SPJ Madison announces Freedom Ring high school publication contest

Students invited to submit writing, video and cartoon pieces on the meaning of the First Amendment

MADISON, WIS — With personal freedoms being assaulted and abridged around the world, the Madison Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is sponsoring a high school publication contest, Freedom Ring, which will include editorial writing, video and editorial cartoon items.

“Receiving a journalism award is more than a certificate and a line on a resume. It’s realizing the value of hard work. It’s encouragement to maintain high standards. It’s motivation to explore an exciting, important and challenging industry,” declared Taylor Cartier, National SPJ Communication Coordinator.

The contest among Wisconsin high school newspapers is aimed at building awareness of the FirstAmendment of the U. S. Constitution during the month of March. March 16 is the birthday of James Madison, who wrote the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Wisconsin’s capital city and many of the city’s streets are named after the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Over the past several years Wisconsin students and others have exercised many of their rights at the State Capitol.

SPJ Madison would like students during the month of March to publish an editorial, essay, cartoon or video on the meaning of the First Amendment. SPJ’s Madison chapter will judge entries based on originality, expression of thought, creativity and impact of a message.

Entries should be submitted to the SPJ Madison chapter at spjmadisononline@gmail.com during the first week of April. SPJ members will judge all entries and make award announcements in May for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in all categories. Certificates of participation will also be given to all school media participants.


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SPJ Madison, Next Door Brewing discuss beermaking

GrainsMADISON — SPJ Madison members met with Next Door Brewing Company head brewer Bryan Kreiter on Feb. 24 to discuss beermaking as the groups prepare to launch Sunshine Wheat.

The American wheat beer will debut March 16 at a celebration of Sunshine Week, the annual event honoring open government and the First Amendment. The celebration takes place from 6-9 p.m. at Next Door, 2439 Atwood Ave., Madison.

Sunshine Wheat features brewers malt, flaked wheat and crystal wheat from Wisconsin-based Briess Malt and Ingredients Company and Brewer’s Gold hops from Gorst Valley Hops of Mazomanie. It will feature an exotic dry hop. Sunshine Wheat will hold 4.8 percent alcohol-by-volume, 22 IBUs and a 5.6 SRM.

The Wisconsin Newspaper Association is the lead sponsor of the SPJ Madison-Next Door Brewing event. Other sponsors include WKOW, Wisconsin State Journal, With Gusto, Isthmus, and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.


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Sunshine Wheat for Sunshine Week

SPJ Glass (3)SPJ Madison, Next Door Brewing collaborate on American wheat beer to honor the First Amendment, open government and Wisconsin journalism

MADISON – The Madison chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and Next Door Brewing invite journalists and advocates of open government to celebrate Sunshine Week with the tapping of Sunshine Wheat, an American wheat beer featuring local hops and malts, on Monday, March 16.

The celebration takes place from 6-9 p.m. at Next Door Brewing, 2439 Atwood Avenue, Madison. The first 50 attendees will receive a souvenir beer glass thanks to the generous lead sponsorship of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association. WKOW-TV, the Wisconsin State Journal, Schott, Bublitz and Engel, and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism are supporting sponsors. Two tickets to upcoming Isthmus events – Isthmus Food Cart Fest, Paddle & Portage, Beer & Cheese Fest — will be awarded in a drawing, courtesy of Isthmus. With Gusto is making a poster for the event, prints of which will be available for $15 each.

Next Door head brewer Bryan Kreiter will speak about creating the beer and his use of local ingredients at 7 p.m. He will be followed with remarks by WNA executive director Beth Bennett about Sunshine Week.

Invited special guests include Wisconsin food and beer writers Chris “Beer Baron” Drosner, Robin Shepard, Laurel White, Linda Falkenstein, Barry Adams, Kathy Flanigan and George Zens.

March 16 is the 264th anniversary of the birth of James Madison, father of the First Amendment and the man for whom the City of Madison is named. Sunshine Week, a national event in support of open government, runs March 15-21.

The event is free, and all area journalists are welcome to attend. There will be a cash bar; appetizers will be provided. RSVPs are appreciated to mpitsch@madison.com.

Sunshine_Wheat_Final-revisedBased 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 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, mpitsch@madison.com; 608-252-6145

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SPJ holiday party/raffle Dec. 18; raise money for Mulhern Scholarship

MADISON — Two tickets to the see the Green Bay Packers play the Detroit Lions on Sunday, Dec. 28. A $100 gift certificate to Food Fight Restaurant Group. Two tickets to the Isthmus Beer and Cheese Fest on Saturday, Jan. 17.

Those are among the items you can win at the annual Holiday Mixer and Raffle hosted by the Madison pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in conjunction with the Capitol press corps. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Tom Mulhern Scholarship for Sports Journalism at UW-Madison. The first scholarship will be awarded in April.

The mixer and raffle will be held on Thursday, Dec. 18, from 6-10 p.m. at the Argus Bar, 123 E. Main St., just a block off the Capitol Square. The party will take place in the downstairs bar. All area journalists and journalism supporters are invited, and the event is free.

Once again the party will feature a pot-luck meal, so please bring an appetizer, side dish, main dish or dessert to share.

The raffle will take place at approximately 8 p.m. The Packers-Lions tickets will be raffled off separately.

Pre-sale of raffle chances for the Packers-Lions tickets only, at a cost of $15 for one chance and $25 for two chances, will begin Thursday, Dec. 11. Chances will be available in Madison from Mark Pitsch at Capital Newspapers, 1901 Fish Hatchery Road; Joe Radske at Channel 3 studios, 7025 Raymond Road; Lauren Fuhrmann at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism offices at the UW-Madison School of Journalism, 5006 Vilas Hall, 821 University Ave.; and Rebecca Wasieleski at UW School of Medicine and Public Health, K4/761, 600 Highland Ave.

The raffle features more than $750 in prizes, including:

* Two 35-yard-line tickets to the Packers-Lions game on Dec. 28, courtesy Aaron Popkey and the Green Bay Packers ($200 value)

* Aerial photograph of Lambeau Field, courtesy Andy Manis ($150 value)

* Two tickets to Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest, courtesy Isthmus ($100 value)

* Food Fight gift certificate, courtesy Wisconsin State Journal ($100 value)

* Two 6-bottle wine packages, courtesy Wisconsin Radio Network ($60 value, each)

* Gift certificate, Next Door Brewing, courtesy Madison SPJ ($50 value)

* Up to 90-minute “behind the scenes” tour of Camp Randall and the Kohl Center for four to eight people, courtesy Justin Doherty and UW Athletics. NOTE: High-school athletes are not eligible to participate in the tour.

* Three, $10 gift certificates to Madison breweries, courtesy Rebecca Wasieleski

* UW Health gift package, courtesy UW Health

* Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism beer stein, courtesy WCIJ

* WISC-TV coffee cup four-pack, courtesy WISC-TV

* 6-pack Beer Baron sampler, courtesy Chris Drosner, “aka” Beer Baron

* Numerous books by Wisconsin journalists and authors, courtesy Wisconsin State Journal

New raffle items may be added prior to the event.

SPJ members and journalists who renew their memberships or join the organization on the night of the party will receive a free drink. Journalists or news organizations that would like to donate raffle items should contact Mark Pitsch, mpitsch@madison.com.

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Digital and Social Media Training

Going Digital First

Joel Christopher – Gannett Wisconsin Media

An SPJ digital news gathering workshop, was held on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus on Friday, October 17, 2014, our fall journalism training event. The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, Wisconsin Public Television, Wisconsin Public Radio and the Wisconsin State Journal co-sponsored the training workshop.

Session One: Going Digital First in the Newsroom Continue reading

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SPJ statement on press access at campaign events


Oct. 1, 2014

The Madison chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists was distressed to learn that press minders sought to prevent reporters from interviewing people who attended a Mary Burke campaign event in Milwaukee on Monday, Sept. 29, featuring First Lady Michelle Obama.

The good news is that the campaign of gubernatorial candidate Burke and the White House have a chance to get it right. Continue reading

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SPJ to host digital and social media training


How can you keep pace with the accelerating pace of innovation in newsrooms? And how do you get started if you’ve fallen behind? Join us for the Madison pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists’ 2014 Fall Training to learn the skills, strategy and tools you need to compete in the world of digital native news. Continue reading

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