Monday, January 26, 2015

Plans Take Shape for Oregon Territory SPJ Journalism Contest, Awards Program

Journalists from Oregon and Southwest Washington are pushing hard to revitalize the area's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

That effort began with new energy on the chapter's board of directors, which is now meeting monthly, a new chapter name, and laying out plans for this year's Northwest Excellence in Journalism daily and non-daily journalism contests. Winners will be honored at the annual awards program this spring.

NEW NAME: The chapter is now officially known as the Oregon Territory chapter of SPJ, recognizing the wide region that it encompasses, from the southern and eastern borders of Oregon to Vancouver and Southwest Washington.

NEW BOARD: The chapter's board of directors is now comprised of:
  • President: Hannah Hoffman, Statesman Journal
  • Vice President: Tom Henderson, McMinnville News-Register
  • Secretary: Christen McCurdy, freelance journalist
  • Treasurer: Kaellen Hessel, Statesman Journal
  • Open Records Chair: Inka Bajandas, Daily Journal of Commerce
  • Members at Large:
  • Craig Brown, Vancouver Columbian
  • Finn J.D. John, Oregon State University
  • Rob Priewe, Linn-Benton Community College
  • Samantha Swindler, Forest Grove Leader/The Oregonian
  • Lisa Loving, The Skanner
CONTEST ENTRIES: The deadline to enter and pay for entries for this year's Northwest Excellence in Journalism contest is THURSDAY, FEB. 12.

The contest covers work published or broadcast in 2014. Categories include Daily Print and Online, Alternative Weeklies, Traditional Weeklies, Non-daily Newspapers, Magazines, Radio and Television, and Visuals (photos and online video).

For more information and to enter, here is the link:

Awards will be presented June. 6.

CONTEST JUDGES: Among the news board's top priorities is restoring the annual contest. Board members are seeking journalists from around the chapter who are willing to judge entries from another region as part of our partnership with other chapters to honor the best in journalism.

If you would like to get involved, contact Craig Brown at the Vancouver Columbian. His email address is 

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: At the same time, the chapter is seeking nominations for the "Rookie of the Year" Award, which honors the top newcomer to journalism in our region. To be eligible, nominees must be in their first year in journalism at one of the state's media organizations, whether print or broadcasting.

The board is in the early stages of planning the awards banquet, which is tentatively set for Saturday, June 6. Stay tuned for updates on the time, date and location.

Rob Priewe, journalism intructor at Linn-Benton Community College in Albany, has agreed to edit the chapter's new blog. If you have items to contribute or suggestions, contact Priewe at or call 541-917-4563.

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