College Newspapers Entitled to Full Press Freedoms

The board of the San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is concerned by the recent actions of Southwestern College administrators undermining the press freedoms of the student-run newspaper, The Southwestern College Sun.

In May, two Sun staff members attended a student election board meeting, which was open to the public, and recorded video of the meeting. After The Sun reported on the meeting, the school’s Title IX investigator requested the video, invoking the California Public Records Act.

The Sun declined to release the video. In a letter to the newspaper’s staff, Gloria Chavez, the college’s director of employee relations and Title IX, claimed that the paper’s refusal to release the video was a “subversion of the public’s right to access,” which, she said, “appears to directly violate one of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.”

The letter does not say which provision of the SPJ Code of Ethics Chavez believes The Sun violated. Based on our knowledge of the situation, The Sun has not committed any violation of the SPJ Code of Ethics. Protecting unpublished material, which can be done for a variety of important reasons, is a basic tenet of journalism that we urge the school to honor in preparing its students for careers in the field.


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

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:

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 (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.