Join us for a discussion on covering homelessness

Homelessness continues to be one of San Diego’s greatest public policy and humanitarian challenges. And with the county’s hepatitis A outbreak, news coverage of the crisis has only increased. How have journalists reported on our region’s homeless population and what myths persist? What data and reporting approaches can help elevate the stories they pursue?

Join San Diego SPJ for a wide-ranging discussion with:

Steve Breen, San Diego Union-Tribune

Kelly Davis, freelance reporter

Lisa Halverstadt, Voice of San Diego

Susan Murphy, KPBS

When: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Thursday, October 19

Where: California Western School of Law, 350 Cedar Street, Lecture Hall 2, San Diego, CA 92101



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


SPJ San Diego Announces 2017 Journalist of the Year

Morgan Cook

The San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is thrilled to announce its 2017 Journalist of the Year: Morgan Cook, an investigative reporter at The San Diego Union-Tribune.

San Diego has seen its share of big stories this past year, but our board believes no local journalist did better work than Cook in her relentless accountability reporting on Congressman Duncan Hunter’s use of campaign funds for personal expenses. She broke the story last year and continues to follow it after the Department of Justice made clear in March that it is investigating Hunter, whose district covers Alpine, Escondido and Temecula.

Cook’s first story came last April after she found a letter posted by the Federal Election Commission questioning Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, for using campaign funds to pay for video games. Cook then wrote about Hunter’s other questionable self-reported expenses that he claimed were mistakes — items such as oral surgery, private school tuition and a garage door. Then she dug through Hunter’s campaign filings to fact check additional expenses and found other items that didn’t add up, including $229 for “food and beverages” at a Disneyland gift shop where the only food sold is PEZ and a Star Wars-themed Rice Krispies treat.

Throughout her coverage, Cook has explained to readers why this matters — the practice of campaign contributors funding a candidate’s personal life, not just his campaign, opens up the possibility of undue influence. To that end, Cook’s reporting has included who was giving the money and what they might be getting in return. She has persevered in her coverage despite a barrage of criticism and lack of cooperation from Hunter’s campaign.

In light of Cook’s stories, Hunter has returned more than $60,000 to his campaign and the Department of Justice is continuing its investigation. We applaud Cook’s dogged reporting that has stayed focused on what is important — and why — and are honored to recognize her as our Journalist of the Year.

Celebrate Cook and all of this year’s winners at our banquet on Wednesday, July 19, at Kona Kai. The full list of winners and all banquet details will be announced in June.

Announcing the 2017 Sunshine Award, Plus Our Window and Wall Winners

Please join SPJ in celebrating the Sunshine Award winner, as well as the Window and Wall awardees, on Wednesday, May 17, at 57 Degrees. The event begins at 6:30 p.m.

The San Diego Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is proud to announce Brooke Binkowski is the winner of our annual Sunshine Award, which honors efforts to make government more transparent and hold elected leaders accountable. As managing editor of the fact-checking website, Binkowski and her team of journalists have become instrumental in sorting out truth from fiction in this new era of “fake news” and “alternative facts” and providing important context to help readers better understand complex issues.

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