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/

Welcome back! Winter Quarter events

Hope you enjoyed your break! We have a great lineup of SPJ events planned for the coming quarter:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 10, 5-7 p.m.: Our next general meeting. Everyone is welcome! Our location will be announced soon.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 17, 5-7 p.m., Daley 1260: Resume and headshot workshop. Get advice on how to make yourself a great job candidate. We will have a photographer taking professional headshots. Prepare for job and internship season!
  • Saturday, Jan. 20, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.: School newspaper training for 8th-grade students at St. Juliana in Chicago. We’ll give aspiring journalists tips on how to find story ideas, conduct interviews and more. SPJ will provide transportation to the school, and lunch will be served afterward. If you’re interested, please contact SPJ President Ally Pruitt at allypruitt87@gmail.com.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 24, 5:30-7:30 p.m.: Monthly Public Newsroom: We’re teaming up with DePaul’s 14 East magazine to encourage Chicago residents to talk about important issues and learn more about how journalists will do their work. The first one will be in late January. Stay tuned for details!
  • Newsroom tours: Details coming soon
  • Friday, April 6, and Saturday, April 7: Save the dates for the SPJ Region 5 conference in Chicago. DePaul’s journalism program will be hosting the April 7 events. Sign up at the conference website to get email updates.

Questions? Interested in learning more? Find out what SPJ does and how to join. You can always contact Ally or Amy Merrick, our faculty adviser, at amerric1@depaul.edu.

Check out the minutes from our board meetings and general meetings here. We accept applications for board memberships each spring.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

EIJ 2016: Everything you know about multimedia storytelling is wrong

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By Danielle Church

Reporters are not just writers anymore. They are photographers, videographers, graphic designers, etc. In this generation, they have to be everything…or so they thought. According to University of California Berkley professor Richard Koci Hernandez, reporters really don’t have to do it all. In fact, we all really need to let go of that burden.

Here are some of Hernandez’s best tips on why journalists truly don’t have to do it all:

The best story ideas are the most passionate ones

It may sound a little crazy at first, but the best reporting doesn’t come from someone who tries to do everything. It all starts with someone who has a great story idea.

It doesn’t matter that technology and social media are the way people read stories, because if the story itself isn’t good, people won’t share or read it anyway. People who are passionate about certain topics are going to be very knowledgeable about them. They’re the ones that have gone out of their way to do loads of research or will eventually.

Therefore, it only makes sense that the best journalism would, as Hernandez says, come from someone who is extremely passionate about what they are doing. When you focus on a story idea that you know so much about, it’ll encourage you to think of more creative ways to share it with the world, such as through videos, interactive maps, etc. It also means that there is no room for someone in journalism who isn’t passionate about what they’re doing because their story ideas simply won’t measure up to the ones that are.

You’re not broken, the business model is broken

Journalism is not about working for the so-called “best” media company and it doesn’t mean you aren’t successful just because you haven’t gotten there. The foundation of any multimedia, or any part of journalism for that matter, is writing.

Don’t think about what the story will look like six months from now because it will probably change by then. Focus on what the story looks like now and put everything you have into it. As Hernandez says, the web is a creative platform and not just a single canvas.

That means you can do anything with it and it’s up to the reporter decide which platforms or materials they should use to help their audiences dive deep into the story.

Don’t worry about people who don’t matter

It’s impossible for reporters to reach everyone. Therefore, they shouldn’t be trying so hard to reach people that won’t pay any attention to the story.

The best way to spread a story is to know who to target. When reporters focus on who their story needs to reach specifically, it will do so much better because those people will be affected by it. If a reporter is able to inform a few instead of many, that’s fine because the point is that it reached the people that it matters the most to.

 

 

 

EIJ 2016: Covering mass shootings, wrongful convictions and making a murderer

By Ally Pruitt

How often do we hear reporters say things like “31 shot, 10 murdered”? or “The shooter is still on the loose and police are on the hunt?” Unfortunately, murder, mass shootings and convictions, whether wrongful or purposeful, are prevalent in today’s news.

The Excellence in Journalism Conference, held in New Orleans, acknowledged these issues and held three sessions on these hard to cover subjects that I was lucky enough to attend.

Each session touched on a different aspect of the news and crime. The first session was “How Well Does the Media Cover Mass Murders?” The second, “How to Investigate Potentially Wrongful Convictions and Other Criminal Justice Issues?” And the third, “Making a Murderer- And Covering Him”.

Here are ten tips to keep in mind when covering tough subjects like these!

  • Try your best to keep multiple photos of the shooter out of the media. To many, the publicity is motivation to commit these horrific crimes.
  • Focus as best you can on the victims. Include their stories, display their photos, and try your best to make them the soul focus of the story.
  • Be a human. Stay sensitive to the people involved in such a horrific event. Do not park your car outside of their property in hopes for an interview. Respect the fact that they are grieving.
  • Study false convictions and highlight red flags within cases.
  • Push for independent third parties to conduct DNA testing to keep the case completely unbiased.
  • Remember that in order to be involved with the Innocence Project, the accused must be factually innocent, which means not present at the scene of the crime.
  • Expect many legal obstacles when it comes to getting a case back into court and prepare yourself for a process that may take years to complete
  • Keep your opinion on any ongoing murder trial out of any coverage you do.
  • Bring a different perspective to the case if you cannot be right there at the crime scene or in the court house.
  • Everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Do not forget to keep that within your story when you report on crime.

All of these tips were given by professional reporters who have covered big issues such as the Colorado shootings, Lafayette shootings, the Steven Avery case, and multiple wrongful convictions all over the country.

Keep these in mind whenever a big story like this comes your way in order to be a successful reporter on tough subjects!