Winners announced in Ohio SPJ Awards contest

Congratulations to all the Central Ohio winners — OK, all the winners — in the 2015 Ohio SPJ Awards contest!

This year’s results from the contest staged by the Ohio’s professional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists — Central Ohio, Cincinnati and Cleveland — were announced yesterday.

Find the press release detailing the winners here:

A luncheon banquet to honor the winners is planned in Cincinnati Saturday, Oct. 24. Details are to come and will be posted here when available!


Posted in Chapter News

Join Central Ohio SPJ for Founders Day!

The Central Ohio Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) invites you to the 66th annual Founders Day banquet and awards ceremony. Each year, the Central Ohio SPJ chapter recognizes the memory of the founding members of the chapter with the annual Founders Day banquet by honoring the achievements of local journalists, installing officers and board members for the next year, granting scholarships to journalism students and an exciting silent auction to benefit the Chapter’s scholarship fund.

Register Now!

This year’s program will also feature former SPJ Lifetime Achievement Award winner and retired WOSU Statehouse Bureau Chief Bill Cohen and his unique, very popular show about the spirit of the 1960s featuring news accounts, memorabilia, trivia and his live performance. Please join us for a evening of celebration and camaraderie.

Keynote Speaker, Entertainment:

“Spirit of the 60s Coffee House” with Bill Cohen

Happy Hour / Cash Bar / Buffet DinnerAwards Program / Entertainment /

The Vue Columbus
95 Liberty St
Columbus, OH 43215

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (EDT)

Register by April 3

Posted in Awards, Events

Time to vote for 2015 board of directors!

Please take just a moment:

Nominations for new directors of the Central Ohio Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ)  for 2015-16 have been made by the board and it’s time for the membership to vote.

We’re asking all chapter members in good standing to visit the ballot by Friday, March 13, 2015 to ratify the board’s new slate of directors for three-year terms ending in 2018.

We are also seeking nominations from membership for the chapter’s annual awards for First Amendment, Distinguished Service, Appreciation and the Brick Wall. (Details about each of these awards is provided on the nomination link above.)

The new group of directors — as well as officers for 2015-16 — will be installed at the 66th annual Founder’s Day Reception on April 8 at the Vue Columbus, 95 Liberty Street, Columbus, OH 43215. The evening will include a cocktail hour, followed by installation of SPJ officers, chapter awards and entertainment by Bill Cohen, retired statehouse bureau chief for WOSU Radio and Television. Bill will be performing his 1960s Coffee House that includes the voices, images, sounds and news of the 60s. We hope you’ll join us!

Posted in Chapter News

Join us for movie night!


SPJ Members and guests are gathering for a special showing of Citizenfour

Where: The Gateway Film Center
When: Wednesday, March 4 at 7 p.m
How much: $6.50 for students, $7.50 for adults. Parking in the garage is $1 for three hours if you validate parking voucher at the theater

Learn more about the Oscar-winning Edward Snowden documentary here.

See you there!

Posted in Chapter News

Ohio’s Best Journalism 2014 Contest Winners Honored

Congratulations to all central Ohio winners in Ohio’s Best Journalism 2014 contest, sponsored by the Central Ohio, Cincinnati and Cleveland SPJ chapters. A celebration to honor the winners was held in Cleveland last month.

Click here for a full list of winners:

Print Winners – Newspapers (circ. 75,000+)

Best of Show

Best Critic in Ohio

Second Place – Michael Grossberg, The Columbus Dispatch

Best Daily Newspaper

First Place – The Columbus Dispatch

Best Defense of First Amendment

First Place – Jennifer Smith Richards and Bill Bush, The Columbus Dispatch

Best Defense of Literacy

First Place – Jennifer Smith Richards, The Columbus Dispatch

Best Graphic Designer

First Place – Charlie Zimkus, The Columbus Dispatch

Best Page One Design

First Place – The Columbus Dispatch

Best Photographer in Ohio

First Place – Chris Russell, The Columbus Dispatch

Best Videographer

First Place – Carrie Wise, The Columbus Dispatch

Print Winners

Newspapers (circ. under 75,000)

Best of Show

Best Critic in Ohio

First Place – G.A. Benton, Columbus Alive

Second Place – Brad Keefe, Columbus Alive

Best Defense of the First Amendment

First Place – Brett Nuckles and Dennis Laycock, ThisWeek Community News

Best Graphic Designer in Ohio

Second Place – Carrie Sosnowski, Columbus Monthly

Best Monthly in Ohio

First Place – 614 Magazine

Best Page One Design

First Place – Carrie Sosnowski, Columbus Monthly

Best Photographer in Ohio

Second Place – Tessa Berg, Columbus Monthly

Best Special Publication

First Place – 614 Magazine

Best Special Section

Second Place – Don Delco, ThisWeek Community News

Best Weekly Newspaper

Second Place – Columbus Business First

Television Winners

Best of Show

Best Anchor

First Place – Bob Kendrick, WSYX/WTTE

Best Editor

First Place – Drew Jones, WSYX/WTTE

Second Place – Robert Bradford, WSYX/WTTE

Best News Operation

First Place – Mitch Jacob, WSYX/WTTE

Second Place – Elbert Tucker, WBNS

Nest Newscast

First Place – Aly Boucher, WBNS

Best Public Affairs Program

First Place – Jim Heath and Tracy Townsend, WBNS

Best Reporter

Second Place – Brooks Jarosz, WSYX/WTTE

Best Videographer

Second Place – Robert Bradford, WSYX/WTTE

Radio Winners

Best of Show

Best News Operation

First Place – WOSU

Best Public Affairs Program

First Place – Ann Fisher, WOSU

Best Reporter

Second Place – Tom Borgerding

College Winners

Best College Daily Newspaper

Second Place – The Lantern, The Ohio State University

Best College Feature Writing

First Place – Kristen Mitchell, The Lantern, The Ohio State University

Best College News Newspaper

First Place – Liz Young, The Lantern, The Ohio State University

Second Place – Liz Young, The Lantern, The Ohio State University

Best College Opinion Writing

First Place – Danielle Seamon, The Lantern, The Ohio State University

Best College Sports Writing

First Place – Patrick Maks, The Lantern, The Ohio State University

Second Place – Dan Hope, The Lantern, The Ohio State University

Posted in Awards

SPJ National: No on ‘secret executions’


Statement by SPJ President Dana Neuts urging lawmakers to vote “no” to Ohio’s proposed HB663

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists urges Ohio lawmakers to vote “no” to House Bill 663, the so-called Secret Executions Bill. SPJ joins its Region 4 leaders and the Ohio Newspaper Association in denouncing the bill.


While HB 663’s primary aim is to protect medical professionals who carry out executions and drug makers who make the drugs used in executions, it would also make all information and records related to an execution or death sentence confidential. The legislation, if passed, would make the already difficult job of covering capital punishment more difficult for reporters, which ignores Ohio sunshine laws and compromises transparency.

More specifically, the bill would make information about lethal injection formulations secret, just as Ohio grapples with critical decisions about how to carry out executions while avoiding cruel and unusual treatment of condemned inmates. When it comes to carrying out a death sentence, more transparency and more reporting should be required, not less.

The Ohio House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee is conducting its second hearing on the bill today and Wednesday, with a possible vote at 3:30 p.m. ET Wednesday at the Columbus Statehouse, Room 115. The bill, introduced Nov. 10, would become law March 20, 2015 if passed.

SPJ urges Ohio journalists and others concerned with open government and sunshine laws to tell lawmakers to vote “no” on this bill. Representatives from the Ohio Newspaper Association and SPJ will be at this week’s hearings about the bill to testify against it.

More from Region 4 blogger Patti Newberry

Posted in Chapter News, National SPJ Tagged with: , ,

Join SPJ For An Evening With The Newsies



Join the Central Ohio Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for an evening of entertainment with other journalists and communications professionals



Date: Thursday, January 15

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Location: Ohio Theatre, Pre-show party 6:30 p.m. at Manifesto Tuscan Grato & Scotch Bar. Heavy hors d’oeuvres provided by SPJ. Cash bar.

Cost: $45, Seating will be Side Orchestra or Rear Mezzanine

RSVP: Please register with payment by Nov. 28 here.

For more information on the production, visit

Posted in Events Tagged with:

Central Ohio SPJ Mourns The Loss Of Verne Edwards

Photo: John Holliger

It is with sadness that we report the death of Verne Edwards, a longtime Central Ohio Pro Chapter Member and an SPJ member since 1949, on Nov. 4. Edwards was a journalism educator, who taught at Washington State University and Ohio Wesleyan University, where he served as the department chair from 1963-1986. In addition to teaching, Edwards worked in the media at the Detroit Free Press, Milwaukee Journal, Rochester Times Union, Columbus Citizen, Buffalo Evening News, The Columbus Dispatch and the Toledo Blade, and The Delaware Gazette.

Posted in Chapter News Tagged with:

Ethics in the Media – SPJ’S New Code of Ethics

SPJPicThe Central Ohio Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will join the student chapter at Ohio State University Thursday, Oct. 2, to host a free discussion about Ethics in the Media and SPJ’s new Code of Ethics, featuring Kevin Z. Smith, Central Ohio Pro board member, who recently received SPJ’s highest award for his leadership in revising the Code of Ethics for the first time since 1996.

Smith, the deputy director of the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism at OSU, received the Wells Memorial Key at SPJ’s national convention in Nashville earlier this month.

The ethics event will be a discussion of media ethics and include professional and student journalists sharing real world examples of what they have encountered in the field.

It will be held on OSU’s campus in Room 106 of the Journalism Building, 242 W. 18th Ave., and will begin promptly at 6 p.m. Pizza and soda will be served.

This event is free and open to all!

(The closest parking garage is Tuttle Park, across from the stadium.) 


Posted in Chapter News

SPJ honors Central Ohio Pro’s Kevin Smith with Wells Memorial Key

kevinsmithKevin Smith, a member of our board and deputy director of the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism at The Ohio State University, received the Wells Memorial Key Award, SPJ’s highest honor, at the national convention in Nashville last week. Congratulations, Kevin!

Outgoing SPJ President David Cuillier shared a lengthy list of accomplishments, but focused on Kevin’s stellar work on revising the SPJ Ethics Code, revised for the first time since 1996 and adopted by delegates during the closing business meeting.

Kevin joined SPJ as a journalism student 35 years ago and didn’t wait long to get involved in the news organization. A year out of school, in 1980, he helped start a local professional chapter in West Virginia and then joined the Society’s FOI committee as a Project Watchdog member, monitoring open meetings and records issues in that state.

In 1988, Kevin’s work earned him a position on the ethics committee. By 1991, he was named a Poynter Ethics Fellow. He served as vice chairman of the committee when SPJ wrote its first ethic book, “Doing Ethics in Journalism,” to which he was a contributing writer. He was awarded a second ethics fellowship by Poynter in 1993 and then took over as ethics chair in 1994 to began revising the Society’s ethics code, which was accomplished in 1996. He later added work to another ethics book for SPJ.

While working in academics, SPJ members elected him to serve an unexpired board term in 1997 as campus adviser at-large.

In 2006, he left the ethics committee to become Region 4 director, ultimately becoming SPJ president in 2010. Immediately following his presidency, Kevin returned to the ethics committee to begin his last four-year stint as chairman. It culminated last weekend at the Excellence in Journalism 2014 conference with the passage of the newest ethics code.

Kevin has lectured on media ethics all over the world and taught the subject on college campuses for 13 years. In addition, he has been a campus adviser at two universities (Miami University of Ohio and James Madison University), and served on the board of three local chapters. He has been a member of the SPJ’s sister organization, the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, since 2008.

Posted in Chapter News