Friday, July 19, 2013

Tooting our own horn

Sometimes, you just can't help but toot your own horn...or in this case, the San Antonio Chapter of SPJ's horn.
Two of our own - board member Vianna Davila and member Francisco Vara-Orta - were chosen for SPJ's Diversity Fellowship Program. Congratulations to them both! As Vara-Orta noted, he's the only male of color and of the LGBT community selected this year.
The two San Antonians (also both reporters for the San Antonio Express-News) and four other diversity fellows from across the country will begin their fellowship at the annual SPJ Excellence In Journalism conference, which will take place Aug. 24-26 in Anaheim, Calif.
Since 2005, six fellows are chosen annually to participate in SPJ's Diversity Leadership Program, which is intended to help them become better leaders and to "feel more connected to the organization," the program description states, all with the intention of increasing membership retention and strengthen leaders.

From Vara-Orta:

"As a Mexican-American who is gay, raised by a single mother in a low-income household in a working class neighborhood and the only male on the education desk, I have often been the minority or one who doesn't quite fit in. But the one thing I truly believe in is that what unites us all is a love of journalism, its public service and enjoyable storytelling that educates the masses for a low price. That mantra and perspective is what I hope to bring to SPJ: that we all feel included and welcome. It's horrible to feel the other way, and you don't forget it when you experience that. So we need this unity for our field to survive given where the nation and industry is headed. Especially as corporate executives scramble to figure out how to market to their changing audience, we've ahead on that curve with many of our stories and supporting efforts like the diversity committee. It's a topic that I worry has been lost during the recession and shrinkage of the news media, but is more important than ever as our nation's face and voice is changing."

From Davila: 

"As a Latina, I think it’s important that diversity be represented at every SPJ conference and in every SPJ chapter. In the current news and social media climate, all journalists are forced to ask themselves the kinds of ethical questions SPJ addresses on a daily, sometimes minute-to-minute basis. I want our SPJ chapter – a diverse SPJ chapter – to have those kinds of conversations. Being an SPJ Diversity Fellow is important to me because I want to ensure that my newsroom continues to reflect the city that it’s in. I also want to help young people who may not have a lot of financial resources at their disposal to still pursue journalism and not be dissuaded by the (relatively) modest salaries or the lack of paying internships. If it hadn’t been for a lot of luck and financial aid in my life, I don’t know that I could have had this career (or gotten my undergraduate or master’s degrees). I want to help ensure journalism stays a field of diverse ethnic and financial backgrounds. That’s the only way to tell the stories of the diverse communities we live in."

Congratulations, Vianna and Francisco! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Ready, set, GRIDIRON!

We all love deadlines.

So, I wanted to share a few regarding our upcoming Gridiron show, which will take the stage Sept. 21, at the Watson Fine Arts Center at St. Philip's College, same place as last year.

First: ALL scripts are due by July 10; submit via email to
Second: CASTING CALL will take place on Aug. 3, location to be determined.

Don't miss out on participating in the annual comedy variety show, an event that brings the local media community together in one hilarious musical and benefits scholarships. If you've forgotten how funny last year's show was, refresh your memory with our video clips here.

In addition to writers and actors, we'd love your help with selling ads, promotion and stage-setting. Please email Eva Ruth Moravec at to get involved.