Get your Yule on: Valley Media Holiday Mixer, Dec. 5, at Bliss ReBAR

Valley journalists: Pencil it in (OK, it’s 2017, so enter it into your smartphone calendar):  Our annual (and on its way to becoming legendary) Valley Media Holiday Mixer, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, at Bliss ReBAR, 901 N. Fourth St. (just south of reindeer12Roosevelt), named by USA Today as one of the 10 Best Nightlife Destinations in Downtown Phoenix. Get your Yule on, celebrate the year gone by and the year ahead with your media peeps, colleagues and competitors alike, in this must-be-there holiday event! Your friendly neighborhood Valley of the Sun SPJ chapter will put out a spread of free appetizers (drinks are on you) and give away door prizes. Admission is free, so say your “Going” today on our Facebook event page, Valley Media Holiday Mixer ’17. The event hashtag: #getyouryuleon

Valley of the Sun SPJ board votes to support bylaws amendments to reduce size of national board; delegates to vote at Anaheim convention in September

At its regular meeting on August 27, 2017, the board of the SPJ Valley of the Sun Pro chapter in Phoenix reviewed and discussed the proposed changes to the national SPJ bylaws. They then voted unanimously to instruct its delegates to the upcoming convention in Anaheim to vote to approve those proposed changes. If approved by delegates, these amendments would reduce the size of the national board and restructure regional representation.

Our board’s decision comes after much consideration and dialogue. We’ve engaged in group and one-on-one discussions with national leaders, local members, and our Regional Director. Those conversations included online web-based conferences offered by SPJ – as recently as Tuesday, August 29 – in which leading SPJ proponents answered questions and addressed concerns.

Members may disagree about elements of strategy, but the goals of the bylaws changes are admirable ones. An oversized board of 23 people is unable to execute and implement important steps effectively. Reducing the board to 9 individuals makes much sense. Deliberation and dialogue have also addressed our concerns that regional needs may be undervalued on a board where Regional Directors no longer sit. We are confident that this change will protect SPJ’s commitment to journalists throughout the country while improving the board’s ability to act efficiently and effectively.

In an age when the creation and dissemination of journalism are changing at a rapid pace, these proposed bylaws changes are a worthwhile attempt to streamline operations and ensure SPJ’s voice is being heard in a coherent and timely manner. As SPJ leaders have said, this is an experiment – but it is a well-considered and commendable one.

We urge all delegates to the convention who have not already done so to visit to read the proposed amendments and important supplemental information found there to make a fully informed decision on supporting them at the convention.

Tim Eigo
President, SPJ Valley of the Sun Pro Chapter

Phoenix, AZ

14th annual Valley Publicity Summit, presented by SPJ, returns to ASU’s Barrett, the Honors College

The best Saturday morning in PR-media relations, the 14th annual Valley Publicity Summit, presented by SPJ, returns to Arizona State University in Tempe at Barrett, the Honors College, on Sept. 16, 2017.

So save the date! Journalists seeking to volunteer to give their story-pitch preferences at the Summit may send email to

Information about the Summit is here. More details will be coming soon!

Get your Yule on: Join your media colleagues in toasting the holidays at the 5th annual Valley Media Holiday Mixer, Dec. 8

SPJ’s 5th annual Valley Media Holiday Mixer is Thursday evening, Dec. 8, in the Colangelo Room at the Half Moon Windy City Sports Grill‘s Biltmore location, 2121 E. Highland Ave., Phoenix, three blocks east of the Highland Avenue exit off the 51. All Valley media are invited. We’ll have a business card drawing for some door prizes, and the first couple of generous rounds of appetizers are on us! (Drinks are on you.)
Share some holiday cheer with fellow journos, colleagues and competitors, and toast a brighter and better 2017. Tell us you’re coming on our Facebook event page.
Presented by your Valley of the Sun chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Meet up, cool down & network at SPJ’s annual summer solstice party

Each year, the Valley of the Sun SPJ chapter invites all Valley media, but particularly our valued members, to a party at a local watering hole within a day or two of the annual summer solstice. It’s a chance to get together and cool off on Phoenix’s longest day. We’re two days off this year from the actual June 20 solstice, Wednesday, June 22, when at 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., we’ll gather in the Brewer’s Room at SunUp Brewing (appropriate for the day, no?) for some cool brews, hot talk and a few rounds of free appetizers, courtesy of your chapter’s generous board members.Glass of Beer

So come to SunUp Brewing, 322 E. Camelback Road, a few steps from the Central/Camelback light rail line in uptown Phoenix, and quaff a few cold ones with us! Say you’re coming at our Facebook event page!

We’ll also take five minutes around 6:15-ish to elect our 2016-2017 chapter officers. This is essentially one-party rule, unless someone actually steps forward to challenge the slate* (which we’re officially ready to accommodate, although no one can remember the last time this has ever happened). After a voice vote we’ll immediately return to the festivities.

(*The slate: Amanda Ventura, freelance writer, president; Tim Eigo, Arizona Attorney magazine, vice president; Kaely Monahan, KTAR-FM, secretary; Teri Carnicelli, North Central News, treasurer.)

This is actually part of a nationwide simultaneous meetup held by SPJ chapters across the country called SPJ After Deadline. Technically, they’re doing it on June 21. But we are mavericks here in Arizona, so we’re having ours one day later. Like that name, SPJ After Deadline? Maybe we’ll participate again… and this time we might hold it on the same day our national organization planned.

Questions? Email our president, Amanda Ventura,

Body of ASU professor who attended SPJ conference found near Oak Creek Canyon

As this Arizona Republic story reports, first responders found Arizona State University professor Debra Schwartz’s body Sunday morning, May 8, at the bottom of a slot canyon a short distance from her campsite in Oak Creek Canyon north of Sedona.

Schwartz had attended the SPJ Western Regional Conference April 29-30 in Phoenix and many attendees had the pleasure of meeting her. Results of an investigation into the cause of her death are pending.

The Valley of the Sun chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists expresses its deepest sympathies to Debra Schwartz’s family, friends and colleagues.

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.

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.

AZ State Library, Archives and Public Records turns 100

March 20, 2015 (Phoenix) — Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records celebrated 100 years of service to Arizonans on March 24.

As part of the milestone, the State Library has released an e-booklet, “100 Years of Public Service,” that highlights its history decade-by-decade. The pamphlet chronicles changing facilities, staff, resources, and technologies.

“Many Arizonans are not aware of the State Library,” said Secretary of State Michele Reagan. “The e-booklet is a great way to learn about our many services and how we have delivered them throughout the decades.”

Services provided by the State Library include the:

  • State Library of Arizona – There are many facets to the library, including: a genealogy section, a repository for federal publications, a U.S. patent and trademark resource center, a law library and access to state agency publications.
  • Digital Arizona Library – A portfolio of online resources, including: reference services, Reading Arizona, the Arizona Memory Project, Arizona digital newspaper program and the Arizona Almanac.
  • State Archives and Records Management – ARM collects, preserves and makes publically available permanent public records, historical manuscripts, photographs and other materials; managing public records throughout state and local government in Arizona.

“The State Library continues its commitment to Arizona by helping Arizonans know and obtain information about their government, their state and their world,” said State Librarian Joan Clark.

For more information about the State Library, a division of the Secretary of State, visit the website at

More than 50 attend FAC panel discussion in Tucson on cameras, mobile devices in courtroom

More than 50 journalists, journalism students and faculty and members of the public attended a free presentation at the University of Arizona in Tucson on Fridfac_logo1ay, Jan. 23, on changes to laws regarding the use of cameras and mobile devices in Arizona state courtrooms. It was sponsored by the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona. Click here for a recap!