SPJ/LA Announces 2018 Scholarship Recipients

Four exceptional journalism students have each been awarded a scholarship of $1,000 from the Greater Los Angeles Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. The scholarships are based on the applicant’s potential to succeed in a news media career.

And the winners are…

Ethan Lauren, 22, of Santa Monica College who will be transferring to California State University, Long Beach in the fall, was awarded the Bill Farr Memorial Scholarship. He will be majoring in journalism and is interested in a career involving writing and photojournalism.

Lauren was awarded “Most Prolific Journalist” for the Spring 2018 semester at SMC and has worked as a writer/photographer for The Corsair student newspaper since August 2017. He was selected as the President’s Ambassador for the 2017-2018 academic year and serves as the college’s student representative, photographing official events for the college and assisting with public relations and student service programs. Since August 2017, he has worked as a freelance writer/photographer for the Santa Monica Daily Press as a published journalist of work relevant to the Santa Monica community.

“Writing and photographing go together for me. Wherever I go, I bring my camera and a notebook. I’ve captured smiles and tears that will now exist forever,” Lauren stated in his application. “The feeling is incredible because it’s real and will never happen again.”

Jason Rochlin, 21, of California State University, Fullerton, whose interests are journalism and editing, was awarded the Carl Greenberg Memorial Scholarship. Majoring in communications journalism and minoring in psychology, Rochlin’s goal is to work for a local newspaper.

Although Rochlin lives in Redondo Beach while attending CSUF, he was still motivated to do a reporting internship at the non-profit Gladeo League in Santa Monica, far from his home and school. His other work experience includes news editor at CSUF’s Daily Titan since 2016 and CSUF’s Inaugural Editor for California Connection since 2017. Rochlin’s awards, which cover an entire page, include SPJ Region 11 Mark of Excellence Award for Breaking News Reporting and an Excellence in Newswriting Award received at the Journalism Education Association’s National Write-Off Competition in April 2014.

“Two of the biggest problems facing journalism as an industry today is the dwindling print-centric market and an increasing lack of trust in the media brought about by figures like the president,” Rochlin wrote in his application. “I’d like to be able to address both issues through my work as a journalist, both at a local and national level.”

Imani Stephens, 21, of Arizona State University, whose interest is multimedia journalism, was awarded the Ken Inouye Memorial Scinouholarship. Majoring in journalism and mass communication, with a minor in justice studies, her goal is to work as an investigative reporter and attend law school.

Stephens’ achievements and vast experience in journalism include working as a CBS News investigative intern this summer in New York City, a reporter and weather anchor for Cronkite News from January to May 2018, Columbia Journalism School Investigative Reporters & Editors Fellowship recipient last summer and program coordinator for KAET 8 / Arizona PBS in Phoenix from January to May 2017.

“Developing skills as a journalist and growing up in the inner-city of Los Angeles, I became concerned about the problems affecting residents,” Stephens wrote in her application. “From city officials misappropriating funds to businesses committing fraud, I cultivated a desire to bring awareness as a journalist.”

Natalia Vivino, 21, of California State University, Northridge, whose interest is broadcast journalism, was awarded the Helen Johnson Memorial Scholarship. Majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in gender and women’s studies, Vivino is exploring how she can merge her budding journalism skills into the performing arts field.

Vivino anchored the CSUN television station twice a week at the same time she created and produced two television news packages,“The Miracle Project” and “Transgender Representation” even before she was part of the class that produces the show. While working on the second piece, she was in rehearsal for a musical in which she played the lead role. Nevertheless, both television packages met their deadline and were selected to air on CSUN’s Valley View News.

“If I could say one thing my experience studying broadcast journalism has taught me,” Vivino stated in her application, “it’s that I have the power to achieve my goals through hard work, determination and an unwavering love for what I do.”

Below is the brief history of the four scholarships:

Bill Farr Memorial Scholarship–This scholarship is awarded to high school seniors or college students who demonstrate a strong intent to pursue a career in journalism. Farr, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, sat in county jail for 46 days for refusing to tell a judge which lawyers had violated a gag order during the Charles Manson murder trial. ($500-$1,000)

Carl Greenberg Memorial Scholarship–This scholarship is awarded to a college student pursuing investigative or political reporting. Greenberg was a political reporter at the Los Angeles Times, famed for being singled out by President Richard Nixon as the only reporter who covered him “fairly.” ($1,000)

Ken Inouye Memorial Scholarship–This scholarship is awarded to a college journalist of color and is aimed at increasing ethnic diversity in newsrooms. Inouye was a 22-year-old cameraman for the International News Service and was covering the Korean War when he was killed aboard an Army aircraft. ($500-$1,000)

Helen Johnson Memorial Scholarship–This scholarship is awarded to a college student pursuing broadcast journalism. Johnson was a producer of “Channel 4 News Conference” and an associate producer of “Meet the Press.” ($500-$1,000)

Financial need is considered if all other qualifications of competing applicants are equal.

Meeting Minutes: May 7, 2018

SPJ/LA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
Monday, May 7, 2018 at 7 p.m.
Louise’s Trattoria
10645 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064

Bluestein called the meeting to order at 7:22 p.m.

Present: Joel Bellman, Stephanie Bluestein, Tom Bray, Sarah Favot, Dick Hendrickson, Kathryn Mora, Richard Saxton, Lori Streifler, Alice Walton, Roberta Wax Julia Wick, Natalie Windsor and Dave Zahniser

1. Approval of minutes from the April 2 meeting: Wax moved to approve, Bellman seconded. Windsor abstained. Approved.

2. President’s report – Bluestein shared highlights from the regional director’s meeting which took place on Friday afternoon before the evening reception kicking off the regional conference. The next regional conference will be in Las Vegas in 2019 and Hawaii in 2020. The regional conference will return to Los Angeles in six years. Region 11 Director Matt Hall mentioned he is running for secretary-treasurer on the national board. The need to get an accurate count of members was raised with Hall during this meeting. Bellman politely but firmly pressed that our chapter has been frustrated for a long time. Hall said he will look into it.

3. Treasurer’s report – Hendrickson said this month’s report is rather complex. He reviewed the sponsorship money we received for the conference. Under accounts receivable, we are still waiting for banquet checks from two media companies that each purchased a table. Bluestein wrote a check for $130 to pay for the MOE lunches for the regional director and the director-at-large. Bellman made a motion to reimburse Bluestein for those lunches. Wax and Favot seconded. A vote was called. All voted in favor; Bluestein abstained. It was noted that GoDaddy, our chapter’s website host, is no longer charging us $10 a month because Marcellino paid $207.63 to GoDaddy for a long-term term contact, for which she was reimbursed. Hendrickson requested that SPJ checks no longer be sent to him in L.A. He said that Bluestein had suggested mail just be forwarded to her, so she can make deposits at her local bank branch. Bellman moved to forward mail to Stephanie. Windsor seconded and the group voted unanimously in favor. Hendrickson will continue to be the treasurer through the end of the calendar year. Discussion followed about opening a U.S. Post Office box for the chapter. Bluestein said she would look into that possibility. A few questions were raised by the independent auditors who looked at our financial records covering the fiscal year. Firstly, they wanted to know whether payments were owed to the Omni Hotel for previous banquets; Walton said she will look into it. In addition, a receipt of a check paid to Molly Malone’s for last year’s mega-mixer is missing; Bellman will follow up on it. We also need the receipt for a check sent to CSUN for high school journalism day.

4. Standing/Ad Hoc Committees
a. Awards –Streifler and Marcellino. No report
b. Banquet – Walton says the reason we haven’t received payment from two media companies is that we are not consistent with our mailing addresses on the W-9 form. One company said they sent the check to the Hall of Justice building address that’s on our MailChimp. They will cut a new check and FedEx it to Walton at her home. Walton is following up with the other company to make sure the check is sent. Walton raised the idea of getting a permanent mailbox that can be checked once a month (discussion was had about potential locations, the consensus seems to be toward choosing a USPS office near either Louise’s or in the Valley).
c. Courts – No report.
d. Diversity – No report.
e. Ethics – Bellman said there was nothing local but mentioned the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. After looking into their finances, Bellman discovered that the WHCD loses a great deal of money every year. He does not believe that there is any action we need to take.
f. FOI – A discussion occurred about an invitation to join an amicus brief for a lawsuit involving a closed session meeting of Metrolink board of directors that has been challenged as being in violation of the Brown Act. The L.A. Times is a plaintiff, among others. All parties joining the amicus brief are asked to contribute $500. Bray, who is familiar with the request, said the amicus has already been filed but they will file an addendum if we want to join. Bluestein will seek a definitive answer on whether we can join without paying the full $500. Bluestein, Bellman, Zahniser and Bray will consult on this in the next few days.
g. Generation J – Wax said that SPJ/LA chapter member Melinda Brown will be trying to revive the SPJ student chapter at USC. Saxton volunteered to assist. Wax will put Saxton in touch with Brown.
h. Membership – No report.
i. Nominations – Bluestein said she wants to have a list of possible nominees by June to vote on who we would approach. Some names were suggested for the two seats that we need to fill.
j. Regional Conference– Favot thanked Bluestein for the endless hours she put into the conference. Favot said there were no major issues the day of with the conference. Our total revenue was $20,516, some of which is still pending. Once we receive the $500 grant from SPJ national, we will have made $1,804.68. Bluestein commented that getting sponsors was more difficult than had been anticipated. In the end, it was mostly First Amendment lawyers and PR firms, in addition to NBC4, which paid for the conference lanyards. Bluestein said considering all the layoffs in Southern California journalism this year, we did very well. Bluestein brought small gifts for the regional conference committee members. Favot moved to reimburse Bluestein for the $209 she spent on a hotel room so she could be on site early Saturday morning to help set up. Hendrickson seconded. The vote was approved. Zahniser underscored the importance of making sure people know that it’s an all-volunteer effort. Favot is going to do a short write-up on the event, possibly for Quill. Wax suggested including some endorsements from panelists. Bluestein wrote a 10-question online survey that was emailed to attendees, in an effort to get their feedback. Responses will be discussed at the next meeting.
k. Scholarships – Saxton expects to send out notices next Monday, give them 30 days to respond and have a deadline of mid-June and have an early-to-mid July announce. After the release is emailed to our members, Favot will post on the chapter’s website.

5. Old Business – no items for Old Business

6. New Business
a. Patt Morrison book signing– Bellman approached Morrison about the possibility of doing a signing and discussion of her new book, “Don’t Stop the Presses! Truth, Justice, and the American Newspaper.” Bellman said Morrison is interested and he has approached The Association about dates. Bellman will keep the group apprised of updates.
b. Mega-Mixer – Saxton has been in contact with Molly Malone’s to set a date for the mega-mixer. Due to the timing of a family event, Saxton is hoping to move the mega-mixer from our usual July to Wednesday, June 27.

7. Adjournment at 8:47 p.m.

Next board meeting: Monday, June 4 at 7 p.m. at Louise’s Trattoria

SPJ/LA’s Statement in Wake of Annapolis Newspaper Shooting

For Immediate Release
June 28, 2018

Stephanie Bluestein
SPJ/LA President

SPJ/LA’s Statement in Wake of Annapolis Newspaper Shooting

SPJ/LA mourns the loss of five people today at the Annapolis Capital-Gazette building, in addition to those who were injured in this senseless shooting.

Based on the most current information available, the alleged shooter, Jarrod Ramos, had a longtime grudge against the Capital-Gazette, having lost a defamation lawsuit against the paper, and may have been seeking revenge in a personal matter.

While the shooting appears to be tied to a specific lawsuit, we cannot ignore that this troubling incident at a newspaper office took place during a climate of relentless political attacks on the legitimacy of the press, causing public trust and respect to decline precipitously in recent years.

A deliberate attack on a reporter is an attack on the free press, and on the freedom and liberty of every American as guaranteed in the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights. We stand strong with journalists who work hard every day to provide fair and accurate information necessary for the existence of a healthy democracy.

SPJ/LA Hosts Journalism Mega Mixer on Wednesday

The Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists invites you to a real “social networking site” to mix, mingle, mega schmooze, socialize, have fun, and network all at the same time.

SPJ/LA joins Southern California journalist members of:


Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE) – Los Angeles Chapter
Asian American Journalists Association – Los Angeles Chapter
Online News Association (ONA) – Los Angeles Chapter
Black Journalists Association of Southern California
CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California
Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS) – Southern California
Los Angeles Press Club
National Association of Hispanic Journalists
National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association
Press Photographers Association of Greater Los Angeles
Radio & Television News Association of Southern California
8Ball Welfare Foundation
And more.

Journalism Mega-Mixer

Wednesday, June 27, 2018
6 to 9 p.m.

Molly Malone’s Irish Pub
575 S. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

The mixer is free and open to all members. Complimentary appetizers. Cash bar.

Limited parking behind the building. Street parking also available.

You must RSVP by sending an email to spjlosangeles@gmail.com

Richard Saxton, SPJ/LA

SPJ/LA welcomes Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong as the new owner of L.A. Times

Today, SPJ/LA sent the following letter congratulating Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, as the new owner of the Los Angeles Times.

Society of Professional Journalists
Greater Los Angeles Chapter
P.O. Box 572632
Tarzana, CA 91357

Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D.
Executive Chairman, California News Group
Los Angeles Times
202 W. 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

June 21, 2018

Dear Dr. Soon-Shiong,

On behalf of the Society of Professional Journalists, Greater Los Angeles Chapter, we are writing to congratulate you on your recently concluded purchase of the Los Angeles Times, and extend to you a warm welcome to the Los Angeles journalism and media community.

We know the business climate for newspapers is challenging, and expectations for your stewardship are high. We join the rest of our fellow journalists in wishing you well in rebuilding and restoring the Times, and ensuring it remains financially and journalistically strong while serving our community.

SPJ/LA, which has enjoyed a long and close relationship with many Los Angeles Times journalists over the years, stands ready to assist and support you in this effort. If there’s any way our local chapter or our national organization may be helpful, please do not hesitate to reach out and contact us.

Thank you for your willingness to invest in the Los Angeles Times for all the right reasons. Best of luck to you in this exciting new era for our Times.

Stephanie Stassel-Bluestein, Ed.D.
President, SPJ/LA
Los Angeles Times Valley Edition staff member, 1990-2004