Pictures, Sound Tell Story of Alabama’s Biggest Immigration Event

Images and Sounds of the June 25, 2011 candle march in Downtown Birmingham tell the story of the opposition to Alabama’s new immigration law, the toughest in the nation.

BIRMINGHAM– In the last few years, we’ve seen dozens of rallies  and public protests on immigration around the country, including here in Alabama.

But, none in Alabama’s largest city compare to what took place Saturday, June 25 when thousands marched through downtown in silent protest of the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, which was signed into law by Governor Robert Bentley earlier this month.

The images of those in the crowd, most of whom dressed in white shirts, and the sounds of prayers tell this story from Birmingham’s primary civic space- Linn Park.


Former Miami Herald International Editor Debuts As SPJ Board Member

Former Editor of the Miami Herald’s International Edition gave a presentation on “Journalism in Latin America” Saturday at the Society of Professional Journalists Region 3 Conference in Birmingham, Ala.

SPJ Region 3 Director Bill Oates gave a talk about the status of journalism in Latin America during the Region 3 Conference in Birmingham, Ala.

BIRMINGHAM– Besides the great programming that the Society of Professional Journalists offered at its Southeastern Regional Conference this past weekend, there was the change of characters on stage.

Bill Oates, a former editor of the Miami Herald’s International Edition and adjunct professor at the Indiana University School of Journalism hosted his first Regional conference here in the Magic City April 1-2, 2009.

Oates succeeded Former Region 3 Director Jenn Rowell, who left the region to take a job in the DC area.

Those of us already on the SPJ National Board welcomed Bill to the leadership fold, but also watched as he was thrown in head-first to swim in the waters of leading an important training opportunity for our SPJ membership.

Bill did more than swim. The regional conference had lots of great information and his own presentation on “Journalism in Latin America” was eye-opening and a refreshing change from all of the talk of social media that dominated the conference.

As SPJers, we also have to take a more global perspective on what we do.

In his presentation, Oates drew a connection between the Latin American countries that are stable democracies, progressing toward democracy, and “headed in another direction” and the Press Freedom Index of 2010.

He explained that the countries with a “perfect score” were many of the Nordic countries.  Noticeably absent from that group of countries with perfect press freedom is the United States.

“We have this idea that we’re the best and we’re not,” Oates said.

So when it comes to press freedom, we still have some work to do in our own borders even as we look to places like Columbia and Mexico, where journalists are under attack.

Two journalists were killed March 25 in Mexico.

“This is very current, ” Oates said. “It continues to happen.

Within SPJ, as the Region 3 director, Bill will play a big role in helping us “globalize” our thinking about journalism.

Clay Duda to Pay His SPJ ACTIVITY “Dues” Today In Birmingham

Clay Duda, an Atlanta-based social media consultant will be speaking at the SPJ Regional Conference in Birmingham today.

BIRMINGHAM– After a dizzying two days of travel in Northeast Ohio, we’re back near home base in Birmingham where later this morning we’ll get to hear self-proclaimed “Social Media Consultant” Clay Duda do his thing.

This baby-faced kid is Clay Duda. He's an Atlanta-based social media consultant who will be speaking today in Birmingham. Hopefully we'll get a 2011 image of him today.

The Atlanta-based journalist and photographer is one of the headliners at the Society of Professional Journalists Southeastern Regional Conference, which is taking place on our sister campus, the University of Alabama at Birmingham this weekend.

(I missed the first day due to my travels in Kent, Ohio)

“I’m an embarassingly inactive member of the Society of Professional Journalists,” Duda said in a posting on his blog last month.

Well, today Duda gets to INCREASE his SPJ activity quotient and pay his dues, so to speak by giving a session on how journalists are using social media at smaller and emerging publications.

He’s the pre-lunch speaker this morning and then will re-appear on a social media and ethics panel with my colleague Chris Roberts later this afternoon.

Should be a great day as we get started here in the “Magic City” in about 90 minutes.