Join SPJ to dedicate home of Arizona’s first newspaper as a national Historic Site in Journalism

SPJ and Arizona State Parks will unveil a plaque dedicating Tubac Presidio State Historic Park in southern Arizona — where Arizona’s first newspaper, The Weekly Arizonian, was first published in 1859 — in ceremonies Saturday, March 23, at the park, 1 Burruel St., Tubac.

Tour the park museum — which includes the 154-year-old Washington Hand Press that printed the Arizonian and still works to print replicas for visitors — start at 1 p.m. The dedication ceremony on the museum patio is at 2 p.m., followed by a reception where refreshments will be served.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to or on or before March 18. For more information, email Mark Scarp at For information on the park, visit

The park was selected as the historic site by the SPJ Executive Committee in 2012, the centennial year of Arizona statehood. In addition, 2013 is the 150th anniversary year of the creation of the Territory of Arizona, separated from the New Mexico Territory, by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.

Help Phoenix SPJ congratulate Robert Leger on the Wells Memorial Key

For his devotion to its principles and mission, Robert Leger was honored by the Society of Professional Journalists with its highest honor: the Wells Memorial Key!

The Valley of the Sun chapter of SPJ invites members to quaff a few cold brews in Robert’s honor at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9 (that’s tonight!), at Angels Trumpet Ale House, 810 N. Second St. in downtown Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row Art District.

The place, completely remodeled inside with a nice patio, just opened Sept. 15 and already is becoming a downtown “in” spot. It serves beer from 31 different taps! It has a cool, different, tasty menu. I’ve been there already and loved it. Check it out at or call 602-252-2630.

See you there!

Phoenix SPJ Seeks Volunteers for Annual Publicity Summit

Shed light on how you and your media organizations want to be pitched — and how you
don’t want to be — by participating in the 8th annual Valley Publicity Summit. Once again, the Valley of the Sun SPJ chapter seeks local journalists to volunteer a bit of their time to pay big dividends in building better relationships with public relations professionals. Information on how you can volunteer as one of the journalists giving advice — and get a FREE LUNCH — is below.

Every year since 2005, the Phoenix chapters of SPJ and PRSA have partnered to host the
annual Valley Publicity Summit, offering PR professionals the opportunity to network with peers, meet key Phoenix media and learn the best ways to pitch media for story placements. Both chapters collaborate with PRSSA and campus SPJ students to engage student professionals in assisting and attending the event. The half-day event is structured with guest speaker, breakout panel sessions, lunch, and speed pitching.

This year, for the first time, the summit will be held at the Walter Cronkite School of
Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University’s downtown campus,
555 N. Central Ave., in the First Amendment Forum on the school’s second floor. Here
are the basics:

Date/Time: Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012 from 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Parking: Free parking for the event can be found at the nearby garage structure, an ASU visitor lot to the immediate north of the Cronkite School building, and street parking.

Attendance: The event typically draws 25-30 media members and 75-100 PR professionals.

Food: Water and coffee will be available all day. A boxed lunch or buffet is served at noon.

Keynote: Former ABC 15 anchor Jodie Heisner is confirmed as the keynote speaker,
offering a 45-minute session on “Hit ‘em with your best shot” coaching on
elevator pitching.

The deal: You’d be seated on one of our media panels, arranged by type of medium, to tell of your deadlines and preferences in getting PR pitches. Then you get to critique
PR professionals who will toss you authentic, live, “speed pitches” (maximum
two minutes, OK, maybe three). If you like the pitch, take it, it’s yours to use to
develop a story! If you don’t, you get to tell the PR person why it wouldn’t work,
or wouldn’t work for you. They learn something and you get story ideas.

Panels: TV News, Community News, Business News, Magazines, TV/Radio Morning Shows, Radio News, Blogs/Online.

Get involved: Sign up today, or ask questions, by writing to Mark Scarp at You’ll be able to say you did something to improve the relationship between media and PR people. And after all, a rising tide raises all boats!

Cool brew, hot networking at SPJ’s annual meeting/election

Our SPJ chapter bylaws require us to hold an election for 2012-13 officers, but as has been our tradition, we take that five-minute duty and wrap a couple of hours of socializing, food and beer around it.

So once again, the Valley of the Sun SPJ chapter holds its annual meeting and mostly social event at the SunUp Brewing Co., 322 E. Camelback, just a short walk from the Central Avenue/Camelback Road light rail line, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 27. Here’s the map:

Members and nonmembers are welcome. The chapter will pick up the first round of appetizers. Come and cool off with a variety of on-the-premises-brewed beers and meet fellow journalists from around the Valley. Somewhere among the fun, our members will be asked to cast a voice vote for next year’s president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. The official slate of candidates will be announced soon.

See you there! For more information, email

Freedom of Information Awards Winners Announced

The Valley of the Sun Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) pays tribute to working journalists and others at its annual Arizona Freedom of Information Awards Reception, 12:00 p.m. Saturday, April 21 in the Monte Vista Room of the Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave., in Phoenix. The keynote speaker will be Valley TV and radio icon, Pat McMahon.

Those being honored include:

  • First Amendment Award — Elvina Nawagun-Clemente, Cronkite News Service; Staff, The Arizona Republic; Matthew Casey, The Tombstone Epitaph; Hillary Davis, Arizona Daily Sun; Lauren Gambino, Tia Casañeda and Heather Billings, Cronkite News Service; Joe Ferguson, Arizona Daily Sun; Cyndy Cole, Arizona Daily Sun
  • Sunshine Award — Todd Feltus & Greg Collins, Kercsmar & Feltus PLLC, on behalf of Judicial Watch; Teri Hayt, Arizona Daily Star
  • The Phil Alvidrez Award for Excellence in Journalism — Tom Arviso Jr., Navajo Times
  • The Order of the Silver Key Society — Al Macias, KJZZ; Ken Western, The Arizona Republic; and Bill Heywood (posthumous).

Tickets are $45 for SPJ members, $50 for non-members, and $40 for students. Tickets can be purchased online via Paypal. Otherwise, mail checks to the P.O. Box address listed below by no later than Monday, April 16. Checks or cash will be accepted at the door, but RSVPs are required via e-mail by April 16. Tickets include the reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres, iced tea, coffee and dessert, and a memorable time honoring outstanding examples of the use of the First Amendment in shining a light on important public issues.

‘Friend Raiser’ at Hooters supports student SPJ chapter

The student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) housed at the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication invites you to enjoy wings and basketball while helping out the chapter financially during a fundraiser on Tuesday, March 27 (that’s tonight).

As part of Hooters’ “Friend Rising” program, for every diner at the Arizona Center eatery who brings in this flier today, Hooters will donate $2 to the Cronkite SPJ student chapter. The flier is good all day, but several chapter members will be heading over around 7 p.m. to watch the Phoenix Suns take on the San Antonio Spurs. So stop by and show your support!


Hugh Downs to speak at Arizona Town Hall fall luncheon

Television today bears little resemblance to the fledgling communications vehicle that existed in 1945, the year Hugh Downs made his TV debut from the still experimental studio of WBKB-TV now WBBM-TV Chicago. The remarkable evolution of that medium, as well as the myriad others Americans consume daily, will be the focus of Downs’ presentation, “Changes in the Media,” during the Arizona Town Hall’s Fall Luncheon, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, at the Wyndham Phoenix Downtown, 50 E. Adams St. His talk will incorporate the impact media has on our community, policies and its other influences.

It was 26 years ago that Downs first gained recognition from the Guinness Book of World Records as holding the record for the greatest number of hours on commercial network television. Although his broadcast career has spanned more than six decades, he is probably best known as the Emmy Award-winning co-anchor of the ABC News’ “20/20,” a primetime news magazine program (where he was paired with Barbara Walters), from the show’s second episode in 1978 until his retirement in 1999.

A longtime Valley resident, Downs is the author of 12 books. In recognition of Downs’ impact on the field of communication, Arizona State University is home to the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication.

Prior to the luncheon featuring Downs, a special silent auction will be held to benefit the ongoing work of the Arizona Town Hall. The luncheon will be a part of A Day of Civic Action with other Arizona organizations and will coincide with the National Conference on Citizenship.

Luncheon tickets are $125. Contact Tara Jackson at 602-252-9600 or visit

Don’t Miss the 7th Annual Publicity Summit

These days a journalist’s time is more precious than ever. Once again, we’re holding the one event that can result in less wasted time for both journalists and PR professionals: The 7th annual Publicity Summit.

What is the Publicity Summit?
The 7th annual Publicity Summit will bring journalists and public relations people together to share information and to offer better ways to pitch story ideas to journalists. Co-sponsored by the local chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Public Relations Society of America, this interactive half-day event is structured with a light breakfast and networking, followed by breakout panel sessions (for radio, television, online media and print), lunch and one-on-one speed pitching. An updated list of the media professionals in attendance is available on the Phoenix PRSA website.

Sounds great. When is it?
The summit will be 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6.

Where is the Publicity Summit?
We’re meeting in the Memorial Union at Arizona State University in Tempe. Visitor parking is free on Saturdays in the Apache Blvd Parking Garage.

How much does this workshop cost?
Advance registration is available for $100 for non-profits or PRSSA students, $125 for PRSA members and $150 for non-members. Walk-in rates are $105 for non-profits or PRSSA students, $130 for PRSA members and $155 for non-members. Note: RSVPs that are no-shows will be charged. Register at the Phoenix PRSA website.

Should I live-Tweet during the event?
Absolutely! Just remember to use the Twitter hashtag #PRPubSum.

I still have more questions.
No problem! Just email Virginia Anderson at or Alison Bailin at and they’ll help you out.

Phoenix SPJ Announces Details for Annual Mixer

It is that time of year again where we gather to celebrate all things j-related, and also to (briefly) elect our board officers for the 2011-12 term. And as usual, we have no “challenged” seats, so it’s safe to say the elections will take less than a minute…but the revelry will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 21 at SunUp Brewing Co., 322 E. Camelback Road in Phoenix.

The chapter will splurge on some appetizers, but you are responsible for your own beverages. The festivities will be in the Brewer’s Den, which is the building on the other side of the outdoor patio area.

The slate of this year’s officers is below. So please come and congratulate them for another year of service to our Valley of the Sun board, enjoy some grub on us, discuss what’s happening in Valley media, offer up some program suggestions, or just brainstorm wacky headline ideas featuring the word “Weiner.” Guests are welcome. RSVPs appreciated (so we know how many appetizers to order) to

2011-12 Slate of Board Officer Candidates:

  • President: Teri Carnicelli, editor, North Central News
  • Vice President–Broadcast: Kelly Madison, KJZZ
  • Vice President-Print: Perri Collins, ANA
  • Recording Secretary: Debra Krol, Heard Museum
  • Communications Secretary: Tiffany Di Giacinto, SmarterTools
  • Treasurer: Paul Buser, editor, the Arizona Business Lawyer


Phoenix SPJ Seeks Board Members

A message from Phoenix SPJ Immediate Past President Mark Scarp:

In the 17 years I have served on the Valley of the Sun SPJ chapter board, I’ve seen many changes in both our national Society and our local chapter. Locally one of the biggest changes is the changing composition of our chapter board. People naturally come and go for a variety of reasons after their board service has ended. But as American journalism in the past two years has suffered greatly–and virtually none among us has been spared some form of suffering–so has the need to be there for the future of our profession. Journalism needs SPJ’s guiding principles and the eager hands and minds of its members more than ever.

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