Video: “What’s in a Name: How to Cover Mass Murder”

The Society of Professional Journalists Los Angeles Pro Chapter and the Los Angeles Press Club held a panel entitled “What’s in a Name: How to Cover Mass Murder” on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019 at the L.A. Press Club.

The panelists were Kelli Sager, a partner in Davis Wright Tremaine LLP’s Los Angeles office, Evan Wagner, a law enforcement officer and public relations strategist, and Brooke Binkowski, managing editor at Joel Bellman, SPJ/LA board member and Ethics Chair, moderated.

BELLMAN PROGRAM from Los Angeles Press Club on Vimeo.

“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, guiding it through the 2016 presidential campaign and election and beyond. She is now managing editor at debunking site


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 and put “how to cover mass murder” in the subject line.

CONTACT: Joel Bellman

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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.


Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins

Annual Journalism Mega Mixer

The Greater Los Angeles Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists
invites you to mix, mingle, mega schmooze, socialize, have fun and network all at the
same time. The July 10 mixer will feature complimentary appetizers and a cash

The Journalism Mega Mixer is hosted by:
• Greater L.A. Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists
• Asian American Journalists Association
• L.A. Press Club
• Online News Association
• National Association of Black Journalists – Los Angeles

Annual Journalism Mega Mixer

Wednesday, July 10, 2019
6 – 9 p.m.

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

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

Limited parking behind the building. Street parking also available. Free parking at
LACMA after 7pm. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. Petersen Museum parking is $12.

Please RSVP by sending an email to:

Richard Saxton, SPJ/LA Board Member

SPJ/LA and NABJLA cosponsor a panel discussion: “The New Old Beat: Reporting on Racism”

Newsrooms across the country have grappled with reporting on racist rhetoric from politicians and public figures for decades. The goal of journalists is to strive for accuracy and hold those with power accountable and this might mean that publications will need to repeat those problematic comments verbatim.

The advent of social media, the Donald Trump presidency and rise in reported hate crimes add to the conversation newsrooms need to have when discussing racism.

Editors and reporters need to have those discussions that sometimes have fallen short, with Iowa Congressman Steve King expressing support for white-nationalist, but only recently being reprimanded by congress.

In a Jan. 15, 2019 New York Times article detailing King’s affinity for white supremacist and neo-Nazis on Twitter the publication asked, “Why Not Trump?”

Whether it’s a picture of a group of high school students who arrange red plastic cups at a party into a swastika or anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim inspired violence newsrooms need to ask the difficult questions on how to report on racism.

The Associated Press recent update to race-related coverage provides some careful guidelines, but the section also stresses an important note that this panel will embody in some respect.

“Reporting and writing about issues involving race calls for thoughtful consideration, precise language, and an openness to discussions with others of diverse backgrounds about how to frame coverage or what language is most appropriate, accurate and fair. Avoid broad generalizations and labels; race and ethnicity are one part of a person’s identity. Identifying people by race and reporting on actions that have to do with race often go beyond simple style questions, challenging journalists to think broadly about racial issues before having to make decisions on specific situations and stories.”

The Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists invite you to attend a panel discussion focused on these issues and more on Saturday, May 18, 2019.

SPJ/LA and NABJLA cosponsor a panel discussion – The New Old Beat: Reporting on Racism

The panel will include:

  • Deepa Bharath, writes about religion, race and social justice issues for The Orange County Register and the Southern California Newspaper Group
  • Toni Guinyard, an Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist for NBC4
  • Jaweed Kaleem, the national race and justice correspondent at the Los Angeles Times
  • Leslie Berestein Rojas, KPCC’s immigration and emerging communities reporter SPJ/LA associate board member Nathan Solis and NABJLA’s vice president Jarrett Hill will moderate.

11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 18, 2019

5757 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles 90036

Free and open to the public.

Please RSVP at

Parking is free with validation. The best entrance to the event space is on Masselin Avenue.

Nathan Solis, SPJ/LA

Navid Nonahal, SPJ/LA
(818) 317-2234