The Future of Journalism Education



Sept. 11, 2014


The Next Generation: The Future of Journalism Education

MADISON – Journalism is changing, and so is the way educators train the next generation of reporters, photographers, videographers and graphics specialists. Join leading college and high school educators and students for a wide-ranging discussion about the future of journalism education – and what mid-career journalists need to know to stay current.

The discussion takes place at Edgewood College’s Anderson Auditorium in the Predolin Hall from 7-9 pm on Wednesday, Sept. 24. It features Hemant Shah, director, UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication; Kim Hixson, chairman, UW-Whitewater Communications Department; Linda Friend, adjunct faculty, Edgewood College English Department, and former senior news producer, Wisconsin Public Television; Jon Netzler, journalism teacher and The Norse Star adviser, Stoughton High School; and Deirdre Green, managing editor, Simpson Street Free Press.

The event is sponsored by the Madison chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and Simpson Street Free Press, and with the generous support of Edgewood College. All area journalists are invited to attend this free event, which is also open to the public. High school and college students interested in journalism are particularly encouraged to attend. Parking is free.

Launched in 1992, Simpson Street Free Press uses journalism to teach the most practical and transferable of academic skills. Literacy is the SSFP brand.

Students publish five separate youth newspapers. The organization grows its own after-school instructors. Newsrooms are staffed using a youth leadership model. Former SSFP students, now in college, serve as editors. These college-age newspaper editors know SSFP curriculum because they grew up doing it. SSFP is thus a pipeline for young people of color. Experienced volunteers, including professional journalists, provide robust forms of assistance.

Based in Indianapolis, SPJ is a national membership organization that promotes high professional and ethical standards, First Amendment principles and the belief that a free and vigorous press is vital in a representative democracy. The Madison professional chapter was formed around 1990. Membership costs $75 annually, and it is open to journalists who spend at least half of their professional life writing or editing work for publication.

Contact: Mark Pitsch, 608-252-6145;



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SPJ delegates approve revised Code of Ethics

Sept. 6, 2014

NASHVILLE — Delegates of the Society of Professional Journalists voted overwhelmingly Saturday to approve a revised Code of Ethics. The voice vote came at the Society’s business meeting at its annual convention.

A committee of the Society spent the past year studying the current code and proposing changes. It had not been updated in nearly two decades. The committee’s work underwent revisions in the days leading up to the vote, and several amendments were accepted in Nashville.

An informal online poll of SPJ members showed that three of every four members who voted approved of the changes.

Delegates on Saturday also rejected a proposal to change the organization’s name to the Society for Professional Journalism.

Delegates are chosen by local chapters and the number of delegates allotted each chapter is determined by the number of members in each chapter. The Madison chapter had one delegate.

Also, SPJ members elected Dana Neuts president, Paul Fletcher president-elect, and Lynn Walsh secretary-treasurer. RadskeNashvilleNeuts is a freelance writer in the Seattle area. Fletcher is publisher and editor-in-chief of Virginia Lawyers Weekly. Walsh is national digital producer for the Scripps network of news organizations.

On Friday the Madison chapter received a certificate for outstanding work by a small chapter in advancing relations with campuses. At left is Joe Radske, SPJ Madison executive committee member and SPJ national board member, with the certificate.

Mark Pitsch, chapter president, received the Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Member of the Year Award at the president’s installation banquet on Saturday.


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SPJ enters Madison chapter in “Circle of Excellence”


Aug. 28, 2014

Contact: Mark Pitsch, president, Madison pro chapter Society of Professional Journalists, 608-252-6145

MADISON – The Society of Professional Journalists this week named its Madison pro chapter to this year’s “Circle of Excellence” for helping revive SPJ’s UW-Madison campus chapter.

The Circle of Excellence is a collection of awards that recognizes outstanding work in five areas: First Amendment/freedom of information, professional development, chapter communications, diversity and campus relations.

SPJ Madison secretary Breann Schossow, weekend assignment editor at WKOW-27, worked closely with UW-Madison students and professor Lucas Graves to help revive the campus chapter.

“It was simply a delight to help the students re-start their chapter,” Schossow says. “They’re passionate and wanted their fellow journalism students to benefit from the opportunities that SPJ offers.

Earlier this year, SPJ named Madison chapter president Mark Pitsch its Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Member of the Year in the small chapter category. Since 2011, the Madison chapter has twice been a finalist for small chapter of the year.

The Madison pro chapter serves to support journalism and journalists, promote First Amendment and ethical principals, and help the public understand what journalists do. SPJ membership is $75 annually.


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SPJ bestows honor on local chapter president


Contact: Lauren Fuhrmann, SPJ Madison Pro chapter vice president


MADISON, July 30, 2014 — SPJ Madison Pro chapter president Mark Pitsch has received the 2014 Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Member Award from the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) for his outstanding contributions to the local chapter. Pitsch has served as chapter president since 2011. His programming skills and work in reactivating the Madison chapter contributed to his winning the award.

“Mark has been instrumental in bringing young and experienced journalists together in the Madison area. His leadership in training journalists has helped build the Madison Pro chapter into one of the finest in the country,” says Joe Radske, SPJ Region 6 director and a member of the SPJ Madison Pro chapter.

Each year, the Howard Dubin Award is awarded to no more than two members — one from a chapter of 75 or more members and one from less than 75 members. The award is in honor of longtime SPJ member of the Chicago Headline Club Howard Dubin, who not only contributes time and money to the society but also remains dedicated to service at the chapter level.

Pitsch and J. Alex Tarquinio of the New York Deadline Club — winner of the award from a chapter of 75 or more members — will be recognized at the Excellence in Journalism annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, Sept. 4-6.

Based in Indianapolis, SPJ is a national membership organization that promotes high professional and ethical standards among journalists, First Amendment principles, and the belief that a free and vigorous press is vital in a representative democracy. The SPJ Madison Pro chapter was formed around 1990. Membership costs $75 annually, and it is open to journalists who spend at least half of their professional life writing or editing work for publication.

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Society of Professional Journalists, Madison Chapter
Monthly Business Meeting
May 5, 2014, 7:00 p.m.
Vintage Brewing Company, 674 S. Whitney Way, Madison


May 5, 2014

  1. Call to order
  2. Approval of minutes from 4/14/14 meeting
  3. Treasurer’s Report
  4. Membership Report
  5. President’s Report

(a)    Watchdog Awards (b)   UW Ethics Conference (c)    Capitol press credentials  (d)   Annual report

  1. Upcoming Events: National Convention (Sept. 4-6); Ideas: Surveillance journalism (Drones, Project Veritas, etc.), Foul language (and other matters of taste); Fall Training
  2. Discussion/Action: Bylaws revision
  3. Discussion/Action: UW-Madison student chapter dues
  4. Discussion/Action: Reimbursements
  5. Discussion/Action: Watchdog Awards: SSFP tickets ($110)
  6. Discussion/Action: AG race, Governor’s race
  7. New Business
  8. Adjourn

Votes could be taken on any Action or New Business item

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Developing Sources and Uncovering Stories in Minority Communities

A class exercise in the SPJ Workshop

A class exercise in the SPJ Workshop

A workshop to help journalists avoid stereotypes and caricatures in news coverage of minority communities, and include more minority representation in news coverage, was held at the Pyle center on the University of Wisconsin Madison campus on April 11, 2014. The workshop was presented by the Madison Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, Continue reading

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Brown bag lunch with Robert Leger, opinions editor, Arizona Republic

MADISON – Robert Leger, opinions editor at the Arizona Republic, will discuss editorial writing and opinion pages at a brown bag luncheon at Capital Newspapers, 1901 Fish Hatchery Road, Madison, on Wednesday, March 26, starting at 11:45 am. Continue reading

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