“What’s in a Name: How to Cover Mass Murder” Panel set for Oct. 22 at Los Angeles Press Club

The Society of Professional Journalists Greater Los Angeles Pro Chapter and the Los Angeles Press Club will co-host an upcoming panel discussion on how the media can better cover mass murder events like terrorist and shooter attacks.

Media ethicists, survivor advocates and some journalists have begun pushing back against excessive attention on the perpetrators at the expense of the victims—recognizing that too much media coverage can inspire prospective killers to try and “rack up a higher score” in future attacks.

In response, some police agencies and news organizations are adopting policies to minimize or even omit names and other information about the perpetrators. Others defend current practice based on the public’s right to know, and to help understand the attackers’ motives and potentially deter future assaults.

WHAT: SPJ/LA and LAPC will present the program, “What’s In A Name: How To Cover Mass Murder”

WHO: The panel will include:

Brooke Binkowski is an award-winning journalist who began as a broadcast reporter, working for CNN, KNX and KPCC before expanding to photography and print. She then dove into anti-disinformation work in 2015 as managing editor for the fact-checking website Snopes.com, guiding it through the 2016 presidential campaign and election and beyond. She is now managing editor at debunking site TruthOrFiction.com.


Anita Busch is the media consultant for the No Notoriety campaign, an effort to protect the public and discourage copycat crimes by minimizing media attention on shooters and terrorists. In recent years, Busch has been a dedicated victims’ advocate; her cousin was one of the 12 people killed in the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado that also left 70 injured. A reporter and editor covering the entertainment industry for more than 30 years, as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times she was illegally wiretapped and her life threatened by private detective Anthony Pellicano, who went on to serve time in prison.

Kelli Sager is a First Amendment attorney who for more than 30 years has represented media and entertainment companies and individual journalists, including broadcasters, cable companies, film producers and distributors, newspapers and magazines, authors, and Web publishers. Honored as one of the top lawyers in her field, she is a partner in Davis Wright Tremaine LLP’s Los Angeles office.

Evan Wagner has been a police officer with more than a decade of law enforcement experience. He has also been a public relations strategist and practitioner for nearly 20 years for the private sector, government entities, as well as political candidates and leaders.





Joel Bellman, a digital columnist and former political communications aide and print and award-winning broadcast journalist in Los Angeles for 35 years, will moderate.

WHEN: Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: Los Angeles Press Club
6500 Sunset Blvd. (cross street: Hudson Avenue)
Hollywood, CA 90028

PARKING: Available at 6464 Sunset Blvd., next door to the venue ($10) and on the street

COST: Free and open to the public, but RSVP is required. Light refreshments will be served.

RSVP: Please send to info@lapressclub.org and put “how to cover mass murder” in the subject line.

CONTACT: Joel Bellman

# # #

SPJ/LA in coordination with ONA/LA and Santa Monica College Associates hosts a VR Journalism workshop led by USC Annenberg Professor Robert Hernandez

Robert Hernandez (aka WebJournalist) will give a short presentation on how technology can help journalism audiences better understand marginalized communities.

Hernandez explores and develops the intersection of technology and journalism. An Associate Professor of Professional Practice at USC Annenberg, the ‘hackademic’ has worked with augmented reality (AR), wearables, and virtual reality (VR), and he and his students produce award-winning VR experiences under their brand, Jovrnalism™.

Hands-on demos of VR stories and equipment follow the presentation.

WHAT: Building Empathy through Virtual Reality Journalism

WHO: Led by USC Annenberg Associate Professor of Professional Practice, Robert Hernandez

WHEN: 7 to 9 p.m., Thursday, September 26, 2019

WHERE: Santa Monica College Center for Media and Design
1660 Stewart Street
Santa Monica
Auditorium 180

PARKING: Parking is available in garage on Pennsylvania at Stewart Street. Please ONLY park in spaces NOT marked ‘Staff.’

COST: The event itself is free and open to the public.

RSVP: ashanti.blaize@gmail.com

Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins

Meeting Minutes: July 8, 2019

SPJ/LA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
Monday, July 8, 2019
7 p.m.
Maria’s Italian Kitchen
10761 W Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064

Present: Penny Arevalo, Joel Bellman, Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins, Stephanie Bluestein, Sarah Favot, Carolina Garcia, Elizabeth Marcellino, Kathryn Mora, Navid Nonahal, Richard Saxton, Nathan Solis, Lori Streifler, Roberta Wax, Natalie Windsor, David Zahniser.

Bluestein called the meeting to order at 7:26 p.m.

I. Approval of minutes from June 3 meeting
Windsor moved to approve the corrected June meeting minutes. Bellman seconded. Arevalo, Blaize-Hopkins, Bluestein, Garcia, Nonahal, Saxton and Zahniser abstained. Approved

II. President’s report – Bluestein
Bluestein reported the Nonprofit Communications and Media Network
will meet on July 10 and will review wording for the agreement to transfer the scholarship money to our Chapter. Bluestein will report back to the board via email if action is needed.
Bluestein has registered for the Excellence in Journalism conference in San Antonio in September. Nonahal also reported she will attend.
Favot moved to appoint Nonahal and Bluestein to be the Chapter’s delegates at EIJ. Windsor seconded. Approved. Nonahal and Bluestein abstained.
Windsor moved to cover Bluestein’s expenses for EIJ. Wax seconded. Approved. Bluestein abstained.
Bluestein reported we are waiting to hear back from the IRS regarding a potential penalty. Our accountant has told us we shouldn’t owe any penalty.

III. Treasurer’s report – Marcellino.
Bellman moved to receive the Treasurer’s Report. Favot seconded. Approved.

IV. Standing/Ad Hoc Committees
a. Awards –Streifler and Wick
No report
b. Banquet – Walton
No report
c. Courts – Marcellino
No report.
d. Diversity – Lewis
No report
e. Ethics – Bellman
Bellman reported on a planned panel discussion about the ethics of naming active shooters in news stories. We are still looking for a location. A potential date for the panel is Sept. 17.
f. FOI – Zahniser
Zahniser is exploring a panel about border coverage or reporting in Mexico. He plans to hold the event in October.
g. Generation J – Blaize-Hopkins
Blaize-Hopkins is exploring a social media and audience engagement workshop. She is planning it for October.
h. Membership – Nonahal
We haven’t received an updated roster from National. We expect to receive a check for Chapter dues in the near future.
i. Nominations – Bray
No report.
j. Scholarships – Saxton
See later in the agenda

V. Old Business
a. Mega Mixer update – Saxton
The mixer will be at Molly Malone’s on Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m. We are at capacity with 130 people who have RSVP’d. The Chapter has purchased mugs and pens for new members. Zahniser moved to offer the mugs at the mixer for a $10 donation or provide it free if someone joins national and the Chapter as a new member. Blaize-Hopkins seconded. Approved.

VI. New Business
a. Selecting scholarship recipients – Saxton
The committee recommended:
Stephanie Lai, of UCLA, for the inaugural Richard D. Hendrickson Memorial Scholarship
Kate Sequeria, of USC, for the Ken Inouye Memorial Scholarship
Blake Atwell, of SMC, for the Helen Johnson Memorial Scholarship
Julie Madsen, of UC Berkeley, for the Bill Farr Memorial Scholarship
Zahniser moved to award Stephanie Lai the inaugural Richard D. Hendrickson Memorial Scholarship. Marcellino seconded. Approved. Arevalo abstained.
Zahniser moved to award Kate Segueria the Ken Inouye Memorial Scholarship. Garcia seconded. Approved.
Zahniser moved to award Blake Atwell the Helen Johnson Memorial Scholarship. Nonahal seconded. Approved. Blaize-Hopkins abstained.
Zahniser requested that the committee go back to the applications for the Carl Greenberg Scholarship and recommend another candidate. Windsor seconded. Approved.
Zahniser moved to award Julia Madesen the Bill Far Memorial Scholarship. Bellman seconded. Approved.
b. Fall event on future of local news – Bluestein
Bluestein reported she would like to plan an event on the future of local news in light of NYT Executive Editor Dean Baquet’s comments about the demise of local news.
c. SPJ transparency pledge – Bluestein
SPJ National board member Michael Koretsky proposed a pledge for SPJ National board candidates. He is looking for feedback. Board members are generally supportive of each of the items, but we suggest that this be formalized as a resolution to be voted on at EIJ that would be adopted as a policy.
d. SPJ executive director search
Bellman will tune in to the Zoom meeting that national is holding on the executive director search and report back to the board.

VII. Adjournment in memory of Jim Newman, longtime L.A. business reporter for KFWB, KTLA and KABC

Bellman moved to adjourn at 9:12 p.m. Wax seconded. Approved.

Next meeting:
Monday, Sept. 9 at Maria’s Italian Kitchen.

SPJ/LA asks SPJ National to return Fox News sponsorship money

The Greater Los Angeles Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is calling on SPJ National’s board of directors to return sponsorship money provided by Fox News for the upcoming Excellence in Journalism (EIJ) conference running Sept. 5-7.

We do not believe at this late date that SPJ can or should disinvite Fox News, which has a sponsorship contract for multiple conference services. But we also cannot remain silent about the channel’s opinion programming, which on multiple occasions has demonized migrants from Mexico and Central America seeking refuge in the U.S., as well as Latino immigrants in general.

Programming that compares asylum seekers to Nazis invading Western Europe, describes the threat of white supremacy as a hoax and suggests that immigrants make our nation “dirtier” are inaccurate and irresponsible. Broadcasters should be capable of engaging in a policy debate over appropriate immigration levels and associated restrictions without resorting to dehumanizing and even racist language.

Fox News has the freedom under the First Amendment to publish and broadcast invective and hate speech of all kinds. However, event sponsorships are a privilege, not a right.

EIJ is about supporting excellence in journalism and impressing in our colleagues, especially those new to the field, the importance of sticking to the facts, giving consideration to all sides of an issue, and reporting and analyzing rather than fabricating news — standards that should hold for commentators as well as hard news reporters.

By issuing this statement, we stand in support of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, which shone a spotlight on this matter and has already opted to return its sponsorship funds to Fox News. We support their effort to ensure fair and accurate coverage of Latinos across all media and look forward to working with them, as well as SPJ/National, on other endeavors in the future.


Meeting Minutes: June 3, 2019

SPJ/LA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
Monday, June 3, 2019
7 p.m.
Louise’s Trattoria
10645 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064

Present: Sarah Favot, Jason Lewis, Elizabeth Marcellino, Navid Nonahal, Kathryn Mora, Lori Streifler, Nathan Solis, Roberta Wax and Natalie Windsor, Joel Bellman

Called to order 7:15 by Sarah Favot

I. Approval of minutes from April 1 Moved by Bellman, seconded by Nonahal
approved with amendment. May 6 moved by Bellman, seconded by Nonahal,
II. President’s report – Bluestein (read by Favot). The chapter’s annual report was
submitted to national. As a requirement of the report, the financial books were
reviewed by three SPJ members (who aren’t board members) and everything is
in order. Bluestein is very proud of the 12 events and several statements
produced by our chapter this year. We have 106 members, down from 138 last
year. A total of 22 people had not renewed their membership and were sent an
email to encourage them to renew their membership. Also reached out to the
people who attended the banquet to become a member. The Membership
Committee has a goal of each board member bringing in three members by
December. The number of members that we have affects the amount of votes the
chapter has at the convention. On May 28, Windsor and Bluestein were at a
well-attended panel discussion about non-profit journalism that was held at the
Hammer Museum in Westwood. Bluestein has an idea for a panel about the
future of local news. Bluestein has been in regular contact with the non-profit
that is going defunct that wants to donate its funds to us to be used for
scholarships. She does not have the exact dates of when the funds will be
available, but she’s confident we will receive the money.

III. Treasurer’s report – Marcellino Wax motion to receive, Bellman seconded.

IV. Standing/Ad Hoc Committees –
a. Awards –Streifler and Wick (No report)
b. Banquet – Walton (No report)
c. Courts – Marcellino (No report)
d. Diversity – Lewis (No report)
e. Ethics – Bellman
Idea for ethics panel: News organizations facing an ethical issue on whether
or not to use certain information about perpetrators of mass shootings. News
organizations are being pressured by some outside organizations to not release
the shooter’s name or discuss manifestos so that the shooter’s ideology will not
be promoted. The push is to focus more on the victims. A date has not been set.
f. FOI – Zahniser (no report)
g. Generation J – Blaize-Hopkins (no report)
h. Membership – Nonahal (no report)
i. Nominations – Bray (no report)
j. Scholarships – Mora
Several scholarship applications have already been received. The committee
has contacted more schools than last year. Deadline is June 15. Notice has
been posted on social media.

V. Old Business
a. Statement on San Francisco Police Department raid on freelance
journalist’s home and office – Bellman The chapter issued a
statement on May 20 condemning the recent search of the home and office
of a San Francisco journalist by law enforcement agencies and the seizure
of his reporting materials. We labeled the acts as “outrageous, unlawful and
set a dangerous precedent for journalists working in California and across
the nation.”
b. Racism panel – Solis We partnered with the NABJ-LA for the “The New
Old Beat: Reporting on Racism” held Saturday, May 18 at SAG/AFTRA.
Roughly 60 people attended. It was a candid conversation. NABJ-LA is
open to more partnerships with our chapter.

VI. New Business:
a. Mega Mixer, Wednesday July 10 at Molly Malone’s. Starts at 6 p.m.
Journalism organizations are being requested to contribute to the expenses and
publicize the event.
b. Bellman- National board meeting. There’s been a lot of friction between SPJ
national board president Alex Tarquino  with some of the other national board
members as well as leadership of the local chapters. Tarquino put
herself on the search committee for a new executive director. A longtime SPJ
national board member has called for Alex’s impeachment because of her
unprofessional behavior at Saturday’s national board meeting.

Adjournment at 8:45 p.m. in memory of Scott Spiro KNBC photographer–
motion by Windsor, seconded by Bellman; and Sylvia Teage former president of
RTNA, motion by Streifler and seconded by Marcellino. Approved.

Next meeting:
Monday, July 8