Ohio’s Best Journalism – 2017: Competition Call for Entries!

UPDATED: Ohio’s Best Journalism contest is now accepting submissions honoring the Best of Ohio’s Print, Broadcasting, Digital Media, Freelance, Trade and College Journalism in 2016.

The Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati chapters of the Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ) are accepting entries for the 20th annual awards competition.

Eligible journalists must work for newspaper, magazine, radio, television, trade, digital or college media in Ohio and adjacent states that have significant reach into Ohio. Freelance journalists, who are Ohio residents are eligible, regardless of where their work is published, broadcast or webcast. Entrants need not be SPJ members.

The deadline for entries is midnight March 31, 2017. The deadline for this year’s Ohio SPJ Awards contest has been extended to Sunday, April 9, 2017. No entries will be accepted after midnight, Sunday, April 9, 2017.

Entry information and a list of categories are available at our new competition website:  http://www.ohiospjawards.org/

Please take note of some new changes this year: In response to your questions, we clarified and made consistent details regarding the number of articles/broadcasts in specific categories. We also have added a new field asking whose name(s) should appear on any award. It is our sincere hope our updates eliminate confusion and streamline the submission process.

Please contact us with any questions or comments at: contact@ohiospjawards.org

Our annual statewide contest is presented collaboratively by the Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland Pro Chapters of SPJ and is the only Ohio competition that honors journalists who fulfill the SPJ mission: defense of the First Amendment, support of literacy, resistance to censorship, advocacy for openness of public records and meetings, media self criticism and community service. Our contest also recognizes the best college daily and weekly newspapers.

QUESTIONS: For additional information, please visit our website– www.ohiospjawards.org – or contact: Sarah Mills Bacha 614-563-1066 or contact@ohiospjawards.org

Journalism workshop focuses on better storytelling about suicide

Media coverage about suicide may be a factor in others’ decisions to take their lives by suicide.

That’s the premise behind a series of six workshops around Ohio that will teach campus and professional journalists the strategies and language they should use to report suicides in an informative, accurate and meaningful way to better serve their communities.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the second leading cause of death among teens and young adults ages 15-34.

“We have known for a long time that the media’s coverage of suicide influences rates of suicide in a community,” said John Ackerman, workshop trainer, clinical psychologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and suicide prevention coordinator for the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research. “Any community serious about reducing suicides needs to partner with journalists. I find that journalists and suicide prevention advocates have similar goals of informing the public, telling stories that matter and providing a way forward for those in crisis.”

“Journalists are taught to not get involved in the stories they cover — to just report the facts,” said Nerissa Young, workshop trainer and lecturer in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. “However, the role of journalism is to be a watchdog to move society toward a better end for everyone. Suicide is not like any other kind of death, so those stories should be more than a note on the crime blotter or a news brief. Suicide is a public health issue. Helping reporters do a better job on this topic is the same as a story detailing heart disease and how a person can recognize symptoms and get appropriate treatment.”

Ackerman said, “I hope it becomes clear that responsible suicide reporting is not limiting, but rather it opens doors to telling rich and meaningful stories.”

The fourth workshop will be at The Ohio State University on April 4 at 5:15 p.m. in Room L045 at The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, 460 W. 10th Ave.

There is no fee to attend and preregistration is not required.

Parking will be available at South Cannon Garage, 1640 Cannon Drive. It is presented by The Ohio State University chapter of Society of Professional Journalists. Snacks will be provided.

The workshop is a 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.

For more information contact Nerissa Young, lecturer, E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, at youngn2@ohio.edu or 540-599-7472.

68th Annual Founders’ Day Celebration – Thursday April 6, 2017

Please join us for the 68th annual Central Ohio SPJ Founders’ Day Celebration Thursday, April 6, 2017, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at Amelita Mirolo Barn Sunny 95 Park, 4395 Carriage Hill Lane, Upper Arlington, Ohio 43220.

Gather with your central Ohio media colleagues and celebrate our 2017 student scholarship winners and chapter award recipients. Don’t miss our annual silent auction with all proceeds supporting our annual student scholarships.

Paul Kostyu

This year’s featured speaker will be longtime SPJ member Paul Kostyu who will share his experiences of traveling through Fort Lauderdale International Airport Jan. 6, 2017, and his on-the-spot reporting that generated high-profile bylines.

Mix and mingle begins at 5:30 p.m. and include hors d’oveures and bar with beer, wine and soft drinks. The program will follow beginning at 6:15 p.m.

Cost is $45 per person. We look forward to celebrating with you Thursday, April 6.

Click here to register today!

The Central Ohio SPJ chapter has a long history of supporting high school and college journalism scholarships and programs through memorials and our annual silent auction. We thank are grateful for enthusiastic participation in our auctions. If you have questions about the auction or would like to donate items to support journalism students, please contact board members Bruce Cadwallader at gpawcaddy@gmail.com or Kevin Smith at smith.10002@osu.edu.

It’s almost time for Founders’ Day!

founders' day

Mark your calendars for Thursday, April 6, 2017, Our 68th Annual Founders’ Day celebration will take place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. that Thursday. For the second year in a row, we’ll hold the shindig at the Amelita Mirola Barn in Upper Arlington’s Sunny 95 Park. It’s a great venue.

So JOIN US and gather with your Central Ohio media colleagues to celebrate our 2017 student scholarship winners and Chapter Award recipients.

Founders' Day

Silent Auction help, please!

We are looking for Silent Auction donations. All money raised from the popular Founders’ Day Auction goes to fund our student scholarships.

Please contact board members Bruce Cadwallader at gpawcaddy@gmail.com or Kevin Smith at smith.10002@osu.edu if you have items to donate.

Registration info will be available soon.

SPJ-PRSA Mixer: Tour Capital University’s Convergent Media Center – March 7


Please join  us!

The Central Ohio Society of Professional Journalists invites its members to join our friends and colleagues at the Central Ohio Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America for a joint member mixer and reception.

The SPJ-PRSA event is free to members and will take place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 7 (Please note this corrected date.) at Capital University’s recently opened Convergent Media Center, 590 College Ave.

A tour of the new facility will be featured.

To learn more about the Convergent Media Center, please visit: http://www.capital.edu/cmc/

Join us! An evening of mystery with authors Marilyn Greenwald and Julie Rubini, Thurs., Feb. 2, 7 p.m.

Please join the Thurber House, Central Ohio SPJ members and friends for an evening with The Hardy Boys and SPJ member and former Central Ohio SPJ board member and president, Marilyn Greenwald. Greenwald, a former newspaper journalist, is a journalism professor at Ohio University and biographer, who will discuss her latest book, The Secret of The Hardy Boys, Leslie McFarlane and the Stratemeyer Syndicate, Thursday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. at the Columbus Museum of Art.

She will be joined by Maumee author Julie Rubini, who has written a book about journalist Millie Benson, ghost writer of the Nancy Drew series, called Missing Millie Benson: The Secret Case of the Nancy Drew Ghostwriter and Journalist.

Tickets are $15 in advance and at the door. To order in advance, call 614.464.1032, Ext. 11, or visit www.thurberhouse.org.






(Left to right: Marilyn Greenwald, Julie Rubini)

To purchase and learn more about the book, click here:   http://www.ohioswallow.com/book/The++Secret+of+the+Hardy+Boys


Supreme Court hands down major Open Records ruling

Open Records

Columbus Dispatch photo

Columbus Division of Police Headquarters, 120 Marconi Blvd.

In a major Open Records decision, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, Dec. 28, that Columbus Division of Police must release its files on closed criminal cases.

Columbus officials had argued the records could not be released as long as defendants still had potential appeals, The Columbus Dispatch reported. In the lawsuit filed by the Ohio Innocence Project, proponents said that practice rendered the police records secret until defendants died or were freed from prison.

Senior Ohio Supreme Court Justice Paul E. Pfefier wrote in the majority opinion.

“A defendant or member of the public can access potentially exonerating material concerning a defendant only after the defendant is dead. How did we get to this point?” he wrote. “We also should be concerned about the interests of justice.”

Read the full Columbus Dispatch article at this link:


Columbus attorney Fred Gittes argued on behalf of the Ohio Innocence Project in the suit.

Gittes is a past winner of the Central Ohio SPJ’s First Amendment Award (2006).

“The court made Ohio’s justice system better today. Ohioans owe a debt to the Ohio Innocence Project …”

Gittes represented Donald Caster, an Ohio Innocence Project lawyer who said that police illegally refused to release records in the case of Adam Saleh, who was convicted of the 2005 murder of Julie Popovich, 20, of Reynoldsburg.

“The court’s decision will help prevent innocent people from spending years in jail and get the actual criminals off the street and into prison where they belong,” Gittes said in the Dispatch article. “The court made Ohio’s justice system better today. Ohioans owe a debt to the Ohio Innocence Project …”


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Post-Election Happy Hour

You survived Election Day! Now you deserve a drink.

Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 5:30 p.m.

Join fellow journalists to celebrate the end of the 2016 election at Land Grant Brewing Company! Located at 424 W. Town St., just west of COSI.

Enjoy the first round on US. We’re meeting after work in Land Grant’s Kickstarter Room – the brewery’s one and only side room to the left of the bar. And if you get hungry, the OH! Burgers food truck will be present.

Come share your favorite election story!

Photo credit to Land Grant Brewing. 

Free Press Museum celebration


Spencer Hunt (left), faculty adviser of The Lantern, The Ohio State University; and Paul Kostyu, chairman of the Department of Journalism at Ohio Wesleyan University, were moderator and panelests at  the Free Press Museum presentation Thursday, Sept. 8, about high school and college journalism.

“College and High School Journalism Today” was the topic of the annual celebration of local journalism held Thursday, Sept. 8 at the program at Main Street Free Press Museum in Fredericktown, Ohio. The Central Ohio Society of Professional Journalists sponsors the late-summer event each year, which is held during Fredericktown’s Tomato Festival. It celebrates the Main Street Free Press Museum in Fredericktown, which is directed by chapter member John C. Long, journalism professor at St. John’s and Hofstra universities in New York.


Antique letterpress equipment on display at the Main Street Free Press Museum, 42 N. Main St. in Fredericktown.

Panelists at the 2016 event included Central Ohio SPJ Board of Directors member Spencer Hunt, director of student media for The Lantern at Ohio State University’s School of Communications, and Paul Kostyu, chairman of the Department of Journalism at Ohio Wesleyan University, and past president of the Central Ohio SPJ.

The free discussion about the state of college journalism today, including challenges and opportunities in the wake of a changing profession, was held at the First Baptist Church in Fredericktown, 22 E. Sandusky St., adjacent to the museum located at Second and Main streets in Fredericktown, 42 N. Main St.

Long moderated the event.

The museum was founded in 2000 by Rarick W. Long, who was a member of the Central Ohio SPJ chapter for 48 years, until his death in 2001, and by his sons and daughter, John Long, Rebecca Long Leakey of Pittsburgh and Harlan B. Long of Indianapolis.


Central Ohio SPJ members John Long, director of the Main Street Free Press Museum in Fredericktown.


Long (left) introduces the panel and thee topic for this year’s event Thursday, Sept. 8 at the First Baptist Church in Fredericktown, 22 E. Sandusky St.

The museum structure, the Lyman Wright Building, dates to 1836 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building formerly housed the Knox County Citizen, Fredericktown’s weekly newspaper, which Rarick Long published for 35 years, and Rarick Long’s letterpress print shop.

The museum’s objectives, which have been endorsed by both the Central Ohio and New York City SPJ chapters, are fourfold:

  • To foster freedom of the press under the First Amendment at the grass-roots level.
  • To celebrate the institution of the small-town newspaper.
  • To demonstrate the craft of letterpress printing.
  • To restore and preserve the museum’s historic building and antique letterpress equipment.



Cbus hosts 2016 SPJ Awards fete

  • Anne Evans, co-founder of ColumbusUnderground.com and TheMetropreneur.com collects Digital Media division first place awards for the local online media outlets, from contest committee member Tony Kozlowski, in the Best Medical/Science Story (Jesse Bethea) and Best Photography (Lillian Dent) categories.

Nearly 100 of Ohio’s top journalists attended the 2016 SPJ Awards/Ohio’s Best Journalism luncheon Saturday, Aug. 27 at The Boat House restaurant in Columbus.

The Ohio’s Best Journalism contest is staged annually by the state’s three Society of Professional Journalists chapters — of Central Ohio, Cincinnati and Cleveland. The SPJ Awards banquet rotates among the three cities, with Columbus hosting this year’s event and Cleveland set to host in 2017.

A total of 652 entries were submitted in the 20th annual staging of the contest. Top work  for the 2015 calendar year was recognized in several divisions: College, Digital Media, Print (more than 75,000 circulation and less than 75,000 circulation classes) Freelance Print, Freelance Digital, Radio, Television, and Trade Publications.

Additional Digital and Freelance categories were added this year to reflect the changing journalism profession.

A total 312 winners were chosen across all divisions and categories. Special thanks to this year’s contest judges, members of the Long Island Press Club.

From the Central Ohio SPJ Board of Directors, congratulations to all the 2016 winners!

We hope you enjoy this slideshow of images from the awards banquet, Check out the full winners list at OhioSPJAwards.org.