The Society of Professional Journalists works to improve and protect journalism. We are dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. We promote the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry, work to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists, and aim to protect the First Amendment.
The Cleveland Chapter, founded in 1950 by a group of 21 members, has grown to become one of the largest SPJ chapters in the nation. Through an array of programs and events, we help journalists build their skills, offer a place to discuss journalism issues of the day and provide social and networking opportunities. Stop by our next program to get to know us.
Our electronic Writer's Week is a link to what is going on in journalism in Greater Cleveland and the rest of northern Ohio. It provides updates on our programs, job postings and other items of interest to journalists. This is where you will find the latest information on our next program. See the latest issues and our Writer's Week archives.
Join our Cleveland Chapter of SPJ at this link by signing up for a national membership and adding on the Cleveland Chapter membership. The local dues, which cover admission to many events, are $20 a year. You may fill out the application online or print out a pdf and mail or fax it in.
We are proud to offer our Porter Scholarship annually to a high school student demonstrating the skills and desire to enter our profession. Each year's scholarship winner receives a $1,000 per year college scholarship — $4,000 over four years. Learn more. Or download full information here, including an entry form. The deadline is April 20.
We honor the best in a variety of ways. Our annual journalism contests recognize the best works from the previous year. And, separately, the chapter board selects veteran journalists for Distinguished Service and Lifetime Achievement awards.
The Cleveland Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has an array of events during the course of each year, designed to educate, collaborate, network and honor. Consider joining us at our next event —the Ohio SPJ Awards ceremony in Cincinnati on Aug. 25. We are now in the process of putting together our schedule for the fall. Always check Latest Writer's Week for the latest information.
The Society of Professional Journalists Region 4 Spring Conference will be held at Cleveland State University on March 8-9. The conference will bring together student and professional journalists for continuing education on key topics facing journalists today. The conference has the theme "Make Room," which was conceived as a cooperative effort between the SPJ Cleveland Pro Chapter and the SPJ student chapter at Cleveland State. "Make Room" is a call for us to broaden our skills, our coverage concepts, and our knowledge of what our communities are as we try to promote a diversification of who we are, how we do our jobs, and how we think about the public we serve.
Learn more about the spring conference at this link, and how to register today.
We celebrated the OHio SPJ Awards winners aboard the Belle of Cincinnati on Aug. 25. The Greater Cincinnati Pro Chapter hosted the annual event, in association with pro chapters in Columbus and Cleveland to honor the best journalism from throughout the Buckeye State.
We joined the Press Club of Cleveland and the Greater Cleveland Association of Black Journalists to host the first event in our series of community meetings on the theme "Journalism: We Don't Fake It." This one was in Cleveland Heights, as part of John Carroll University's "Rant on the Rails" series.
Also in April, we sponsored as a community partner the showing of "Dark Money" at the Cleveland International Film Festival, focusing on campaign financing since the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the case Citizens United.
Our regional conference was March 9-10 at Park Point University in Pittsburgh. The annual spring conference brings together SPJ members from all of Region 4 (which includes four states: Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania) for a day of training workshops, keynote speakers, panels debating key issues in journalism and the Mark of Excellence Awards.
On Jan. 16, we co-sponsored "Seek Truth and Report It: A Guide to Getting Information," to be held at John Carroll University. Speakers were Ohio's leading expert on access-to-information law, attorney David Marburger of Baker Hostetler; JCU political science prof Colin Swearingen, a self-professed data nerd who's highly online/social media savvy; plus two John Carroll grads now working journos: Dan Cooney of the PBS Newshour and Ashley Bastock, an editor with NEO Sports Insiders and senior writer for Swish Appeal. Cooney and Bastock each spent a year in Washington, DC at NBC's "Meet the Press" as winners of JCU's Tim Russert fellowship and will talk some about that experience as well. Carrie Buchanan moderated.
And On Jan. 21, we co-sponsored a forum at the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland on fake news and misinformation. It featured Jan Leach of Kent State University, head of KSU's Media Law Center for Ethics and ethics fellow with the Poynter Institute.
We met in Uniontown on Nov. 9 to network, enjoy some food and take in our program, "30 Digital Tools for Journalists." The event was at Legends, 1840 Town Park, Blvd.
Ohio's top journalists were honored during the 2017 Ohio SPJ Awards/Ohio's Best Journalism Contest. The luncheon, sponsored by the Cleveland Chapter of SPJ, was at the world-renowned Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. Attendees had access to Pro Football Hall of Fame exhibits, videos and tours.
See a list of top winners at this link.
The SPJ Cleveland chapter honored three outstanding members of the Cleveland journalism community during a ceremony at Nighttown in Cleveland Heights.
Nora Spadoni of Shaker Heights High School was the recipient of the Porter Scholarship, which goes to an outstanding Northeast Ohio student pursuing a collegiate and professional career in journalism. Spadoni served as an editor of the award-winning student newspaper the Shakerite since her 10th grade year. As editor-in-chief, she spearheaded the paper's coverage of teacher Timothy Mitchell, who was indicted for sexual battery of a student.
The Plain Dealer's Rachel Dissell received the Distinguished Service Award. Dissell worked with Leila Atassi on an investigation of Ohio's huge backlog of untested rape kits. That series led state law enforcement to delve into the issue and resulted in the arrests of several rapists. She also worked with Brie Zeltner on "Toxic Neglect," a series that has dug into childhood lead poisoning throughout the Greater Cleveland area.
Leo Jeffres, who has been a professor of communication at Cleveland State University for three decades and currently holds the position of professor emeritus, was also honored. He has conducted crucial research on urban communication systems and building community in cities and neighborhoods, as well as the effects of media in society and the watchdog role of the press.
We got together at the Bier Markt in Ohio City to raise a glass, grab a bite to eat and take about the state of journalism in America. It was a great opportunity to network and talk journalism.
The Cleveland Pro Chapter and John Carroll University Chapter of SPJ co-sponsored a workshop JCU on covering suicides. This was part of a series collaboration among the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Nationwide Children's Hospital and the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.
Our program "Fighting Fake News" featured panelists Ted Diadiun, an editorial board member and columnist at cleveland.com, and Brent Brossmann, a debate expert from John Carroll University. The panel was moderated by Carrie Buchanan, the SPJ Cleveland Chapter 2017-18 president.
Panelists discussed "Getting Answers to Difficult Questions" during our Nov. 17 event at the Market Garden Brewery in Ohio City. Taking part were William Kimberlin, psychology professor and author of "Watch me Die" about death row inmates; Cory Shaffer, crime and criminal justice reporter for cleveland.com; Captain Guy Turner of Westlake Police Department; and Rick Porello, both an author of organized crime books and the police chief in Lyndhurst. They spoke about interviewing people at difficult times and getting answers to tough questions.
Every year, SPJ awards scholarships to help members attend the Excellence in Journalism national conference. This year the conference was Sept. 18-20 in New Orleans. The annual conference presents a great opportunity to network with members and other journalists from all stages of their careers, and learn skills, tips and tools to grow your career.
The new board for the Cleveland chapter of SPJ was installed during our July meeting.
Long-time cleveland.com, Plain Dealer and News-Herald sportswriter Paul Hoynes received our chapter's Distinguished Service Award during a luncheon at the City Club in downtown Cleveland on June 8. During the same event, aspiring journalist Gretchen Lasso from Amherst Steele High School received the 2016 Porter scholarship. Lasso has enrolled in the communications program at Kent State University.
We gathered at the Parma-Snow Library Branch on May 25 for a free showing of Spotlight — the Oscar-winning film starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Brian d'Arcy James and Rachel McAdams as the reporters and editors who earned a 2003 Pulitzer Prize for their unearthing of a widespread child molestation scandal being covered up by the Catholic Church.
This year’s SPJ regional conference was April 1-2 in Cincinnati. Dozens of panelists and speakers were on hand from a variety of news organizations and colleges throughout the region.
Also, we had a health journalism panel on April 22 with Lydia Coutre of Crain’s Cleveland Business, Monica Robbins of WKYC-TV and Brie Zeltner of The Plain Dealer.
Celebrating Women in Cleveland Media was the topic of an event at John Carroll University. Panelists included Micki Byrnes of WKYC, Ryllie Danylko and Leila Atassi from cleveland.com, and Tonya Strong Charles of John Carroll. The event was organized by John Carroll’s chapter of SPJ.
The SPJ chapter gathered on Feb. 4, at the Valley View Cinemark to see Oscar-nominated film Spotlight. The movie told the story of the Boston Globe's investigative reporting of sex allegations in the Catholic church.
Reporting is not just about writing and producing a story. You need to ask the right questions. Reporters Brian Bull of WCPN/Ideastream, Ron Regan of NewsChannel 5 and James Sheeler of Case Western Reserve University shared their interviewing tips. In attendance for the event at the Barley House were a wide range of people, from college students to veteran reporters.
The Ohio SPJ Awards Program was aboard the Belle of Cincinnati, departing frm iots home port in Newport, Ky., on Oct. 24. Here are the winners for the 2015 Ohio SPJ awards.
We had a meet-up June 1 at the West Shore Unitarian Universalist Churchin Rocky River to watch "Shadows of Liberty," a film that examines censorship, cover-ups and corporate control of the news media.
We had our annual luncheon at the City Club to honor a top journalist and a journalist in training. Debora Lee, recently retired from Newschannel 5, received our Distinguished Service Award. And Samantha Harris, a graduating center from Brunswick High School, received the Porter Scholarship to help with her college tuition. She will be attending Ohio State University.
Police Force and the Media, hosted by the SPJ Cleveland and John Carroll University chapters, was held April 22 at John Carroll University. Panelists — Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman, Northeast Ohio Media Group reporter Ryllie Danylko, law student Chris Esparza-Rivero and columnist Mansfield Frazier — explored media coverage issues of police force in the wake of the Tamir Rice case. Videos at these four links feature Cimperman and Danylko, Esparaza and Frazier, a Q&A period and additional Q&A.
We always look to celebrate when the media does the right thing, but what about when we get off track? To remember a time we should not forget, the Chapter had a meetup March 4 at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage to view the exhibit "State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda."
The SPJ's campus chapter at Ohio University on March 20-21 hosted the Region 4 Conference in Athens. Programming began Friday with an opening reception that offered a networking opportunity and silent auction to benefit the Legal Defense Fund. Professional development sessions continued all day Saturday, highlighted by the Mark of Excellence Awards luncheon.
Jim Sheeler, professor of English and media writing at Case Western Reserve University, headlined our January event at the new Hofbräuhaus in downtown Cleveland. The Jan. 22 event began with a social hour at 5:30 p.m. followed by our speaker at 6:30 p.m. Sheeler won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in feature writing for a 12,000-word story in the Rocky Mountain News. He followed a U.S. Marine Casualty Assistance Calls Officer and the families he worked with during the Iraq war. He later wrote the book, Final Salute, which was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award in nonfiction.
The Northeast Ohio Communications Advocates' annual holiday party was at Massimo da Milano in Ohio State, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 2. SPJ participates in this holiday party, along with many other organizations representing communicators in Northeast Ohio, from public relations to advertising.
We got together at the Speakeasy Room at the Bier Market in Ohio City to talk ethics with Kevin Z. Smith, a member of SPJ's national Ethics Committee and a past national president of SPJ. Smith went over the new ethics code and explained the discussions that went into the changes. A social hour started at 5:30 p.m., followed by the program at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 6.
Become part of our journalism mission and take part in networking and education opportunities by joining the Cleveland Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, which represents all of northern Ohio.
You may fill out the application online at this link or print out a pdf and mail or fax it in.
When you reach the bottom of the form under Local Chapter Dues there will be a drop down menu where you can then select the Cleveland Pro Chapter. The local dues are $20 per year, and cover the cost of attendance for many of our regional events.
Be sure to fill out all areas in bold on the Membership Application, including the question about which medium you are associated with.
If you have questions, or would like to sign up by phone, call the SPJ national headquarters at 317-927-8000. Be sure to specify the Cleveland Pro Chapter as your local affiliation.
The Cleveland Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists board represents a variety of backgrounds in local media and education.
Carrie Buchanan, a board member since 2008, worked as a news reporter in Montreal and Ottawa for 15 years before moving to the Cleveland area. During a 12-year career at the Ottawa Citizen, Carrie covered a wide range of stories, from politics and environment to social issues. She started teaching in 1999 at Carleton University’s School of Journalism & Communication in Ottawa. In 2009 she joined the faculty at John Carroll University, where she is an assistant professor in the Tim Russert Department of Communication and Theatre Arts. Carrie has a doctorate of mass communication and a master's of journalism from Carleton University, and a bachelor's degree in biology and psychology from Bryn Mawr College.
David Campbell has been sports manager of cleveland.com since August 2013, coordinating coverage of the Browns, Cavaliers, Indians and Ohio State, as well as high school sports. For 13 years, he worked at The Plain Dealer as Metropolitan Sports Editor, Associate Sports Editor and Deputy Sports Editor/Online. Before coming to Cleveland, David was Sports Editor at The Times of Northwest Indiana and a sports writer at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. He has a master's in Communication Management from John Carroll University and a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Illinois. David has been active in the Cleveland youth hockey community as a coach and referee. A Chicago native, he lives in North Olmsted with his wife, Cathy; daughter, Cait; and son, Patrick.
Janet Cho, new to the Cleveland SPJ board in 2017, is a business reporter for The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Ohio's largest newspaper. She previously worked for The Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; the Democrat & Chronicle/Times-Union in Rochester, N.Y.; and USA Today. A former national vice president for the Asian American Journalists Association and a former director of UNITY: Journalists of Color, she earned her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Chicago and her master's in journalism from Northwestern University. Janet has participated in the East-West Center's international journalism fellowships to China, South Korea, and Taiwan.
Tony Kozlowski a board member since 1995, got his start in journalism at the Sun newspapers before moving into public relations. He is president of Kozlowski & Associates and a communication contractor for the Eaton Corp. Tony previously worked for Cuyahoga Community College, BP America and the Standard Oil Co. He is a graduate of Ohio University.
Jackie Mitchell became a board member in 2016. She is an editor at ScripType Publishing in Richfield, where she edits Brecksville Magazine, Independence Today and The BroadView Journal. She also tutors English, reading and writing at Huntington Learning Center on the weekends. She previously worked as a reporter at the Cleveland Jewish News. Jackie received her bachelor's degree in journalism from John Carroll University.
Tom Moore, a board member since 1995, has been a familiar voice on Cleveland-area radio since 1987. Currently heard locally on NewsRadio WTAM 1100, his work with iHeartMedia has also involved anchoring newscasts from suburban Independence for stations in Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Akron, Madison and Mansfield/Ashland. He previously did news for WERE in Cleveland, WBKC in Painesville and stations in Maryland, Delaware and Michigan. He is a graduate of the School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts at Central Michigan University.
Cassie Neiden joined the board in 2017. She serves as the managing editor for Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary magazines, B2B publications covering the commercial state-legal cannabis industry (produced by GIE Media). She is also an experienced freelancer, with bylines in publications such as Cleveland Magazine, Yahoo! News, Martha Stewart Weddings and more. Cassie also serves on the board of the Warren A. Sill Fund, a nonprofit that provides funding for the Children’s Museum of Cleveland to teach STEM-enrichment courses to underprivileged students in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. She is a graduate of Kent State University.
Bob Sandrick, who joined the board in 2017, is a reporter with two decades of experience in covering Greater Cleveland. The graduate of John Carroll University worked as a reporter for Sun News from 1998 through 2013 and for the Northeast Ohio Media Group from 2013 through 2016. He currently is a free-lance writer for Advance Ohio (formerly the Northeast Ohio Media Group), and has written for AgriBusiness Global magazine, the Cleveland Clinic, Community Leader, Crain's Cleveland Business, Fresh Water Cleveland, The Medina Gazette and The New York Times.
Michelle Simakis joined the board in 2016 and is editor of Garden Center magazine, a monthly B2B publication serving independent garden centers and produced by GIE Media. She previously worked in daily news as local editor of Cleveland Heights Patch, covering crime, schools, city council, the arts and more. Michelle is an Ohio University grad with a degree in journalism.
Rich Exner, a board member from 2010 to 2016, has covered a variety of beats as a reporter and editor over the years. Currently, as cleveland.com's data analysis editor, Rich focuses on data journalism, providing unique analysis on news, business and sports topics, and creating interactive online presentations for this research. Before joining cleveland.com, Rich was a reporter and editor at The Plain Dealer and ran UPI's Cleveland bureau. He is a journalism graduate of Ohio State University, an adjunct instructor of journalism at Cleveland State University, and classroom speaker and seminar instructor on data journalism.
We are proud to offer our Porter Scholarship annually to a high school senior demonstrating the skills and desire to enter our profession. Each year's winner receives a $1,000 per year college scholarship — $4,000 over four years.
Graduating high school seniors from schools in Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Medina counties are eligible. They must be planning to enter the field of journalism or communications. The scholarship is named for Philip W. Porter, a long-time Plain Dealer editor who was one of the co-founders of the Cleveland SPJ Chapter.
Applications are mailed each year to high school guidance counselors and journalism advisors. An application with complete rules can also be downloaded here with full information here, including an entry form. The deadline is April 20. Or if you need just the entry form, click here. The 2018 deadline is April 20.
Incomplete application forms or applications without complete documentation will not be considered for the scholarship. We will also not accept online submissions or e-mail attachment-file submissions.
Applications should be sent to: SPJ Scholarship Committee; c/o Cheryl D'Mello; Cleveland State University; 2121 Euclid Ave., MU-244; Cleveland, Ohio 44115.
2017: Nora Spadoni
2016: Gretchen Lasso
2015: Samantha Harris
2014: Jacob Gedetsis
2013: Thomas Hamzik
2012: Carolyn Crowcroft
2011: Savannah S. Kannberg
2010: Hanna Moosa
2009: Simonetta Quartell
2008: Melissa Kory
2007: Sarah A. Miller
2006: Amber Lewandowski
2005: Justin Armburger
2004: Benjamin Sykes
2003: Rebecca Trela
2002: Rami Daud
2001: Matthew Hutton
2000: Leana Donofrio
1999: Andrew Netzel
1998: Gayle Horwitz
1997: Rachel Dissell
1996: Corrine Henahan
1995: Matthew A. Walcoff
1994: Pia W. Smith
1993: Jessica Blythe Leary
1992: Lori Ann Lessner
1991: Heather Bruce.
1990: Stephanie (Bodo) Storm
1989: Jenean Atwood
1988: Naomi Annandale
1988: Melissa Kossler
1987: June Weiler
1986: Michael Gallagher
1986: Elizabeth Mercer
1985: Dennis Manoloff
1984: Recipient left school
1983: Kathryn Kudravi
1982: Laurie Abraham
1981: Robert Bundy
1980: Diedre Depke
1979: Helen Karakoudas
1978: Eve Sarris
1977: Michael Pesarchick
1976: Marcia (Meermans) Aghajanian
1975: Barbranda Lumpkins
1974: Joseph J. Kay
1973: Mark O'Donnell
1972: Kay Ann (Morrow) Rolland
1971: Steven Osterhout
1970: Paul Bednarski
1969: Raphael Schlesinger
1968: David Louie
1967: Michael MarinoI
1966: David Elsner
1965: Lloyd Siegel
1964: Jeffrey Chokel
The Cleveland Chapter honors journalists with the Distinguished Service Award, which is the highest honor the Chapter can bestow for service. Journalists are nominated by the Board. In exceptional cases, the Board may choose a journalist to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award - the highest honor SPJ Cleveland can bestow upon a professional to recognize a career of accomplishments.
Note: x-denotes Lifetime Achievement Award
2017: Leo Jeffres, Rachel Dissell
2016: Paul Hoynes
2015: Debora Lee
2014: Connie Schultz, Stan Bullard
2013: Tom Beres, Tom Moore
2012: Brian Tucker, Tony Kozlowski
2011: Brent Larkin, Jae-won Lee
2010: Jim Collins
2009: Dick Hendrickson
2008: Wendy Hoke, David Marburger
2007: Doug Clifton (x), Jerry Masek (x)
2006: No DSAs Made
2005: No DSAs Made
2004: No DSAs Made
2003: Elizabeth Sullivan, Paul Tepley, John Cole (x)
2002: Roldo Bartimole, Dan Coughlin
2001: John Bowen, Peter Miller
2000: Ted Henry, Jerry Masek
1999: Dick Zunt, Neil Zurcher
1998: Mary Strassmeyer (x)
1997: Joe Mosbrook, Paul Young, Sal Marino (x)
1996: Bob Tayek, Russ Schneider
1995: Doris O'Donnell, Darrell Holland, Don Robertson (x)
1994: Marc Gleisser, Nev Chandler
1993: Del Donahoo, Lou Mio
1992: Hugh Danaceau, Ron Kuntz
1991: Leon Bibb, William F. Miller, Mike Roberts, Thomas Vail (x)
1990: Betty Cope, Dick Feagler, Chuck Heaton
1989: Norman Mlachak, Dick Murway, William O. Walker
1987-88: Virgil Dominic, Dick Goddard, Jane Scott
1986: Peter Bellamy, Bill Barrett, Marge Alge
1985: Russell Faist, Harry Volk, Dave Talbott
1984: Theodore Andrica, Dick Peters, Fred Griffith
1983: Ray Osrin, Don Peters, Neal Van Ellis
1982: Doug Adair, Tom Boardman, Charlie Day
1981: Bob August, Hal Lebovitz
1980: George Condon, Dick McLaughlin
1979: John Huth, Dorothy Fuldheim
1978: Lewis Edwards, Julian Krawcheck
1977: David Rimmel, Marie Daerr Boehringer
1976: Milt Widder, Howard Preston
1975: Edward Kuekes, Bob Seltzer
1974: Fred Bottomer, Dudley Brumbach
1973: James Doyle, Philip Porter
1972: David Dietz, Richard Maher
The Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati chapters of the Society for Professional Journalists are jointly accepting entries for the Ohio SPJ Awards competition for work published in 2015.
Eligible journalists must work for newspaper, magazine, radio, television, trade, online or college media in Ohio and adjacent states that have significant reach into Ohio. Freelance journalists with residence in Ohio are eligible, regardless of where their work is published.
Learn more about the contest at www.ohiospjawards.org. The deadline for entries is March 28.
Here are links to the past several editions of our Writer's Week. This is the best location to find what events we have coming up, learn about job opportunities and more.