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.