologies of today’s media consumers/users.

Phil Tenser, digital executive producer for Denver News 7, started the session with his talk on the usage of video, more specifically soundless video, to provide a dynamic visual to further enhance ongoing stories. Tenser also presented an innovation in broadcasting: an extremely mobile broadcasting device. It was essentially an iPad with a mic that could broadcast and live stream. It offered a great example of how journalists, seasoned and new, can adapt to the shifting grounds of our current professional landscape.

Another useful presentation came from Sandra Fish, an independent journalist, who focused on the use of data and visualization tools within stories. Using hard data and visualization helps to provide concrete evidence and logical premise to a story, she said. However, a large part of data gathering is verification. By vetting the source from which we gather our data we can be more confident that our stories will have validity. Fish also delved into a number of data visualization resources that she uses and has found effective tools for storytelling. She pointed out that basic applications like Excel and Google Spreadsheets are great for beginners to incorporate data into their stories. For advanced users, Fish said Tableau is an amazing tool for more in-depth and comprehensive data visualization.

As part of the, “What is the future of the News Industry?” session, a panel of three, well-versed professionals led colleagues and students in a discussion about where the profession of journalism is headed in the future.The panelists, Lauren Gustus, executive editor at Fort Collins Coloradoan, Neil Best, president and CEO of KUNC Public Radio and Jim Anderson, news editor for the AP Denver bureau, prompted debate around traditional v. contemporary values in journalism. The interactive discussion centered on how to balance the old ways with the new innovations of today’s journalistic styles.

A few questions we discussed and attempted to answer at length included:
* Will print newspapers become obsolete in the face of the juggernaut Internet media forums?
* Are today’s youth becoming more disconnected from civic discourse?
* Are we sacrificing in-depth and detailed reporting in order to cultivate a larger readership?
* How much technology-based media is too much?
* How do we, as an academy, deviate from a polarized mainstream media environment?

These topics and many more provided invigorating and deep intellectual conversation during this session which proved to all of us in attendance that journalism will never be “dead” but will continue to evolve with each generation.

During the closing of the conference, SPJ members presented the Mark of Excellence Awards honoring the work of student publications. These accolades ranged from best sports reporting to best online-only news publication were announced and received with great spirit. The New Mexico News Port was a finalist for best digital-only student publication and for online news reporting.

The 2015 SPJ Conference experience provided a nuanced perspective to the field of journalism and a plethora of networking contacts with great, passionate and intelligent people. These students and professionals are striving to make new innovations and leaps forward while remaining true to the core values and ethics of journalism and SPJ.