Local events commemorate 40th anniversary of Phoenix reporter’s murder

Two events in early June will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the car-bomb murder of Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles on June 2, 1976, at what was the Hotel Clarendon in midtown Phoenix.

  • “You Can’t Kill a Story” is a “gathering of storytellers at the scene of the crime,”  the Clarendon Hotel and Spa itself, 401 W. Clarendon, from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Thursday, June 2. “Law enforcement, firefighters, journalists, and family members will recall their first person memories of that unforgettable day,” according to the event’s Eventbrite page where tickets are sold at $25 each. The gathering, presented by the Arizona Centennial Theatre Foundation, will be held at the hotel’s rooftop Sky Deck bar. A reception is to follow.
  • The Arizona Storytellers will present “Stories Behind the Stories,” 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, June 3, at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University’s downtown campus, 555 N. Central Ave., In addition to recounting other journalistic efforts, the evening will “feature stories of Bolles’ work, life and death, as well as ones about the continued relevance of Arizona-based investigative and watchdog journalism,” according to the event’s Facebook page. A $12 donation is suggested; get tickets here.

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.

Don’t chain Arizona’s watchdogs

Like any good joke, timing is everything.

House Speaker David Gowan demonstrated peculiar timing this week.

Days after affirming that representatives can carry concealed weapons while the House does its work, he banned reporters from the House floor unless they consented to an ill-defined and arbitrary criminal background check. Gowan said his action was necessary to ensure the security of potentially armed members from people who carry pens and laptops.

So that’s the punchline? Gowan believes the pen is mightier than the sword?

No one can believe that the members of the capitol press corps pose any threat to legislators’ security. If you have any doubts, turn on KAET’s Arizona Horizon on any Friday during the session, when capitol reporters talk about the week’s news. They’re policy wonks, not gangsters.

The only “threat” capitol reporters pose is in digging up news Gowan and his cohorts prefer to keep secret: large amounts of money spent on remodeling while the state was cutting key services; a plan to install showers and a “multipurpose room” in the House basement; and, most recently, the Arizona Capitol Times’ expose of Gowan’s use of state vehicles to travel across the 1st Congressional District, where he is a candidate. He paid back $12,000 for inappropriate travel expenses.

That story was reported by Hank Stephenson, who has a minor blemish on his record for trespassing. That misdemeanor, under Gowan’s rules, would be enough to keep him from ever stepping on the House floor.

It is hard to believe this is coincidental.

For decades, reporters have had access to the House floor with absolutely no incident. They just do their job, providing the public an eye to the proceedings of their elected representatives — for good or for ill.

Reporters don’t expect to be popular. Nor should they be punished for asking tough questions. Legislators should not be able to pick and choose who writes their stories. They should not try to silence journalists by making an example of those who do stellar work. The public can’t let Gowan have the last laugh.

The Society of Professional Journalists’ Valley of the Sun chapter urges Gowan to rescind this arbitrary and unnecessary change in journalists’ access to the House floor. Reporters pose no security threat — unless truth hurts.

Amanda Ventura is president of the Valley of the Sun chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Contact her at mandaven5@gmail.com. Follow the chapter’s Twitter feed at @spjphx.

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 pehttps://i2.wp.com/www.spj.org/logos/spj-shield_logo.pngople 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 phoenixspj@cox.net.

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, singingtvguy.com

Mike Chamberlin. Courtesy Mike Chamberlin, singingtvguy.com

“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 pschu@q.com.

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?

RSVP NOW: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/boos-boardgames-tickets-19047410317

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 azcentral.com; Lauren Saria, food editor of Phoenix New Times; Shawndrea Corbin, assistant editor, Phoenix Home & Garden magazine; Kathy Tulumello, business editor, The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com; Sue Doerfler, retail/innovations/entrepreneurs reporter, The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com; 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 phoenixspj.org for more information coming soon!