Oct. 14 : Making (Better) Headlines

With a flat headline, readers may never see the first sentence. A headline that oversells or misleads undermines our credibility and undercuts our hard work. How do you write compelling headlines and social media posts that leave readers and viewers wanting to know more and accurately reflect what’s in the story?

Join the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists at the San Diego Central Library on Monday, Oct. 14 for a panel discussion on headlines and social media posts. We’ll delve into the do’s and don’ts of what makes them sing.

Free and open to the public.

WHO: Ryan Bradford, web editor and writer, San Diego City Beat; Sara Libby, managing editor, Voice of San Diego; Paul Krueger, senior field producer, NBC 7 San Diego; Kelly Davis (moderator), independent reporter. Attorney Matthew Halgren, a specialist in news media law at Sheppard Mullin’s San Diego office and an SPJ San Diego board member, will also make introductory comments on legal considerations.

WHEN: Monday, Oct. 14, 6 p.m. social hour with light food, 6:30 p.m. start.

WHERE: San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Blvd., San Diego 92101. Shiley Suite on the ninth floor. FREE PARKING IN LIBRARY GARAGE WITH VALIDATION STAMP IN LOBBY.

RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/391641318157485/

Bring your questions or send them in advance to spjsandiego@gmail.com.

San Diego SPJ Statement on AB 5

The San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists wants to thank Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez for her willingness to listen to our concerns, and those of other freelance journalists, regarding AB 5.

We cannot predict exactly how employers, or the courts, will interpret AB 5 after it goes into effect next year, and many of our members remain concerned over what this bill will mean for them. The final version allows a hiring entity to accept up to 35 submissions per year from a particular freelance contributor. If the hiring entity would like additional content, it must classify the contributor as an employee. Assemblymember Gonzalez agreed to raise this cap from 25, and amended the bill to clarify what constitutes a “submission.”

A submission is: “one or more items or forms of content by a freelance journalist, editor or cartoonist that: (I) pertains to a specific event or topic; (II) is provided for in a contract that defines the scope of the work; (III) is accepted by the publication or company and published or posted for sale.” The bill also states: “Items of content produced on a recurring basis related to a general topic shall be considered separate submissions.”

For freelance still photographers and photojournalists, a submission is: “one or more items or forms of content … that: (I) pertains to a specific event or specific subject; (II) is provided for in a contract that defines the scope of the work; and (III) is accepted by and licensed to the publication or stock photography company and published or posted. Nothing in this section shall prevent a photographer or artist from displaying their work product for sale.”

These are improvements from the bill’s original language, brought about through the work of a coalition of 20 trade organizations that included SD-SPJ. We remain hopeful that as AB 5 is implemented, freelance journalists and photographers will continue to be able to earn a living in California and news organizations will value their work with fair treatment and compensation.

SD-SPJ concerned about SPJ national conference sponsor selection process

San Diego SPJ has sent a letter to SPJ National board president Alex Tarquinio and other national board members to share its concerns about what seems to be a lack of transparency and rigor in the process for selecting sponsors for the annual Excellence in Journalism conference.

Here is the text of that letter:

Dear Ms. Tarquinio and members of the SPJ national board,

The San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is concerned by the apparent lack of transparency and rigor in the system for selecting sponsors for the Excellence in Journalism conference. While we are sympathetic to NAHJ’s decision to rescind its 2019 EIJ sponsorship invitation to Fox News and return a portion of the sponsorship funds contributed by Fox News, the purpose of this letter is to share our more general concerns with the process for choosing conference sponsors, especially those whose actions may conflict with core SPJ values.

Last year, we were one of many chapters that expressed concern over the Charles Koch Institute sponsoring a conference panel. We praised SPJ’s decision to form a task force that created a new policy for vetting sponsors. We’ve been told that the SPJ board followed this policy when choosing the 2019 conference sponsors.

Yet, that vetting process remains vague. The only details shared publicly are that the EIJ Planning Committee vets proposals submitted by media and non-media entities.

We’d like to see the sponsorship task force reconvene and develop more specific sponsorship guidelines. Any group that provides SPJ with financial assistance should demonstrate a commitment to SPJ’s Code of Ethics. Guidelines should specify what would preclude sponsorship — for example: clear affiliation with a political party, a history of uncivil discourse or a pattern of deliberately spreading misinformation. The absence of such standards will only increase the likelihood that controversy will again overshadow what should be a celebratory event.

Sincerely,

San Diego SPJ

Congratulations 2019 Award Winners

Thanks to everyone who made it to our awards banquet last night! It was a splendid evening with great attendance. If you didn’t make it, here is the final list of who won what and comments from the judges.

Our Journalist of the Year, KPBS border and immigration reporter Jean Guerrero, gave a rousing speech that you can view here.

If you were not able to attend and would like to snatch your 1st place plaque or 2nd or 3rd place certificates, please send us an email at spjsandiego@gmail.com. Congrats to all the winners!