Join fellow journalists at ‘Boos’ & Boardgames, Wednesday, Sept. 28, at The Duce!

Get ready for a scary amount of competition and creativity with your fellow journalists, as we break out the boardgames and bubbly in the spirit of Halloween!

There’ll be Ping-Pong, old-school Scrabble, card games (including Cards Against Humanity) and anything else you’d like to bring! Game Master and SPJ President Amanda Ventura hosts SPJ’s first ‘Boos’ and Boardgames low-key networking event for Valley journalists.

Prizes, a raffle, rad company and lots-o-booze. (Drink responsibly.)

Don’t miss it, ya hear?


22 journalists, 64 PR pros gather at 2015 Valley Publicity Summit

Journalists and PR professionals met to improve relations and the story pitches PR people make to the media by participating in the event that’s been doing it for PubSum logo-2015[1]more than a decade. Twenty-two media representatives and 64 public relations people met Sept. 19 at the 11th annual Valley Publicity Summit, hosted by your Valley of the Sun SPJ chapter, at SkySong, the ASU Innovation Center in Scottsdale.

In 2014, the event attracted 54 public relations professionals, while 45 attended in 2013.

These Valley journalists volunteered their time, and did so with the chapter’s sincere thanks!: Melissa Larsen, managing editor of Arizona Foothills magazine; Mary Ann Bashaw, managing editor, Raising Arizona Kids magazine; Richard Ruelas, Arizona people reporter, The Arizona Republic  and; Lauren Saria, food editor of Phoenix New Times; Shawndrea Corbin, assistant editor, Phoenix Home & Garden magazine; Kathy Tulumello, business editor, The Arizona Republic and; Sue Doerfler, retail/innovations/entrepreneurs reporter, The Arizona Republic and; Ilana Lowery, editor-in-chief of the Phoenix Business Journal and Eric Jay Toll, the Journal‘s economic development, banking and finance, infrastructure, transportation and utilities reporter; Terrance “T.F.” Thornton, North Valley news editor, Independent Media Inc; Carrie Jung, reporter, KJZZ (91.5 FM-NPR); Jennifer Jones, senior content coordinator, KTVK-TV (Channel 3) and KPHO-TV (Channel 5-CBS); Scott Davis, senior assignment editor, KTVK-TV (Channel 3) and KPHO-TV (Channel 5-CBS); Paul Ihander, news director/assistant program director, Bonneville Media-Phoenix (KTAR-FM/KTAR-AM); Eric Watson, assignment editor, KPNX-TV (Channel 12-NBC); Elvia Diaz, editor, La Voz and TV y Mas; Maritza L. Felix, senior reporter, Prensa Hispana; Nicole Crites, evening anchor, KTVK-TV (Channel 3); Debra Utacia Krol, freelancer specializing in environmental reporting, issues involving Indian country and travel writing; Tom Gibbons, editor, Talk of Arizona online quarterly; and Christina Barrueta, WriteOnRubee freelance food and beverage writer.

For its support of the 2015 Valley Publicity Summit, Valley of the Sun SPJ expresses its sincere gratitude to Fingerpaint:

Fingerpaint logo.png The chapter also extends sincere appreciation to R&R Partners and to News Exposure, aka Media Monkey Biz, for their additional support of the 2015 Summit:

NewsExposureBanner,pngR and R Partners logo


Already preparations are under way for the 2016 Valley Publicity Summit. Return to for more information coming soon!

Members elect 2015-2016 Valley of the Sun SPJ officers

Amanda Ventura, associate editor at AZ Big Media in Phoenix, was elected president of

Amanda Ventura, 2015-2016 president, Valley of the Sun pro chapter, Society of Professional Journalists

Amanda Ventura, 2015-2016 president, Valley of the Sun pro chapter, Society of Professional Journalists

the Valley of the Sun chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists by fellow chapter members in elections held June 24.

Ventura, who had served the previous year as vice president, officially takes office July 1 along with three other officers.

Like Ventura, the three other officers were elected by acclamation at the chapter’s annual meeting at SunUp Brewing Co. & Brewhouse in uptown Phoenix:

  • The new vice president is Perri Collins, content producer, W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Collins is winding up three terms as chapter president.
  • Secretary Debra Krol, senior communications manager, Heard Museum, was re-elected.
  • Teri Carnicelli, editor, North Central News and a former chapter president as well as former SPJ Region 11 director, was re-elected as chapter treasurer.

Nominations now being accepted for 2015 Freedom of Information Awards

Each fall, the Valley of the Sun Chapter of SPJ presents its annual Arizona Freedom of Information Awards, honoring excellence in journalism and in open government in Arizona during the previous calendar year. Other awards are given for dedication and outstanding service in journalism, as well as for special recognition for efforts on behalf of the First Amendment.

Nominations are open NOW for this year’s awards, with the deadline set for 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. Self-nominations are welcome.

Award categories include:

  • The First Amendment Awardsrecognize efforts that substantially relied on public records and open meetings to produce top quality journalism.
  • The Order of the Silver Keyhonors 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.
  • The Phil Alvidrez Award for Excellence in Journalismrecognizes 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.

There is NO COST to enter the awards contest. Award nomination forms can be downloaded from this website under the “Awards” tab. Application deadline is Friday, Aug. 7.

Tucson journalists move to reactivate Southern Arizona SPJ chapter

Tucson journalists agreed June 13 to begin reactivating the Southern Arizona SPJ chapter, which faded several years ago. Dylan Smith, editor and publisher of the online news outlet Tucson Sentinel, agreed to head up the effort and is to be in contact with Society officials in Indianapolis to start the process.

Journalists interested in the chapter and what SPJ can offer media people in the southern part of the state may contact Smith at They may also sign up for a Facebook group called “Tucson Media Pros,” through which information about the rebuilding chapter will be made available until a chapter website,, is fully up and running. Smith will begin contacting area journalists who attended events in January and April put on by Valley of the Sun SPJ and the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona, of which SPJ is a member.

The Southern Arizona chapter, originally chartered in the 1960s, disbanded in 1992 when several of its officers simultaneously either moved out the area or left the profession. A group of Tucson journalists from the morning Arizona Daily Star and the afternoon Tucson Citizen briefly resurrected the chapter in 2006, but it, too, went dormant after less than two years.

It’s taking a little longer this year, but it WILL get hot: Come join SPJ celebrate the longest day of the year with a cold beer and good friends at our annual member meeting, June 24

Rain in June? Sure, for now. But to quote Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurassic Park: The Lost World, “Oh yeah, ooh, ahh, that’s how it always starts, but then later there’s running, then screaming.” Even though this summer in Phoenix has had a late start, it’s going to start, and SPJ will be there as it always does to toss cold beer in its face (or better yet, into a mug for you to drink) as we take refuge from the week of the longest days of the year.

All Valley journalists are invited to gather for some refreshment (no-host) and appetizers Glass of Beer(hosted) at Valley of the Sun SPJ’s annual meeting (and two minutes of elections), 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 24. There’s no cost to attend.

We will gather at the usual spot — it’s been so for years because it’s a great brew pub in central Phoenix — SunUp Brewing Co., 322 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, a couple of short blocks east of the Central/Camelback light rail stop. Here’s the link to a map. .

We’re in the Brewers’ Den, a separate building across from the back patio, where we will quaff brew with a view of the big copper and steel tanks that hold the frothy stuff. Come early to get happy hour prices until 6 p.m.

We’ll pause for The Most Thrilling Two Minutes in Journalism (well, maybe): our annual chapter elections. Unless someone steps forward between now and then, here’s the slate our chapter members will be asked to elect for 2015-16 (term starting July 1):

President: Amanda Ventura, AZ Big Media; Vice President: Perri Collins, ASU W.P. Carey School of Business Administration; Secretary: Debra Krol, Heard Museum; Treasurer: Teri Carnicelli, North Central News.

Supervisors laugh at Open Meeting Law after voting on a motion whose subject they refused to identify

Maricopa County supervisors voted on a motion without stating publicly what it was they were voting on, then all five members laughed when reporters present reacted to the action with confused facial expressions, The Arizona Republic’s Michael Kiefer reported May 27.

Personal privacy vs. national security, May 1

The Maricopa County Bar Association hosts a FREE educational program that discusses the vital issues of personal privacy and national security and how they should be balanced.

Privacy & Security in 2015 – Magna Carta Today,” will take place 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 1, at the Maricopa County Bar Association offices, 303 E. Palm Lane. Free parking on site.

The following panel of experts will discuss issues related to national security and personal privacy in an era of terrorism and digital media:

  • David Bodney, Ballard Spahr, LLP
  • Andrew Gordon, Coppersmith Brockelman PLC
  • Michael Morrisey, Mitchell Stein Carey
  • Prof. Daniel Rothenberg, ASU School of Politics and Global Studies
  • Moderator: Hon. Patricia K. Norris, Arizona Court of Appeals

The Maricopa County Bar Association hosts this special event in honor of Law Day.  On May 1 each year, the United States celebrates Law Day, which was created in 1957 by President Eisenhower as a national day of re-dedication to the principles of government under law. In recognition of the 800th anniversary of its signing on the field of Runnymede, England, the national theme for this year is “Magna Carta:  Symbol of Freedom Under Law.”

For more information, visit:

‘Dark Money’ debate on Tuesday, April 28

Phoenix—Anonymous political speech has been a cherished principle since the earliest days of the American republic. The ability to speak anonymously—and to privately support others who speak on your behalf—has played a central role in historical milestones from the ratification of the U.S. Constitution to the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizen United, there has been a new outcry from some critics that the public deserves to know who seeks to influence elections by giving money to private political groups. Describing anonymous giving as “dark money,” these critics want new laws that compel independent groups to give the names and addresses of their donors to the government.

On Tuesday, April 28, four legal experts will debate whether this campaign against anonymous giving benefits or harms free speech and democratic participation. Starting at 7 p.m. the debate will be broadcast live on the Internet from the Cronkite journalism school on Arizona State University’s downtown Phoenix campus. The debate is free and open to the public and members of the media.

If you are unable to attend, you can watch the debate live on YouTube at

The debate will be tweeted with the hashtag #DarkMoneyDebate.

Topic: The Dark Money Debate: Is Anonymous Political Speech Protected By The First Amendment?
When: 7-9 p.m., Tuesday, April 28
Where: First Amendment Forum, Walter Cronkite School for Journalism and Mass Communications, Arizona State University
Debaters: Kurt Altman, national policy adviser and general counsel, Goldwater Institute; Allen Dickerson, Legal Director, Center for Competitive Politics; Tom Irvine, legal expert on election law, ASU Alumni Law Group; Daniel Barr, First Amendment expert, Perkins Coie law firm
Moderator: Robert Robb, editorial board member, Arizona Republic

This event is hosted by the Goldwater Institute and has been made possible by a grant from the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation.