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“Gridiron 2022: Scarier Than Ever”

Saturday, October 29th, 2022

The San Antonio Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to announce the return of the ever-popular Gridiron Show, which helps fund scholarships for the region’s top journalism students.

It’s two years since we’ve had a live in-person performance. So please save the date and plan to watch San Antonio media professionals perform in our musical comedy satirizing politics and local news events.

This year’s show is titled “Gridiron 2022: Scarier Than Ever.” It will be staged in the Buena Vista Theater at the downtown campus of the University of Texas at San Antonio.

There will be two performances on Saturday, Oct. 29th – an afternoon matinee and the main show in the evening. The show also will be live streamed.

Details on how to buy sponsorships, program advertisements and tickets will be released soon.

Commentary: Journalists under threat in Uvalde

Our chapter president, Michael Drudge, wrote a column about the intimidation and resistance journalists are facing after the tragic school shooting in Uvalde. The column first appeared in the San Antonio Express-News on June 7, 2022.

Michael W. Drudge, For the Express-News

The journalism community is alarmed by the threats and intimidation news media have faced trying to report the aftermath of the school shooting in Uvalde.

It began last Wednesday when police threatened news crews with arrest for criminal trespassing while journalists waited at the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District office in hope of interviewing UCISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo. The next day, police leveled the same threat at reporters trying to cover the funerals of shooting victims.

Police have kept reporters and camera crews blocks away from Sacred Heart Catholic Church during funeral Masses. Police from agencies across the state have strategically parked vehicles to block video and photographic coverage. Motorcycle club members have confronted news crews outside the church, claiming to act on behalf of the police. Tensions are high. Nerves are raw.

Adding to the problems journalists face is a virtual news blackout on the part of state and local authorities.

Texas state Sen. Roland Gutierrez represents Uvalde. He’s been a high-profile news source with contacts inside the Texas Department of Public Safety. He revealed Friday that a DPS official told him Uvalde County District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee ordered DPS not to release any more information to the senator or the public. The Associated Press reported Friday the DPS referred all questions to Busbee, who did not return phone calls and text messages from the Associated Press.

For their part, police are understandably on edge, particularly at the UCISD. Arredondo has been widely criticized for not acting more quickly to confront the shooter. Arredondo has had extra security placed around him. And Uvalde is a small city with no experience handling such intense scrutiny from media around the world.

There is widespread empathy among journalists for the pain and suffering Uvalde is experiencing. Many journalists are parents or grandparents, aunts and uncles of children just like those slain at Robb Elementary School. Journalists have fought back tears, live on TV, while reporting on this tragedy.

And journalists have been following an obligation to practice ethical norms as they report.

The Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists is the gold standard for news media. It states that “ethical journalism treats sources, subjects, colleagues and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect.”
 
Journalists should “show compassion for those who may be affected by news coverage” and “realize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than public figures and others who seek power, influence or attention.”

These standards have been on display in Uvalde.

Journalists have treated the relatives of victims and the survivors with respect. They have told moving stories about the dead. And they have reported as much as we can learn so far about the shooter without sensationalizing the crime.

The Uvalde story is far from finished. Journalists will continue to seek answers to the many unanswered questions. We ask for understanding and cooperation from police and civil authorities. The public relies on all of us to get to the truth and report it.

Michael Drudge is president of the San Antonio Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the nation’s oldest and most broad-based association dedicated to thperpetuation of a free press as a cornerstone of our nation and our liberty.

The Ranger’s rebirth, revival must endure

The San Antonio Express-News published a letter from Michael Drudge, the president of the San Antonio Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, about the future of Alamo Colleges’ student newspaper. In the letter, Drudge offered SPJSA’s assistance in reinventing the school’s journalism program. Below is a copy of the letter.

Ranger

The Ranger: college community watchdog

Michael Drudge, the president of the San Antonio Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, wrote an op-ed encouraging Alamo Colleges administrators to make sure the district continues to have a strong and independent media outlet.

Read the entire op-ed on The Ranger website.

Give us your ideas

Do you have an idea for helping the journalism community in San Antonio? Want to collaborate with us on future projects? Just curious about who we are and what we do? Go to the contacts tab at the top of the page and shoot us a message!

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