New Orleans Streaming … Cash for Watchdogs … and Lisagors May 4

 Here’s what’s up this month

Oct 27, 2011

Convention comments – Check for a lot of streaming media on the 2011 national convention we held jointly with RTDNA. The professional development sessions and there are a hundred of them are great. Many are recapped online. Curtis Lawrence of Columbia College was selected chairman of the national Diversity Committee. CHC was awarded honors for the best large chapter, and for its work on diversity, professional development and freedom of information. If you have never been to an SPJ convention, plan now for next fall in Fort Lauderdale.

Access – A little more light has been shed! A follow-up to our journalism access survey brought representatives of city, county and state governments together with about 50 of us for a forum. We believe the governments now have a better idea of what we want, what we need, and what we are legally entitled to get in the way of information. See more on our website. We will be offering another training session for journalists who need to know more about FOI. The McCormick Foundation is funding these.

Watchdog Grants – We have almost $6,000 to give away! Investigative reporters who either freelance or work for small-budget news operations are more than welcome to apply for stipends to pay expenses for investigations. Examples: photocopying of records, travel. You name it. Only salaries are not included. The Driehaus Foundationfunds this program, and we are ready and willing to consider your request. For more details, see our website. To apply, contact CHC board member Kristen Schorsch.

Public-Press – We’ll give community members a better idea how the African-American news media covers its community at 6 p.m. Tues. Nov. 8 at The Little Black Pearl, 1060 E. 47th St. WBEZ reporter and South Side Bureau Chief Natalie Moore will moderate the discussion. All are welcome. Free. Refreshments will be served. This is the second of our community dialogues; our first was in Austin.


Medill – We regret the outcome of this fight. But we respect Northwestern University’s decision to give up trying to persuade Cook County Circuit Court and the state’s attorney that student journalists are indeed journalists and covered by the Illinois Reporters Privilege Act. NU waged a long fight, until Judge Diane Cannon ruled Sept. 7 against the student journalists. NU decided against appealing.

Lisagor Awards – We have nailed down Fri. May 4 at the Union League Club for the annual Lisagor Awards banquet. Mark your 2012 calendars now! We are looking at entering the 21st Century and probably will take the contest online, so watch for more information about that in the next month or so. Get ready to enter your best work of 2011. Remember that CHC is not just print. We have online, broadcast and ethnic news media categories.

Thanks, Kathy – Hundreds of you know Kathy Catrambone because of desperate calls and e-mails about Lisagor the last three years. She made you and us happy with her TLC. Sad to say, Kathy won’t be your contact next year. She has handed over the CHC executive directorship to another longtime CHC member, Aimee DeBat. Kathy remains a full-time editor at We are looking for people to replace Aimee as board secretary and communications guru.

Help wanted – Do more than just pay your dues and sit back to see what we come up with! We need volunteers who are skilled in social media and online tools to help promote and advance our website and group email efforts. Also, we need musicians for a Scribe Aid event we hope to have in December. Our first raised $1,500, which we gave to unemployed and underemployed journalists for advanced training of their choice. Contact President Steve Franklin at

Randi rocks – Hope you saw a lot of board member Randi Belisomo’s personal, poignant and perfect reports for WGN-TV from Haiti, where she reported during the building of a water well in honor of her late husband, Carlos Hernandez Gomez who was with CLTV and WBEZ. If you missed Randi’s reports, you can catch up at WGN-TV’s website. Randi also organized a scholarship in honor of Carlos and directs the CHC Foundation’s scholar-internship program.

Board babies – Congratulations to CHC board members Amy Lee and Anna Tarkov, who are new mothers. Anna says Benjamin Alexander Wagenhofer arrived Sept. 29. Amy reports Josephine Lee Baker was born Oct. 7. Though both moms report sleep-deprivation, they are happy. Says Amy: “It’s so incredible what big changes these tiny babies can bring!” Anna: “So overall it has been fun, but I’m definitely looking forward to striking a better balance between baby and the rest of life eventually.

Alden moves – Alden Loury, CHC’s president-elect and vice president of FOIA, has joined the Better Government Association reporting team as a senior investigator. Alden was previously publisher of the esteemed Chicago Reporter, where he worked for 12 years. Best wishes on your new job with the BGA! Reporter Editor Kimbriell Kelly is acting publisher.

Zoller honored – Longtime CHC member Stan Zoller has been named one of the four distinguished journalism advisers in the nation. The Dow Jones News Fund chose Zoller, adviser to the award-winning Rolling Meadows High School student newspaper, The Pacer. He will be honored at the Journalism Education Association National Scholastic Press Association convention in November.

Ethics AdviceLine – 866-DILEMMA. Need we say more? Call if you have a problem about how to handle a story or a boss. Our service is free to all professional journalists. We have answered more than 900 calls in a decade. For more information, see our website.

JobFile – Thanks to former CHC president Bob Roberts, we have the largest listing of journalism jobs in the Midwest. He updates it each week on our website. You will find literally HUNDREDS of job leads! Check all four categories, all the way to the end. I recently steered someone toward the bottom of “other.”

Membership – Renewal notices are arriving in the mail to the many of us who will lapse at the end of the year. Don’t ignore that renewal form. Plus, encourage your colleagues to join via the SPJ website or contact Membership VP Rumanna Hussain at

NOLA – While in New Orleans for the SPJ convention, I took a levee tour. In addition, I saw a lot of what looked like small cemeteries on city lots in the 9th Ward. Turns out I was looking at concrete pilings left from homes destroyed by Katrina. Still see them in my nightmares.

Stay in touch – You can find CHC on Facebook and Twitter:

— Susan S. Stevens

President ex-officio