Friday, December 7, 2012

Register now for May conference

Registration is now open for the 2013 Region 8 SPJ conference, which will be held right here in San Antonio.
We're looking forward to hosting this conference and showing the region how much talent there is in South Central Texas. National, local and state-wide experts will be present, and our goal is to make sure you can take the knowledge you learn back to your workplace.
Sign up now to lock in the early bird rate ($100 for non-members, $90 for members, $50 for students), and reserve your room at the Marriott Plaza San Antonio by April 3 to take advantage of our discounted group rate of $139, plus tax. The early bird registration rate increases April 29.
See you soon!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

SPJ radio program features Austin professor

Are young people disconnected from the traditional concept of news? 
If so, what are the implications for news organizations going forward?
 
Those will be some of the questions raised on the next episode of Studio SPJ, an Internet radio program, on Friday, Dec. 7 at 11 a.m., when our guest will be Paula Poindexter.
Our local chapter is sponsoring the 30-minute conversation with Poindexter, who will also be our keynote speaker here at the SPJ Region 8 conference, May 3-4.
 
To listen to the program live or later as a podcast, go here and click "Listen." To call in with a question during the broadcast, call 347-857-2441*.
 
Poindexter is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin who has a written a new book called, "Millennials, News, and Social Media: Is News Engagement a Thing of the Past?" In the book,  she helps us understand the generation that came of age as the importance of news waned and social media emerged, using data from her National Survey of News Engagement. Poindexter offers insight into which factors will determine whether we will be a society of news consumers who believe being informed is important or a nation in which news illiteracy is the norm. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate journalism courses, she is president-elect of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
 
To address her concern about the low level of engagement with news by the Millennial Generation, Poindexter has started two programs:  
(1) mynews@school, a news-in-the-classroom program designed to educate middle school and high school students about journalism, its purpose, principles, and process;
(2) “Millennials and News” on Facebook for young adults. Co-founded with her Millennial daughter, the page aggregates news stories about Millennials, of interest to Millennials, and news Millennials should know.

*Note: the phone number is only for listeners with questions. Do not call in order to listen to the live program. Doing so will prevent others from calling in with their question.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

THANKFUL for SA's media community

'Tis the season to be thankful, and we here at SPJ San Antonio would like to express our gratitude to our members and others who've supported our rebirth in recent months.

On Thursday, Nov. 29, we'll gather at The Brooklynite, a new cocktail bar downtown with plenty of parking and food trucks. Pumpkin pie and whipped cream will be provided, and happy hour prices will apply to their delectable drinks.

We've had a great few months together, from the first event featuring Rick Casey to Gridiron and happy hours, and we're looking forward to many more. Members, potential members, media community supporters: Please let us know if you can make it, we'd love to see you!

The Brooklynite 
516 Brooklyn Ave. 
5:30 - 7:30 p.m., 11/29

Monday, October 22, 2012

SPJ San Antonio to host Region 8 conference

The Society of Professional Journalists San Antonio will host the Region 8 conference May 3-4, 2013, downtown at the Marriott Plaza. The conference will open with a welcome gathering Friday night. Saturday's sessions will provide tips on how to keep current with social media trends, as well as critique sessions for students, panel discussions across mediums, and advice from experts covering the Texas border, immigration, military and other topics. More details, including pricing and how to register, coming soon, but please save the date!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Movie Night with SPJ

We see the images every day - scantily-clad women, young girls' faces caked in make-up, female role models whose brawn is focused upon much more than their brains. But how does the media's portrayal of females affect the lives of girls?

Miss Representation, an award-winning documentary written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, explores that issue. Through interviews with teenagers, the audience sees how stereotypes about women continue to thrive in the media and worm their ways inside of girls' minds, changing the way they see themselves. Expert interviews with members of the media and politicians (Condoleezza Rice, Margaret Cho, Nancy Pelosi, Rosario Dawson, Katie Couric and Lisa Ling, to name a few) drive the point home - although these images surround us every day, many of us have become immune to them.

Join the San Antonio chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for a movie night on the International Day of the Girl, Oct. 11. We'll open up Room 101 of the Longwith Radio Television Film building on the San Antonio College campus around 6 p.m. and start the film at 6:30 p.m. A short discussion will follow.

This event is free to members and students, and a suggested $5 donation will be collected at the door for all others. Space is limited, so please RSVP.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

After the after-party


Last night's Gridiron show was a fantastic success. We're still counting cash, but it looks like we'll be able to hand out about $8,500 in scholarships from the money we raised in ticket sales. Revenue from the ads we sold in the program cover costs of running the show, which add up. 
Gridiron 2012 cast preforms show finale. Photo by Colleen Pence



We filled the Watson Fine Arts Center with an engaged, entertained audience and had a blast. There are so many people and organizations to thank, but at the top of my list are: the San Antonio Express-News, for printing the programs; Joaquin Herrera, for designing the show's logo, tickets and program; co-producers Nora Lopez and David Elizondo, the SPJ board, video-masterminds and the cast and crew - including police Chief William McManus and county Judge Nelson Wolff - who sacrificed time, money and maybe a little dignity; our extremely talented director Gloria "G.L." Liu and the staff at the Watson center who were insanely accommodating. Without Starline Costumes, we'd have had no squirrels...or Mayan costumes or fedoras or so many other props and outfits.

Thank you also to the audience for supporting Gridiron. We will be selling DVDs of the show in the near future, and if you're interested in a copy, email Eva Ruth (eva.ruth@gmail.com). Our videos now live on a YouTube channel, so feel free to share them. I've posted the Mayor's iPhone video below.

We can't wait to make next year's show even better.
-Eva Ruth Moravec

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Retrospective

Hours before the cast of the 2012 Gridiron show takes the stage, I wanted to share some history of the event, written by Sue Merkner. We convinced Sue to do a video this year, and then she couldn't resist joining the crew for the live show, too. I'm delighted we have her insight and knowledge of the event's history. Thank you to everyone who's helped make "Rumor Has It" what it is today (and if you still need tickets, they'll be $25 at the door). See you at the Watson Fine Arts Center, 1801 Martin Luther King Drive, doors open at 7 p.m.
-Eva Ruth Moravec


A brief history of the San Antonio Gridiron Show – 1985 to 2012
By Susan A. Merkner


Gridiron shows traditionally are produced by journalists as local fundraisers, combining original skits and song parodies in a live theatrical production that spoofs newsmakers as well as the journalists who cover them.

The show’s name comes from the annual dinner presented by the Gridiron Club, the oldest and one of the most prestigious journalistic organizations in Washington, D.C. Membership in the club, which was established in 1885, is by invitation only. The club’s dinner features satirical music skits by members and politicians.

The first Gridiron show in San Antonio was presented in the fall of 1985. It was the brainchild of Gebe Martinez, then a reporter at the San Antonio Light – back when the city had competing daily newspapers. Henry Cisneros was mayor of San Antonio at that time, and he graciously attended performances during his term of office, setting a precedent for subsequent elected officials.

The first four shows were directed by the late Wayne Elkins of the San Antonio Little Theater, which is now the Playhouse. After Elkins became ill and died, the Gridiron was directed each year by Gloria “G.L.” Liu, who also served as the show’s choreographer in its earliest years. GL has directed all the local Gridiron shows since 1989.

In the early years, about 50 local journalists were involved in each show -- reporters and editors from San Antonio’s two daily newspapers at the time, the Light and the San Antonio Express-News, as well as local television and radio stations and magazines.

The show may look effortless (!) but it involves many people giving their time to help write the script and plan the show, as well as serving as musicians, producing the artwork and playbill, and handling publicity and ticket sales. Starline Costumes has provided the show’s costumes from the beginning. Backstage personnel and technical assistants also assist with each performance.

The San Antonio Little Theater, now the Playhouse, was the original home of the Gridiron show in its first four years. In 1989, a bigger auditorium was needed, so the show moved to the Carver Community Cultural Center.  For many years, the Gridiron was staged at McAllister Fine Arts Center at San Antonio College, typically selling out each performance.

After the San Antonio Light closed in January 1993, the pool of local journalists was reduced, and the Gridiron no longer was produced annually.

The most recent show, in 2007, was staged at the Josephine Theatre. The theme of the show was “Up in Smoke” in honor of the Helotes mulch fire. Special guest appearances at the show were made by brothers Julian and Joaquin Castro.

One of the biggest changes in the Gridiron over the years has been the use of technology to enhance the show’s production values.  In the earliest years, there were no microphones available for the actors, so everyone had to learn how to project! This year’s show features sophisticated sound and lighting systems and professionally produced video shorts. It’s also the first local Gridiron show to be marketed through social media and involve online ticket sales.

Bottom line: All proceeds from the show are contributed to the San Antonio professional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for student scholarships. SPJ is the nation’s most broad-based professional association for journalists, dedicated to freedom of the press and high standards of ethical behavior. The scholarship money is donated to area students studying journalism.



Sunday, September 2, 2012

GRIDIRON is here!

You've seen the photos on our Facebook feed.
It's obvious that we're having a blast getting ready for this year's Gridiron show...but one thing is still missing: YOU!

As Sept. 8 approaches, I just wanted to remind everyone that ticket prices go up at the door. To lock in the $20 rate (quit your complainin', money goes towards scholarships for journalism students), buy online. We'll also be raffling off a Kindle Fire during Act II, but you must be present to win.

If you're uncomfortable with buying things online but still want to take advantage of the pre-sale rate, there are plenty of cast members who have tickets for sale for cash or check. Send me an email (eva.ruth@gmail.com) to work out the details. T-shirts will be sold at the show for $10, cash or check-only.

It's been a while since the hilarious, media-written/produced/preformed Gridiron show took the stage, so please help us spread the word and remind people what a great time it is! We'd love to fill the Watson Fine Arts Center theater, a lovely facility on the St. Philip's College campus at 1801 Martin Luther King Drive, and can't wait to see you there!

Make sure you keep an eye on our YouTube channel for special multimedia surprises.
-Eva Ruth Moravec

Friday, August 10, 2012

Open records review

The Access Across America II event hosted by the San Antonio Express-News was a great success! Professor Joey Senat, visiting from Oklahoma State University, did a spectacular job reminding us all how important it is to continue to push for access and fight for open government. 

Professor Joey Senat speaks to journalists Thursday night.
Here's a link to Senat's presentation in San Antonio. Although he's been traveling across the U.S. all summer giving similar talks, Thursday night's session was specific to Texas. 

Senat also referenced a lengthy handout that has tons more information on what public records are available from a variety of agencies. That's online here

A big thanks to Mike Leary, the new executive editor of the Express-News, who introduced Mr. Senat. Thanks again to everyone who came out Thursday night! I hope you all learned as much as I did. 
-Eva Ruth Moravec

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Question: What are you doing at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 8?

Answer: Gridiron 2012
In honor of our first day of rehearsals, I wanted to spread the word about our upcoming Gridiron show, "Rumor Has It." The show parodies local and national news, and newsmakers, and it will leave you in absolute stitches.
Please, get your tickets today and let others know about the hilarity that is Gridiron - it's been five years, there are undoubtedly tons of people in San Antonio who've never seen a show. Remember, proceeds benefit scholarships for journalism students.
We're looking forward to entertaining you!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Meet the new E-N editor and open those records

Interested in how you can better utilize public records?

Bring your notepads and questions to Access Across America II, a national SPJ program hosted by the San Antonio Express-News and featuring OSU School of Media and Strategic Communications professor Joey Senat. The FREE program, which lasts two hours, focuses on how to access public records and will include ideas for record-based stories, how to make requests more efficient and how to avoid denials and steep fees.

Introducing Professor Senat will be Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mike Leary, the new executive editor for the SAE-N, who takes the newsroom's helm Aug. 6. Leary comes from the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he most recently was the deputy managing editor of news and investigations.

Mike Leary
Refreshments will be provided. This event is open to both SPJ members and non-members, but please let us know you're coming by RSVP'ing here.

WHEN: Aug.9, 6-8 p.m.
WHERE: Meeting room at Express-News' HR building, 3rd Street at North Alamo Street
COST: FREE

Sunday, July 22, 2012

GRIDIRON cast call

The scripts are ready and Sept. 8 is approaching,
Now we need YOU - those who dance, act and sing.
Gridiron's getting hot, don't miss your chance to strike
Cast call's at Blue Star at noon, 7/28, bring anyone you'd like!

Translation: We need people to act, dance and sing in both the live Gridiron show on 9/8 and participate in videos to be shot in advance. If you haven't heard, we're reviving the vaudeville-like live musical that pokes fun at local, state and national newsmakers, issues and events. Come by the Blue Star Brewing Co., 1414 S. Alamo St., at noon on Saturday, July 28, to read a script and find a part just for you.

Fine Print: Rehearsals in August and September will be mostly in the back room at the Blue Star Brewing Co. If you can't make it Saturday but still want to participate, email Eva Ruth (eva.ruth@gmail.com).

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mark your calendars!


SA Journalists! We know you’re quite busy enjoying these lazy days of summer, but there are A LOT of SPJ San Antonio events on the horizon -- and we want you to be there. Why? Because we want you to be part of this growing organization, and it will be fun, and there will be drinks and satire and, whoa, let's get to the details. 

July 12 – SPJ San Antonio Happy Hour, Part 2
Our last happy hour was a great success, so we wanted to toast SA journalists yet again. Join us from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 12, at Bar 1919 at the Blue Star Arts Complex, underneath Joe Blue’s. The bar is extending happy hour especially for us: $1 off all 19 draft beers, $1 off all well drinks, and several cocktails on special. Oh, and did I mention our wonderful conversation? This event is open to everyone -- especially anyone interested in becoming a member of SPJ San Antonio. Contact VP of membership Vianna Davila (viannarisa@gmail.com) or email satxspj@gmail.com for details about joining the organization.

August 16 -- Screening, "Miss Representation"
Join us at San Antonio College for a screening of Jennifer Siebel Newsom's documentary "Miss Representation" about the media's portrayals of women, and how that has led to an underrepresentation of women in positions of power.  More details to follow, but a discussion is planned after the event. The screening is FREE!
Learn more about the film here:  http://www.missrepresentation.org/

Sept. 8 -- GRIDIRON!!!
San Antonio media veterans, are you weeping with joy? We thought so. Yes, the rumors are true. Gridiron, San Antonio's scintillating satire show, is back after a too-long hiatus. This time, we're taking the show to St. Philip's College, 1801 Martin Luther King Drive.

In case you're a newbie, here's the Cliff's Notes version: Gridiron is the media's opportunity to poke fun at/roast/skewer our favorite local, state, national and international newsmakers. And usually there's always a few local political celebs who make a guest appearance. 

Plus, it's all for a good cause -- Gridiron proceeds go toward college scholarships for students who want to pursue journalism. 

Side note: We not only want you to join us in the audience, we want you to join us on stage. That's right -- Gridiron is looking for scriptwriters, performers and general enthusiasts who want to be part of this very special San Antonio media tradition. Click here for more details about how to participate. More event details will soon follow.   

AND NOW ON TO 2013....

May 3-4, 2013 -- SPJ REGIONAL CONVENTION
Mark your calendar with this piece of breaking news. The SPJ regional convention returns to San Antonio next May for the first time in 10 years. This means journalists from across the region (Texas and Oklahoma) will be descending on our fine city for this two day event. We'll be updating you on the program throughout the year, but start planning your trips now.  The wonderful Marriott Plaza in downtown San Antonio will be hosting us. And we can't wait to see you!

If you have a question about any of these events, or if you want to join, or volunteer, email us at satxspj@gmail.com. And get ready for a great year of events. 

-SPJ San Antonio

P.S. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter, @SPJSanAntonio. We love new friends. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Seeking radio, freelance board members

The San Antonio SPJ board is looking to expand.


We'd like to add two positions - a radio chair and a freelance chair - to a board that includes newspaper reporters, an editor, an academic and a TV news producer. We want to make sure we're appealing to all of our members in San Antonio, and we feel that by adding someone with freelance experience and someone who's worked professionally in radio, we can do that better.


The group meets monthly, and members typically volunteer to take responsibility for events, programming and other business evenly. Our monthly meetings are 1-2 hours.


Candidates must be active SPJ members, and we'd prefer it if you're enthusiastic, creative and reliable. If this sounds like something you'd like to do, please email Eva Ruth (eva.ruth@gmail.com) with your name, contact information and a sentence or two about the perspective you'd bring to the board and why you are interested in joining our Mötley Crüe by July 6. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Call for scripts

Attention all writers: We’re looking for comedy skits and musical numbers and need your help.

As you may know, San Antonio's SPJ chapter has done about two decades worth of Gridiron Shows in our community to benefit college scholarships for students interested in journalism. Our show has been on hiatus for a few years, but as previously stated, it will live again this year. We’re nearly done securing a venue and plan to take the stage in early September.

Gridiron shows poke fun at local, state and national newsmakers and issues in our community. We strive to have good clean fun and entertain our audiences with performances by local media portraying various public figures in a humorous light. So, if you think you have some material that might be amusing, entertaining, sarcastic, or even downright irreverent, then please send us your work. Since we all have to make a living in this city, the identities of contributors will be protected.
 
The fine print:
  • Be creative and have fun!
  • Don’t be too mean or cruel. Our sources and subjects are people too.
  • Please submit your scripts in 14 pt. Arial font.
  • Include the following information at the top of the skit: suggested title, characters, scene or setting, and any music that may be needed.
Please keep your writing tight and try and avoid long lines if possible. Deadline for scripts: July 6.

This year, we are also accepting video submissions. These must be fully produced products that can range in length from 30 seconds to three minutes. If you are interested in submitting a video for the show, please send us a few sentences about the concept no later than August 1. Final video submissions are due by August 13.

All material is subject to approval and editing by the script committee and producers - submission is not a guarantee that your material will make the show. Please send entries to: eva.ruth@gmail.com.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Attention grads!

Are you or someone you know basking in the glow of college graduation?

If so, take advantage of a discounted SPJ membership - up to three years after walking across the stage, national dues for post-grads are $37.50 annually, HALF of the regular professional membership dues. Recent grads joining SPJ also have the opportunity to pay $75 for a three-year membership.

Memberships also make great gifts! SPJ fights for its members to ensure freedom of information laws and First Amendment rights are upheld, and national and local programming keeps professionals in the know. Members may also tap into a treasure trove of Web-based training and other resources on SPJ's website, and they'll receive six editions a year of the organization's magazine, Quill.

Oh yeah, and grads especially will appreciate the SPJ Job Bank, updated regularly.

Local fees for all members of the San Antonio Pro chapter are $10.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Will you be our leader?

Following up on my last blog post regarding the resignation of SPJ Region 8 Director Scott Cooper: is anyone interested in filling the now-vacant position?

SPJ President John Ensslin recently wrote to members and said that while the investigation into the unauthorized transactions from the Oklahoma Pro chapter's account continues, candidates are being sought to fill the regional director post "on an interim basis until September's election."

At that point, during the national Excellence in Journalism conference, members will be able to elect someone for the full two-year term, Ensslin's letter states. The regional director oversees 11 student and 4 professional chapters in Texas and Oklahoma, and represents those chapters on the national board.

Interested? Please contact Hagit Limor at hlimormedia@gmail.com by June 9. SPJ's board of directors will select an interim Region 8 director at a meeting on June 16.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Regional director resigns

Scott Cooper, treasurer-secretary of the Oklahoma Pro Chapter of SPJ and the director of Region 8 - which includes Texas - resigned this week amid allegations of unauthorized use of the chapter's checking account.

According to the chapter’s news release, Cooper's resignation followed the chapter's discovery that more than $40,000 in unauthorized withdrawals had been made after chapter leadership was notified that checks were being returned due to insufficient funds.

The Oklahoman reported that Cooper referred all questions to his attorney, Ed Blau.

“My client deeply regrets his actions as detailed in the Oklahoma SPJ statement,” Blau told The Oklahoman. “Words cannot express the embarrassment and remorse my client feels as a result of his mistakes.”

A statement issued by SPJ President John Ensslin said he's appointed a three-person committee to conduct a fact-finding investigation and help chapters improve procedures to avoid a similar incident in the future.

Meanwhile, potential candidates are being solicited by national staff to fill the vacancy on an interim basis. The Oklahoma chapter's award contest will continue, and actions have been taken to protect SPJ assets, the chapter's release states.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Calling all ad gurus

As you may have heard, we're bringing back Gridiron - a current events-centered variety show preformed live by members of the media and supporters. While the dates are still not set in stone, it will be the first or second weekend in September.

We have had a ton of volunteers for cast, tickets, promotions, set, costumes and music, but one thing we are lacking is someone to lead our advertising sales in the program. Ad sizes and prices will be provided, and the upcoming elections should provide plenty of potential clients.

Interested? Know someone else who might be? Please shoot me an email (eva.ruth@gmail.com).

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Do you "habla?"

I missed out on a really good interview this afternoon because of a language barrier I should have buried years ago.

While pounding the pavement Wednesday on the Southeast Side where a man was shot to death the night before, I came across a woman who really would have helped my story. She heard close to 30 gunshots, we got that far, but I didn't understand her description of a witness hiding in the closet of her shed or the condition of the dead man's 1-year-old daughter, who witnessed the shooting from inside a parked SUV.

I'm embarrassed to say that after living in South Central Texas nearly all of my life, my Spanish is horrendous. Even Will Ferrell rolls his "R's" better than I do. So I ask you blog readers, do you wish you could habla? Would you help pay for and take a Spanish-for-journalists class?

Thanks for your insight.
-Eva Ruth Moravec

Monday, April 2, 2012

Rumor has it...

Sources say we're bringing Gridiron back this year.

For those who may not know, it's a highly entertaining live parody of local and national news events, preformed in short skits by members of the media and wrapped into a performance put on to raise money for scholarships that SPJ hands out each year.

Think "Saturday Night Live" meets "Cornyation." But not necessarily in drag.

While many details are still in the works, we do know we'll have Gridiron either Aug. 31-Sept. 1 or Sept. 7-8, most likely an open dress rehearsal on Friday night and the big shebang on Saturday. We also know that we need a ton of help.

A very experienced team of writers has been formed, but they need your skits. Please submit any ideas to David Elizondo (davidelizondo.satx@yahoo.com). To help with any of the other committees, which include ad sales, cast, music, promotion and tickets, please email Eva Ruth Moravec (eva.ruth@gmail.com). All ideas will be considered but please don't get offended if your suggestion doesn't make it to the stage.

Still can't wrap your head around this whole Gridiron concept? Check out this circa-2000 clip of a fake car dealership commercial, starring cast member Mark Carillo.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

It's no April Fool's joke - SA SPJ is back!

Extra, extra, read all about it: San Antonio's professional SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) chapter is back! Thank you to all who made our membership mixer last Thursday at The Esquire Tavern a success.

Along with adding about 10 new members, we gave out some drool-worthy door prizes, sipped scrumptious cocktails and mingled with other members of the Alamo City media. To become a member of SPJ, click here. Please watch this space for interesting and relative media news, in addition to chapter announcements and local musings.

The board has some very exciting and thought-provoking programming planned for the next few months, including the ever-popular Gridiron (late August/early September), and we've been asked to host next year's Region 8 SPJ conference (next Spring).

Want to volunteer for Gridiron? Send your name, contact info and preferred committee (music, props, costumes, cast, tickets, promotion) to eva.ruth@gmail.com.

We're looking forward to a spectacular year!
SA SPJ board:
Eva Ruth Moravec, President
Vianna Davila, VP of Membership
Jennifer McInnis, VP of Programming
Jerry Townsend, Treasurer 
Samuel Belilty, Broadcast chair
Nora Lopez, Gridiron chair