The Numbers Game: Political Polls, and What They Mean, Sept. 28

Journalists are bombarded with data from polls, especially when election season approaches. Are you confident you can tell the legitimate numbers from the sloppy surveys? How effectively can you evaluate the polling methods? Do you know when nine out of 10 isn’t really nine out of 10?

Join us as we host political pollster Mike O’Neil of O’Neil Associates, for this informative event, just in time for the deluge of polls that will be released before the Nov. 8 election. Mike will discuss the current state of polling and how to understand and evaluate polls.

It’s 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, at Half Moon Windy City Sports Grill, 2121 E. Highland Ave., four blocks east of Route 51/Piestewa Freeway (Highland Avenue exit), Phoenix. SPJ welcomes all members of the media to this FREE event, but you must RSVP by Monday, Sept. 26 to:

Topics will include:
• Polls: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly—which is which
• Live interviewer polls, robopolls, internet polls: what’s the difference
• The Polling Aggregators (fivethirtyeight,, and Real Clear Politics): which are better and why
• Why that “plus or minus” figure everyone always fixates on is actually among the least important of poll attributes (and why people still think it is important)

Walter Robinson, former Boston Globe editor who headed team portrayed in film ‘Spotlight,’ to speak at Sept. 14 screening co-sponsored by SPJ, Cronkite School


The Academy Award-winning 2015 film Spotlight will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, in the First Amendment Forum at the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Walter V. “Robby” Robinson, the editor who headed the Boston Globe‘s Spotlight investigative team that reported the story of the pedophile priest scandal in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston in the early 2000s, will speak in September at a Phoenix screening of the Oscar-winning film Spotlight, co-sponsored by the Valley of the Sun chapter of SPJ and the Arizona State  University Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Walter Robinson, Boston Globe, Spotlight

Walter V. “Robby” Robinson, former editor of the Boston Globe Spotlight Team, will speak at a screening of the film “Spotlight” in Phoenix Sept. 14.

Robinson, right, portrayed by actor Michael Keaton in the 2015 film — which won the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay earlier this year — will give remarks at the screening, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14.

The showing will be in the First Amendment Forum on the second floor of the Cronkite School, 555 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. The public is invited. Admission is free.

Officials announced on the Cronkite School website that Robinson has accepted a position at the school as Donald W. Reynolds Visiting Professor, teaching a course in investigative journalism for graduate and advanced undergraduate students. His Spotlight team’s series in the Globe won the Pulitzer Prize for public service in 2003.

SPJ arranged with the producers of the film to allow its professional chapters one-time licenses to show it locally. The Valley of the Sun (Phoenix) chapter was eager to secure a license for the Phoenix screening. The chapter is grateful to the Cronkite School for the opportunity to show the film on its large screen, which should give a local audience insight into how the Spotlight Team reported what ultimately became a national story.

Phoenix is site of 2016 SPJ Region 11 conference

Get the tools to keep your journalism skills sharp and network your way into opportunity at SpringConf15_Logothe SPJ Western Regional (Region 11) Conference, April 29-30 at the Heard Museum in Phoenix. The conference hashtag is #spjwest.

Click here for conference details. Sign up today to get our affordable registration rate of $65, $50 for SPJ members, $30 for full-time college students. These prices include all sessions, a Friday opening night reception, Saturday continental breakfast and lunch on Saturday, and an invitation to a post-conference decompress gathering at the Sky Deck bar atop the Clarendon Hotel and Spa in midtown Phoenix.

NPR’s Mara Liasson to speak about 2016 election at ASU-Tempe Feb. 25

Mara Liasson, national political correspondent for National Public Radio, delivers the John J. Rhodes Lecture in an event sponsored by Arizona State University’s Barrett Honors College 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, at Katzin Concert Hall in the Music Building at Arizona State University, Tempe.

The veteran reporter, who has covered six presidential elections, is scheduled to speak on the topic, “A Citizen’s Guide to the 2016 Election.”

Admission is free but tickets must be reserved. Click here for tickets and more information.

Meet the national SPJ Executive Committee — at a reception at a Scottsdale patio bar, Friday, Jan. 29

Spend a January evening like an out-of-town tourist — at an Old Town Scottsdale patio bar — with some out-of-town tourists from SPJ: the Society’s national leadership.

Paul Fletcher

National President Paul Fletcher of Virginia Lawyers Weekly in Richmond, Va.; President-Elect Lynn Walsh of KNSD-TV in San Diego and other members of the Executive Committee — it makes decisions about the governance of the Society of Professional Journalists in the absence of the national board of directors — will be in Scottsdale for their semi-annual meeting in Scottsdale Jan. 29-30.

But they want to meet you, local members of SPJ as well as all other Arizona journalists who would like to stop by, at a reception at Boondocks, 4341 N. 75th St., at Stetson Drive, in Old Town Scottsdale, starting at 6 p.m. Here’s a link to a map of the neighborhood around Boondocks. There’s also a map embedded below.

Lynn Walsh

Friday. Jan. 29. SPJ national headquarters and the Valley of the Sun chapter will be buying the first rounds of appetizers; you pay for your own beverages.

Also on hand will be your Valley of the Sun SPJ chapter board, whose members include Robert Leger, 2002-03 national SPJ president and current president of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.

Come and meet them at a Friday fun night in Old Town. It’ll be a night of talking about media, past, present and future, and a chance for you to let the pe who are at the forefront of media is

Robert Leger

sues what you think — and to share a few stories among friends. We’ll also be sharing information about the upcoming April 29-30 SPJ Western Regional Conference at the Heard Museum in Phoenix!

Plenty of free street parking — Scottsdale has no parking meters by city tradition — as well as nearby free public parking lots.


Get your Yule on: Journalists invited to gather at the third annual Valley Media Holiday Mixer, Dec. 16

New bar, same location! Six Valley media organizations invite area journalists to the third annual Valley Media Holiday Mixer, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16, at Chambers on First, 705 N. First St. (at Pierce, just north of the ASU Cronkite School) in downtown Phoenix.

media_mixer_2015Admission is free. Attendees will pay for their own drinks. But appetizers are being paid for by the media groups: Asian American Journalists Association (Arizona), Arizona Latino Media Association (NAHJ), Arizona Press Club, National Black Journalists Association (Arizona), National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (Arizona), Society of Professional Journalists (Valley of the Sun).

Chambers on First is owned by the same owners as its predecessor, The Turf, where this event has been held in 2013 and 2014. The interior has been renovated, including chandeliers with a law library/private club look. Check out photos and the menu here. Happy hour prices on drinks are offered until 7 p.m.

Please come and invite media people you know. For more information, email

Former 3TV sportscaster Mike Chamberlin entertains with his guitar and friends in HOBI Museum fundraiser, Dec. 12

Join Mike Chamberlin, whom Valley viewers know for his many years reporting and anchoring sports on KTVK-TV (Channel 3) and KPHO-TV (Channel 5) in Phoenix, in his retirement role as full-time entertainer in a Dec. 12 benefit for the House of Broadcasting Inc. Museum.

Mike Chamberlin. Courtesy Mike Chamberlin,

Mike Chamberlin. Courtesy Mike Chamberlin,

“Mike Chamberlin & Friends” is 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, in Kendal Hall at Central United Methodist Church, 1875 N. Central Ave., Phoenix.

Chamberlin, who since retiring in 2008 has focused on spiritual singing, will be joined by local celebrities Pat McMahon, Al McCoy, Buddy Owens and Dick Moore. The evening’s master of ceremonies will be KTVK’s morning-show host Scott Pasmore.

Copies of Chamberlin’s book, God Has a Sense of Humor for Heaven’s Sake, and his CDs of Christmas songs and songs of the World War II era will be available for purchase.

Proceeds from tickets at $10 per person (children 12 and younger are free) support the HOBI Museum in Scottsdale, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

For information or reservations call 480-893-1324 or email

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!

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.