Blog: Live from New Orleans

Live from New Orleans, it’s PCLI!

This year’s Excellence in Journalism conference for the Society of Professional Journalists and Radio Television Digital News Association is being held in The Big Easy.

The Press Club of Long Island has three delegates attending the conference, including Carl Corry, who is running for SPJ At-Large Director, and board members Chris Vaccaro and Nicole Brewer. They’ll keep you updated throughout the next four days about the conference and unique things going on in the industry.

Be sure to follow along all week long on Twitter @PCLI via #EIJ11.

Sunday, September 25

  • This morning at the SPJ Regional Director Meeting, they voted on multiple key items pertaining to the organization. Among them was a motion that passed to raise pro dues $3 and student dues $1.50, effective Jan. 1, 2012. They said the $3 increase would bring in revenue of $24,000. Other things voted on was the renewal of SPJ Executive Director Joe Skeel’s contract for another three years; the creation of a coach for regional directors, but voted 10-7 to reject requirement of the position be limited to ex-regional directors; and the organization’s star ranking system has officially been abolished.
  • The national board also discussed the use of surrogate delegates – delegates who would receive votes, but are not connected to a voting chapter – but no action was taken.
  • Prior to the business meeting there were workshops held on video storytelling, mobile journalism, business journalism and backpack journalism, with plenty more in store for Monday and Tuesday.
  • All regions had their own meetings Sunday as well. Region 1 discussed what happened at the national directors session, and went over the SPJ Region 1 Conference, which is being hosted by PCLI in March 2012 at Stony Brook University. Boston University was mentioned as a possibility for 2013.
  • Later on, the opening super session was hosted by CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien. She sat down with former ABC News senior Washington correspondent, John Cochran, to discuss their challenges covering underreported communities in their careers.
Monday, September 26
  • CBS News Chairman and 60 Minutes Executive Producer Jeff Fager was the keynote speaker to open up Monday’s session at #EIJ11.
  • There were dozens of workshops and breakout sessions held with subject areas ranging from Facebook and journalism to ethic and multi-platform stories to college sports reporting and what mid-career journalists should do.
  • In the afternoon, Times-Picayune environment reporter Mark Schleifstein and Loyola University of New Orleans Environmental Communications Professor Bob Thomas took a group of conference attendees on a whirlwind tour of the almost-complete post-Katrina levee system surrounding the New Orleans area.
  • Later on, Linda Ellerbee of Nickelodeon Television’s Nick News was presented with The Paul White Award, RTDNA’s highest honor recognizing an individual’s lifetime contributions to electronic journalism. RTDNA also honored CBS News Chief Foreign Correspondent and 60 Minutes Correspondent, Lara Logan, with the 2011 John F. Hogan Distinguished Service Award.
Tuesday, September 27
  • NPR Social Media Desk Senior Strategist Andy Carvin was a distinguished speaker to open Tuesday’s session at #EIJ11.
  • The real fun came during the business session later in the afternoon where delegates voted on candidates and resolutions.
  • Carl Corry,a former PCLI president and Region 1 Director who served as a voting delegate for the club this year in New Orleans, lost the hotly contested race for SPJ At-Large Director to incumbent Bill McClosky. To see what Corry had to say after the loss, check out his personal blog.
  • The following resolutions were approved: The condemning of the use of “illegal alien” and “illegal immigrant” in news stories and support for the passage of the federal shield law.
  • The following resolutions failed: The Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award was not reinstated and a resolution to overturn the increase in membership dues did get get approved.
  • A bylaw amendment for the one-member, one-vote initiative was approved as well.
  • John Ensslin was sworn in as the new president of SPJ for the 2011-12 year. He will be a guest speaker at the SPJ Region 1 conference on Long Island in 2012. We wish him luck in his new position with the society.
Stay tuned to for updates on club events and the 2012 SPJ Region 1 Conference headed for Stony Brook University and hosted by PCLI.
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