News from Central Ohio SPJ

Freelance Journalism Workshop

Are you interested in freelance journalism or currently a freelancer? Learn more about the world of freelancing with an educational workshop brought to you by the Central Ohio Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Panel discussions featuring working professionals will cover everything from how to determine if freelancing is right for you, to the ins and outs of running your own business.

Join SPJ on Saturday, March 2 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Dublin Integrated Education Center, 6805 Bobcat Way. Panel discussions include:

  • 9 a.m. – Is Freelancing Right for You?
  • 10 a.m. – How to Market and Brand Yourself
  • 11 a.m. – The Business of Being Self Employed: What You Need to Know to Establish & Run Your Business

Networking begins at 8 a.m. with programming kicking off at 9 a.m. Tickets are $15 for SPJ members and students and $20 for non-members. A continental breakfast and snacks will be provided.

Click here to register on Eventbrite. 

Submit Your Nominations for the Annual Founders’ Day Awards

The Central Ohio Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists gathers every summer to celebrate journalists’ best work at our annual Founders’ Day reception.

A big part of that celebration – the awards that honor the best among us and their noteworthy accomplishments.

And we’d love to hear from you. We’re seeking your nominations for our journalist colleagues whom you think are most deserving of the following awards:

FIRST AMENDMENT AWARD: This award recognizes significant contributions to the First Amendment rights of freedom of expression. Individuals and organizations both inside and outside of journalism are eligible.

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD: This award is for a member of the chapter who demonstrates professional excellence and dedication to the Central Ohio Society of Professional Journalists.

APPRECIATION AWARD: This award is presented to individuals or organizations for their outstanding contributions to journalism in central Ohio.

BRICK WALL AWARD: Started in 2001, this dubious distinction is presented to the individual or organization that, according to chapter members, did the most to block citizen access to public records and proceedings or otherwise violated the spirit of the First Amendment or the Ohio Open Records and Open Meetings laws during the past year. Anyone is eligible, but special consideration will be given to public officials and tax-funded agencies that fail to follow the law.

Please include the name of the person you’d like to nominate, along with a brief description why, and forward your nominations to: by Thursday, Feb. 22.

Join Central Ohio SPJ for a Holiday Happy Hour December 6

Cheers to the holiday season with Central Ohio SPJ on December 6! Join us for a Holiday Happy Hour Mix and Mingle at Gallerie Bar & Bistro at the Downtown Hilton in Short North.

Nosh on light appetizers provided by the chapter. A cash-bar will be available for those who wish to imbibe. SPJ members and non-members are welcome! Click here to register on Eventbrite.

What: Holiday Happy Hour

Where: Gallerie Bar & Bistro
401 N. High St.
Columbus, OH 43215

When: Thursday, December 6 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

‘Covering and Protecting Your Elections’ coming to Cbus

SPJ is teaming up with Google to stage “Covering and Protecting Your Elections,” a free workshop that will provide journalists in key swing states with “tools to detect misinformation, protect yourself and your data online, and connect with voters.”

The Central Ohio SPJ Chapter is partnering with the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism and Ohio University to host the traveling SPJ-Google News Initiative workshop to the Columbus region.

Local presentation of the free workshop will take place from 1-5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2 at OU’s Dublin campus. Map/directions

Read a full description of the workshop, including background on the presenters, here.

The free election coverage training also will be presented in several other swing-state cities:

Sept. 5 at WFYI
Details • Register

Sept. 11, at the Main Downtown Library (aka Jonsson Library)
Details • Register

Austin, Texas
Sept. 13-15  @ ONA18 Conference, at the Marriott Austin
Details/Register [ONA18 website]
Note: This training is open to ONA18 attendees only.

Las Vegas
Sept. 18, at UNLV
Details • Register

Sept. 25, at the Lenfest Institute for Journalism
Details • Register

Milwaukee, Wisc.
Oct. 2, at Marquette University
Details • Register

Madison, Wisc.
Oct. 4, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Details • Register

Minneapolis/St. Paul
Oct. 4 at Twin Cities PBS
Details • Register

Oct. 10

Oct. 11
Details • Register

Morgantown, W.Va.
Oct. 19, at West Virginia University
Details • Register


Ohio SPJ Awards Contest Celebration in the Queen City on Aug. 25

Ohio SPJ Awards
Contest Celebration in the Queen City Aboard the Belle of Cincinnati
Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Photo: Courtesy of the Belle of Cincinnati

Make your reservations now for the Ohio SPJ event of the year – the Ohio SPJ Awards Contest celebration aboard the Belle of Cincinnati. The Greater Cincinnati Pro Chapter is hosting the annual event, in association with pro chapters in Columbus and Cleveland to honor the best journalism from throughout the Buckeye State.

Board the Belle of Cincinnati at its home port of Newport, Kentucky, 101 Riverboat Row, from 11 a.m. until noon. We will begin our cruise along the Ohio River promptly at noon for lunch and the awards, and dock approximately two hours later.

The cost is $55 per person and includes a buffet luncheon, featuring tossed mixed greens with a choice of two dressings, marinated chicken breast, pulled pork with barbecue sauce, coleslaw, green beans, baked beans, chips, cookies and brownies. Drinks are available at a full cash bar.

Click here to register for the awards ceremony on Aug. 25, 2018. 

2018 Ohio SPJ Awards Winners

COLUMBUS – Ohio’s Best Journalism Contest, sponsored by the Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) chapters statewide, announced its 2018 awards. There were 308 awards announced out of 645 entries submitted.

The categories include large circulation print (75,000 or greater), small circulation print (fewer than 75,000), radio, television, digital media, trade organizations, freelance and college. Click here for a full list of categories.

Best of Show distinctions are awarded in all categories except college. Entries were for work done in 2017. Journalists from The Top of the Rockies awards contest (Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming) served as judges.

Save the date for a luncheon celebration to honor the winners, which will be held Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018, at noon in Cincinnati with a riverboat cruise luncheon on the Ohio River. Registration is available on Eventbrite.

Journalists, who work for newspaper, magazines, radio, television, trade, online and college media in Ohio and adjacent states that have significant reach into Ohio were eligible to submit entries, as well as freelance journalists, who are Ohio residents, regardless of where their work is published, broadcast or webcast. Entrants did not need to be members of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Ohio’s Best Journalism 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.

Top print winners were The Columbus Dispatch with 33 awards; The Cincinnati Enquirer with 20 awards; The Akron Beacon Journal with 17 awards; The Plain Dealer/ with 10 awards; Crain’s Cleveland Business with 10 awards; and Columbus Alive with 10 awards. Top broadcast winners were WKSU Radio with 13 awards; WVXU 91.7 Radio with 12 awards; WCPN Radio with eight awards; WBNS-TV with eight awards; WOSU with seven awards; and WVIZ/PBS ideastream with seven awards.

In the Large Circulation Print (75,000 or greater), Best of Show category, top winners included:

  • Best Page One Design, First Place, Alan Miller, The Columbus Dispatch
  • Best Columnist in Ohio, First Place, Theodore Decker, The Columbus Dispatch
  • Best Reporter in Ohio, First Place, Amanda Garrett, The Akron Beacon Journal
  • Best Photographer in Ohio, First Place, Kyle Robertson, The Columbus Dispatch
  • Best Daily Newspaper, First Place, The Columbus Dispatch

In the Small Circulation Print (Fewer than 75,000), Best of Show category, top winners included:

  • Best Photographer, First Place, Tim Johnson, Columbus Monthly
  • Best Weekly Newspaper, First Place, Cincinnati Business Courier
  • Best Reporter in Ohio, First Place, Sheehan Hannan, Cleveland Magazine
  • Best Columnist, First Place, Regina Brett, Cleveland Jewish News
  • Best Monthly, First Place, Cleveland Magazine
  • Best Special Publication, First Place, 614 Magazine

In the Trade Publications, Best of Show category, winners included:

  • Best Trade Publication, First Place, The College Store
  • Best Trade Columnist, First Place, Susan Crowell, Farm and Dairy

In the Television, Best of Show category, winners included:

  • Best Anchor, Rick Jackson, WVIZ/PBS ideastream
  • Best Reporter, First Place, Duane Pohlman, WKRC-TV
  • Best Newscast, First Place, WCMH NBC4

In the Radio, Best of Show category, winners included:

  • Best Reporter, First Place, M.L. Schultze, WKSU
  • Best Anchor, First Place, Amanda Rabinowitz, WKSU

In the Digital Media, Best of Show category, winners included:

  • Best General News Site, First Place, ideastream
  • Best Online Still Photographer in Ohio, First Place, Matt Ellis,

In the Freelance, Best of Show, categories, winners included:

  • Large Circulation Print (+75,000), Best Freelance Writer, Ginny McCabe
  • Digital Media, Best Freelance Writer, Jeff Regensburger,

In the College category, winners included:

  • Best College Non-Daily Newspaper, The Lantern, The Ohio State University
  • Best College Opinion Writing, Lucas Misera, The Kent Stater

Click here to view the full list of award winners. 

SPJ Celebrates Local Journalism at 69th Annual Founders’ Day

Central Ohio SPJ celebrates its 69th annual Founders’ Day on Wednesday, April 18 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Join us for an evening of professional camaraderie and the celebration of good journalism at the Amelito Mirolo Barn in Upper Arlington.

We will celebrate the best of central Ohio journalism by awarding our First Amendment Award along with Appreciation, Distinguished Service and an unprecedented four Lifetime Achievement Awards. We will also hand out the dubious Brick Wall Award for obstruction of public access to information.

This year’s award recipients include: WBNS TV 10, former Columbus Dispatch sportswriter Todd Jones, SPJ board member Bruce Cadwallader and lifetime achievements for Dispatch retirees Barb Carmen, Alan Johnson, John Switzer and WSYX TV 6’s Carol Luper.

Speaking to a bright future for journalism, we are also handing out scholarships to a number of deserving college and high school students whose work has been deemed outstanding over the past year.

Tickets are $45. Social hour beings at 5:30 p.m. with an open bar and hor d’oeuvres. Programming begins at 6 p.m. A silent auction will also be held with proceeds to benefit the chapter’s numerous scholarships.

We look forward to celebrating with you!

Click here to register on Eventbrite!

At the 2017 Central Ohio SPJ Founders’ Day celebration, Dominic Cappa of Columbus Business First was the recipient of the SPJ chapter’s Appreciation Award for his long-term dedication to SPJ and supporting local journalism programming. Doug Buchanan of Columbus Business First was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award for serving as president of the SPJ chapter.

During the 68th Annual Founders’ Day celebration on April 6, 2017, the chapter honored Jerry Revish with a Lifetime Achievement Award. This award honors individuals for their lifetime of contribution to the journalism profession. SPJ is excited to recognize Jerry’s outstanding work and successful career with WBNS-10TV.

Register for an Evening with David Brooks

The Stanley D. and Joan H. Ross Center for Brain Health and Performance at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center presents An Evening with David Brooks.

Best-selling author and New York Times columnist, Brooks will discuss the importance of neuroscience and sociology in understanding America’s politics, culture and future on Friday, April 6.

When: Friday, April 6 at 7 p.m.

Where: Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center
The Ohio State University
2201 Fred Taylor Drive
Columbus, OH 43210

For more information, click here.
Free tickets are available for journalists. Please email Kevin Smith – – for details on registration.

Join Central Ohio SPJ for a Panel Discussion on Covering Professional Sports

After Work SPJ Special!

Please join the Central Ohio Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for a panel discussion on covering professional sports teams in Ohio on Tuesday, March 13. Panelists will discuss the ups and downs of covering the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Cavaliers and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Join local journalists and enjoy light appetizers and a cash bar as we go into the locker rooms and behind the scenes of your favorite teams and players. Hear from broadcaster Audrey Hasson of NBC4 and a panel of grizzled print journalists: Tom Reed, Mike Arace, Todd Jones and Aaron Portzline.

When: Tuesday, March 13 2018

Where: Chammps
1827 Olentangy River Rd.
Columbus, OH 43212


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Call for Entries for Ohio’s Best Journalism – 2018

Competition Call for Entries

Honoring the Best of Ohio’s Print, Broadcasting, Digital Media, Freelance, Trade and College Journalism

Ohio’s Best Journalism contest is accepting submissions for 2018. Based upon great success last year, we will once again use the software program OpenWater to manage our contest. According to you and our judges, the portal provides an efficient and intuitive experience. View the “Rules” and “Help” tabs in the header of the contest home page for complete directions and explanations to help you submit entries. If you have any questions, please contact us via email at

The deadline for entries is midnight March 30, 2018

Please take note of the following highlights when submitting entries:

  • If you’re a returning applicant from our 2017 contest, you can use your 2017 account for this year’s contest.
  • There is a field asking whose name(s) should appear on any award, as well as the name of the media outlet, should your entry receive an award. Thank you for paying close attention to this field and entering the information correctly. This will help avoid any errors when awards are created.
  • Please be sure to submit your entry in the correct category. Large print categories are reserved for publications with circulation of 75,000 and higher; small print categories are reserved for publications with circulation of less than 75,000.

Our annual statewide contest is presented collaboratively by the Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland Pro Chapters of The Society of Professional Journalists and honors print, broadcast, digital, trade, freelance and college journalists in Ohio for their best work during 2017. Our contest 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.

ELIGIBILITY: Journalists are eligible who work for newspaper, magazine, radio, television, trade, digital and 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. We recently added numerous freelance categories in response to the growing number of freelance journalists. Click here for Freelance categories. Newsletter and blog submissions also are welcome. Entrants need not be members of the Society of Professional Journalists. Submitted work must have been published or broadcast in 2017.

FEES: A $30 entry fee must accompany each submission, except college entries. College students pay a $10 entry fee for writing of news, feature, sports and opinion. College newspapers may enter the best college daily and weekly newspaper categories for free. There is a $5 discount per entry for work by SPJ members. You may submit any given article in as many relevant categories as you wish. Not an SPJ member? Join here and save.

SPREAD THE WORD: Please share this message to anyone you think would like to participate in Ohio’s Best Journalism contest! OpenWater makes it easy to share the contest site with your colleagues and friends. Look for the social media icons (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) on the left side of the contest site landing page.

QUESTIONS: For additional information, please visit our website – – or contact:

Sarah Mills Bacha