Ithaca College Society of Professional Journalists

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A skype date with Erica Hendry

Past Editor in Chief of the Ithacan and President of SPJ, Erica Hendry, joined club members at Monday's meeting from her apartment in Washington, D.C., via Skype. Currently, Hendry is interning at the Smithsonian, where she primarily updates one of the four blogs sponsored by the website.

In the past, Hendry said she also interned for a local newspaper in high school, a reporter from the Boston Globe and The Chronicle of Higher Education. As such, Hendry was able to offer current students priceless advice in securing their own internships in the following years. Here were some of the major points.

  • Follow directions! Only include the number of clips or references that are called for in the application.
  • Make your cover letter stand out with anecdotes or eye-catching design.
  • Don't wait until you are an upperclassman to apply for internships - the earlier you get started the better.
  • Talk to students who interned at the publication or news organization in the past to get an idea of what they require of their interns.
  • Don't apply for all internships you come across, pick out the ones that you feel are best suited for what you hope to do in the future and focus on those applications. The more time you put into the application process, the more likely you are to be awarded that internship.
Erica also will provide a list of good places to find publications looking for interns that you can expect to see posted in the near future.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

SPJ Hosting Radio Event Monday

Make sure to stop by Park 220 this Monday for a special presentation by Syl Kacapyr from the local radio station 870 WHCU. As an IC alum, it should be interesting to see how he made the transition from WICB to a local station.

In the new year we're off to a great start. This semester we've already held a presentation on one member's volunteer trip to Haiti days before the earthquake hit, sponsored a FinalCut workshop and ate our fair share of pizza. This Monday there will be plenty more where that came from so be sure to stop by.

Check here for more updates about the latest events.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Welcome Back SPJ

Hi everyone! I hope everyone is getting a good start to the semester. Last night was the first event of the fall semester and for anyone who missed it, the event was set up in a press conference form. Students had the opportunity to ask Sgt. Tom Dunn from the Office of Public Safety questions as if they were reporters covering a story of a robbery on campus. Twenty-eight students attended the meeting and Sgt. Tom Dunn did great and students had plenty of good questions for him.

The next meeting for SPJ will be held Monday, September 28th.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Independment Media Night

Hi everyone I hope you all enjoyed the first program of the semester last Monday. Professor Jeff Cohen gave students an insight into the world of independent media and Marshall and Emily Hopkins shared their experience with starting up a local magazine Ithaha: Local Reservations.


Below is an interesting article that I received from SPJ President Allie Musante from Professor Jeff Cohen...

imho, important argument in very last sentence --jc

NY Post Failed in Its Ethical Obligations by Publishing Cartoon

Last week, the New York Post published a cartoon that was widely interpreted by many press observers as an attack on President Barack Obama, applying the racially-charged stereotype of a chimp to the author of the stimulus bill proposed to Congress by the country's first African American president.

We believe that the Post failed in its ethical obligation to its diverse constituency -- not simply by publishing the cartoon, which it had every legal right to do, but by failing to appreciate the racial overtones before publication and, more damningly, by its narrow-minded defensiveness after the heated reaction to its publication.

The cartoon portrays a recent attack of a Connecticut woman by a chimpanzee later shot and killed by police. In the cartoon, one of the officers says over the body of the dead chimpanzee, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.”

The cartoon drew immediate condemnation from such groups as the NAACP and UNITY: Journalists of Color. The NAACP said the cartoon encourages violence against the president. That the reaction was so widespread and vociferous should have alerted the Post's editors to the fact that they had previously overlooked one obvious interpretation of its cartoon. Instead, the newspaper reacted by reiterating its initial interpretation of the cartoon to lampoon legislation, spurning an important ethical obligation to enter into a dialogue with its readers and the journalism professionals who were offended by its publication.

New York Post Chairman Rupert Murdoch has since personally apologized for the cartoon and to “any reader who felt offended, and even insulted." He said the Post will work to be more sensitive.

The apology is late and much of the damage has already been done, but the incident presents an opportunity for the Post and all other journalism organizations to learn.

The Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics calls on journalists to “avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.” That respect for cultural sensitivity includes journalists' obligation to “examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.”

SPJ has traditionally encouraged the news media to diversify their hiring, so that their staffs are more reflective of the overall population they are serving. This controversy is a good example of how important that policy is to all news coverage. Through cultural ignorance, journalists can and often do -- as in this case -- fail to consider the racial and ethnic cues and stereotypes they are communicating through language and images.

The code also states that journalists "are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other" and should "clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct."

After the cartoon was published, the New York Post's weak apology showed no understanding of why its cartoon might have been deeply offensive to others. The newspaper said it was not their "intent" to express racism, and they blamed the criticism on critics who had other reasons to attack the newspaper.

Those ethical injunctions include any form of incendiary commentary on news events. Even aside from the racial overtones missed by the Post's tone-deaf editors, it's hard to accept that shooting a politician for a political act is not incendiary and therefore subject to more pre-publication deliberation.

The Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists strongly opposes such misuses of power by journalists and believes journalism organizations can learn from this when reporting and commenting on news in a culturally diverse society.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

SPJ Presents Independent Media

Hi everyone I hope you are all excited for the first event of the semester! Jeff Cohen, the founding director of the Park Center for Independent Media, and the editors of the new independent magazine Ithaha, Emily and Marshall Hopkins will be joining SPJ Monday evening.

Professor Cohen will discuss his criticisms of corporate media, how indy media is working and what it's lacking, its potential, where it's going and how YOU can get involved in indy media organizations.

Emily and Marshall Hopkins are two former editors of the New Yorker magazine and they launched Ithaha magazine last year. Covering Ithaca's local color, the Hopkins are funding the magazine largely out of their own pockets with some help from relatives and local businesses. They will join Cohen's discussion of indy media and share their experience launching Ithaha, the advantages and the disadvantages of being indy.

It will be a great experience to learn about independent media!

The meeting will be held Monday, February 23 at 7 p.m. in Park 140.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Semester, New E-Board

I hope everyone had a great winter break and that everyone is excited for a new semester of SPJ. Our first meeting will be at 7 on Monday, February 2 in Park 140 (it's on the ground floor around the corner from PPEC's). It will be a quick get-together meeting for everyone to meet the new executive board. We want to get feedback from our members on the activities that we had last semester and hear your thoughts on our program ideas for this upcoming semester. We also want you to bring with you any ideas that you have for possible programs! There will be pizza and soda for all as well as some SPJ give-aways!

*Also note that all meetings will be held in Park 140 for this semester unless told otherwise.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Scully's Tips

For those of you wondering about all of the amazing advice that Michael Scully presented SPJ members here are some notes from Secretary Samantha Allen breaking down Scully's tips for job hunting.

Michael Scully, 1987 Ithaca Graduate:

In the news industry, it helps to “MOVE AROUND!”

Young person’s game ~ get to where you want to be at 35, not 40

Newspaper is dying, but the News Industry is not.

No longer can a student define himself or herself as print or TV ~ you are Multimedia!
Multimedia Expert:

Learn how to write features, edit and shoot video.
Television is exploding, everywhere!

You are multimedia expert with an expertise in AP Style, Feature Writing (Wall Street Journal Style)
~ Before leaving college you should learn how to write TV copy, Radio Copy

The magazine industry is based in NYC within 10 blocks of the Rockefeller; they are all there! (BusinessWeek, Rolling Stone, Life)

Be as creative as possible!
Ask upperclassmen for ideas for internship, where they interned first
The further from NYC, the more TV interns / NYC is magazine.

(“If you’re out of a job, your job is to look for one.”)

Word to the Wise: Non one hires in the summer, starts in Sept. 1st (the summer after college you either become an intern or a lifeguard!)

The intern culture has exploded!
Boston Globe is coming up, the Wall Street Journal is already done.

Electronic or Email Submissions/ suggest SNAIL MAIL (and never go cheap!)
Your resume package should be well-crafted:
Clips (print)
Video Clips (on DVD)
Cover Letter (opportunity specific)
There may be references
Resume (not exceeding one page)

THE COVER LETTER: 4 paragraphs.
It is a writing sample, be meticulous, no spelling errors! Check every word.

1. I am applying for…IN BOLD.
2. Why I want to work for you, been reading you my whole life.
3. Why you should hire me (At IC, they taught me how to…) (Check out my clips!)
4. Saying goodbye ( thanks for your interest, I will call you in 1 week to demonstrate my interest).

CALL THEM! Call at 7 a.m., last call of the cycle, the last one they will receive when checking their voice mail.

WHAT TO SAY: Interest in…, sent you a resume package, should be on your desk, call me at this number (90 seconds tops!)
Make them know who you are, if they call, they will try to get you off the phone as soon as possible.

Writings from class in your clip package.

Samples, Ithacan – use online version, no clip files from newspaper
References – with three names, tell your contacts first!
Resume – it will look flat, you haven’t done a lot!
Done something cool? Put it on there!; have them talk to you in the interview – lifeguarding? Running bed and breakfast?


greeting cards in the package – with Monet, classy, painting
“thanks for looking at this, here is my name and phone number.”
They may post it on your wall and never forget you, journalists typically don’t decorate their office!


Fedex, UPS packages go on top (overnight packages)
Postal Service saves you money! 2 day delivery service (cheaper, $4.50 vs. $15).
Mail boys put them on top!
Send on a Monday, received Weds, call Thurs 7 a.m.

If they call you back, make your voice mail professional.
~ be as professional as you can, out of the gate

Clothing: Professional, but neat, Washington Post, dress like the editor, but nicer!

Women: blouse, skirt
Men: slacks, blazer

TV is picky… print wanted by TV

semi–daily basis: Write once a week!
– talk to a mass audience.

If they like you, it will last 90 minutes.
If they don’t, only 15 minutes.

APPLICATION TESTS: especially for the wires (like AP !)
Collect business cards throughout the interview, send thank you notes always!

Know the language!
B–Roll, VO, SOT, middy shot, jump cut

Send 2 resumes per week, or 1 day, 25 by the end of the month (75 end of summer)
Meet your quota so you can earn your weekend!
You’re entitled to enjoy the weekend.


If it says “do not call,” DO NOT CALL.
You can be “blacklisted!”

PUT YOUR STUFF ONLINE: have a business card, “check out my site!”

HOW MANY CLIPS SHOULD WE SEND? 7 to 10, 5 not good
Resume? 1 page, TV Resumes, don’t be boring, make it look good!

NO more than 10 paragraphs per entry
1 video, picture per entry

Topics? Write what you know! Pick what interests you.

1 phone call, if it’s your home paper, try harder!

Weeklies are more fun than dailies.

DON’T JUMP AT YOUR FIRST OFFER! Take a few days, say you need to talk to your family.
Consider cost of living? Shift? Healthcare benefits?

Ask softball stuff – show interest that demonstrates knowledge of organization
How many exporters do you have? How long has your city editor worked there?

Posting resume on ?
Never that beneficial but worth a shot.
Check out MEDIABISTRO.COM – for magazines in NYC

COVER LETTER? Make sure you send it to the right person!
No typos/ spelling errors
12 sentences tops!
Write your number in person, let them know there’s a human at the end.

Cover Letter should read like a writing sample!
You understand the organization. “I’m a fan of bruins, red sox,” make sure you don’t forget to say the Celtics!

Writing about yourself: Be creative and fun, don’t lie.

Check out these at IC:
Buzzsaw haircut
Ithaca Journal
Ithaca Times

Take advantage of Scully's advice!