Don’t Miss SPJ/LA’s Media Literacy Panel: “Fighting the Fakers”

“Fake news” is an accusation leveled almost daily by pundits and politicians, while conspicuous fact-checking has become a mainstay of political coverage. Public confidence in the press has fallen to single digits. And Facebook is gearing up efforts to fight “information operations” designed to “distort … political sentiment.”

  • How can the average reader sidestep spin and sort out the truth?
  • Identify what’s left out of a story?
  • Fact check the fact checkers?
  • How can reporters avoid bias and signal the authority of their sources?
  • Identify the narrative within the chaos of social media?
  • What are media outlets doing to fight back?
  • What’s the long-term impact on the free press?

Join our panelists for a discussion on media literacy in an age of instant and endless information, followed by Q&A.


  • Jim Newton is a veteran journalist who spent 25 years at the Los Angeles Times — working as an editor, bureau chief and columnist — before joining the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and founding Blueprint magazine. Jim has authored three critically acclaimed and best-selling biographies.
  • Evan George is the managing producer for public radio station KCRW’s “To the Point,” the live, nationally syndicated show hosted by Warren Olney, which provides a daily in-depth look at national and international issues driving headlines. Before radio, Evan covered health care and courts as a newspaper editor and reporter.          
  • Kelly Whitney, director of integrated media for NBC4, oversees the station’s digital news coverage and social media strategy. Kelly began her career as a print reporter and has covered beats ranging from courts to biotech.

When:  Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 7 p.m.
(doors open at 6:30 p.m.)

Where:  Chemistry 3 Room, Los Angeles City College

Parking: Free parking is available in the faculty lot at North Heliotrope Drive and Monroe Street (campus address is 855 N. Vermont Avenue)

Note: The Chemistry Building is at the north end of campus on Willow Brook Avenue (see campus map here: and Chem 3 is on the basement level
Cost: Free to the public. Students are encouraged to attend.

Save the Date: Investigative Journalism in the Era of Facebook and “Fake News”

Can investigative journalism survive in the era of Facebook and “fake news?”

Public interest in investigative reporting got a bump in late 2015 with the release of the movie called “Spotlight,” about the team at the Boston Globe that exposed sexual abuse by priests in the Boston Catholic Diocese. The film depicted the reality of the task faced by the reporters and the care they took in pursuing the story.

Fast forward to 2017 and we have entered an era where the president of the United States daily berates journalists for reporting “fake news” — generating widespread mistrust of journalists — and digital giants like Facebook and Google are selecting news based on algorithms instead of trained editors, and swallowing up advertising revenue once coveted by traditional media.

Where is this going? Why should young men and women want to become journalists and how can sorely needed investigative reporting thrive in the decades ahead? Is investigative reporting falling off? Is it shifting to other journalism organizations? Has data crunching replaced shoe leather reporting?

The Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists invites you to attend a panel discussion focused on these questions and more on April 5, 2017.

SPJ/LA’s panel discussion on investigative journalism in the era of Facebook and “fake news”

The panel moderated by SPJ/LA board member Joel Bellman will include:

  • Matt Doig, Los Angeles Times assistant managing editor for investigations
  • Joel Grover, NBC4 investigative reporter
  • Alexandra Berzon, Wall Street Journal investigative reporter
  • Vince Gonzales, professor of professional practice and coordinator of masters programs, USC Annenberg School of Journalism

Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Panel discussion begins at 7 p.m.

University of Southern California
Wallis Annenberg Hall Room 106
3502 Watt Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089

Free and open to the public.

Please RSVP at

Enter Gate 6 on Vermont Avenue at 36th Place to park in Lot A (a parking structure).

Parking is $12.

Richard D. Hendrickson, Ph.D.
(323) 806-1427


Join SPJ/LA in Celebration of Sunshine Week

Every March, journalism organizations celebrate Sunshine Week. It is a way to enlighten the public about their right to government information and thereby strengthen communities.

The Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will celebrate on Thursday, March 16 with a no-host mixer at the Redwood Bar & Grill.

Los Angeles Times journalist Ben Welsh will join us to talk about the California Civic Data Coalition, an open-source team of journalists and computer programmers from news organizations across America. The coalition is currently working on tools to make it easier for journalists, academics and others to analyze money in California politics.

The mixer is open to all. 

What: Mixer with L.A. Times journalist Ben Welsh

When: Thursday, March 16 at 7 p.m.

Where: Redwood Bar & Grill, 316 W. 2nd St., Los Angeles, CA 90012

Cost: The event is free and open to the public. 

Parking: There’s construction on Second Street in front of the bar and on Broadway. You can park in the lot on Hill Street.


Contact: Navid Nonahal, (818) 317-2234

SPJ/LA Will Discuss Covering Immigration In A Trump Era On Feb. 23

Covering immigration in a Trump era: How news organizations are finding unique ways to tell the stories of their immigrant communities

Under the new federal administration, covering immigration is more important than ever in Southern California. Talk of The Wall, The Travel Ban and the Refugee Crackdown has pushed local news to get creative and use social media to tell the stories that impact a large majority of their listeners, viewers and readers.

And as the Trump administration makes plans for a border wall, how to fix the country’s immigration system and how to defend its controversial travel ban in the courts, there’s a growing hunger in SoCal for engaging coverage about how policy changes will impact their lives and their communities.

Join the Greater L.A. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists on Thursday, February 23 to explore this complex issue. Our panel will look into how journalists are telling the unfolding immigration story in our communities with sensitivity, depth and context. How reporters negotiate time and resources with editors and producers who may not understand the ongoing demographic changes in the nation and state. And much more.

Panelists will be:

The moderator will be:

What:  SPJ/LA’s panel discussion on covering Immigration in a Trump Era

When:  Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, 7 p.m.

              Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

Where:  The Association, 110 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014  

Cost: The event is free and open to the public.

Parking: Garage and valet parking are available.

RSVP: EventBrite

Contact:  Navid Nonahal, (818) 317-2234

Business Anchor Frank Mottek to MC Journalism Awards Dinner on Jan. 26

Journalist Frank Mottek, often dubbed “the voice of business news in Los Angeles,” will be the master of ceremonies at the Jan. 26 Distinguished Journalists Awards Banquet sponsored by the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
The event, which will take place at the Omni Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, honors journalists in print, broadcast and digital media. The keynote speaker will be Brooke Binkowski, managing editor of
Mottek, an award-winning broadcast journalist with more than 30 years of experience, anchors the morning drive business reports on CBS station KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO. He also hosts a weekly one-hour business and consumer news program, Mottek On Money. Mottek provided daily coverage of the 2008 financial crisis, the Great Recession and stock market updates.
This year’s honorees are: Hector Becerra, editor with the Los Angeles Times; R. Scott Moxley, investigative reporter for the OC Weekly; Greg Habell, editor for KNX 1070; Adrienne Alpert, general assignment reporter for ABC7 Eyewitness News; and Ken Bensinger, Jeremy Singer-Vine and Jessica Garrison of BuzzFeed News.  

The Distinguished Journalists Banquet will be held on Thursday, Jan. 26 at the Omni Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. A no-host cocktail reception will begin at 6 p.m. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. 
Tickets for the event are:

  • $100 for SPJ/LA members
  • $140 for non-members
  • $80 for students
  • Tables of 10 are available for $1,000

Sponsorship opportunities are also available. The three levels of sponsorship are:
Platinum ($5,000):  Acknowledgement in the banquet program, event signage, logo included on banquet website and in emails, one complimentary table at the event.
Gold ($2,500):  Acknowledgement in the banquet program, logo included on banquet website and in emails, five complimentary tickets to the event.
Silver ($1,500):  Acknowledgement in the banquet program, logo included on banquet website and in emails, two complimentary tickets to the event.

You can also support SPJ/LA by purchasing an ad in the banquet program:

  • Full page inside program: $350
  • Half-page ad inside program: $250
  • Quarter-page ad inside program: $150

For details on sponsorship or to make a reservation, please contact Alice Walton at or (310) 595-5612.