Valley Holiday Media Mixer gathers local journalists for second year

It seemed like a terrific idea in 2013: Get members of Valley media organizations together for a big holiday happy hour, with free appetizers to attract skeptical journalists, to celebrate putting another year behind us with hopes for better times in the next one.

Not only did it seem like a good idea, it was. About 35 of us showed up at various times media mixer 2014during a chilly-by-Phoenix-standards December evening at The Turf, an Irish pub with good vibes of comfort and joy. As we began making our way out, we talked about doing it again — although admittedly we didn’t think it wocould be another year before we did.

Well, it is another year, but once more the 2nd annual Valley Holiday Media Mixer is here to help local media people to get their Yule on. Valley of the Sun SPJ is one of the sponsoring organizations as is the Arizona Press Club, the Rocky Mountain/Southwest chapter of NATAS and the Arizona chapters of AAJA, NAJA and NLGJA.

So plan to be there, rest ye merry, gentlemen (and ladies), and bring your friends in the business. This is a membership building opportunity for each of the media groups, after all. It’s 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 17, back at The Turf, 705 N. First St., between Fillmore and Roosevelt, just north of the Cronkite School in downtown Phoenix. No need to RSVP, just be there to toast the holidays (drinks are on you, but, as said above, the appetizers are paid for by the media groups), renew connections and friendships, and make it your starting point for a brighter, better 2015.

Former Republic writer talks about journey with Alzheimer’s

Embedded journalism typically refers to news reporters attached to military units engaged in war.

Greg O'Brien

Greg O’Brien

In the case of Greg O’Brien, the term applies to the award-winning journalist’s personal battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. O’Brien is embedded in his own mind, chronicling his journey with hope, faith and humor in his new book On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s.

O’Brien will speak and sign books from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 20 at Arizona State University Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, 555 N. Central Ave. Sponsored by Hospice of the Valley, the “Voices of Alzheimer’s” event also includes the agency’s dementia program director Maribeth Gallagher – a doctor of nursing practice and national expert on the disease, the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.

O’Brien was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2009, at the age of 59.

His mother and grandfather also had the disease; they share a common gene. O’Brien decided to face down the demon and write about it, chronicling moments like gargling with rubbing alcohol instead of mouthwash, introducing himself to a friend he’d known for decades, and getting lost for hours on a drive then coasting into his driveway at home with the lights off to escape detection.

With more than 35 years’ experience as a writer, editor, investigative reporter and publisher – including The Arizona Republic – O’Brien tells his story with grace and insight. It is a story about living with Alzheimer’s, not dying from it. O’Brien lives with his family in Cape Cod, where he served as editor of the local newspaper.

There is no charge for the event, which is open to the public. A short documentary film clip about O’Brien and his family produced by “Hoop Dreams” director Steve James will be shown. Valley businessman Ray Artigue, a Cronkite board member, will moderate the event. A question-and-answer session also will be held followed by light refreshments.

To RSVP, contact 602-636-5394 or events3@hov.org.

Valley of the Sun SPJ presents Freedom of Information Awards in Scottsdale

Phoenix, AZ, Sept. 20, 2014 — The Valley of the Sun Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) honored nine journalists, two newspapers and two television stations with its 2014 Freedom of Information Awards winners Saturday, Sept. 20, recognizing outstanding work done by members of the state’s media that substantially made use of public records in 2013.

The awards were presented during the Arizona Newspapers Association’s 75th annual fall convention and meeting at the Chaparral Suites in Scottsdale. Valley of the Sun SPJ joined in partnership with ANA for awards presentations for the first time this year, joining the Arizona Associated Press Managing Editors, who have been making its awards presentations at the annual ANA event for several years.

In addition to its First Amendment Awards for outstanding journalism based significantly on access to public records and/or open meetings, Valley of the Sun SPJ also honored with induction into the Order of the Silver Key media professionals who have had long and distinguished careers in Arizona.

Gary Nelson, retired from The Arizona Republic, received the chapter’s highest honor, the Phil Alvidrez Award for Excellence in Journalism.

Here are the awards Valley of the Sun SPJ presented on Sept. 20, 2014:

First Amendment Awards:

  • Morgan Loew, CBS 5/AZ-KPHO, for “Sheriff Arpaio’s SVU”
  • Craig Harris, Beth Duckett and Dustin Gardiner, The Arizona Republic, for “Arizona’s public pension systems”
  • Wendy Halloran, KPNX-TV, for “Phoenix Fire Department arson squad members’ false claims”
  • Craig Harris and Rob O’Dell, The Arizona Republic, for “Troubled youths abused at residential treatment centers”
  • Arizona Daily Star, and education reporter Alexis Huicochea, team leader Joe Burchell, and Editor Bobbie Jo Buel, for lawsuit, “Pressing TUSD to release superintendent candidates’ names”

The First Amendment Awards recognize efforts that substantially relied on public records and open meetings to produce top-quality journalism.

Order of the Silver Key Society:

  • Pete Aleshire, Editor-in-Chief, Payson Roundup
  • Ed Sharpe of the Glendale Daily Planet
  • Kathy Tulumello, Business editor, The Arizona Republic

The Order of the Silver Key honors journalists who have been in the profession for at least 25 years, a significant majority of which were in Arizona, who have conspicuously contributed to the journalism profession and have inspired fellow journalists.

Phil Alvidrez Award for Excellence in Journalism:

Gary Nelson, retired from of The Arizona Republic

   The Phil Alvidrez Award for Excellence in Journalism recognizes the career of an Arizona journalist whose body of work has served to inspire fellow journalists, including a notable commitment to the cause of freedom of information. The award is named for Phil Alvidrez, who retired as news director at Phoenix’s KTVK-TV (Channel 3) after 20 years in that position. Alvidrez was a tireless campaigner for the free flow of government information, often committing his station’s financial resources to fight numerous court battles to open closed documents and meetings.

For more information, contact Teri Carnicelli, Valley of the Sun SPJ treasurer, at 602-410-1267 or teri@phoenixspj.org.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Our Valley of the Sun chapter has been doing the same since 1958.

Valley of the Sun SPJ extends awards contest

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the spring awards event originally planned by the Valley of the Sun Chapter of SPJ had to be postponed. The chapter now will be partnering with the Arizona Newspapers Association (ANA) to co-present its awards at ANA’s fall awards event, set for 12 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Chaparral Suites Resort, 5001 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale.

The Valley of the Sun SPJ’s annual Arizona Freedom of Information Awards honor excellence in journalism and in open government in Arizona during the previous calendar year. The nomination period has been extended, with entries needing to be postmarked no later than Friday, July 11. Self-nominations are welcome. Entries that were received earlier this year (for the original spring event) are still eligible and do not need to be re-submitted.

There is NO COST to enter the awards contest. The First Amendment Award nomination form, as well as the Phil Alvidrez Award for Excellence in Journalism, and the Order of the Silver Key Society award forms, can be found on this website under “Awards & Scholarships.”

For more information, contact Teri Carnicelli at 602-410-1267 or teri@phoenixspj.org.

Join us for cool brew and hot networking

The Valley of the Sun chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists invites Valley media to its annual summer mixer (and 5 minutes of chapter officer elections), “Cool Brew & Hot Networking” coincides (reasonably) with the Summer Solstice, the longest (and arguably one of the hottest) days of the year. First round of appetizers is on the chapter.

10384130_10152391312200660_6262570595579174691_nEach year, our tradition is to take five minutes to elect new SPJ officers and wrap a couple of hours of socializing, food and beer around it.

So once again, the Valley of the Sun SPJ chapter holds its annual meeting and mostly social event at the SunUp Brewing Co., 322 E. Camelback (click for map), just a short walk from the Central Avenue/Camelback Road light rail line, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 26.

Members and nonmembers are welcome. The chapter will pick up the first round of appetizers. Come and cool off with a variety of on-the-premises-brewed beers and meet fellow journalists from around the Valley.

Free workshop on detecting corporate fraud

Learn to dig into SEC filings and other disclosures – with an eye for fraud – during the Reynolds Center’s free workshop, Detecting Corporate Fraud, 1:30-4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 27, before the SABEW Conference in Phoenix. It will take place at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University, 555 N. Central Ave.

This is a golden age of corporate fraud, and journalists have at least one key resource to mine for a clear sense of actual and potential wrongdoing: the voluminous flow of corporate legal and financial public filings. In this free workshop, journalists will learn techniques for digging into U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings and other disclosures. Instead of spending weeks scouring aimlessly through hundreds of pages of corporate documents, reporters will gain an understanding of what key financial information is available, where to look in the documents to quickly identify trouble spots and how to recognize when crucial details are missing.

Your guides are investigative reporters Theo Francis of The Wall Street Journal and Roddy Boyd of the Southern Investigative Reporting Foundation. SABEW registration is not required to attend this afternoon session.

For more information or to register for this free workshop, click here.

‘Moneyball’ author speaks at SABEW luncheon

Author Michael Lewis will be featured in a special public luncheon Friday, March 28, at the opening day of the national conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers here at the Cronkite School at ASU.

The conference, on March 27-29, will feature speakers on some of the hottest topics facing journalists today, including the rapidly growing legal marijuana industry and new models on the nation’s retirement system.

Lewis, author of “The Big Short,” “Moneyball” and “The Blind Side,” will address the group at noon on the formal opening day. The public luncheon is $75.

One of the nation’s most heralded authors, Lewis will receive SABEW’s highest honor, its distinguished achievement award.

Register for the Lewis event and the spring conference here.

Other highlights of the conference:

·      Covering the Affordable Care Act, with Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times and Edmund Haislmaier of the Heritage Foundation.
·      The business of pot, with Steve DeAngelo of Harborside marijuana dispensary, Brendan Kennedy of Privateer Holdings and Chris Walsh of Marijuana Business Daily.
·      Innovations in business journalism, with Kevin Delaney of Quartz and Caitlin Kenney of NPR’s Planet Money.
·      Americans and their retirement savings, with Dallas Salisbury of the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Gail MarksJarvis of the Chicago Tribune.

The conference also will include three evening receptions and will be capped by the Best in Business awards banquet at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown. Day rates are available, starting at $150.

If you have not already registered, make sure to sign up today and take advantage of a great room rate of $169 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown. You can find complete conference details, including the full schedule and registration information, on the SABEW website.

Free program March 7-8 at Cronkite School for journos

The Center for Responsive Politics/OpenSecrets.org, which tracks money in politics and influence at the federal level, recently received a grant from Ethics & Excellence In Journalism Foundation to put on three reporter trainings on the subject, “Tracking the Payback.” The free program looks at how reporters can follow the political money on both the state and federal level.

CRP presents its third and final session on March 7-8, at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School for Journalism and Mass Communication, to round out its previous sessions at the National Press Club in D.C. and UC Berkeley’s J-School.

Presenters will demonstrate some tools for reporters to use, as well as bring some reporters and experts in to talk. Read more about the free workshop and the scheduled speakers here.

Advance registration is requested; complimentary refreshments will be served. Registration can be completed here.

Talton speaks at Tempe Library

Journalist and mystery author Jon Talton comes to the Tempe Public Library 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, to discuss his books, the economy, the state of journalism and everything Arizona.

The Tempe Public Library and Society of Professional Journalists will lead a Q&A session with the Arizona writer who worked for The Arizona Republic as a business and op-ed columnist for many years before moving to Seattle to not only pen 10 novels but also an economics column for the Seattle Times. His blog, the Rogue Columnist, regularly discusses Arizona’s environment, economy, political nature and history.

Talton is a fourth-generation Arizonan. His David Mapstone mystery series features many of the Phoenix area’s favorite restaurants, neighborhoods, destinations and celebrities. Some of the more notorious news the state has seen finds its way into the pages of the books. His thriller, “Deadline Man,” was named Best Mystery of 2010 by the Arizona Book Publishing Association. 

Mark Scarp, who serves nationally and with the Valley of the Sun chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, will lead the discussion. Scarp is a regular columnist for the East Valley Tribune as well as a communicator for the Heard Museum. 

The Tempe Public Library is located at 3500 S. Rural Road. Admission to the program is free. No registration is required.

Books will be available for sale after the presentation, with Talton generously donating proceeds to the Friends of the Tempe Public Library.

Career tips from Ryan

Michael Ryan, a longtime Valley journalist who retired last year as vice president of The Republic’s community news operation, will discuss his book, “The Boom! Boom! Book: Practical Tips to Make Sure Your Career Doesn’t Go Bust!” 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17 at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 S. McClintock Drive, Tempe.

Ryan will sign copies of his book and talk with interested readers. He also will appear 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25 at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd. Both events are free.