Congrats to our scholarship winners!

The board of the San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to announce our 2019 scholarship winners. We’re proud to be able to award five $1,000 scholarships.

We had some impressive entries this year and arriving at a final decision was tough. Thank you to everyone who entered — your talent reflects the strength of the journalism programs at San Diego colleges and universities!

Video: Jack Malmud (SDSU)

Photography: David Pradel (SDSU)

Print: Bella Ross (SDSU), Jack Dorfman (UC San Diego), Lauren Mapp(SDSU)

Agnes Diggs Scholarship: Katy Stegall (Southwestern College)
This annual scholarship is provided by the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation in memory of award-winning San Diego journalist, Agnes Diggs.

Congratulations to our winners! We look forward to seeing you at our annual Excellence in Journalism Awards on July 16 at the Kona Kai Resort. You can purchase tickets here. And in case you missed it, here’s a list of all our regular award winners. Find out what you won by attending the banquet!

SD-SPJ Board Elections

It’s time for San Diego SPJ’s annual elections. SPJ members should have received – or may soon receive – notices calling our board election. Please vote by 11:59 p.m. PT on June 24.

IMPORTANT: If you have already voted, please note that the initial roster of candidates and descriptions were incomplete so we ask that you take another look at our election site before the deadline. If you have any questions, please email spjsandiego@gmail.com.

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Full list of 2019 San Diego SPJ award winners

The SPJ San Diego Pro Chapter is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 SPJ San Diego Area Journalism Awards Contest.

Click here for the list of first place, second place and honorable mention awards.

You’ll have to wait until the banquet to find out who won what!

Please join us to celebrate all of this year’s award winners at our annual banquet on Wednesday, July 17, at Kona Kai.

What: SD-SPJ 2019 awards banquet

When: Wednesday, July 17, 2019. Reception at 5:30 p.m., dinner and program starts at 6:30 p.m.

Where: The Kona Kai Resort & Spa, 1551 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106. Cocktail hour on the Point Loma Terrace, banquet in the Ballroom.

Cost: $65 per person, $55 for students, $480 for reserved tables of eight

Registration: Please register and pay here: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07egd0q6ff1411f139&oseq=&c=&ch=

Join the San Diego SPJ board!

We’re currently seeking candidates interested in running for a seat on our chapter’s board. Board members are involved in planning and executing events, putting on our annual awards banquet, crafting and releasing statements and generally advocating for journalists everywhere. We meet on the first Tuesday of every month in the evening. If you’re an SPJ member, you’re eligible to run!

The election will be held in June. If you’d like to run for the board, please submit your bio (200-word limit) by May 24 via email meganwoodsdspj@gmail.com (subject line: SPJ Election). Election results will be announced in late June. Need to renew your membership? Click here!

SPJ Board Meets with Wall Award Winner

Late last month, the San Diego SPJ board met with two city officials about how the city and the Public Utilities Department can improve relations with local media after receiving this year’s Wall Award. City Communications Director Katie Keach and Craig Gustafson, Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s communications chief, told the board that the city is determined to move forward in a more transparent way after the city’s PUD was declared the local agency that did the most to block public access to information in the past year.

They said the city has made changes after a series of media reports documenting multiple instances where PUD was not forthright about spiking water bills, water meter upgrades and more. Going forward, Keach and Gustafson encouraged reporters to contact either of them directly if they run into issues with records or information requests. They also urged reporters to contact city officials or communications staff before making complex requests in hopes of easing the release process.

Help us protect the Public Records Act

California State Capitol Building, photo by Jeff Turner.

SPJ San Diego has been tracking a bill in the state legislature that we believe would undermine the California Public Records Act. AB 700 (Friedman) would create a new exemption for certain records created by employees of community colleges and public universities, and their affiliated labs and medical facilities.

You can read more about our position in this letter we sent to the offices of three key Assembly members (Gonzalez, Maienschein and Friedman). In short: Journalists have used the CPRA to uncover wrongdoing at public universities, and this bill would take away a vital tool for investigating such stories in the future.

We rarely ask our members to take public positions on bills, but this one is too dangerous for us to be silent. Please consider calling or emailing your Assembly member, and/or the three Assembly members we have contacted, to ask that the bill be amended or pulled from consideration. Be sure to reference AB 700 (Friedman). Suggested talking points:

Journalists would have never been able to uncover wrongdoing at public universities if this bill had been law.

The state legislature should be focused on strengthening the CPRA and expanding access to public records. This bill would do the opposite.

The bill’s supporters say it would curb CPRA abuses to discredit researchers, but they’ve failed to give examples of that actually happening.

Legislative staff to contact:
Evan.McLaughlin@asm.ca.gov, chief of staff for Lorena Gonzalez
Lance.Witmondt@asm.ca.gov, chief of staff for Brian Maienschein
Allison.RuffSchuurman@asm.ca.gov, chief of staff for Laura Friedman

Or find your own Assembly member and contact them!