National SPJ Convention Coming to the Southwest

hotelIt’s not too early to begin planning to attend the national convention of the Society of Professional Journalists, which is coming to the Southwest this year. It’s set for October 3-5 in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. October may seem far off, but time does fly.

The program is still being crafted, but you can bookmark this URL at the SPJ National website — or, why not? Go ahead and register because it’s sure to offer a program you won’t want to miss, along with all the fun of Vegas. Here, from is a description of Planet Hollywood:

Shining in the spotlight of the Las Vegas Strip, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino boasts gourmet restaurants, world-class shopping and dazzling entertainment that has hotel-casino patrons cheering for an encore.

Like the plot of a motion picture, this classic Las Vegas casino – where Elvis and Priscilla Presley were married – once rose from the dead: It was imploded in 1998 and then rebuilt from the ground up. As for its most recent dazzling special effect, the Aladdin lifted the curtain to Hollywood in Sin City when it was reborn as Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Since Planet Hollywood’s arrival, the property has made a metamorphosis from its lackluster Arabian-theme into a high-tech, retro-chic attraction unlike any other Strip property.

Though infused with a taste of Hollywood culture, the vibe at Planet Hollywood is intended to be welcoming and unpretentious. Who knows, you might even find yourself sitting down to play blackjack next to Jack Black.

A great chance to learn new tricks, meet new friends, network like crazy, and have a hoot to boot. We’ll keep you informed as details of the program emerge.

Fellowships Available on ‘Covering the Green Economy’

By Gwyneth Doland, VP-Development

The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism is offering 20 fellowships for an all-expenses-paid seminar on “Covering the Green Economy” (details here) June 28-30 in Phoenix. This three-day specialized reporting institute, combined with two follow-up Webinars, will arm attendees with information to help them recognize “greenwashing,” track federal stimulus dollars designed to create green jobs and answer consumers’ most frequently asked questions about leading environmentally sustainable lives.

Through the generous support of the McCormick Foundation, fellowships cover the full cost of training, lodging, materials and most meals. In addition, fellows receive a $450 stipend to help offset travel and other costs. The full schedule for the seminar, including speakers, will be available soon. Deadline to apply at is April 26. The selection process is highly competitive.

FOI Workshops Coming Soon to New Mexico

By Betsy Model, President

You asked, we delivered.  So many of you have asked for additional workshop and continuing education opportunities that we’re pleased to announce that June dates have been selected for David Cuillier, SPJ’s Freedom of Information Chairman, to come to the Land of Enchantment for an intensive, two-hour workshop on FOI and FOIA in not just one but two cities.

On Wednesday, June 9, Dave will be conducting a workshop in Albuquerque and on Thursday, June 10, he’ll head south to do the same in Las Cruces for our colleagues in the southernmost part of the state and  El Paso.  As many of you know (and is posted on this website) Dave is the co-author of a new book on FOI and we couldn’t be more pleased that he’s bringing his vast knowledge on the subject directly to us.

We’ll post more information as the logistics of time and actual location space is worked out but if you just can’t wait to see Dave in live action  well, sort of – catch this video of him, on behalf of SPJ, responding to reporters wanting to know journalists’ reaction to three states proposing a ban on the release of 911 calls.  Catch it here on  CNN video. You can also read Cuillier’s reaction to the question of whether 911 calls should be public on the FOI blog here on SPJ’s main website.  We’re working on a couple of other workshop possibilities for April and May so stay tuned.