How you can help Houston journalism students; local media groups gathering

University of Houston

Houston scholarship help

In light of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey, the University of Houston’s Jack J. Valenti School of Communication — which includes the university’s journalism program — has created an emergency scholarship fund for its students.

The San Diego Society of Professional Journalists chapter board would like to help.  We’ll match San Diego SPJ member donations to that emergency scholarship fund, up to $500 total.

Any amount can help, as many students have lost everything and must now choose between continuing college and acquiring basic necessities. Valenti School director Temple Northup says 100 percent of donations will benefit students in need.

To contribute, choose “Valenti Scholarship Fund” on this page: Please include “San Diego SPJ” in designating your online gift so that the San Diego SPJ chapter can match those funds. Thank you!

All media groups mixer

All members of the San Diego Society of Professional Journalists, San Diego Press Club, San Diego Association of Black Journalists, Asian American Journalists Association- San Diego, Online News Association- San Diego, and National Association of Hispanic Journalists- San Diego/Tijuana are invited to the 2017 Fall Bash at Stone Brewery in Liberty Station.

When: 6 to 8 p.m. Tues., Sept. 26

Where: Stone Brewery, 2816 Historic Decatur Rd., San Diego, CA 92106


AAJA anniversary event

The San Diego chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association will celebrate its 31st anniversary with speakers including MSNBC & NBC News producer Aarne Heikkila and KPBS photojournalist Kris Arciaga, a tour inside NBC 7’s studio, the chance to leave with your own digital headshot, raffle prizes, and food. Donations support AAJA’s nonprofit programs and scholarships.

When: 3 to 5 p.m. Sat, Sept. 30

Where: NBC 7, 9680 Granite Ridge Dr., San Diego, CA 92123

RSVP: The fee is $15 for students and AAJA members, $20 for nonmembers. Buy tickets by Sept. 15th



SD SPJ Seeks Clarity on SDUSD’s New Email Retention Policy

On Tuesday evening, the San Diego Unified School Board unanimously adopted a policy to delete all emails from district servers after one year despite a recommendation from the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists to retain them for two years as other large California school districts do. San Diego SPJ spoke at the meeting, raising concern with this and the fact that district employees will be charged with deciding which emails are public records.

Trustees voted on the new policy after only about five minutes of discussion. There was not a formal presentation on the proposal.

A number of things remain unclear about the new policy:

    • When will it take effect?
    • Which emails are considered public records?
    • Will employees receive training on the California Public Records Act?
    • What will happen to emails that are scheduled for deletion before outstanding requests can be fulfilled?

Some journalists have told San Diego SPJ that they’ve had to wait months for email records. Some are concerned that the district could run out the clock on requests, deleting relevant emails before they can be released.

San Diego SPJ is committed to trying to get answers to outstanding questions and concerns about this policy change.

SD SPJ concerns about updated proposed San Diego Unified email policy

The San Diego Unified School Board is set to vote tonight on a new email retention policy that would result in the purging of emails older than a year from district servers. Going forward, the policy would also rely on employees to decide which emails are and aren’t public records.

San Diego SPJ has repeatedly raised concerns about the district’s lack of transparency and, in June, met with two of the district’s top public information officers to discuss how to improve access to information. We also discussed the proposed email policy.

While we appreciate the board’s vote last month to delay implementing new email retention rules pending a review of district public records policies, we have concerns with some of the recommendations the board will consider tonight.

Other large school districts in California retain emails for two years in the interest of transparency. This includes Los Angeles, Long Beach, Fresno and Elk Grove unified school districts. (While today’s staff report indicates Elk Grove doesn’t have an email retention policy, we personally confirmed that they retain emails for two years.) We urge the board to take this into consideration and also require staff to consult with outside public records experts to ensure employees have proper training on what constitutes a public record.

Full list of 2017 San Diego SPJ award winners

Congratulations to all the talented journalists who were honored at our annual awards banquet last night and thanks to all who celebrated another great year of San Diego journalism with us!
Click here for a full list of 2017 San Diego SPJ award winners.

Received an award but still need to get your plaque or certificate? Please email SPJ president Lisa Halverstadt at lisa (at)