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Official website for DePaul University's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.

EIJ Day 2: Bad News Writing

We’re sharing highlights from the Excellence in Journalism national conference. Follow @spjonadepaul on Twitter for more journalism news and tips!

By Erica Carbajal

On day two in Baltimore for EIJ 2018, the “Bad News Writing: The no good, the bad and the ugly” session led by radio journalist Christopher Cruise served as a good reminder for fellow journalists in the room: write like you talk.

The breakout session started off by highlighting the “strange” ways we as reporters often talk and write, and how it’s almost like its own language. The audience poked fun at this while watching the “How a local news anchor makes a phone call” video by feature reporter, Kate Welshofer. The crowd laughed and nodded along in agreement at the exaggerated pronunciation and change in tone, recognizing Welshofer’s demonstration of news reporter speaking style in themselves.

Cruise’s presentation then transitioned into the overused phrases and journalism cliches that can be seen in almost any local newscast. “What does an ‘area resident’ mean?” Cruise asked, “Why don’t we just say ‘local resident’?” and the audience laughed in agreement. His favorite though, is “local hospital.” Cruise said he sees this in almost every script that comes across his desk. His simple solution is to write like you talk. “Just say ‘hospital,'” Cruise said, reminding everyone that no viewer or reader will assume a victim was taken to a hospital hours away.

My personal favorite phrase that I hear often, particularly on broadcast news, was “brutal gang rape.” Cruise said “Is there any other kind of gang rape?” reminding members of the field to avoid fillers and tell a story similar to the way you really talk, while maintaining balance and professionalism, of course.

Cruise convinced us to always consult the “Overused Phrase List” when in doubt, and to never reference tragedies as “terrible” again.

Want to attend this Year’s EIJ national conference in Baltimore? Here’s How:

SPJ Region 5 is giving away two $500 scholarships to interested students! All you have to do is write a letter on why this money will be beneficial to you for this conference and you could be reimbursed for the cost. Deadline is approaching on JULY 31ST so make sure to get those letters in soon! Send them to daymi01@gmail.com and good luck!

baltimore 2baltimore spj

Meet our new board!

2018-19 Board

Congratulations to our 2018-19 board members! We can’t wait to see all of you next year. We’d love to hear your ideas and feedback for how to keep building SPJ.

Left to right in the photo:

Abby Yimer, secretary/treasurer

Erica Carbajal, social media coordinator

Ally Pruitt, 2017-18 president (she’s graduating!)

Jesus J. Montero, membership/Online News Association coordinator

Lacey Latch, vice president/events coordinator

Carina Smith, president

Find us online:

Twitter and Instagram: @spjonadepaul

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/spjonadepaul/

Excellence in Journalism 2018: Scholarships Available!

Want to attend #EIJ18, SPJ’s national conference Sept. 27-29 in Baltimore? SPJ wants to help cover your costs! Check out the opportunities and application deadlines.
STUDENTS
EIJ News Internships: Ten student interns will gain experience and make connections while covering the EIJ18 conference, by using multimedia approaches in a student newsroom. If selected, you’ll get one conference registration, complimentary four-night stay at the conference hotel, some meals and the chance to show off your talents and network with other journalists. Applications for the EIJ News Team are due April 30Apply now.
Columbia Journalism School Student Fellowships: The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism is providing funds for five SPJ student members from any school to attend EIJ18. If selected, you’ll get one conference registration and $575 to use toward travel expenses. Applications are due May 18Apply now.
Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment Award: The Lewis family’s generosity provides this scholarship to one SPJ student member who has demonstrated outstanding service to the First Amendment through the field of journalism. If selected, you’ll get one conference registration and $350 to use toward travel expenses. Applications are due June 5Apply now.
PROFESSIONALS
Dori Maynard Diversity Leadership Program: The goal of the program is to increase the diversity of SPJ members within the organization. Each year, SPJ selects six members to participate as SPJ Diversity Leadership Fellows. The fellowship provides funds for fellows to receive a conference registration, airfare (up to $300), four-night hotel accommodations at EIJ18 and one ticket to the SPJ President’s Installation Banquet on Sept. 29 Get the details and apply now.
Terry Harper Memorial Scholarships: The Terry Harper Memorial Scholarship is open to professional, post-grad and retired members. It is given in honor of Terry Harper, SPJ’s executive director from 2002-2009. The scholarship provides funds for up to five members to receive a conference registration, airfare, four-night hotel accommodations at EIJ18 and one ticket to the SPJ President’s Installation Banquet on Sept. 29. Applications are due June 5Get the details and apply now. For eligibility and application information, click here.