Friday, February 17, 2017

Training session set for safeguarding your digital communications

Now more than ever, reporters must use good security practices when newsgathering and communicating with sources. A free training session scheduled for March 2 in San Francisco will help journalists learn how to assess security threats, protect sources, use secure text messaging software, and more. The training session will be led by digital security experts from the Electronic Frontier Foundation including Security Engineer/Technologist Bill Budington and Senior Staff Attorney Mitch Stoltz. This event is hosted by SPJ NorCal, the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Click here to register. Space is limited. Beer will be served. Donations accepted to support SPJ programming.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

February 2017 Press Club board minutes

Meeting via teleconference, Feb. 9, 2017, at 6 p.m.  

Present: Antonia Ehlers, Ed Remitz, Dave Price, Jim Watson, Carla Worfolk, Jim Henderson and Jane Northrop.

Greater Bay Area Journalism Contest debrief: Website needs to be updated to fix incorrect information. (That was done Feb. 10.)  

Finances: Antonia had a conversation with the IRS and learned that the club's main operational account is in good standing, and that only the 2015 returns are due. However, she learned that no returns had been filed for the scholarship account since 2007. That needs to be remedied in order to receive tax-deductible contributions. Antonia applied for reinstatement of this account on Dec. 16. Jane said she'd contact her bookkeeper and Antonia suggested a tax professional. The board will confer to ensure the right person is hired. A motion and a second was made to approve this idea, and it was passed unanimously.

The main account, a 501(c)(6), has a balance of approximately $7,000. The scholarship account, a 501(c)(3), holds about $3,500.

Executive Director: The board voted to hire Terry Williams, the executive director of the San Diego Press Club and a contest coordinator for other clubs. She will run our professional and high school contests for a fee of $2,000 a year.  

Statement on Press Club Values: Ed suggested the Press Club issue a statement about our values in light of allegations by the White House that the news media deliberately disseminate “fake news” and withhold facts. Carla said that the statement should wait until the club gets its "ducks in a row" regarding the club’s overall organization with the pending hire of an executive director. She said such a statement could come before our contest, which will celebrate the club's 40th anniversary. She said that the anniversary would be a good time for a "rebranding" of the club. The rest of the board agreed with her idea.  

High school boot camp: Antonia said Saturday, May 13, would be the best date for this year's camp based on the school calendars she's seen. She said it's important to pick a day that doesn't conflict with SAT tests or high school proms. City College of San Francisco, which hosted last year's boot camp, is again willing to provide space for the event.  

Contest judging: Directors were advised that they would be asked to judge the Milwaukee Press Club's contest in the next few days. Milwaukee has judged our contest in the past, so this is simply returning a favor.  

Insurance: At a previous meeting, Carla said she felt the club's directors should have insurance like people who serve on other nonprofit boards. Other directors agreed including Ed who spoke about the importance of such insurance. At the Feb. 9 meeting, both Jim and Dave reported that they have spoken to agents who sell Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance. A $1 million policy will run the club somewhere between $500 and $700 a year, an agent told Dave. Dave said he would get an exact price quote and relay the information to the board.

The meeting adjourned at 7:25 p.m.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Burlingame journalist's book prompts NY district attorney to reopen investigation into columnist Dorothy Kilgallen's 1965 death

Mark Shaw's book 

(From the Palo Alto Daily Post, Feb. 1, 2017, by Emily Mibach, staff writer)

A Burlingame man’s new book that claims journalist and TV personality Dorothy Kilgallen was murdered in 1965 has prompted the New York City District Attorney to re-open the case. Kilgallen died while she was investigating leads in the assassination of President John Kennedy.

Mark Shaw’s book, “The Reporter Who Knew Too Much,” delves into the circumstances surrounding Kilgallen’s suspicious death.

Kilgallen was the only journalist to interview Lee Harvey Oswald’s killer, Jack Ruby, and she disclosed Ruby’s testimony to the government before it was officially released to the public, creating an enemy in FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

In addition to being a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, Kilgallen was also one of the original panelists on the popular game show “What’s My Line?”

On Nov. 8, 1965, Kilgallen was found dead in a bed in her five-story New York City townhouse. The medical examiner initially ruled her death accidental due to the amount of sleeping pills and alcohol in her system.

But Shaw contends that the examiner’s office was controlled by the Mafia, which likely wanted her dead. Kilgallen was 18-months deep in researching Kennedy’s assassination.

Shaw said she was in the process of unearthing whether Oswald had acted alone in killing Kennedy when she died.

According to Shaw, immediately after Kilgallen died, her files regarding the Kennedy and Oswald case disappeared. She was planning on writing a tell-all on the assassinations of both men.

Shaw and those he interviewed for his book believe that she would have pointed the finger at New Orleans crime family boss Carlos Marcello. Shaw also believes Marcello may have orchestrated her death as well. Marcello died in 1993.

Shaw also said that the room Kilgallen was found in was not where she normally slept, and, according to her hair dresser, the bathrobe she was found in wasn’t one she normally wore. She was found in full make-up and had her hair still up from that night’s episode of “What’s My Line?”

“It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize it (her death) was staged,” Shaw said.

On Dec. 4, Shaw sent a letter to New York DA Cyrus Vance Jr. asking him re-open Kilgallen’s case, saying that what he uncovered while researching the book, points to the idea she was murdered.

“Even though the events surrounding her death are now five decades old, I do not believe your office’s re-opening of the investigation will result in futile posturing. There are strong leads based on credible witnesses and a primary suspect is indeed still alive,” Shaw wrote to Vance.

DA spokeswoman Joan Vollero told the New York Post earlier this week that a staffer had read Shaw’s book and reviewed Shaw’s letters, and that the DA was re-opening the death investigation.

Shaw, 71, has written 25 books and has lived all over the country before moving to Burlingame four years ago. However, he had lived in the Bay Area five other times. Shaw worked as a legal analyst for CNN, ESPN and USA Today on the O.J. Simpson, Kobe Bryant and Mike Tyson cases. Prior to becoming a legal analyst, he was a criminal defense attorney, which is one reason why he wants to see Kilgallen’s murderer brought to light.

“I’ve always been interested in the underdog and making sure people get justice,” Shaw said. “After (Kilgallen) died she was just about erased from the face of the earth.”

RTDNA now accepting scholarship applications

The Radio Television Digital News Association’s Foundation is now accepting applications for our 2017-2018 scholarships and fellowships. Bay Area students may be particularly interested in the Pete Wilson Scholarship, named after the late KGO-TV and KRON anchorman and KGO radio host. Go here for more information. In addition, four fellowships for professionals with fewer than 10 years of experience as well as 9 scholarships between $1,000 and $10,000 are available for students. The deadline to apply is May 31, 2017.