A/V: 2014 SPJ Region 4 Conference -- Columbus, Ohio

Thursday, April 10, 2014
Columbus was the host location for the 2014 SPJ Region 4 Spring Conference.

The Central Ohio Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists hosted the Region 4 Spring Conference this past weekend in Columbus, Ohio on the campus of The Ohio State University. Members from the Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania areas attended this annual event, billed as a professional, mentoring and networking event for journalists, students, educators and communicators to hear from industry experts about a wide range of journalism issues. In addition to those activities, an awards luncheon to honor the best of collegiate journalism in the region was held between the morning and afternoon sessions on Saturday.



The outside of Sullivant Hall and the entrance to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

Attendees for the SPJ Region 4 Spring Conference register in the lobby of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

The drawing board and taberet used by Chester Gould, the creator of the Dick Tracy comic strip, on display in the Treasures from the Collection section of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

The entrance to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum's Friends of the Libraries Gallery, the current home of The Irresistible Force Meets the Immovable Object: A Richard Thompson Retrospective.

Some of Bill Watterson's personal cartooning tools on display with the Exploring Calvin and Hobbes exhibition in the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum's Robinson Gallery.

An original 1951 Herbert "Herblock" Block editorial cartoon on display in the Treasures of the Collection section of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

A 1959 Steve Canyon lunch box from the Milton Caniff collection on display in the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

The conference began on Friday evening with a mixer reception at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. Originally established in 1977 in two converted journalism classrooms, the museum has greatly expanded over the years and it currently resides in more than 40,000 square feet of the recently renovated Sullivant Hall. Two new exhibitions were unveiled last month and were made available for the attendees to view. Exploring Calvin and Hobbes and The Irresistible Force Meets the Immovable Object: A Richard Thompson Retrospective feature the works of gifted cartoonists Bill Watterson and Richard Thompson and their signature strips (Calvin and Hobbes and Cul de Sac, respectively). Outside of those two main exhibition rooms, a small collection of original art, artifacts and memorabilia of other famous cartoonists was also displayed for museum goers.

Conference attendees look over one of the two tables of silent auction items inside the Jean and Charles Schultz Lecture Hall of the Billy Ireland Library & Museum.

Karen Kasler, the Statehouse Bureau Chief for Ohio Public Radio and Television, served as emcee for the Central Ohio SPJ Founder's Day Celebration and Awards Recognition program at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Jeff Smith, author/cartoonist of the several graphic novel series, speaks to the attendees of the Central Ohio SPJ Founder's Day Celebration and Awards Recognition program at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Jeff Smith, left, holds up a recent copy of The Columbus Dispatch while Lucy Shelton Caswell, founding curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, shows a January 1906 Little Nemo Adventures in Slumberland full-page comic for comparison.

Incoming Central Ohio SPJ officers and board of director members await taking their oath at the Founder's Day Celebration and Awards Recognition program at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Jeff Smith talks to attendees while he personalizes a copy of one of his books after the Central Ohio SPJ Founder's Day Celebration and Awards Recognition program at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

After the initial mixer, the attendees adjourned to the museum's Jean and Charles Schultz Lecture Hall for the remainder of the evening's activities. Billed as a Founder's Day Celebration and Awards Recognition, the program was emceed by Karen Kasler, the Statehouse Bureau Chief for Ohio Public Radio and Television, and featured an overview of the museum by Lucy Shelton Caswell, its founding curator. The event's keynote speaker was Jeff Smith, author/cartoonist of the BONE graphic novels and winner of numerous national and international awards. At the conclusion of his remarks, official business continued with the awarding of leadership awards and student scholarships as well as the installation of chapter officers and the board of directors for the upcoming year. A silent auction was conducted throughout the evening with over $1100 being raised for future chapter scholarships. Once the official portion of the evening events ended, Smith graciously stayed behind and personalized purchased copies of his books for the attendees.

A van makes an early food delivery to The Ohio State University's Fawcett Center last Saturday morning.

The panel discussion on college media outlets had (from left to right) Ryan Clark, editor in chief of Ohio University's The Post, Kate Burke, managing editor of the University of Michigan's The Michigan Daily, Kristen Mitchell, editor-in-chief of The Ohio State University's The Lantern, and Ian Kullgren, editor-in-chief of Michigan State University's The State News providing inputs about their specific publications. Dan Caterinicchia (far right), the Director of Student Media and a clinical assistant professor at The Ohio State University, moderated the session.

Central Ohio SPJ chapter president Beth Gianforcaro listens while Paul Fletcher, SPJ secretary/treasurer, briefs the conference on current activities at the national level during the plenary session.

The plenary session panel on key issues facing journalists was comprised of (from left to right) Kevin Z. Smith, deputy director of the Kipplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism at the Ohio State University, Jim Schaefer, editor of The Detroit Free Press, Paul Aker, lead investigative reporter at Columbus's WBNS-TV, Nerissa Young, lecturer in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, and Dan Trevas, chair of the Ohio State Bar Association Media Law Committee.

Nicole Kraft, a clinical assistant professor of journalism at The Ohio State University, discussing recent changes to the school's journalism programs and its embrace of new technologies.

Doug Haddix, director of the Kipplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalist at The Ohio State University, begins his program on using social media resources in basic journalism activities.

On Saturday morning, the conference started before the sunrise with a Leadership Breakfast Meeting for board members and officers from all of the student and professional chapters in Region 4 and a continental breakfast reception for the other attendees. A side panel discussion followed with one group focused on college media outlets with a panel composed of student journalists from four major college newspapers in Michigan and Ohio. Upon completion, all attendees returned to the main hall for the plenary session and a panel on key issues facing journalists today. The rest of the morning consisted of a split session period with one group discussing the coverage of disturbing national news from a local perspective while the other focused on the increasing use of online tools by journalists to research their sources.

Jim Schaefer, editor of The Detroit Free Press and recipient of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting, gives the keynote speech at the Region 4 Mark of Excellence Awards & Luncheon.

Patti Newberry (center), SPJ Region 4 Director, presents the 2014 Dick Goehler First Amendment Award to editor-in-chief Gena DiMattio (left) and news editor Anna Schiffbauer (right) of the Otterbein360.com website.

A breakdown by school of the 134 recipients of the 2014 SPJ Region 4 Mark of Excellence Awards.

At noon, the awards luncheon commenced with Jim Schaefer, the editor of The Detroit Free Press, serving as the keynote speaker. In addition to the more than 130 awards rapidly presented to regional winners in collegiate print, radio, television and online journalism, representatives of Otterbein College's Otterbein360.com website/Tan and Cardinal magazine accepted the region's Dick Goehler First Amendment Award for their actions in attempting to obtain arrest and incident reports from their private college's campus police department. This presentation complemented their Central Ohio Chapter award from the previous evening. 

Robin Yocum (left), president of Yocum Communications, Beth Gianforcaro (center), deputy director for communications for the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, and Jan Allen (right), a life strategist and executive coach, await their turns to address the attendees on career planning.

Doral Chenoweth III (left), videographer for The Columbus Dispatch, and Rich Reitzel, digital journalist for Columbus' WCMH-TV, displaying their imaging tools and sharing stories during the panel on "do it all" media journalism.

The afternoon was divided into two periods of split sessions. During the first, panel discussions were conducted on public records and private police forces and a career planning session. The final two panels focused on data-driven journalism and the recent phenomenon of the "do it all" media journalist.

A collage of printing plates hangs inside the research area of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

A near-life size casting of The Ohio State University's mascot Brutus Buckeye stands inside the Fawcett Center.

Breaking news on the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines plane was reported during the afternoon sessions.

Several mementos of OSU alumnist Jesse "the Buckeye Bullet" Owens are on display in the lobby of the Fawcett Center.

The OSU logo serves as the outer door handles at the main entrance of the Fawcett Center.

The Fawcett Center houses WOSU's primary radio complex, business and administration offices, and television master control.

Ohio Stadium, the historic home to the school's football team, is visible from the Fawcett Center parking lot.

The downtown Columbus skyline, photographed from the Main Street Bridge looking towards the northeast. The Rich Street Bridge is in the foreground.

An estimated 175 people participated in the two-day conference and it was judged to be a success by the event organizers. The 2015 SPJ Region 4 Spring Conference is tentatively scheduled for March 20-22 and will be hosted by Ohio University's student chapter in Athens, Ohio.

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