Calling All Citizen Journalists!

I find it incredibly amazing that The Society of Professional Journalists is embracing us bloggers as the new media breed. Actually we bloggers (especially mommy bloggers at that) already know that we are the new media force, but having SPJ’s nod of approval gives blogging the credibility it deserves. True to their form in “encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior”, SPJ established Citizen Journalism Academy. It is a one-day intensive workshop in bringing the journalism basics to those who are “practicing journalism through blogs, Web site production and interaction with sites maintained by mainstream news organizations.”

I attended the very first Citizen Journalism Academy workshop here in Chicago at De Paul University this past Saturday. Personally, the real reason I wanted to attend is because I noticed that there is a whole topic about “Staying Out of Trouble”. As an active blogger, legal mess may be inevitable if you are not aware of certain practices. And with (whom I write for) now in syndication, we are of course being read more by the masses. I am also as active with my 3 other blogs/sites (,, and all of which are more reasons for me to make sure that I am consciously keeping the media ethics and law in mind.

What I got from the workshop is even more than I expected. Mike Conklin a Chicago Tribune veteran of 35 years was in attendance to share his wisdom amongst MANY others like Christine Tatum, the present editor-in-chief of Infoition News Services who has also served as the past national president of SPJ. So you see, we were truly in good hands. Ms. Tatum herself was kind enough to even give me a one-on-one advice on certain disclaimers that I should have in my product review site,

Surprisingly enough, there were even seasoned journalists there that are taking refreshers. We were a good mix of participants, but I was the only Mom Blogger. I was for sure that there were more of us going. Everything from reporting and writing basics were covered. We even talked about new tech stuff (my favorite) and looked into many websites that can help you research (research is very important – that’s one way to stay out of trouble). Want to stalk someone? Boy, do I have the sites for you to research that person on! Ok, that’s just a joke. But really, my eyes and ears were opened up to a whole new level.

With all this being said --- I truly recommend that all of you bloggers take this workshop. For a measly small amount of $25.00, it is so worth it! Thank you SPJ for the opportunity. And if you are ever back in Chicago for more Citizen Journalism Academy classes, you can bet that I’ll be there!

SPJ Citizen Journalism Academy’s next stop ---- North Carolina and then Los Angeles! You have got go! Go to for more information.


Anonymous said…

I'm so glad you found the program useful. When we at SPJ first considered the idea, we really had wondered if independent bloggers out there would be interested in a program put on by a "mainstream" organization such as SPJ.

Perhaps we are on to something here. And maybe, just maybe, we can all realize that we have a lot to learn from each other.

Thanks again.

Joe Skeel
Quill editor
Society of Professional Journalists
MJ Tam said…
**Steph** It definitely was!

**Joe Skeel** Thank you for taking the time in commenting here. SPJ is definitely on the ball!

Really proud of you MJ, my little sister. You've grown up to realize yourself as a self made woman.

Not only as a successful mom but more than savvy enough to tackle your dreams of being a writer. Even then I've always admired you and now, even more so.

Keep doing great things and you've been more than just a sugar in my bowl.

Kuya Jun
Anonymous said…
thanks for posting this great information. :) (oh, and thanks also for stopping by my blog!!)
Anonymous said…
What a great idea. Thanks for the head's up.
Anonymous said…
You rock MJ! When you get a free moment, check out the skeleton blog where I tagged you for 6 random things about yourself. No pressure!!

Can't wait to go out for SITC!! Jen
Donna said…
Hey, MJ! I want to thank you for posting about this course. I'm taking the one in Los Angeles next weekend!