New edition of Reporter’s Media Law Handbook

d78b477fde1ad3e4136884a8455f42577bea7d76-thumbYour Valley of the Sun SPJ chapter is a proud founding member of the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona, for which the 7th edition of the Arizona Reporter’s Handbook on Media Law has just been published — and now can be downloaded free. The coalition, which consists of several media organizations and open-government advocates  is represented by the Phoenix law firm of Perkins Coie, L.L.P. Partner Dan Barr, counsel to the coalition, is the Handbook’s principal author and editor. Every professional and student journalist who covers Arizona news should have one. We’re grateful to Dan and his colleagues for producing such a valuable resource.

Cooney to leave 12 News desk

April 1, 2015 (Phoenix) — Longtime 12 News/KPNX anchor Lin Sue Cooney announced today that she will leave TV news at the end of May to join the executive team at Hospice of the Valley. Cooney has worked for 12 News—a Gannett owned television station in Phoenix, Arizona—since 1984, and is one of the most recognized faces in Arizona television journalism.

In an on-air announcement, Cooney explained, “I will miss all the beautiful people I work with here…because they are family to me. But, I am thrilled to be embracing a new season in my life. So many people have helped me along the way, I am anxious to start giving back and use the gifts God gave me to help others.”

Cooney will begin working for Hospice of the Valley later this summer.

Lin Sue Cooney

Lin Sue Cooney

“We will sincerely miss Lin Sue in our newsroom every day. She is beloved not only by her co-workers but by Arizonans who invite her into their living room each night,” said 12 News President/General Manager John Misner. “While we know that it’s our loss, we appreciate how impactful she will be in her new role.”

For more than 30 years, Arizona viewers have watched Cooney as a primary news anchor at 12 News/KPNX. Most recently, Cooney has served alongside co-anchor Mark Curtis on 12 News at 5, Arizona Nightly News at 6, and 12 News at 10 p.m.

A respected journalist, Cooney has been honored as the Valley’s “Best Anchor” by the Phoenix chapter of American Women in Radio and Television. She also has won numerous awards for her news reporting and community service efforts including nine Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards. She has been the face of “Buddy Check 12,” a major breast health awareness initiative for 12 News and has served as the principal storyteller on “Hero Central,” a news series focusing on ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Cooney began her career in Beaumont, Texas. She came to Phoenix from WFAA-TV in Dallas where she was a news reporter and co-host of PM Magazine.

Cooney graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English and Political Science from Willamette University in Oregon. She holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the prestigious Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

First low-power digital television station in Indian Country

March 27, 2015 (Gila River Indian Reservation) — Loris A. Taylor, president and CEO of Native Public Media, will speak at the grand opening of the Gila River Broadcasting Corporation (GRBC) on April 6, 2015.

“I am honored to be invited by the Gila River Indian Community to celebrate the grand opening of GRBC,” Taylor said. “This occasion is the pinnacle of what broadband in Indian Country can be, and how intertwining the art of Tribal Nations storytelling with digital technologies can create powerful broadcasts of their own stories and content meaningful to their community.

“My hope is that GRBC will be the first of many broadcasting facilities to multiply and prosper across Indian Country and that other tribal communities will follow suit and push the envelope to innovate and to be creative.”

The grand opening will take place at 9 a.m. April 6 at the GRBC studio located at 7065 W. Allison Road in Chandler.

Taylor recently was recognized by the Distribution & Interconnection Committee of the National Public Radio (NPR) Board of Directors for her service along with her advocacy work to establish the Tribal Priority for Broadcasting and the Office of Native Affairs and Policy at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  Taylor was instrumental in commissioning the first study on broadband entitled “The New Media, Technology and Internet Use in Indian Country” which outlined the first tribal recommendations to the Federal National Broadband Plan.

Native Public Media is a national organization devoted to encouraging healthy, independent and engaged tribal communities through media access, control and ownership. Currently 53 Native owned and operated radio stations and a handful of television stations and projects serve Indian Country.

Two promoted at ABC15

March 12, 2015 (Phoenix) — Chris Kline has been named news director at ABC15, where he will oversee all cross-platform story gathering. In his new position, Kline will lead the newsroom to distribute stories across both television and digital channels to better serve Arizona communities and meet changing audience habits.

Chris Kline

Chris Kline

For the past three years, Kline has served as director of new media at ABC15, managing the station’s growing digital strategy. He’s also served as an executive producer, web producer and reporter during his eight-year tenure at the station.

Before joining ABC15, Kline worked as a convergence journalist for the Arizona Republic and at CNN’s Crossfire in Washington, D.C. He’s also been an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.

Kline, who is an Arizona native, received his Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He moves into the news director role effective immediately.

Danielle Lerner

Danielle Lerner

In related news, Danielle Lerner has been promoted to co-anchor of ABC15 Mornings. She is an award-winning journalist who has been with ABC15 since the fall of 2014 as a weekend anchor and reporter.

“She has been anchoring on a temporary basis with the ABC15 Mornings crew for the past few months and the response to the team has been terrific,” said Anita Helt, vice-president and general manager at ABC15.

Lerner has studied and worked in five different states stretching from Washington, D.C., to California. Before joining ABC15, Lerner was most recently a morning anchor at KVOA-TV in Tucson. She also worked at KSBY-TV in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Lerner grew up in Phoenix and is a graduate of Chaparral High School. She attended Saint Mary’s College in South Bend and received her Master’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism from Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.

Keep up with First Amendment issues on

Arizona journalists who want to know the latest on First Amendment, freedom-of-information, public records/open meetings or other access-to-government issues as they relate to journalism in the Grand Canyon State should visit, the website of the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona.

The coalition is a consortium of the state’s media and open-government-minded individuals and organizations. The Valley of the Sun SPJ chapter is a charter member of the coalition, which was founded in 1981 and maintains a free hotline for professional and fac_logo1student journalists to call to speak to a media-law attorney from the Phoenix office of Perkins Coie, P.A., who can advise them on their efforts to gain access to government via public documents and public meetings.

Visit to keep up on the issues as well as the coalition’s efforts to support media and public access to government though the exercise of the freedom of information.

Awards contest deadline is July 11

Each year, 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 must be postmarked NO LATER THAN Friday, July 11 and mailed to: Teri Carnicelli, c/o North Central News, 5308 N. 12th St., Suite 402, Phoenix, AZ  85014. Self-nominations are welcome. E-mail submissions can be sent to

Award categories include:

  • The First Amendment Awards, which recognize efforts that substantially relied on public records and open meetings to produce top quality journalism.
  • The Order of the Silver Key, which 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.
  • The Phil Alvidrez Award for Excellence in Journalism, which 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.

There is NO COST to enter the awards contest. Award nomination forms can be downloaded from the website under “Awards & Scholarships.”

For more information, contact Teri Carnicelli at 602-410-1267 or

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

Ruling favors gun safety ad

PHOENIX, May 20, 2014—A controversial gun-safety ad campaign is about to return to Phoenix, after the city lost its attempt to censor the project sponsored by a gun-safety training group, TrainMeAZ, LLC (

TMA Bus 1The Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation, which represented Alan Korwin and TrainMeAZ, LLC, was granted summary judgment for its client earlier this month by the Arizona Court of Appeals, preventing Phoenix from blocking the ads. Phoenix had forced them down a mere nine days after they were posted under contract more than three years ago.

The ads, which were placed inside city bus shelters, feature a large red heart with the words “Guns Save Lives” and the line “Educate Your Kids,” with contact information for

City officials at the time told Alan Korwin, owner of TrainMeAZ, that the message was too controversial and had garnered a complaint, and so had to be removed or changed. In court, the case revolved around the city’s changing standards and the ad’s accompanying small text, designed to motivate bus riders to go to the website and sign up for real firearms-safety training.

Details of the case, including a timeline of events leading up to the censorship, all the court papers, the text of the ad, and photos of the ads on city streets, are available at under the “newsroom” button.

“We are enormously gratified that the Arizona Court of Appeals protected the First Amendment rights of all Arizonans by striking down the City of Phoenix’s arbitrary decision to forbid ‘Guns Save Lives’ advertisements at City bus stops,” said Clink Bolick, lead attorney for The Goldwater Institute.

“The city’s rules require ads to ‘adequately display’ a commercial advertisement.  The rules are enforced in haphazard fashion, so that people cannot know which ads will be allowed or censored,” Bolick pointed out. “The court ruled unanimously that the city failed to follow its own rules, given that the ads were designed to encourage viewers to visit a commercial website for firearms training.”

“Gun-rights advocates nationwide are fond of saying the Second Amendment protects the First Amendment, which is totally true,” Korwin said. “In this case, however, it’s the other way around—free speech and the First Amendment have protected our right to keep and bear arms, and in particular, our right to train our selves and our precious families in real gun safety.”

Read the narrow, unanimous, 17-page decision here:

Home to Arizona’s first newspaper named Historic Site in Journalism

The Society of Professional Journalists has named the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park in Tubac, Ariz., a National Historic Site in Journalism.

Since 1942, the Society has honored the people and places that have played important roles in the history of journalism through the Historic Sites program. Some honorees include: The Associated Press offices in Washington and New York City; Freedom’s Journal, the first Black newspaper published in the United States; and, most recently, the Silverton Standard & the Miner.

SPJ’s Valley of the Sun Chapter nominated the park, which is the home of Arizona’s first newspaper, The Weekly Arizonian. The Washington hand press on which the paper was printed remains in the park, operated by volunteers who print copies of that first paper for visitors.

According to Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s official state historian, Tubac was founded in 1752 by Spanish soldiers and is the oldest non-Native American community in the state. Americans arrived in 1854, and The Weekly Arizonian was published five years later, on March 3, 1859, by Edward E. Cross. Trimble wrote in support of the site’s nomination, including details of the paper’s history and its final printing in Tubac on Aug. 11 of its founding year.

“In his farewell editorial Cross wrote, ‘Conducting a newspaper in a frontier country is always a perilous, precarious and thankless task,’” Trimble noted.

12 News, AZ Republic Hiring!

Gannett’s hiring in Phoenix! Here’s the email we received with info on the open positions and who to appy to. Good luck!

From Randy Lovely: The structure of our integrated news organization has taken shape, but we have a number of gaps to fill with new hires. Below are job postings for positions that are available. If you are interested in a particular assignment, please reach out to the supervising manager by Tuesday, June 5.

12 News/Republic Media:

Assistant News Director/Senior Content Manager/12 News, Republic Media:  With Jerome Parra’s promotion, we are recruiting to fill this position. The Assistant News Director/Senior Content Manager works with the 12 News Senior Executive Producer to guide the daily news and sports broadcasts with an emphasis on creative storytelling that delivers both factual clarity and emotional connections with viewers; anchors and reporters who are more than news readers; advocacy for our community in the form of reporting, commentary and developing solutions; and smart usage of social media to advance our reporting. This individual will also direct daily breaking-news coverage for Republic Media and work with peer platform managers to ensure that daily news and breaking-news coverage are exceptional. With your fellow managers, you will be drawing on the talents of more than 350 journalists in five News and Information Centers throughout the Phoenix Metro and Northern Arizona who are specialists in print, mobile, tablet and digital storytelling, and production. To be successful, you must have exceptional core journalism skills; a strong understanding and demonstrated proficiency in TV newscast production; a deep understanding of how to connect content to audiences; the ability to lead teams through the creative process of brainstorming, developing, launching and sustaining quality programs; and the ability to collaborate with a driven peer group of news managers. Republic Media managers are also responsible for administrative duties, including budgeting, strategic planning, project management and performance appraisals. Apply to VP News/News Director Mark Casey.

Staff Photojournalist, Satellite Truck Operator, ENG Control Operator: We are seeking a Staff Photojournalist who can also act as a Satellite Truck and ENG Control Operator. The Staff Photojournalist will work daily general assignment in a two-person reporting crew or solo, operate live microwave and satellite trucks, and work inside the Information Center in a technical operations center (TOC) trafficking shots from the field. Qualified applicants will be great video storytellers who excel in a fast-paced environment using state-of-the-art professional video and still camera gear; have strong technical skills in use of ENG/SAT trucks for daily news coverage and large-event production; and handle multiple tasks under deadline.  Bilingual (Spanish) language skills are a plus. We put a premium on personal integrity, teamwork, problem solving, a strong work ethic, accountability and a passion for competition. Apply to VP News/News Director Mark Casey.

12 News Producer: Producers at 12 News work within an integrated, multiplatform news organization to create innovative approaches to news coverage and presentation. We’re not looking for the tried-and-true. We’re looking for an experienced producer with an ability to break away from the expected and create memorable programming for television and an ever-expanding digital environment. Qualified applicants should view news-show production as a combination of great journalism and great television that emotionally connects to the audience. 12 News puts a premium on winning breaking-news coverage within shows that emphasize powerful video and clarity in storytelling and the strengths of veteran anchors with great chemistry. To be successful, you must have a strong understanding and demonstrated proficiency in TV newscast production; a deep understanding of how to connect content to audiences; the ability to work unselfishly with teams in the creative process of brainstorming, developing, launching and sustaining quality programs; and a love and appreciation of all genres of television – news, dramas, comedies, reality and entertainment.  This is not show-stacking, formula-focused, consultant-driven news producing. We want a producer committed to creating exceptional morning television. Apply to VP News/News Director Mark Casey. Continue reading