Tag Archives: SPJ

Dean Lucy Dalglish: A Free Press Is Necessary To Help Nurture Democracy

Philip Merrill College of Journalism Dean Lucy Dalglish is the SPJ-DC Pro Chapter Distinguished Service Award winner for 2017.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (JUNE 13) – Following are the comments of Dean Lucy Dalglish in accepting the Distinguished Service in Local Journalism Award from the SPJ-DC Chapter during the organization’s Hall of Fame/Dateline Awards dinner at the National Press Club:

Thank you to the Washington Society of Professional Journalists chapter for this wonderful recognition.

Thank you, especially, to Sue Kopen-Katcef, a dedicated member of the faculty of Philip Merrill College of Journalism, for that lovely introduction. Over the years, Sue has produced a fanatically devoted network of broadcast students and alumni who are working across the globe. She has the biggest fan club at the college.

I first met Sue, and several of you in this room, nearly 30 years ago at a national SPJ convention. In fact, I joined SPJ as a college sophomore, and have stayed a member for more decades than I want to count. I have worked in several newsrooms, a law firm, a Washington non-profit and the University of Maryland. My SPJ contacts across the country have helped me make connections and transitions in each of those jobs. For that, I am very grateful.

I don’t know what motivates other journalists and lawyers, but I have always acted on the belief that journalists and lawyers play an essential role in our democracy.  I believe that my best contribution to my country and my community has been to provide timely, accurate, useful information to my fellow citizens so that they can make informed decisions about how we will all live together peacefully and productively.

These are unsettling, yet exciting, times to be involved in journalism education. The profession our young graduates is entering is so different from the one I jumped into in the 1980s. In fact, the entire journalism ecosystem has changed.

Dean Lucy Dalglish accepts her Distinguished Service Award from the SPJDC Pro Chapter at their awards dinner in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Rafael Lorente.

  • A year ago, none of us had ever heard the words “fake news.”
  • Journalists were not arrested or accosted at American political rallies and cabinet-level press conferences.
  • A president of the United States had never declared journalists to be “the enemy of the people.”

Our graduates are smart, ethical and hard-working. They know they are not anybody’s enemy.

We have taught them to follow the SPJ Code of Ethics: to dig for the truth; report it independently and fairly; minimize harm to the people who are the innocent bystanders of the news; and to acknowledge and correct their mistakes.

Over the past few months, I have also come to believe that one of the most daunting challenges facing our country is something people in fragile democracies already know: we as a society must value and nurture democracy.  That cannot be done without the free press envisioned in our constitution.

Education and training of journalists has never been more important.

Last month, one of Merrill College’s visiting Fulbright international journalists, a veteran Indian newspaper journalist named Hittender Rau, addressed a gathering at the college.

Here is what he said:

“Democracy is precious. Democracies are fragile.

Most of us, even in this country, don’t think so, but democracies can be very easily dismantled, and are currently in danger all over the world. Without a free, functional, well-trained, skilled press, you cannot have a democracy.

And, what happens in one country has consequences all over the world, including right here in America.

As democracies crumble, so erodes the security of the United States.”

I hope you agree that development of young and veteran journalists has never been more urgent — And that you will join me in educating tomorrow’s journalists.

Thank you


Philip Merrill College of Journalism: National Mark of Excellence

Montage of SPJ Mark of Excellence winners associated with Merrill College and The Diamondback student newspaper.

Adapted from a Society of Professional Journalists press release.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (June 1) – The Society of Professional Journalists announced its list of national winners of the 2016 Mark of Excellence Awards in late June, recognizing collegiate work published or broadcast during 2016.

The awards honor the best in student journalism. As such, judges were directed to choose only those entries which they felt were outstanding work worthy of a national honor.

The Philip Merrill College of Journalism figured prominently in those national awards., along with the Diamondback student newspaper.

Sigma Delta Chi award winners will be honored at an awards banquet on June 23 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Thanks to CNS Digital Bureau Director Sean Mussenden for compiling the following comprehensive list that includes two national winners and six national finalists.

Best Digital-Only Student Publication
(CNS) Winner: CNSMaryland.org – by Capital News Service Staff.

Online In-Depth Reporting
(CNS) Winner: In Poor Health (Freddie Gray’s Neighborhood) – by Capital News Service Staff.

Online In-Depth Reporting
(UMD) Finalist: School takeovers leave parents without a voice in education – by Lily Altavena, Rose Velazquez and Natalie Griffin, Arizona State University. (Natalie Griffin is a former CNSer who represented Merrill College at News21, where she worked on a voting rights investigation.

Breaking News Reporting (Large) 10,000+ Students
(Diamondback) Finalist: A Murder-Suicide Stuns College Park – by Michael Brice-Saddler, Andrew Dunn, Natalie Schwartz, and Mina Haq.

Best Affiliated Web Site
(CNS) Finalist: CNSMaryland.org – by Capital News Service Staff

Best Use of Multimedia
(CNS) Finalist: In Poor Health (Freddie Gray’s Neighborhood) – by Capital News Service Staff.

Online Sports Reporting
(CNS) Finalist: In Football Recruiting Sweepstakes, Maryland Has Fallen Short – by Ryan Connors and Troy Jefferson.

Television Feature Reporting
(CNS) Finalist: Gold Star Mothers – by Maggie Gottlieb.

Merrill College & Diamondback Shine at Mark of Excellence Regionals

Merrill College SPJ Award Winners! Region 2.

Note: Information from a Society of Professional Journalists news release was used for this release.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – It was a time to shine for students from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism as well as the Diamondback student newspaper. During its Region 2 Mark of Excellence (MOE) Conference in Richmond, Va. April 9, SPJ – The Society of Professional Journalists – handed out major awards to UMD students across a wide range of journalism categories.  SPJ’s Region 2 comprises Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C. The conference was hosted by the Virginia Press Association.

First-place winners will move on to the national MOE competition among category winners from the 12 SPJ regions. National winners are notified in the late spring and recognized at Excellence in Journalism 2016 Sept. 18-20 in New Orleans.

There were:

  • Two dozen+ Merrill College associated awards;
  • Nine Diamondback awards;
  • One for the Left Bench (Hannah Yasharoff);
  • One Merrill student/work submitted from internship (Michelle Chavez/VOA video).


CNS Staff: Where’s the Pope?

Seven things we learned from Barbara Mikulski’s email exchanges with Hillary Clinton by Molly Podlesny.


Staff Capital News Service: The Brothel Next Door: Human Trafficking in Maryland.


Max Simpson: Flagged Down:  NFL penalties on the rise.

Sissi Cao: Can Under Armour win the world?



CNS Staff: CNSMaryland.org/Capital News Service.


CNSMaryland.org/Capital News Service.


CNS Staff: CNSMaryland.org/Capital News Service.


Joe Zimmerman, Joey Trull & Madeleine Derason: StarWarsDate.com.
Brittany Cheng: ViewFinder – Beyond the Sidelines.

IN-DEPTH REPORTING (Large 10.000+ students)

Capital News Service: The Brothel Next Door: Human Trafficking in Maryland.

Julie Gallagher: Low-income Alzheimer’s patients battle more than the disease.
Deidre McPhillips: DNA evidence brings hope, truth but only if tested; Some Maryland jurisdictions slow to report.

GENERAL NEWS REPORTING (Large 10,000+ students)

Grace Toohey: Transgender Marylanders hope legislation will align birth certificates with true identities.

Jacob Bell: Questions loom over effects of state’s oyster recovery efforts as watermen’s bottom lines.
Grace Toohey: Paratransit riders frustrated, MTA under scrutiny.


Michelle Chavez (VOA): Baltimore’s miniature libraries will try to “create unlimited possibilities.”

Gabe Katzman (CNS-TV): Great shakeout.

Hayley Fixler  (CNS-TV): Veterans Kayaking.


ViewFinder Fall 2015: Second Chances.

Karen Ye (CNS-TV): Up In Smoke:  What happened Maryland’s billions of tobacco settlement money.


Karen Tang: ViewFinder: Ballet for disabled children.

Ricky Lasser & Karen Tang: ViewFinder: Troops deploy game ball.
Ricky Lasser: ViewFinder: Trailer park.


Ricky Lasser & Karen Tang: ViewFinder: Troops deploy game ball.

Mike Tart (CNS-TV): Washington Nationals youth baseball academy.


Hayley Fixler (CNS-TV): Veterans Kayaking.
Giovanni Insignares (CNS-TV): Cosmic Golf.


CNS-TV Staff & Volunteers: Maryland Newsline.

Diamondback Student Newspaper Awards

Editorial Writing

Selected editorials by The Diamondback editorial board..

Feature Writing (Large) 10,000+ Students

Maryland’s hidden epidemic by Jon Banister.

General Column Writing (Large) 10,000+ Students

For the love of God, there was Satan, Letter from an Op-editor, The perfect human can’t be designed by Yi “Patrick An.

Transgressive art is desecration of beauty; Not everything intended as art is art; Gun control by Andrew Adeola.

Sports Column Writing

Selected columns by Ryan Baillargeon Daniel Popper.

Sports Writing (Large) 10,000+ Students

Fastest to 500 by Callie Caplan.

Online News Reporting

University of Maryland expels record number of students for sexual assault by Ellie Silverman Darcy Costello.

Online Opinion & Commentary

Not everything intended as art is art; Holistic perspective improve healthcare; Biden should have run by Andrew Adeola.

Online Sports Reporting

The miss by Josh Needelman.

Left Bench

Online Opinion & Commentary

Ethics in the world of sports by Hannah Yasharoff.


About the Mark of Excellence Awards

The MOE Awards honor the best of collegiate journalism from a calendar year.

Entries are judged by professionals with at least three years of journalism experience. The awards honor the best in student journalism. As such, judges were directed to choose only those entries they felt were outstanding work worthy of such an honor. If the judges determined that none of the entries rose to the level of excellence, no award was given. Any category not listed has no winner.

School divisions are based on student enrollment, which includes both graduate and undergraduate enrollment: Large schools have at least 10,000 students and small schools have 9,999 or fewer students.

Denny, Wardle Offer Tips for Editing Copy At SPJVPA16

Capital News Service staff member sitting on the floor reading newspapers. Client: Journalism Marketing Campaign.

Photo by John Consoli.

Reprinted by permission of the Virginia Press Association.

By Janeal Downs
VCU Senior Journalism Major

A good news story means more than presenting information as an inverted pyramid and applying AP style. In today’s newsrooms, reporters also must be copy editors and turn in articles that are as ready for publication as possible.

At the VPA/SPJ Region 2 Conference, two experienced editors offered advice on how journalists can better copy-edit themselves. Karen Denny, director of the Annapolis Bureau of Maryland Capital News Service, and Suzanne Wardle, copy editor and books editor for The Roanoke Times, led a session titled “Stop Errors in Their Tracks: Copy Editing for Everyone.”

Both Wardle and Denny have had their fair share of editing reporters’ work: Wardle joined The Times’ copy desk in 2006, and Denny has been an editor for the McClatchy-Tribune News Service and the Washington Times.

Here are 10 of the many tips they offered during the session:

  1. Look at all elements of a story. Don’t forget that every piece of content must be copy-edited, including infographics and cutlines. Don’t just edit your article and forget the rest.
  2. Double check everything. Every time a name appears, make sure the spelling is consistent. Not only are the words important, but the math is as well. “Ask someone to read over your shoulder,” Wardle said. “That’s allowed; that’s OK; that’s not a weakness.
  3. Know your reporters (or yourself). Do you or your reporters tend to mix up they’re, their and there? How about issues with passive voice? Remember these things, and look for them in copy to save time. As a reporter, work on breaking bad habits.
  4. It’s better to be right than to be first,” Wardle said in discussing digital reporting. With the rise of social media, reporters feel even more pressure to be first in breaking news. But they must remember that accuracy is paramount. Not only should reporters strive for accuracy on the web, but Denny said journalists should have a policy for how to make corrections on social media posts.
  5. “What would I tell my parents to Google?” When writing headlines for the web, think search engine optimization, or SEO. Web headlines need more information to attract online readers. Wardle suggested that reporters think about what words they would search for in Google to find the article – or better yet, what words they would tell their parents to search for. And then use those words in the headline.
  6.  Before turning in copy to an editor, Denny suggested many things to avoid. For example, avoiding using the same word in a sentence; avoid generalities or cliches; avoid technical language; and avoid euphemisms.
  7. Another thing to avoid: passive voice. Denny recommended using Ctrl-F – the “find” command on your keyboard – and searching for “by.” This usually signifies a passive sentence.
  8. Know the rules for writing a good lede. Denny mentioned such guidelines as: Don’t have a lede with more than 30 words, don’t begin with a quote and don’t use exclamation points!
  9. Know which is better, a direct quote or paraphrase. “I hear this all the time from students: ‘I’m almost done with my story; I just need a quote,’” Denny said. “No, you never need a quote. What you need is two things – information, and you need to give people the chance to explain why.” Take advantage of paraphrasing and making the information clear. Moreover, don’t quote what you’ve just written, and try to keep quotes to fewer than 15 words.
  10. Take a break between writing and editing. When editing, you might read from the last sentence up; print out your story and edit it with a pen; or scrutinize it line by line.

Brett Hall’15 Named SPJ Outstanding Campus Member

Edited a tad from a Society of Professional Journalists News Release:

INDIANAPOLIS, In. – The Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to honor Brett Hall with the 2015 Julie Galvan Outstanding Campus Member Award.

The Award is named in memory of Julie Galvan, a former president of the SPJ San Jose State University Campus Chapter who was killed in a car accident in 1996 while on her way to an internship. At the close of the college year, SPJ accepts nominations for someone who is outstanding in his or her class on the basis of character, community service, scholarship, proficiency in practical journalism and significant contributions to the chapter. SPJ national leadership selects one graduate who is considered most outstanding for national recognition.

As a Merrill College student, Hall involved himself quickly in the campus SPJ chapter (ultimately serving as president) and Maryland Newsline – the TV news program produced by the school’s Capital News Service. He also served on the SPJ Board of Directors as a campus representative.

Screenshot 2015-07-22 18.10.31

Sue Kopen Katcef, the Merrill College SPJ Chapter Adviser, said, “Brett is synonymous with SPJ and SPJ is synonymous with Brett.”

His hard work and dedication to journalism has been recognized in the past. Hall was selected for several prestigious scholarships including a Scripps Howard Foundation journalism scholarship, Sigma Delta Chi Foundation of Washington, D.C., scholarship, Broadcast Education Association Founders Award and an RTDNA Presidents Scholarship.

“I have consistently found Brett to be an outstanding student, self-motivated and always professional, passionate about good journalism and ethics and always willing to go the extra mile to improve his work,” said Katcef. “He is dedicated both to advancing his own learning as well as trying to provide similar opportunities to other students. He is a true, generous leader every step of the way.”

Hall is currently employed as a reporter for WSTM/WSTQ (CNY Central) in Syracuse, New York. You can follow him on Twitter @BrettHall17.

He will be recognized at Excellence in Journalism 2015 Sept. 18-20 in Orlando, Fla. He’ll be joined by Merrill College Dean Lucy Dalglish, who will be recognized as a Fellow of the Society for exceptional service to journalism.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information on SPJ, please visit www.spj.org.