Thursday, February 19, 2009


I have several housekeeping items for this blog, so here's an index:

1. Next real-life meeting
2. Actors needed
3. Colleen Sparks wants a job
4. Great Washington Post article 

1. Next real-life meeting: How about 9 a.m. next Wednesday morning, Feb. 25, at Crackers & Company Cafe on Elliot Road in Tempe? A few of us last time were on board with it. If you haven't eaten at Crackers, you're in for a treat. It's basic breakfast and lunch comfort food done just right. Their carnitas huevos rancheros are dee-lish, the waffles are superb, the soups are to die for, the salads are out of this world. The list goes on. I've never had a bad meal there.
 It's just west of Hardy, in front of the Staples, where Island Roots Guamanian Restaurant used to be. (Curiously, Guamanian food didn't seem to take off in Tempe.) Still can't place it? OK, you know where Costco is? Go a little further east and it's in a small building in front of the strip mall right up next to Elliot. 

I was going to wait until March to schedule something, but I am going on a special diet for two weeks at the beginning of the month and want to avoid temptation. Yes, a food critic, on a diet. Go figure. But it's only for two weeks, and then I do shake supplements for a few more weeks, and then you will see the slim, trim, muscular physique that I have been developing emerge from under the layers of flab. And then I can eat anything I want, in smaller portions than I've been consuming.

2. Actors needed: I'm almost done with the first draft of my musical comedy stage play, Strip Mall Blues: The Quest for Culture in Phoenix, Arizona. I'm really close, so I want to line up a time next month to have five actors do a read-through so I can start the revisions. I need a 40-something white male, a 20-something female, a 20- or 30-something Latina, a 60- or 70-something white male and a 30- or 40-something female. Acting experience a MUST, but students welcome. Singing and dancing skills also are required, but not super-important just for the read-through. I will provide wine and snacks. 

3. Colleen Sparks wants a job: She is a former Arizona Republic reporter who is doing freelance writing and PR. If you hear of anything where she might fit, please contact her at Here is her info:

I wanted to see if you might be able to put out the word in one of your e-mail lists to fellow writers, etc., that I am looking for some kind of part-time job to supplement my income while I grow my business. I am pretty flexible, just looking for something that pays well and would be an interesting experience like working at a bookstore, working in an office or for a non-profit. Other than my 13 years of journalism and year and a half in public relations, I was also a dance minor in college and would love to teach children dance or do anything related to helping a dance studio or arts organization. I have waited tables before but to be honest that really wasn't my forte and I don't know much about alcohol so probably bartending wouldn't be a great option, either. 

4: Great Washington Post article: One of the other 60 Percenters sent this link today regarding newspaper revenues and the future of news. It is worth a read:

If the link doesn't work, e-mail me and I will send you the article.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The big event

I'm proud to announce one of the biggest journalism events of the year, the Society of Professional Journalists Region 11 Conference, will be held right here in downtown Phoenix April 3-4 at ASU.

Some of us tireless (OK, maybe tired) volunteers have been working on this for months, and it's going to be outstanding. I personally found the caterer and have been working with the chefs on the menu for Friday's opening reception at the uber-hip Hotel Clarendon, so you know the food will be good.

But of course you really will come for the stellar lineup of speakers, unlimited networking opportunities and spirit of camaraderie you will share with your peers from a five-state region. We also have a sweet after-party planned for Saturday night.

Please consider attending. Info:
Walter Cronkite School
of Journalism and
Mass Communication

Grab some certainty... during uncertain times for journalism at the Society of Professional Journalists Region 11 Conference.
The theme, "Journalism 2.0; Redefine '09," speaks to the sweeping changes in our profession and how journalists can meet them.
Co-sponsored by Valley of the Sun (Phoenix) SPJ professional chapter and Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University, Phoenix.
 Andrew Leckey, Donald W. Reynolds Center for Business Journalism, on the biggest business story of our times: the current economic recession
Dan Gillmor, Knight Center for Online Media; Andrew Donohue, Voice of San Diego, on how online and nonprofit media are starting to take hold
Steve Doig, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist; Joe Russomanno, First Amendment issues expert; Steve Elliott, former Phoenix bureau chief, Associated Press; on the latest issues in public records access
David Dow, CBS News, retired, on the latest tensions regarding cameras in courtrooms, including new rules for 2009 in Arizona
 Editors from Arizona Highways magazine and Phoenix magazine
For students: Recent grads who turned their internships into full-time jobs, even while still in school.
 For professionals: The latest on how to cope with a layoff or buyout
 PLUS: Sign up for a separate Friday half-day boot camp that will familiarize novices and help deepen the knowledge of more experienced multi-media journalists (attendance limited to 20 participants)
Join us Friday evening, April 3, poolside at the historic Hotel Clarendon, site of the 1976 fatal car-bombing of Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles, for appetizers and no-host drinks. Wander up the steps (or take the elevator) to the Top of the C, the rooftop (fifth-floor) deck of the hotel overlooking the Phoenix skyline and nearby mountains framing the Valley of the Sun.
Join us at the Cronkite Schoolâ*˙s First Amendment Forum for a reception early Saturday evening honoring the best in college journalism in Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada.
Then, head out into the nightlife of downtown Phoenix, on your own, or come with a contingent of your fellow conference-goers to Hanny's, the newest and hottest nightspot downtown.
Hanny's restaurant and bar is a renovated historic 1947 building that once housed a men's apparel shop by the same name. Its modern interior has a concrete-and-glass design with curved walls and trendy touches like a see-through upper floor, a "beauty hallway," a Berkel meat slicer behind the bar and mystery restrooms (you'll see if you go).
Rates include all conference workshops and breaks, Friday opening night reception, Saturday late-afternoon Mark of Excellence Awards Reception. Friday's multimedia boot camp and Saturday's Arizona Freedom of Information Awards Luncheon may be attended for an additional cost each.

Discounted early-bird registration
(remittances must be postmarked on or before March 4):
SPJ members $89, non-members $109, students $55
Regular registration
(remittances postmarked March 5-March 30):
SPJ members $109, non-members $129, students $65.
Walk-in registration
(at the site, April 3-4):
SPJ members $125, nonmembers $150, students $75.

Multi-media bootcamp,
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, April 3
(details at; limited to 20 participants):
$50 per person

Arizona Freedom of Information Awards Luncheon honoring the state's best of public records and open meetings journalism in 2008,
11:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Saturday, April 4 at Cronkite School's First Amendment Forum:
SPJ members $30, non-members $40, students $20
 Luncheon remittance must be received no later than April 1.

To register for the conference and-or make separate buy purchases, go to for a .pdf of the registration form you can download, print and send in with your remittance by check or money order.
Hotel Clarendon
Site of the 1976 car-bombing of Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles (the car is in the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and location of our Friday night (April 3) opening night reception!
Rates are $129/night plus tax single/double per guest room.
For this rate, you must reserve on or before March 13. Call (602) 252-7363 or visit To get this rate, you must give this code number: AS-SPJ-1.
Hotel Clarendon
401 W. Clarendon Ave.
(Two miles north of Cronkite School, access by Central Avenue light-rail line.)

These two other hotels are also available:
Holiday Inn Express Phoenix Downtown
$129/night plus tax single/double per guest room or $139/night executive suite.
For this rate, you must reserve on or before March 16. Call (602) 452-2020. Be sure to mention the Society of Professional Journalists when making reservations.
Holiday Inn Express Phoenix Downtown
620 N. Sixth St.
(3 blocks west to Cronkite School)

Best Western Central Phoenix Inn & Suites
$99/night plus tax per guest room April 3, $129/night plus tax per guest room April 4.
For this rate you must reserve on or before March 3. Call (602) 252-2100. Be sure to mention the Society of Professional Journalists when making reservations.
Best Western Central Phoenix Inn & Suites
1100 N. Central Ave.
(5 blocks south to Cronkite School, access by light-rail line or free shuttle.)
FOR MORE INFORMATION       Contact Mark Scarp at

Monday, February 2, 2009

What works for you?

Our most recent real-life 60 Percenters meeting at Curry Leaf Indian Grill in Ahwatukee was a hit. We shared plenty of useful information and a bit of gossip, as usual.

And after I suggested stopping the meetings and blog due to lack of interest, several of you expressed interest in continuing both.

For various reasons, though, I need to change up the 60 Percenters day, which has traditionally been on the final Tuesday of the month. But I can't do Tuesdays anymore. It also seems like a lot of folks are on deadline at the end of the month.

Instead of meeting on the last Tuesday, what would work to get more people to attend? Mid-month? Early in the month? 

Coffee or breakfast seems to work better for most of us, because once we get going on our day, it's tough to stop in the middle and go out for lunch. Now that Crackers & Co. Cafe opened in Tempe on Elliot near Hardy, everyone at the last meeting seemed to like that idea for a morning meeting. But if you really love the idea of lunches, let me know.

If you can't get the comment field to work on the blog, feel free to e-mail me and I will get back to you all in a week or so with the verdict.