SPJ Madison media access statement

It’s Election Day, and the Madison chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is reminding candidate campaigns, political parties and the public of the important role journalists play in providing news and information throughout this historic day.

In particular,  Madison SPJ seeks to ensure that journalists reporting from candidate election watch parties this evening are unrestricted and free to do their jobs. That means journalists should have visual and interview access to attendees and candidates and not be limited from moving about.

Increasingly, political campaigns have restricted the movement of reporters at events through the use of holding pens, making it more difficult for journalists to do their jobs. Notably, in 2012, campaigns for Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate candidates roped off media from people attending Election Night parties in an effort to prevent interviews.

Earlier today, Madison SPJ emailed letters to the campaigns of Sen. Ron Johnson, Rep. Paul Ryan and Senate candidate Russ Feingold urging them to allow journalists to do their jobs this evening without restrictions.

An informed citizenry depends on a free and open press. Tonight, let the media do their jobs.


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SPJ Madison to raise money for David Maraniss Scholarship

MADISON — The Madison chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will raise money for the David Maraniss and Elliott Maraniss Scholarship at its annual holiday party and raffle in December. The group is now seeking prizes from media companies, local businesses and journalists.

The scholarship is awarded to UW-Madison graduate students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, with a focus on minority applicants.

“In a modern culture flooded with misinformation and disinformation, it is more important than ever to develop a new generation of journalists who are both fluent in ever-changing technologies and committed to and trained in journalism that emphasizes real old-school reporting and the search for truth. That is what my father, Elliott Maraniss, believed in, that is how he trained me, and that is what the Maraniss scholarship is all about,” said David Maraniss. “The fact this this scholarship, aimed to help women and minority students, includes a wonderful summer internship at the Capital Times, doubles its effectiveness. I’m incredibly grateful that SPJ Madison is helping us strengthen this effort.”

Pulitzer Prize winner David Maraniss is a Madison native and Washington Post editor who has written biographies of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Vince Lombardi and who told the story of the Dow Chemical protests at UW during the Vietnam War, among other works. His father, Elliott Maraniss, was the longtime editor of the Capital Times in Madison.

The SPJ Madison holiday party and raffle, held in conjunction with the Capitol press corps, will be held Thursday, Dec. 15 from 6-9 p.m. at the Argus Bar in Madison. Those interested in contributing raffle prizes can contact Mark Pitsch at mpitsch (at) madison (dot) com.

In previous years, SPJ Madison raised money for Simpson Street Free Press and the Tom Mulhern Scholarship for Sports Journalism at UW-Madison.


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SPJ delegates reject name change

NEW ORLEANS – Delegates to the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual convention last week voted against renaming the organization.

By a vote of 57-44, delegates rejected a proposal to rename the 6,800-member group the “Society for Professional Journalism.” The proposal has received an increasing number of votes since it was first suggested several years ago.

Proponents said such a name change would more accurately reflect the membership because not all members are journalists, and would better advocate for the profession. Opponents said the focus of the organization should be on those who practice journalism.

Delegates also backed a proposal to create a new “supporting member” category.  Delegates also:

  • Urged President Obama to abandon restrictions on access to government information and officials.
  • Backed enhanced protections for student journalists.
  • Backed transparency in media ownership.
  • Endorsed the right to report on political campaigns.
  • Tabled a proposal opposing mandatory “trigger warnings” on college campuses.


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SPJ Madison hosts “After Deadline” Meet Up at Ale Asylum on June 21

Celebrate summer – and journalism – at the Society of Professional Journalists’ inaugural “After Deadline” event Tuesday, June 21, at Ale Asylum in Madison.

The Madison SPJ chapter is hosting this gathering, to be held by SPJ chapters across the country. Meet your colleagues, take pride in your profession and enjoy a Wisconsin summer on the patio of one of Wisconsin’s hottest breweries. Free SPJ giveaways, too.

Join us from 6-9 pm. We’ll meet on the patio at Ale Asylum, 2002 Pankratz St., Madison (near the Dane County Regional Airport on the city’s north side). We’ll move inside during inclement weather.

This is an informal gathering. Nothing more to do than show up and be ready to socialize.

Questions? Contact Joe Radske, 262-366-1259, or Mark Pitsch, 608-252-6145.

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From Podcasting 101 to Hands-On Audio Editing


Podcasting 101 with (left to right): Terry Bell, Larry Hansen, Dylan Brogan

“Flying cars didn’t happen but your iPod automatically hooks up with your car radio,” said Isthmus staff writer Dylan Brogan, explaining the increasing popularity of audio podcasts. Continue reading

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SPJ Madison, Madison College host Podcasting Training

MADISON — Are you an avid podcast listener? Or does the medium have you stumped? Join us for the Madison pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists’ 2016 Spring Training to learn the skills and tools you need to compete in the world of podcasting and explore ways to make it work in your newsroom. Continue reading

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Remembering James Baughman


Professor James Baughman, of the University of Wisconsin School of Journalism and Mass Communications, passed away on Saturday, March 26, 2016. Professor Baughman was a supporter of SPJ, and participated in some of our meetings. We will miss his enthusiasm for the mission of journalism. Continue reading

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