SPJ/LA to Discuss #JournalismSoWhite and Newsroom Diversity at USC Annenberg

The Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the USC Annenberg School for Journalism and Communications and the Institute for Diversity and Empowerment at Annenberg (IDEA) is taking a deep dive into discussions about newsroom diversity and #JournalismSoWhite. Specifically, this event will look at journalism’s problem with diversity, the challenges reporters of color face, and why newsrooms have a difficult time retaining diverse employees.

Discussion on #JournalismSoWhite and newsroom diversity.

Sandy Banks, former columnist for the Los Angeles Times and journalism professor at Cal State Northridge
Kim Bui, deputy managing editor at Reported.ly and adjunct at USC
Jenna Pittaway, lead video editor for Jose Antonio Vargas’ #EmergingUS
Jorge Rivas, national affairs correspondent at Fusion

Moderated by Adolfo Flores, Latino issues reporter for BuzzFeed News

Thursday, March 24
6:30 p.m. reception, 7 p.m. discussion

Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC
Wallis Annenberg Hall – ANN Rm106
3502 Watt Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0281

The event is free and open to the public.

Street meter parking along Vermont or Exposition is closest to Wallis Annenberg Hall. Link to campus map.

Nearest campus parking is Structure A (accessible via Entrance #6 at Vermont Avenue).

Parking is $12.

Metro Access is adjacent to campus: Metro Expo line (with stops at Expo/Vermont station, Expo Park/USC station, and Jefferson/USC station.

Please RSVP at spjlosangeles@gmail.com

Adolfo Flores, SPJ/LA

Meeting Minutes: Feb. 5, 2016

SPJ/LA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Monday, Feb. 5, 2016

Louise’s Trattoria

10645 W. Pico Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90064

Present: Joel Bellman, Stephanie Bluestein, Christina Cocca, Sarah Favot, Khalil Garriott, Elizabeth Marcellino, Navid Nonahal, John Schwada, Lori Streifler, Alice Walton, Roberta Wax, Natalie Windsor, David Zahniser.

I.               Approval of minutes

a.     Bellman moved to approve with fix of small typo on retreat minutes. Bluestein seconded. The motion carried.

II.             President’s Report

a.     No report

III.           Treasurer’s Report

a.     No report. Bellman moved to accept the report. Favot seconded. The motion passed. Marcellino later noted an error in the gain/loss, which is $646.11, instead of $46.11.

IV.           Standing Committees

a.     Awards

i.     No report

b.     Banquet

i.     Walton spoke with the Omni for a potential date of April 14. The cost of dinner has increased so Walton is negotiating on the price. The Universal Hilton is another option. The group reviewed some of the event’s past speakers. Wax suggested two speaking candidates.

c.     Courts

i.     No report

d.     Diversity

i.     Upcoming program: Nonahal spoke with Adolfo Flores about planning this year’s diversity event, March 24, 6 to 8 p.m., at USC Annenberg. The topic will be #JournalismSoWhite. Flores is planning to moderate himself and is reaching out to journalists for the panel.

e.     Ethics

i.     Event update: Bluestein has four panelists confirmed for the event, “Is Objectivity Overrated?” The panel is Thursday, March 3, 7 to 8:30 p.m. at KPCC. Panelists will be Pilar Marrero, senior political reporter for Impremedia; Robert Scheer, founder and editor of Truthdig; Karen Ocamb, news editor for Frontiers Magazine and FrontiersMedia.co, and Marc Cooper, retired USC Annenberg School journalism professor. The group discussed the search to find journalists who would stand behind traditional journalism objectivity. Bluestein will moderate. Garriott suggested reaching out to SPJ National to get coverage of the event in Quill magazine.

f.      FOI

i.     Zahniser said he is working to get the authors of BuzzFeed’s award-winning H-2 investigation to speak at an event in July.

g.     Generation J

i.     No report

h.     Membership

i.     Nonahal is planning to get new ad hoc membership committee together for an update at the next meeting.

i.      Nominations

i.     No report

j.      Scholarships

i.     No report

V.             Old Business

a.     Karaoke mixer recap: Walton said another karaoke mixer is being planned for March 2. The event drew many non-members so Walton is hoping to make the next event more journalism-focused and SPJ/LA-branded to improve networking and membership growth.

VI.           New Business

a.     Local sunshine ordinance: The group discussed looking into a local sunshine ordinance.

b.     March 2 karaoke mixer.

c.     iMovie workshop at CSUN on May 14. Journalists will create a one-minute clip on iMovie. The group discussed whether the workshop would be open to the public or for working journalists only, and whether it would be free.

VII.         Next board meeting: March 7 at Louise’s at 7 p.m.

VIII.       Adjournment: Zahniser moved to adjourn, Nonahal seconded. Meeting was adjourned.


SPJ/LA’s Distinguished Journalists Banquet Set For April 14

The Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will host its annual awards banquet on Thursday, April 14 at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel in downtown.

The event will honor five local journalists, a First Amendment lawyer, the founder of a radio news website and a former reporter and longtime journalism teacher at its 40th annual awards banquet.

The Distinguished Journalist honorees include regional journalists practicing in print, radio, television and digital media. They are: Steve Loeper, West Coast entertainment editor at the Associated Press; Frank Suraci, city editor of the Daily Breeze; Frank Mottek, business news anchor at KNX; David Ono, co-anchor for ABC7 Eyewitness News; and Adrian Glick Kudler, senior editor of Curbed LA.

The Freedom of Information award will go to Theodore Boutrous, a partner in the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

The chapter will also recognize Don Barrett, who chronicled the personalities behind Los Angeles radio news for nearly 20 years on LARadio.com, and longtime journalism instructor Kathleen Neumeyer, a former reporter with United Press International and a freelance writer.

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

A no-host cocktail reception will begin at 6 p.m. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. To make a reservation, please contact Alice Walton at AliceMWalton@gmail.com or (310) 595-5612.


Sponsorship opportunities are also available, as are program ads to congratulate this year’s honorees.

Sponsorship Levels

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.


Here are other ways to support SPJ/LA:

Purchase an ad in the banquet program. This is a great way to recognize the achievements of this year’s honorees:

Full page ad on back of program: $500
Full page inside program: $350
Half-page ad inside program: $250
Quarter-page ad inside program: $150

Sponsor a student. For $80, your donation will cover a journalism student’s attendance at the event.

Donate directly to SPJ/LA to help fund scholarships or other programs.

Please contact Banquet Chair Alice Walton if you are interested in supporting SPJ/LA’s 2016 Distinguished Journalists Awards Banquet.

Alice Walton
(310) 595-5612

Back By Popular Demand: Reporter Karaoke Returns To The Redwood

It’s time to drop the note pad and pick up a mic!

The Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is hosting a night of FREE karaoke at your favorite pirate bar, The Redwood, on Wednesday, March 2.

IAMNOTAKJ will be taking your requests from 7 to 9:30 p.m. He’s got everything you could want…torch songs, rock anthems, Spanish hits, etc.

Come on by even if you don’t like to sing. It’s a fun opportunity to catch up with your fellow journalists over songs, food and drinks.

SPJ/LA’s Karaoke Night

7 – 9:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Redwood Bar & Grill
316 W. 2nd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 680-2600

Free of charge.

There is street and lot parking throughout the area.

The closest station is Civic Center/Grand Park.

Please RSVP at spjlosangeles@gmail.com

Claudia Peschiutta, SPJ/LA

SPJ/LA Sponsors A Panel Discussion: “Is Objectivity Over?”

Actor Sean Penn’s recent Rolling Stone magazine account of his interview with a Mexican “drug lord” unabashedly included Penn’s opinions about the so-called “war on drugs” and the role American consumers play in the success of such growers and traffickers.

Whether or not Penn was claiming to be a journalist, there was little doubt that what he was doing – gathering and presenting information about a newsworthy figure for the audience of a national magazine – was a form of journalism.

And not the traditional “objective” journalism called for by the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, but an example of “advocacy” journalism, the practice of using a journalistic form to advance a point of view.

The article brought into focus a significant question facing professional journalists and their audiences today: Is objectivity over? Is it OK for print/online or broadcast reporters to expand their messages with commentary and unattributed opinion? Do the rules change when the topics are drug trafficking, domestic violence or political campaigns? Are readers intelligent enough to judge the content of such messages? Do opinions spoil the credibility of the reporters and their news organizations?

These are among the questions to be explored Thursday, March 3, 2016, at KPCC’s Crawford Family Forum, 474 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, CA 91105, by a panel convened by the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the 90-minute program will begin at 7 p.m. sharp in the auditorium that is part of the broadcast facilities of public radio station KPCC, 89.3 FM.

Panelists will be:
Pilar Marrero, senior political reporter, Impremedia
Robert Scheer, founder and editor of Truthdig
Karen Ocamb, news editor for Frontiers Magazine and FrontiersMedia.co
Marc Cooper, retired journalism professor for USC Annenberg School for Communications and a freelance writer and author.

The moderator will be:
Stephanie Bluestein, Ed.D., a veteran reporter and assistant professor of journalism at California State University, Northridge.

The event is free and open for all. Street and lot parking will be available. Light refreshments will be served.

RSVP by sending an e-mail message to: spjlosangeles@gmail.com