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



SD-SPJ advocates for transparency

This week, the Society of Professional Journalist’s San Diego chapter sent a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown urging him to sign SB 345, proposed state legislation that would require police to post policies, training materials, and more online. You can read up on the bill here.

Here’s what San Diego SPJ board member Tom Jones wrote on the board’s behalf:

My name is Tom Jones and I am a San Diego journalist and a board member of the Society of Professional Journalist’s San Diego chapter. I am writing this letter on behalf of the San Diego board, urging the governor to sign SB 345 into law.

California has the opportunity through SB 345 to lead the nation toward greater transparency in law enforcement policies, protocols, and training materials. Publishing these materials online would help law enforcement educate the public about how they operate and best serve the people they represent. The process of obtaining these materials through the California Public Records Act (CPRA) can be arduous, especially when reporting on events that directly involve these policies and procedures. SB 345 would assist the public and journalists by giving access to this information without the need of a CPRA request. Law enforcement would also benefit, as they would not have the task of having to release this information while dealing with other topics being reported on.

Signing SB 345 into law would be an important step toward the state recognizing the necessity of law enforcement transparency while providing a great example to other states.

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.