Enjoy a cold one on a hot day with SPJ at the Summer Solstice Soiree, June 20

Valley media peeps: It’s that time of year again. Defy summer, at least for one evening, and join SPJ at our annual Summer Solstice Soiree June 20. Apps are on us, drinks on you. All Valley media and communicators are invited! Please get more details and RSVP at our Facebook event page, https://www.facebook.com/events/764534031215032. See you there!

Learn more about the tragic rise of femicide, other gender-based violence, March 26

Nearly one in three women experiences gender-based violence in her lifetime. For too many women, this violence escalates to the point of becoming life-threatening.

Your Valley of the Sun SPJ chapter is co-sponsoring a free daylong event on Saturday, March 26, that discusses the tragic rise of femicide and other gender-based violence, and what can be learned from what is happening in Mexico.

Ní Una Más: Preventing Violence Against Women, Lessons from Mexico, will feature journalists, lawyers, activists, academics, students and the public in a dialogue focused the issue of femicide. The event will also featuring a screening the documentary The Three Deaths of Marisela Escobedo, followed by a Q & A session with the film’s director.

Speakers include Kendal Blust, senior field correspondent with NPR member station KJZZ ’s Fronteras Desk at the station’s bureau in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.

The event is to be presented both via Zoom and in person in the Kiva Lecture Hall on the Arizona State University West Campus in Glendale 9:30 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 26.

Click here to register and for more information.

The legend returns! SPJ hosts Valley Media Holiday Mixer ’21, Thursday, Dec. 9

Join colleagues and competitors in putting 2021 in the rear-view mirror at the legendary Valley Media Holiday Mixer ’21! We’re back at the same great downtown location, the heated outdoor patio at Bliss/REBAR, 901 N. 4th St. Appetizers and door prizes (bring a business card for the drawing!) provided courtesy of your Valley of the Sun SPJ chapter. You bring the reconnecting and the fun.

Don’t miss the return of the legend! Free RSVP here.

(We strongly recommend that you are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or are being regularly tested before attending. There are risks of contracting COVID-19 associated with attending public events. By attending our event, you alone are assuming any such risks.) 

Journos, PR pros gather for 17th year at Valley Publicity Summit, Oct. 16, 2021

Posted on

8 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 16, 2021

Vista del Sol residential community, 701 E. Apache Blvd.,

Arizona State University, Tempe

Registration is open Sept. 7! Back again for its 17th year — the Valley Publicity Summit, Presented by SPJ, returns Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021 to Arizona State University in Tempe outdoors under shade structures including an architectural landmark geodesic dome. A lot has happened in the two years since the last Summit: journalists’ assignments and PR professionals’ client lists keep changing. PR pros: Be a part of what’s become the greatest Saturday morning in Valley media-PR relations, with discussions and “speed pitching” sessions to learn how to best pitch local media, Register and get more info here. And click here for our Facebook event page!

Here is a list of our participating media representatives as of Oct. 15. More will be added as they are secured:

Sondra Barr, managing editor. Epic Kids

Natasha Beal, owner/publisher of Eculeus Group Publishing (North Phoenix News, North Tatum Times, North 32nd News, Scottsdale North News, The Scottsdale Standard, The Upper Westsider and Epic Kids) and managing editor Michelle Talsma Everson

Jason W. Brooks, reporter, Buckeye Independent, Independent Newsmedia

Lynette Carrington, managing editor, Arizona Health & Living magazine

Erin Edgemon, managing editor, Phoenix Business Journal  

Christine Goodfriend, producer, Fox 10

Susan Lanier Graham, editor, North Peoria Lifestyle magazine; publisher/editor-in-chief, Wander With Wonder

Debra Utacia Krol, environmental, Indigenous and science issues, Arizona Republic/azcentral.com

Al Macias, news director, KJZZ-FM NPR

Adrian McIntyre, PhD, Valley Business Radio, PHX.fm

Kelly Mixer, editor and senior reporter, Queen Creek Sun Times

George Obi, producer, Fox 10

Patrick O’Grady, managing editor, Independent Newsmedia, including the Daily Independent in the West Valley and weekly community newspapers Valleywide

Jeff Popovich, content producer, Arizona’s Family Foodie, AZ Family KTVK 3TV | KPHO CBS 5

Rebecca Rhoades, AZ Big Media and several lifestyle publications

Madison Rutherford, associate editor, PHOENIX magazine

Jill Schildhouse, freelance writer/editor

Colleen Sparks, Editor, North Central News

Teresa K. Traverse, managing editor, Sedona Monthly; freelance writer and editor

We will list more participating journalists as they are secured.

NOTE: While every effort is made to ensure the participation of journalists who have agreed to be part of this year’s Summit, circumstances beyond SPJ’s control may result in changes to the list of participating journalists. We will make sincere efforts to keep the list of participating journalists current.

Journalists interested in participating may inquire with Sherry Butler, sbutler@slbcom.com

COVID-19 PROTOCOLS: We will be strongly recommending ASU’s COVID-19 protocols at this event. As of early September, those protocols recommend (1) wearing masks outdoors when physical distancing is not possible and (2) that participants be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Phoenix SPJ chapter joins other Arizona media organizations in statement about confiscation of reporter’s cell phone

The Valley of the Sun chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists joined the Arizona Latino Media Association and the Asian American Journalists Association-Arizona chapter in issuing following statement in June 2021:

The Valley of the Sun (Phoenix) professional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Arizona Latino Media Association (ALMA), and the Asian American Journalists Association–Arizona chapter strongly oppose the actions of Gilbert police officers who seized the cellular telephone of an Arizona journalist who was covering a legitimate news event April 29: the death of a Chandler police officer and the injury of a Gilbert police officer.

The organizations support the demands of reporter León Felipe González of Univision Arizona, filed within his June 3 motion in Gilbert Municipal Court, that Gilbert police immediately return the phone undamaged and with no attempts to gain access to any information within it. We stand behind González and his employer, Univision Arizona, in their assertion that González was acting fully within his rights under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution while covering the story and that the actions by Gilbert police were unwarranted and improper.

González has filed his 28-page motion seeking the return of the phone, alleging that Gilbert police violated his First Amendment right as a journalist to cover a legitimate news event unhindered and his Fourth Amendment right to protect his personal property from seizure without due process of law. We agree with the motion’s assertion that González’s phone, which contains personal information and journalistic work product, is protected by the Privacy Protection Act of 1980 and other statutes.

When police impede the lawful and peaceful efforts of journalists to cover law enforcement activities, they deny the public its constitutionally protected right to know how tax-supported police officers conduct themselves in the performance of their official duties. At the time police confiscated his phone, González was lawfully performing that function.

When law enforcement agencies seize journalists’ personal property, they are almost always found to have acted improperly and then they apologize and return the confiscated items. The SPJ-Phoenix and ALMA sincerely hope that this will be the position immediately taken by the Gilbert Police Department.

The Arizona Broadcasters Association also stands with the Valley of the Sun professional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and has released a similar statement of support: The Arizona Broadcasters Association adamantly supports the critical role played by reporters in covering the news and keeping our communities informed. We are concerned by the allegations against the Univision crew, support the rights of our local press, and call upon the leadership at Gilbert police to closely review the incident.

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ABOUT SPJ: The Society of Professional Journalists is the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry through the daily work of its thousands of members; works to inspire and educate current and future journalists through professional development; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press through its advocacy efforts.

ABOUT THE VALLEY OF THE SUN CHAPTER: Established in 1958, the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix) professional chapter of SPJ celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2018. The chapter regularly sponsors journalism activities and events and social, educational and service activities for professional and student journalists at daily and community newspapers, magazines, broadcast outlets, journalism web sites and media blogs, as well as editors, writers, freelancers, producers, publishers and public relations professionals living and working in the Phoenix metropolitan area.  # # #

SPJ, PRSA Phoenix chapters present ‘Switching Seats: From Journalism to PR, PR to Journalism,’ virtual panel discussion, Sept. 23

Hear from some local professionals who not only thought about switching communications careers, but then did it. Join the Phoenix chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and the Valley of the Sun chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in a virtual panel discussion about moving from journalism to public relations or public relations to journalism, titled “Switching Seats.”

Join us 6 to 7:30 p.m. (first hour panel discussion, last half hour audience questions) Wednesday, Sept. 23. Admission to this exploration of the PR-media relationship is free, but you must RSVP to this link: https://www.phoenixprsa.org/spjswitchingseats. You’ll receive instructions on entering the event.


  • Paul Atkinson, formerly of KPHO, KAET and KJZZ and public relations at ASU, today a freelance journalist
  • KJ Philp, formerly with Echo magazine and now at Visit Phoenix
  • Hayley Ringle, formerly with the Phoenix Business Journal and now at Digital Air Strike PR
  • Diane Smith, formerly with 3TV/Arizona’s Family and now at Pima Medical Institute
  • Amanda Ventura Zink. formerly with AZ Big Media and now at Waymo

Moderated by Mark Scarp, Valley of the Sun SPJ board member and faculty associate at the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

SPJ and PRSA gratefully acknowledge Visit Phoenix’s sponsorship of this event. RSVPs are required at https://www.phoenixprsa.org/spjswitchingseats. You’ll receive instructions on entering the event.

This event is presented to further explore the PR-media relationship in lieu of the 2020 Valley Publicity Summit, which the SPJ board regrettably canceled. Please join PRSA and us as we talk about constantly improving relations between journalists and public relations people as SPJ prepares to return to the Publicity Summit in fall 2021!

Laid-off, furloughed journalists need your help — please give

Watch this 30-second video from SPJ about the Journalists Emergency Fund.

Dear Arizona journalists,

SPJ Day of Giving Back 2020The COVID-19 pandemic is not only a threat to our nation’s health and welfare, but has also dealt major blows to the news industry. This has resulted in the laying off or furloughing of the very people our society is relying upon for factual, reliable information in these uncertain and stressful times.
Those sidelined by these layoffs and furloughs worry about paying their bills, feeding and caring for their loved ones, and wonder about their futures in journalism. You can help those in need, right here, right now, today.
SPJ, through the SPJ Foundation, has established a Journalists Emergency Fund, and has named April 30, 2020, as SPJ’s Day of Giving Back. As of 8 a.m. Arizona time May 1, more than $25,000 has been contributed. Please make a secure donation directly to this fund. It is managed by the SPJ Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity; gifts to it are tax deductible. Journalists in need can apply for grants of up to $500 from the fund to help meet expenses, grants that do not have to be paid back. A committee of SPJ Foundation leaders and staff will review each application on a case-by-case basis — decisions will be made on a fast-track basis to insure that emergency money quickly gets to those who need it. Here is a list of donors and donation leaders, and more information about the fund.

You’re an SPJ member because you care about this profession. We know you want to support those who are doing so much to help everyone weather this extraordinary period in our lives. Please be generous in this effort to help our colleagues, many of whom are reporting on the very crisis that is also directly affecting their livelihoods.
Again, the donation to the SPJ Foundation is tax-deductible. Click here to donate today, SPJ’s Day of Giving Back, April 30, 2020. From all of us at SPJ, a sincere and heartfelt thank you.
— Your Valley of the Sun SPJ Chapter Board

AzABJ, SPJ hold Facebook for Journalists training in Phoenix, Feb. 29

The Arizona Association of Black Journalists in cooperation with the Society of Professional Journalists, will host a Facebook for Journalists training on Saturday, Feb. 29. The event is free and open to journalists, PR professionals and others in media – but requires a free registration.

Where: Arizona Charter Schools Association, 12439 N. 32nd Street, Phoenix

When: Saturday, Feb. 29, 11 a.m.

Register here: https://form.jotform.com/200246528525149

More info about the what is covered in the program: https://www.spj.org/facebook.asp The trainer will share products and tools – including Live, Groups and CrowdTangle – that help journalists leverage Facebook and Instagram for news gathering, storytelling and connecting with their followers.

The instructor will be Lynn Walsh (above), accomplished journalist and journalism leader. She is an Emmy award-winning freelance journalist who has worked in investigative, data and TV journalism at the national level as well as locally in California, Ohio, Texas and Florida. Based in San Diego, she is a past national president of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Project Manager at the Trusting News project, where she’s helping to rebuild trust between newsrooms and the public. #RealNews Here’s something Lynn has written about the topic: https://www.quillmag.com/2018/11/30/how-to-use-facebook-as-a-journalist/

Please share this event with your colleagues and other journalists/PR pros who might want to attend.

Attorneys Needed for Student Press Info Center

Are you an attorney interested in protecting student press freedoms? Our SPJ chapter is helping form a coalition to provide information and resources (but not direct legal representation) to student journalists, advisers and news organizations.

If you are interested in being part of a “resource outlet” for information on what the law says, please contact us. We expect this informational base could be a highly useful source of support for those in student news organizations.

If you’re an attorney who is interested – or can recommend someone to us – contact Chapter President Tim Eigo at tim.eigo@staff.azbar.org