Gwen Ifill Speaks on News Diversity at Cronkite School

Gwen Ifill, one of the nation’s most recognized and respected television journalists, will give a free public lecture April 1 on diversity in the news at Arizona State University.

Ifill is managing editor and moderator of the PBS news show “Washington Week,” the longest-running prime time news and public affairs program on television, and is senior correspondent for another long-running news program, the “PBS NewsHour.” She also has been a frequent guest on other news programs such as “Meet the Press.”

The best-selling author of “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama,” Ifill will discuss “Diversity and Inclusion in the News.”

Ifill’s talk will take place April 1 at 7 p.m. in the First Amendment Forum of the Cronkite School on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus. For more information, visit

Paul Schatt Memorial Lecture To Discuss Opinion Writing

Paul J. Schatt Memorial Lecture
Feb. 28, 2013
7 p.m

Sorting Through the Cacophony: Opinion Writing in an Opinion-Filled World

Carla Anne Robbins, award-winning journalist and foreign policy analyst, joins Phil Boas, editorial page editor of The Arizona Republic, to discuss the challenges of opinion writing in the seventh annual Paul J. Schatt Memorial Lecture.

Sponsored by the Paul J. Schatt Endowment, The Arizona Republic and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

First Amendment Forum
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
555 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Panel Discussion: Pairing Smart Science and Journalism

University of Arizona School of Journalism alumni are invited to join Dr. Jeffrey Trent, UA Professor Carol Schwalbe and New York Times best-selling author Alan Weisman for a lively panel discussion on the importance of knowledgeable journalists in covering science’s most important technological developments.

Thursday, February 7
5-7 p.m.
Offices of Bryan Cave LLP
One Renaissance Square, Phoenix
(Northwest corner of Central and Washington)

Dr. Jeffrey Trent is the president and scientific director of the Translational Genomics Research Institute. Work in Dr.Trent’s laboratory focuses on the study of genetic changes related to cancer predisposition and progression. Recently his research has focused on the genetic susceptibility to human prostate cancer.

Professor Carol Schwalbe spent nearly 30 years in various editorial capacities at National Geographic and in 2011 launched a science journalism curriculum for the University of Arizona School of Journalism.

Laureate Professor Alan Weisman is the author of The New York Times bestseller The World Without Us as well as several other books and numerous anthologies and articles. The World Without Us explored what would happen to the Earth if all humans suddenly disappeared. His next book, Countdown, which is due to be published this fall, looks at Earth’s carrying capacity.

The talk will be moderated by Steven Yozwiak, a 1977 UA School of Journalism graduate and senior science writer at the Translational Genomics Research Institute.

Welcome provided by Professor David Cuillier, director of the UA School of Journalism.

Beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres will be provided. Admission is free, but RSVP is required by Feb. 4. All are welcome but priority will be given to UA alumni. RSVP to Kate Harrison at or 520-626-3079.

City Scape West Garage—Entrance at underground ramp off of 1st Avenue, immediately south of Washington. Use elevator down to level P2, go through the tunnel walkway north to escalators leading to the building’s main lobby. Take elevator to 16th floor.

One Renaissance Square
Two N. Central Avenue, 16th Floor
Phoenix, Arizona

Google’s Richard Gingras and Jeff Jarvis to speak at Cronkite School

The head of news and social products at Google and a leading futurist will speak at the Cronkite School as part of the Scripps Howard Journalism Entrepreneurship Institute. The event is at 4 p.m. January 3 and is open to the public.

Cronkite Theater
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
555 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

For more information, contact Megan Calcote at 602-496-7845.

Learn how to interpret polling information with SPJ

As we close in on the home stretch of this election season, state and national polls will be coming hot and heavy. But what do the numbers actually mean? How do you interpret them in a way that your audience can really understand?

The Valley of the Sun Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists presents a special program with polling guru Bruce Merrill, 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12 in the boardroom of the Associated Press’s Phoenix bureau, 1850 N. Central Ave. Parking is free.

The event is FREE for SPJ members and $5 for non-members, payable at the door (cash or check only). RSVPs requested by no later than noon on Sept. 12 to or call 602-410-1267. For more details, download the program flier.

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

Registration for SPJ-ONA JournCamp Ends May 14

Don’t forget to register for the SPJ-ONA JournCamp in Phoenix! Here are a few workshops you’ll get to enjoy:

  • Entrepreneurial Journalism: Where does every journalist, from the up-and-coming student to the seasoned newsroom manager, fit in this new field? Hear from one journalist turned innovator and entrepreneur who’s been leading the charge in this expanding space. Trainer: Retha Hill, Arizona State University
  • Visual Storytelling: Visual storytelling is no longer reserved for those who just work in television. Working on the Web means journalists in all media need to find creative ways to provide information to their audiences. We’ll show you how you can use pictures to tell your story, even if none are (obviously) available. Trainer: Victoria Lim, freelancer
  • Social Media as a Reporting Tool: Social networks sprout by the minute, but which ones should you focus on, and how can you use them to find news, crowdsource information and generate leads? We’ll give you ideas for how to curate information, what you should consider in the verification process and how to publish it all, with specific case studies. Trainer: Daniel Petty, Denver Post

When:  Friday, May 18. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost:  $20 for SPJ or ONA members / $40 for non-members. (Registration fee includes breakfast and lunch.)

See more programs and speaker bios at To register, visit Hurry, registration closes May 14!

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.

Paul J. Schatt Memorial Lecture is March 29

This year’s Paul J. Schatt Memorial Lecture featuring Steven Ginsberg, national political editor for The Washington Post will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 29, in the First Amendment Forum (second floor) of the Cronkite School. Ginsburg will share the stage with Leonard Downie Jr., former editor of the Washington Post who now teaches at the Cronkite School, for a conversation about the 2012 presidential election.

Please consider coming to hear this interesting presentation and to support Paul’s memory. Paul, a former Arizona Republic editorial pages editor who taught as a Cronkite adjunct professor for 30 years and was a longtime Valley of the Sun SPJ member, died in November 2005. The following spring, he posthumously received the chapter’s highest honor, the Phil Alvidrez Award for Excellence in Journalism.