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by Rachel Toyer, staff writer

 

The Society of Professional Journalists offered its annual regional conference April 12 with college journalists and professionals from across the Western United States. Participants, including members of John Windrow’s Media Law class and selected staff from the Kalamalama had the opportunity to hear from editors, reporters, and media experts in workshops and panel discussions. Topics included blogging, ethnic media, and investigative reporting.

The conference began with a reception ceremony at the Waikiki Yacht Club and was followed by a full schedule on Friday that started with a panel discussion featuring disaster experts. A picnic lunch at Ala Moana Beach Park was followed by an afternoon of writing sessions given by Dave Shapiro, columnist for the Honolulu Advertiser, Jim Kelly, editor of Pacific Business News, and Wally Zimmerman, vice president of Bright Light Marketing who focused on writing for T.V. The keynote speaker Friday evening was Admiral Gary Roughead, current head of the Pacific Naval Fleet, who talked about security in the Pacific region after 9/11.

On Saturday, the conference began with two discussion sessions—one on news online panelist Jim Parker, KPIX Webmaster, and Mark Rochester, vice president of the Associated Press and online editor for The Honolulu Advertiser. The second panel discussed the upcoming Olympic Games in China and whether or not the media will be free to report to the public.

The discussion was led by East-West Center specialist Chris McNally and University of Hawai‘i-Manoa journalism department Chair Gerald Kato.

The keynote speaker for the afternoon’s luncheon was San Francisco Chronicle reporter Lance Williams, who was part of an investigative team that reported on steroid usage by Barry Bonds and several other noted athletes.

“ For me, hearing Williams was a great opportunity,” said journalism Professor John Windrow, “because he laid his liberty on the line for the First Amendment and for the people’s right to know, and it isn’t often that you get to meet someone like that. I think all the students appreciated it.”

Williams visited an International Relations class at HPU and talked about his experiences reporting on the scandal and being subpoenaed for not giving up the names of his sources. He talked about the importance of shield laws for journalists and how they kept him out of jail.

Speech communication major Jennifer Ching said, “I didn’t know what to expect but I enjoyed the advice that [Lance] Williams gave and the opportunity to go to the conference to get a sense of what journalism is all about.”

 

 

 

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