Web archive

This page was current during summer 2016; AOJ is merging into the American Society of News Editors by Jan. 1, 2017.

This page contains copies of materials that first appeared on other AOJ site pages, especially Home, and were displaced by age or extensive updating but may still have some interest, historical or otherwise. Because of quirks inherent in HTML, the internal links, images and such may behave oddly, and of course links to other sites may break there.

Contents 2015 (pending further updating in 2016)

(JM 6/26/2015) (reposted 1/5/2016)

Menu and site map

The menu below links to navigation-indexed public pages on our evolving site. Nearly all pages are mobile-responsive. Log in as a member to see some select members-only pages.

Some public pages are not on the menu; use the manual expanded index on the Sitemap page.

(top of page)  (copyright and contact info) (updated 2/8/16)

  • Home
  • AOJ web archive

This page was current during summer 2016; AOJ is merging into the American Society of News Editors by Jan. 1, 2017.

(Contents of Home page, left column 6/26/2015,
updated 3/26/2016)

Leader-roles article from summer 2015

AOJ prez-to-members note 6/25 on symposium-plus, posted 6/26/2015

Editors quickly share views on S.C. massacre new material with updated  6/25 focus on that flag

June 8-13: forty-four tips
for writing and editing opinion

June 4+26: AOJ Symposium to see SPJ give $75K Pulliam award

June 3-4: anthrax satire video

June 2: Obama names AOJ briefer as Mexico envoy MH2015

June 1: Membership
drive is underway*

Update June 18: extensive AOJ information (
below) (budget)

New during May: cyberwar,
Iran-nukes, Cuba, Russia, off-record; op-ed & more in
spring 2015 Masthead

AOJ Foundation board has busy year underway (updated May 12)

Easier renewals and
new-member signups

Diversity educator award 
to be given in November

Symposium: Nov.14-15, at Poynter in St. Pete

 AOJ now offers
new roles for serving, leading

(Posted 2/19/2015 by John McClelland
updated 6/3 and 6/4/2015)

As AOJ goes through its transition to a single organization (the AOJ Foundation will survive), it soon will form has formed a new board and reestablished standing committees.

The (then-active 2013-15) AOJ Foundation president, Lois Kazakoff, and other leaders prepared a statement in which they urged members to consider serving on the AOJ board or helping on one of those committees. [Some did and are now in the leaders list linked above.] Planning already is underway has been completed for the [April 27, 2015]  State Department Briefing and will begin soon  is well along or the Minority Writers Seminar and annual symposium [Nov. 14-15 in St. Petersburg].

To be considered for a future position [or] on the AOJ board, please contact Kazakoff of the San Francisco Chronicle at lkazakoff@sfchronicle.com [t]o offer to serve on the symposium, Minority Writers Seminar, fundraising/development, membership, First Amendment or State Department committees, please contact 2015 AOJ Foundation president David D. Haynes, editorial page editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at dhaynes@jrn.com

Here are informal run-downs on some of the backgrounds and prospects:

Jump to...
Director-Trustee Roles
State Department Briefing
Minority Writers Seminar
NCEW-AOJ Background
AOJ Symposiums, past, 2015 and beyond 
Membership and More Committee Roles

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Director-Trustee Roles

Historically, the two related organizations' governing boards (leaders lists) have met separately but at the same location on the same day, three times a year. 

Those were: once the Sunday before the State Department Briefing; once usually the first day of the NCEW convention or AOJ symposium; and at least once between the other two. That was often in December at Harrisburg, Pa., or in Florida, through 2013; and now most likely will be in St. Petersburg, Fla., within a year or so.

The two boards met jointly in Mobile, Ala., in September 2014, and have conducted subsequent meetings largely by conference call. Ability to attend the face-to-face meetings in person is of course desirable, but making all three is not necessary. Some continuing directors and trustees attend in person once or twice a year. [The boards met jointly in Washington on April 26, 2015. Reports from that meeting and other recent activity are online at http://aoj.wildapricot.org/board-advance2]

A committee is drafting has drafted new bylaws for the Foundation's continuation as a 501c3 educational nonprofit that will inherit the professional association's remaining assets. Details, including membership participation in governance, are subject to attorney's and possibly government review, April-December 2015. and have provision for greater membership involvement than do the current Foundation bylaws. To what extent membership will continue to elect leadership is not yet clear, and may depend in part on legal review with an eye to Internal Revenue Service rules.
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State Department Briefing

Other pages have the results of Registration has begun for the annual State Department Briefing on April 27, and a related optional dinner the Sunday evening April 26. The Poynter events web server for AOJ-State asksed users to establish a free Poynter site account with basic contact info, and then to fill out a standard form that incudes a short (250 words max) biography or biographical statement to be shared verbatim with other attendees. 

There is no fee for the application. The cost of box lunch, previously about $25, will get collected. AOJ members are eligible for who attended could get $200 assistance toward travel expenses. 

Applications were to end March 13 but a few seats remained. State may require additional information in advance to facilitate access to the secure building. Masthead articles from three recent briefings are online.(back to jump list) (top of article) [For 2015 briefings articles, see MH2015]

Minority Writers Seminar

This hands-on workshop has been held for two decades and is supported largely by an earmarked endowment held by the AOJ Foundation. Historically in cooperation with the Newseum Institute's First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., it now will be at the Poynter Institute in Florida. Poynter's educational resources and the relatively lower hit on the AOJ-F endowment were among reasons for the move.

The seminar now will be held in conjuction with the AOJ Symposium, allowing seminar attendees and AOJ members to mingle as the events overlap in November 2015.

Long-serving faculty of volunteer leaders of the seminar continue, with some new talent already on board and more needed.

Extensive material on the seminar is online.
(back to jump list) (top of article)

NCEW-AOJ Background

This all began in 1947 as the National Conference of Editorial Writers, which became a nonprofit professional association. The Foundation was formed in 1981, and both were renamed, Association of Opinion Journalists and AOJ Foundation, in 2012.

The NCEW-AOJ convention always had a substantial professional-education role. It included fund-raising for the Foundation. And it was the annual meeting of the membership, at which officers were elected and other business conducted. The board of directors and an executive committee oversaw the organization's activity between conventions.

Changes within the newspaper and broadcast industries, and within the growing online digital journalism field, reduced employer support and members' freedom to travel. This drove down membership and revenue even further as dues were reduced to enable out-of-pocket members to remain. Secure electronic voting began. The Masthead converted from a slick quarterly magazine for members and research libraries to online publication in 2010-11, and became free on the Web in 2012.

NCEW and then AOJ leadership wrestled for years with the trends (for previous articles, scroll down the center column). Budget shortfalls began consuming reserves and forcing cutbacks in staff-management services. That led to shifting from a Pennsylvania News Association subsidiary to Vanderbilt Student Media for staff support during 2014. Poynter assumed that role, expanded, on an 18-month contract beginning in February 2015.

As the professional association's role declined and the Foundation's educational mission increased (as did its need for exempt grant funding), the convention became the AOJ Symposium in 2014. ("Symposium" is a fancy word for a gathering of people to discuss common interests; historically, it implied drinking and other fun, too, but now one dictionary says it mostly implies an extensively educational or civic event.)

In September 2014, the membership voted online to dissolve the professional association. The annual meeting authorized the current officers to continue and to negotiate a new manager-partner and details of future events.
(back to jump list) (top of article)

AOJ Symposiums, 2015

For decades, NCEW conventions voted to choose between competing proposals for future convention sites, proposals often strongly backed by local publishers and prepared by editors with substantial staffs and the ability to make some free time. The same industry trends that squeezed NCEW-AOJ financially also deflated that process. Conventions and the 2014 Symposium still got generous support from business (and in 2012 and 2013, educational institutions), but the previous competitiveness and big checks were waning.

Both Poynter and three other journalism organizations that courted AOJ in 2014 offered substantial services for joint events, and in Poynter's case, also its own excellent facilities.

A western Symposium site remains a goal for the near-future.

The 2015 site is Poynter's campus in St. Petersburg, with lodging facilitated by Poynter's existing relations with St. Pete business. Dates are Nov. 14-15 and details remain to be resolved, but the work plan calls for it to be during November. [Early plan info..., ideas wanted...]
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Membership and More

The ebullient Jay Jochnowitz of the Albany (N.Y.) Times-Union has been preparing promotional materials for a membership recruiting drive. 

 One topic of extensive board discussion, pushed by non-journalist Foundation trustee Herb Berkowitz, was assembling a database of professional practitioners of opinion journalism who might be contacted systematically. Your Masthead editor thinks this is a grand idea, and it will need help from both Poynter staff and AOJ volunteers. 

 Poynter's Ellyn Kamke put a membership promotion link right on the State Department sign-up page. We will need more of this kind of initiative.

Christian Trejbal has been doing Sunshine Week (see 2014/2013/2012 Mastheads for some of the articles) and FOI activity almost single-handedly for years. Surely more than the few who post on the discussion list links to their own local Sunshine pieces could help us drive our potential for a leadership role on these and First Amendment issues.

Fund raising, obviously, needs volunteer help. [AOJ trustee Carolyn Lumsden has taken on leadership of the development committee: CLumsden@courant.com]

So, pick your preference and send your name and some info:

Board service: lkazakoff@sfchronicle.com

Committees (as above): dhaynes@jrn.com 

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(editor john.r.mcclelland@gmail.com)
[Updated 6/3, 6/4 and 6/9/2015]

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Winter 2015 Masthead
Are letters guidelines obsolete?
Disability as diversity in content and staff
3rd party candidate interviewing

Prior items about
AOJ & 

An article that previously appeared here is now part of the archive at 


(This box updated 1/8/15, 3/31/15)

(RELOCATED TO AOJ web archive 6/26/15)

(Top of archive page)

D.C. insider will speak
to April 26 evening event

(Home page March... 2015) 

John Harwood of CNBC, the New York Times and other high-profile media roles, will address AOJ-Poynter guests in Washington the Sunday evening before the annual State Department briefing.

Details and registration links are on the Poynter website:

Harwood is the chief Washington correspondent for CNBC and the author of the weekly “Political Memo” column in The New York Times. More background is on the Poynter site (link above).

The $50 evening is a joint educational and fund-raising event for the nonprofit partner organizations. The AOJ directors and trustees will meet at McClatchy's D.C. facility beginning 9 a.m. April 26.  (4/2/15 JM)

Wanted: Your ideas
for AOJ Symposium

(Home page 4/14/15 to 6/26/15)

 Get ready for two fun and engaging days in Florida in mid-November at AOJ’s annual fall symposium.

“Politics and Persuasion – Engaging Citizens in What Matters in 2016” will be Nov. 14-15 at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg.

If you write or edit or broadcast or webcast commentary, you won’t want to miss the best two-day workshop in the nation for practitioners of opinion journalism.

The symposium begins bright and early on Saturday, Nov. 14, with breakfast and registration. The closing dinner will be Sunday evening, Nov. 15.

The committee expects to begin to nail down workshop topics in late May; it would like feedback from members now.

Members can email ideas or comments to David D. Haynes of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at david.haynes@jrn.com

Ideas discussed so far include:

Craft workshops

  • How to use analytics without losing your soul, focusing on Google, Chartbeat and others.
  • The editorial: Dead or Alive? (AOJ led panel)
  • How can opinion editors cultivate diversity on their pages and digital platforms? Lessons from those who do it best.
  • Best Ideas of 2015: How we did it (an AOJ led panel with audience participation)
  • Social media tips (similar to one Ellyn Kamke of Poynter did for us at the Mobile symposium)
  • New tools for a new kind of opinion journalism (how to use Videolicious, Storify and others)
  • Katie Hawkins-Gaar on building community through citizen contributions, especially citizens we don’t always reach very well. She is Poynter’s first digital innovation faculty member. Prior to Poynter, she was the editor for CNN iReport, the network’s global participatory news community.
  • Rick Edmonds, Poynter’s media business analyst, on business pressures that affect opinion journalism.
  • Kelly McBride, Poynter V.P., on the current state of the marketplace of ideas.
  • Roy Peter Clark of Poynter on the craft of writing and/or the value of writing short.

Policy workshops

  • Government secrecy: How open government became an afterthought for the Obama administration and for many state and local governments and what we can do about it.
  • Net neutrality: Understanding why a complicated tech issue matters to all of us (a pro-con panel).
  • Dodd-Frank. Whatever ever happened to “too big to fail?” (panel with representatives from both conservative and liberal viewpoints and a moderator)
  • The Affordable Care Act: Where do we go from here? (panel discussion with representatives of both conservative and liberal think tanks and an expert from Kaiser Family Foundation).
  • Common Core: How consensus devolved to controversy. Sorting the legitimate from the farcical?

David D. Haynes is the editorial page editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, secretary of the AOJ Foundation board, recent head of the AOJ transition committee, and now symposium (annual conference) chairman.


(posted 4/14/2015 JM) (top of article) (top of page)

Diversity educator award

AOJ's diversity team again sought nominations for the Barry Bingham Fellowship, a $1,000 award to help a college educator continue advancing the role of minorities in American journalism. It will be presented at AOJ Symposium Nov. 14-15 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Details on our new Diversity page.

(Posted 4/6/2015 JM) (top of page)

Software sez 'Lapsed;'
our people say 'Welcome' 

Due to the 2014-15 transitions of management services and website vendors, several AOJ members were unable to renew online earlier this year. We have found and fixed some software glitches (and a few members' typos lingering from when they registered long ago). And we have put up a step-by-step checklist for the login-renewal process. That member aid and a quick link to the new-member form are online at our Join us page.

(3/31/2015 14:34cdt  update 4/2/15 11:34JM)

New benefit: 20 pct discount on courses

Poynter and AOJ
continue partnership

(Posted on Feb. 18, 2015; updated 2/23, 3/14 JM)

Poynter providing organizational management to help grow AOJ membership and outreach efforts

The Poynter Institute and the Association of Opinion Journalists (AOJ) are carrying out an agreement in which Poynter will provide management services to help increase AOJ’s engagement, membership and outreach. AOJ will now be based at The Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Poynter will leverage its forty years of teaching experience and involvement with journalists and the media industry to assist AOJ with programming, strategic goals, events and conference management, fundraising and member recruitment and administration.

Poynter will take a lead role to bolster AOJ’s ongoing operations and its signature programs, including the Minority Writers Seminar and AOJ’s annual symposium. The seminar, now in its 20th year, and symposium will both take place in November at Poynter.

“The agreement between the Association of Opinion Journalists and the Poynter Institute will extend the reach of our organization and increase our ability to offer training in the rapidly evolving craft of opinion journalism,” said Lois Kazakoff, president of AOJ Foundation and deputy editorial page editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. “This will help ensure American media have a wide range of voices reflective of our diverse nation, especially in digital media. Poynter is the premier journalism training organization in the country. Our partnership can help strengthen both organizations as the media landscape changes.”

Tim Franklin, Poynter’s president, said: “The Association of Opinion Journalists and The Poynter Institute share a common mission: fostering journalistic excellence that improves our democracy and engages citizens,” said “We’re honored that AOJ has decided to call Poynter its home, and we believe that this is a partnership that will strengthen both organizations.”

The organizations will partner for their first joint event with an evening reception in Washington D.C., on Sunday, April 26. This reception will be held in conjunction with AOJ’s annual State Department Briefing the following day.  Find more information about the State Department Briefing, or register for the event here.

About the Association of Opinion Journalists:
The Association of Opinion Journalists is a nonprofit professional organization that exists to improve the quality of opinion writing and to promote high standards among opinion writers and editors. The organization was founded in 1947 as The National Conference of Editorial Writers (NCEW) and renamed itself AOJ in 2012.

(More about AOJ is in several locations on this website.) (It includes: about; site map; leaders; FAQs; Foundation goals; Masthead journal; minority writers; membership invitation; join-us; about members-only content; past Foundation supported programs; the SPJ Pulliam Fellowship; and the active, lively, highly useful members-only online discussion list and its archives.)

About The Poynter Institute: 
The Poynter Institute for Media Studies is a global leader in journalism education, and a strategy center that stands for uncompromising excellence in journalism, media and 21st century public discourse. Poynter faculty teach seminars and workshops at the Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., and at conferences and organizational sites around the world. Its e-learning division, News University, www.newsu.org, offers the world’s largest online journalism curriculum in 7 languages, with more than 400 interactive courses and 300,000 registered users in more than 200 countries. The Institute’s website, www.poynter.org, produces 24-hour coverage of news about media, ethics, technology, the business of news and the trends that currently define and redefine journalism news reporting. The world’s top journalists and media innovators come to Poynter to learn and teach new generations of reporters, storytellers, media inventors, designers, visual journalists, documentarians and broadcast producers, and to build public awareness about journalism, media, the First Amendment and protected discourse that serves democracy and the public good.

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(Posted 2015-02-18-15:06cst updated links 4/2/15 JM)

AOJ-Poynter selection history

Previous articles on the 2014-15 process of selecting a new management partner are being archived to a new page:


(3/31/2015 JM)

Symposium schedule,
with added benefits

(Updated 11/15/15 20:45EDT)
(This is the text of the invitation and schedule for AOJ Symposium 2015. The events that actually occurred were almost exactly as predicted, with one additional speaker on a crucial, ongoing, national issue. Reports on 3 events are up in Masthead, and more will be added daily for a while. JM) 

On behalf of the board of the Association of Opinion Journalists, I’m delighted to invite you to the Poynter Institute for this year’s Symposium – “Politics and Persuasion – Engaging Citizens in What Matters Most.”

You’ll hear from noted tech evangelist Sree Sreenivasan (left), former journalism professor and first chief digital officer at Columbia University, now chief digital officer at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and from the No Labels project, a coalition of movers and shakers from both sides of the aisle who want to reintroduce bipartisanship to Washington, D.C.

Katie Hawkins-Gaar (right), a leader on Poynter's faculty, will give you tips on how to engage with your audience and Joanna Weiss will explain The Boston Globe’s newest innovation – the Opinion Reel (more below).

David Holwerk will explain what he’s learned studying media and democracy at the Kettering Foundation since he’s been away from daily journalism.

And there is far more on both issues and tradecraft; just look at that schedule!

Most of all, you’ll have time to meet new friends and reacquaint yourself with old ones and time to swap ideas and stories in a relaxed and nurturing atmosphere. That’s what AOJ is all about.

--David Haynes, president (posted 10/6, updated 10/8 and 11/15 JM)

The schedule 

Saturday, Nov. 14

7:30 a.m.-9: Registration; coffee and snacks* available in outer lobby of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, 801 Third St. South,
 St. Petersburg, Florida.

8 a.m.: Welcome from AOJ President David D. Haynes, editorial page editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

8:05 a.m.-9: How The Boston Globe is using short documentary films to engage its audience through its “Opinion Reel” project, with the Globe’s Joanna Weiss. (more, with photo)

9 a.m.-10: The Affordable Care Act: Where do we go from here? With Naomi Lopez-Bauman, director of healthcare policy at the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix; Dr. David Blumenthal, president of the Commonwealth Fund; and former Democratic Congressman Jason Altmire, now with Florida Blue. Moderated by David D. Haynes.

10 a.m.-10:15: Break

10:15 a.m.-11:30: How we can build community through citizen contributions, especially from citizens we often don’t reach effectively, with Katie Hawkins-Gaar of the Poynter Institute.

11:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: Lunch with keynote speaker. Jay Evensen, senior editorial columnist for the Deseret News, in partnership with the Society of Professional Journalists, will present the $75,000 Pulliam Fellowship for Editorial Writing to Ronnie Polaneczky of the Philadelphia Daily News.

1:45 p.m.-2:45: Common Core, from consensus to controversy, with Neal McCluskey of the Cato Institute; Roger L. Beckett, executive director of the Ashbrook Center, and Jayne Ellspermann, principal at West Port High School in Ocala, Fla. Moderated by Dan Morain.

2:45 p.m.-3:45: The entrepreneurial journalist, with Mike Wilson, editor of the Dallas Morning News and former managing editor of ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight website.

3:45 p.m.-4: Break

4:15-5:15 p.m.: Government secrecy: stories from the front lines, with Sharyl Attkisson, formerly of CBS News and author of “Stonewalled”; Ricardo Anzaldua, executive vice president and general counsel of MetLife in New York; and Barbara A. Petersen, president of the National Freedom of Information Coalition. Moderated by David D. Haynes.

6 p.m.-7: Social hour sponsored by The Heritage Foundation.

7 p.m.-9: Dinner and keynote speakers with the No Labels coalition. AOJ honors Joan Armour of Nashville, the long-time coordinator of the Minority Writers Seminar, recognizes the 2015 Minority Writers Seminar class and faculty, and presents the 2015 Bingham Award to Julian Rodriguez of the University of Texas-Arlington.

9 p.m. Hospitality Suite (The Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown)

Sunday, Nov. 15

7:30 a.m.-9: Coffee, snacks at Poynter*

8:30 a.m.-9:30: The future of the editorial, with Carolyn Lumsden of the Hartford Courant and Tim Swarens of the Indianapolis Star.

9:30 a.m.-10:30: How opinion editors can cultivate diversity on their pages and digital platforms, with Paul Owens of the Orlando Sentinel; Carolyn Lumsden of the Hartford Courant; and Rick Christie of the Palm Beach Post. Moderated by Nancy Ancrum of the Miami Herald.

10:30 a.m.-10:45: Break

10:45 a.m.-11:45: If I knew then what I know now: Six years of research into journalism’s role in democracy, with David Holwerk of the Kettering Foundation.

Noon-1:30 p.m.: Lunch with keynote speaker Sree Sreenivasan of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. AOJ will also present a life membership.

2:30 p.m.: Special tour of the Dali Museum for AOJ members who sign up in advance.


Friday: Political media powerhouse David Axelrod speaks to guests of a joint Poynter-AOJ evening at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, very near the conference hotel and not far from the Poynter campus. Reception and dinner 5:30; discussion 7:30. Package $100, discussion only $40. Register at Poynter's site:

*Every morning: Those staying at the conference hotel have access to its full buffet breakfast.

Lodging: The Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown St. Pete has said it will continue to honor the Poynter group discount rate while rooms last. Rooms are available (early October) but are no longer being held just for us. If the automatic access to expedited online reservations expires, call the hotel directly and be sure to ask for the AOJ-Poynter group rate.
Hampton: 727-892-9900

Sunday afternoon: The Dali guided tour is 2:30 to 5 p.m., just $10 (compared to $24 for admission-only) for those who sign up by Oct 30. https://aoj.wildapricot.org/event-2049142

Sunday evening: Decades of experience tell us that some participants will go from Dali to dinner in small informal, friendly groups.


Links to all three events: This page or

Symposium & Dali directly:
(That page also has the hotel link.)

Axelrod Friday:

Day Pass: 

one-day pass to events and meal(s) is for both members and non-members who cannot attend both days. It is one option of the regular registration process. Each day, it includes the day's sessions, coffee & snacks in the morning, and lunch with speakers and awards; Saturday, evening dinner with speakers and awards.  Click here

(posted 10/6/2015; updated 10/16/2015 2:06pm CDT)

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More new fall highlights:
Dali delight, videopinion, 
journalism in democracy

(updated 9/22/2015 and 10/1/15 JM)

We have more exciting additions to 2015 Symposium lineup: a post-conference shindig at the Salvador Dali Museum, and speakers Joanna Weiss of the Boston Globe and David Holwerk of the Kettering Foundation. 

Weiss, (photo right) an op-ed columnist at The Boston Globe, is the driving force behind Opinion Reel, an online showcase of short documentary videos from readers who can visually articulate a big point of view. Given that video is a big push for us all, Joanna will share what the Globe has learned about the work involved and the results. 

(Links and details below)

Dali and M.C.Escher, cultural icons of the 20th Century and beyond are among attractions of the deeply discounted $10 tour 2:30-5 p.m. Nov. 15. Signups end Nov. 2. (Oct 30) (update Oct 6)

Holwerk, a long-time AOJ member and former AOJ Foundation president, will talk about what he's learned after six years of studying the role of journalism in democracy, a speciality at Kettering.

he article below outlines the previously confirmed program.

The Dali event is an add-on registration via the AOJ Events page.

A joint event with Poynter, an evening with media-political powerhouse David Axelrod, with or without dinner at the Yacht Club, is Nov. 13.
(Friday before Symposium; corrected 11/1/15 JM)

More on Weiss, Kettering, and Holwerk:

Weiss bio page and video (1:21) 


Holwerk’s AOJ 2013 humorous recap of an odd editorial campaign
(video, 1:50)

Kettering CEO David Mathews at AOJ 2014 on "communities that learn to fail successfully" (text https://aoj.wildapricot.org/symposium-news2014#democracy) (video, 30 secs

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Early-bird discount
for symposium extended

To better coordinate with the discount lodging cut-off (Oct. 3), advance registration discounts for AOJ Symposium 2015 have been extended from Aug. 31 through Oct. 2.

Another reason was to allow people to defer the hit on their credit cards. Interest, less than $3 a month, would not eat up the savings, but for many journalists, there's benefit in deferring the need to write a check (;-)

(posted 8/31/2015 JM)

(top of entire page)

Fall symposium details, 
registration links* here

Dear Members and Friends of AOJ

Registration is now open for this fall’s AOJ Symposium. We have a great program over the day and a half we’ll be together, and I encourage you to sign up early.

The program begins bright and early on Saturday, Nov. 14 and ends at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 15, to allow those who wish to travel on Sunday to do so. [Additional, optional, activities are planned for Friday evening and later Sunday for those who can stay on.]

Discounted registration is available for anyone who signs up prior to Sept. 1 Oct 3. Discounted lodging is available until Oct. 3. 

It is all on the AOJ website – aoj.wildapricot.org– or directly at https://aoj.wildapricot.org/2015-AOJ-Symposium 

[Your member email gets the member rate and faster registration. All sign-ups, including non-members, are easy. You will get confirming emails.]


  • A keynote address by Sree Sreenivasan, chief digital officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and a noted tech evangelist, who won the 2010 Barry Bingham Award from NCEW-AOJ.
  • The Affordable Care Act: Where do we go from here? A discussion with Naomi Lopez Bauman, director of healthcare policy at the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix; David Blumenthal, president of the Commonwealth Fund; and former Democratic Congressman Jason Altmire, now with Florida Blue.
  • A session on social media.
  • Katie Hawkins-Gaar of the Poynter Institute on building community through citizen contributions, especially citizens we don’t always reach very well.
  • Common Core, a discussion with Neal McCluskey of the Cato Institute; Roger Beckett, executive director of the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University, Ashland, Ohio, and Jayne Ellspermann, 2015 national principal of the year from Ocala, Fla.
  • Mike Wilson, editor of the Dallas Morning News and former managing editor of ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight website.
  • Government secrecy: Stories from the front lines from Sharyl Attkisson, formerly of CBS News and author of "Stonewalled"; Ricardo Anzaldua, executive vice president and general counsel of MetLife in New York; and Barbara A. Petersen, president of the National Freedom of Information Coalition.
  • A discussion with Al Cardenas and Bill Galston who are founders of No Labels, a new advocacy group that is pushing for a national strategic plan. Cardenas is probably best known as Jeb Bush’s best friend; Galson is a scholar at the Brookings Institution.
  • How can opinion editors cultivate diversity on their pages and digital platforms? Lessons from those who do it best.

We’ll also award the Pulliam Fellowship ($75K from SPJ's SDX Foundation) and our Bingham Award and name a new life member.

Please plan now to join us on the superb campus of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida, this November!

David D. Haynes
Editorial page editor

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
President, AOJ Foundation
Symposium host

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(posted 7/29/2015 updated 8/25/15 JM)

Voices & choices is
10/1 Poynter-AOJ webinar

(Posted 9/4/2015 JM)

Rick Horowitz, long a member of NCEW-AOJ leadership and Minority Writers Seminar faculty, will conduct an online webinar for columnists and other opinionizers* via Poynter’s News-U on Oct. 1.

“Connecting As a Columnist: Your Voices, Your Choices,” he says, should benefit “anyone in the opinion-writing trades, whether in print or online.”

He refers to previous workshops on the importance of voice in establishing and maintaining a writer’s identity, or an editorial page’s. And he notes that a voice, or much of an identity, can be changed…

One example of one of his voices is satirical humor on TV, as in this recent example (anthrax).

In a one-hour session, participants can submit questions and take part in viewer polls in real time. If the livecast doesn’t work, registrants will still have access to the replay, plus bonus resources on the Poynter website. Poynter’s page indicates that post-session Q&A is often possible.

More about the $30 class, and registration, is at:


*Opinionizer includes those who write or make videos, as Horowitz does for Public Television in Wisconsin, and those who coach-edit-oversee the work on any platform.

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AOJ fall symposium
registration begins

The annual conference will be Saturday-Sunday Nov. 14-15, 2015, at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida. 

Early-bird discounts for members and non-members who register before Sept. 1, and hotel discounts until Oct. 3, are available. Key speakers are confirmed but the schedule is being adjusted in late July and possibly beyond. The program will include some current-events presentations and a substantial block of trade-craft and other promptly useful information.

A related event with David Axelrod will be the evening of Nov. 13. Details t.b.a.; registration may be on the Poynter site with links from here.

The Minority Writers seminar will overlap Symposium, and will register separately, probably on Poynter's site. 

The AOJ Foundation officers and trustees will meet in St. Pete on Nov. 13. If you have concerns or wish to volunteer, please communicate with them well before that date. Names, roles, email addresses and more are on the Leaders page of this site. (posted 7/25/15 JM)

Views on Confederate flag
evoke past AOJ messages

New in The Masthead July 22

The national discussion continues. Parts of it, including a passionate publisher's signed editorial, recall a moving speech at the 2014 AOJ Symposium and other recent articles.

Link to the Masthead 2015 page with full article.

(posted 7/22/2015 JM)

Fall symposium plans,
other actions progressing

As outlined in a letter to all AOJ members and close associates on June 25, plans for the annual conference, AOJ Symposium 2015, are well along. The letter from the AOJ Foundation president, David Haynes, is also available to members via a log-in link and one of the index items on the members-only page. That page and several other areas of this website have been growing and changing recently. And Masthead continues to reflect the organization's passion for sharing ideas and information useful to members and other professionals. (6/26/2015 JM)

Welcome, colleagues
who might join up...

A few hundred select professionals across the land have received an invitation to join AOJ or refer colleagues, or both.

The Join-us page (tab also above) will take you to the automated process.

This link will take you to a generic form of the invitation letter, with links in it to some of the benefits we offer.

You may explore any of our public pages any time. Mobile devices' browsers may need the quick-pages box at right to display sub-menu materials. This site will become fully mobile-compliant during summer.

Members-only content will demand a log-in that becomes easy once your membership is active. Access to the members' discussion list becomes easy after completion of the process described on those pages.

Yes, a campaign is underway (a one-word usage that became acceptable within AP style a few months ago, doing away with the previous insistence on under way as two words except...). Gee, hopefully (another recent relaxation of AP style) the New AOJ is not part of an under-weigh naval fleet (;-).

(Posted by John McClelland 6/1/2015 12:21pm cdt) 

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$75K edit writer award 
to be given at AOJ event

The Pulliam Fellowship for Editorial Writing, which again will be presented at the AOJ Symposium 2015 in November, grants $75,000 to an editorial writer. Applications were due by June 22.

The award may be used for study, travel, research, or other activities to help the writer gain wider journalistic horizons or a broader knowledge of the world in any field. Often in the past, it has resulted in a series of articles or a book, or both.

It is funded by the SDX Foundation, a separate entity related to the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ, originally Sigma Delta Chi or SDX). It has been presented annually at the conventions of the National Conference of Editorial Writers (NCEW), now Association of Opinion Journalists (AOJ).

Last year's winner was working on an extensive retrospective and update on race relations in Boston since the school busing crisis of the 1970s. (below: information about her and other recent winners).

The other award named for Eugene S. Pulliam is the Pulliam First Amendment Award, $10,000 to an individual, group, or organization for extraordinary efforts in defense of the First Amendment. Entries by 6/22.

Information is at the links above or from SPJ's awards coordinator, Abbi Martzall, at awards@spj.org or

Recent Pulliam Editorial Writing Fellowship winners:

(Posted 6/4/2015 21:20 cdt updated 6/26JM)
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Member at work

Video satire on anthrax: 
real opinion journalism

“About those ‘inactive’ anthrax spores we sent you…” How’d you like to be the one who has to make that phone call?  


AOJ member Rick Horowitz does commentary for public television in Wisconsin and this one for HuffPost.

(posted 6/3/2015 JM) (top of page index) (return to voices-choices)

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