• Conversations with media … over beer

    On July 8, 2015, SPC introduced a new feature: “Conversations with media … over beer.”
    Ever wonder what consultants say about working with the press to get someone elected or get out their message? The Sacramento Press Club hosted a relaxed conversation about the line between political messaging and manipulation, and the role of a journalist in ensuring a good clean campaign and featured two of Sacramento’s most seasoned pros — veteran Democratic strategist Steve Maviglio of Forza Communications and Beth Miller of Miller Public Affairs Group, who has worked on Republican campaigns and for business groups.

    This was first in a series of informal monthly gatherings hosted by the Sacramento Press Club to discuss a wide range of issues of interest to local journalists. We welcome suggestions for future topics.
    Questions? Contact Allen Young ayoung@bizjournals.com
    All photos courtesy of Matias Bombal.

  • Discussion with medical ethicists on aid-in-dying

    The issues surrounding end-of-life decisions have been front and center this year in the California Legislature as lawmakers consider so-called right-to-die legislation that would allow terminally ill patients to end their own lives with medication prescribed by doctors. The California Medical Association removed its longstanding opposition to the idea, allowing SB128 to pass the state Senate. The issue gained traction nationally after a well-organized campaign by the family of a former California woman who moved to Oregon to end her life last year. The Sacramento Press Club hosted a discussion on the medical ethics surrounding aid-in-dying.

    SPC was joined on June 30, 2015 by Janus Norman, senior vice president and chief lobbyist of the California Medical Association, Dr. Ben Rich, Professor and Chair of Bioethics at the University of California, Davis who specializes in physician-patient relationships and end-of-life care, and Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Program in Medical Ethics at the University of California Irvine School of Medicine.

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  • 2015 Journalism Scholarship Winners

    Congratulations to Leah Horner, Jessica Hice, Chloe Lessard, Valentin Almanza-Mendez, Kate Houston, Brenna Lyles and Benjy Egel, the 2015 Journalism Scholarship recipients.

    The $4,000 Jerry Gillam scholarship was awarded to Leah Horner. Leah will be a junior at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in the fall. She is the news producer for the Cal Poly student-run TV station. She has an internship lined up at a station in Maryland this summer, and is off to England in the fall to study their approach to broadcast journalism. Leah already recognizes that journalism is changing and that the future is challenging. In her letter to the judges, she wrote, “I know journalists don’t make a lot of money, but I don’t care. I’m ready for a low-income career doing my favorite thing: journalism. Reporting is my passion…I can’t wait to get into the real word and begin my career.”

    The $4,000 Nereida Skelton scholarship, the winner was Jessica Hice. The Skelton scholarship is earmarked for promising students who come up through community college and are at the beginning of their journalism studies. Jessica is a first-generation college student who grew up in a tiny community in Trinity County and attended community college before entering Sacramento State and taking her first journalism courses. Her professor reports that she is a bright, hard-working, engaged student journalist who has never missed a deadline. In her application, Jessica wrote, “I may not have my degree in hand, but I am a journalist.”

    The $4,000 Bob Fairbanks scholarship, the winner was Chloe Lessard, who has an unusual background. She was a pre-med student at UC Davis when she began writing about health care issues. She produced a radio talk show on the Affordable Care Act, investigative pieces on mental health services for students, and a short documentary on clinics. Even when she began writing for the Davis Enterprise, she never stopped being a pre-med student. She is headed for UC Berkeley graduate school and concurrent master degrees in Public Health and Journalism. Her goal is to cover health care issues as a reporter with expertise in public health. In an era where specialization is increasingly valued in journalism, the judges felt Chloe has a bright future.

    The $4,000 Dan Walters scholarship was awarded to Valentin Almanza-Mendez. Valentin will enter Sacramento State in the fall. He is a Communications Studies major with emphasis in Digital Film Production at Sacramento City College. Additionally, at Cosumnes River College, he learned to produce, write and edit television and radio segments. He also interned as a journalist and photographer for the Sacramento News and Review. His eventual goal is to incorporate movie making and other alternative media in innovative new forms of journalism.

    The recipient of the $4,000 Joan Lunden scholarship was Kate Houston, a broadcast journalism student at the University of Oregon. Kate reports that journalism is “in her DNA” – her late father was a news editor for the San Jose Mercury News, her mother is a bureau editor for KQED and her uncle works for the LA Times. The judges felt her broadcast clips already show immense promise from this very poised and polished journalist, so we look forward to tracking her career.

    The $6,000 Jean Stephens scholarship, the winner was Brenna Lyles. Brenna will be a senior at UC Davis this fall. Last year, she applied for a scholarship but did not make it to the interview stage, although she had won a national award for an investigative piece she wrote for her high school newspaper. In our letter back to her, the scholarship panel encouraged her to get more experience outside the classroom and then apply again – and she did! She interned at Capital Public Radio last summer, and she is news editor, writer and co-founder of the Davis Beat, an alternative campus newspaper. Through connections she made during the scholarship interview process, Brenna will be interning at the Sacramento Bee this summer.

    The $8,000 Earl Squire Behrens scholarship was awarded to Benjy Egel. Benjy will be a senior at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in the fall. He started his journalism career when he was only 15, writing sports stories for the Davis Enterprise. By the time he was a high school senior, he was covering professional and Division 1 collegiate sports in Davis and Sacramento for the newspaper. Perhaps he would have continued down the path to becoming a sports reporter, but his coverage of student government elections at Cal Poly and an unconstitutional ban on candidates speaking to the media attracted national attention last year. He spoke to the judges about the power of the media to raise awareness and impact public policy, sounding very much like a political journalist in the making. This summer he will intern at the Bee and we look forward to seeing his bylines.

  • Former Senator Darrell Steinberg and Elyn Saks, USC professor on mental health

    Issues of mental health have gained increasing prominence in culture and politics in recent months. For National Health Month, former Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, along with Elyn Saks, the Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California joined the Sacramento Press Club to address the progress being made to replace stigma with care and support. Steinberg is director of policy for the newly formed Steinberg Institute and Saks is an expert on mental health issues from the inside out: She lives with schizophrenia and acute psychosis. You’ll get a personal lesson in how people deal with mental health issues as well as what policies can help. “Is it OK if I trash your office?” Saks once asked her doctor, and it wasn’t a joke. This was an incredibly moving and informative luncheon.

    Additionally, this was also the annual SPC scholarship luncheon. Seven scholarships totaling $34,000 were awarded!

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  • Ellen Hanak, PPIC Water Policy Center Director- April 30th

    California officials are grappling with how to respond to California’s epic drought, and so are researchers. PPIC senior fellow Ellen Hanak has been tasked with heading up the public policy think tank’s new Water Policy Center. Hanak started PPIC’s research program on water policy in 2001 and has published numerous reports and articles on California’s water management. Her career has focused on the economics of natural resource management and agricultural development. Before joining PPIC Hanak held positions with the French agricultural research system, the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, and the World Bank.

    The center’s mission includes ensuring clean and reliable water supplies, building healthy ecosystems and responding to an increasingly variable climate. Hanak will explain the five things we all need to know about California water, and why we all have a stake in the drought response.

    Ellen Hanak was the speaker at the April 2015 SPC luncheon.

  • “I Left it on the Mountain: A Memoir” book signing with Kevin Sessums

    The Sacramento Press Club held a book signing and no-host happy hour event with author Kevin Sessums for his new memoir “I Left It on the Mountain” on April 20, 2015.

    Kevin, a former celebrity reporter for Vanity Fair who now lives in San Francisco, is the current Editor-in-Chief of FourTwoNine magazine. His work has appeared in Elle, Travel + Leisure, Playboy, Out, and Show People. To learn more, read this book review by the San Francisco Chronicle and this New York Times profile piece on Kevin from last summer.

    Event Details

  • Kristin Olsen- Assembly Republican Leader

    Kristin Olsen became the Assembly Republican leader in 2015 after her peers elected her to the post the previous year. In four years in the Assembly before that, Olsen has pursued legislation on environmental and veterans policies and worked with Democrats on education reforms. Olsen has also been a leader in proposing reforms to government accountability and transparency, leading by example by becoming the first legislator to release her office budget to the public, even as other members refused to do so. A strong advocate for economic development and investment in the Central Valley, Olsen was born and raised in Modesto and previously served on the Modesto City Council. She was named legislator of the year in 2012 by the Regional Council of Rural Counties. Olsen is a communications studies graduate of Westmont College, and previously served as the assistant vice president for communications and public affairs at California State University, Stanislaus.
    Kristin Olsen spoke before the Sacramento Press Club on Thursday, March 12 during the monthly SPC luncheon.

  • Kevin de León- Senate President pro Tempore

    Kevin de León took over as Senate President pro Tempore in December, capping eight years in the Legislature where he has championed education, environmental protection, and public safety. A few of his many legislative accomplishments include a compromise he helped broker to ban single-use plastic bags, creation of the country’s first “yes means yes” policy for sexual assaults on college campuses, creation of a retirement savings program for low-income workers, and a first-ever law protecting parents from losing parental rights because of their immigration status.

    Senator de León has given us a few hints about his agenda for 2015 already, announcing in December that he will introduce a bill requiring the state’s two pension funds to divest from coal-producing companies. We heard more about his plans as he spoke to the Sacramento Press Club luncheon on January 29th.

    De León was the first member of his family to graduate from high school. He graduated with honors from Pitzer College, and worked as a teacher and community organizer before being elected to the Assembly in 2006. He is the first Latino to serve as Senate President pro Tempore in 130 years.

  • 2015 Legislative Reception- Monday, January 12th

    On Monday, January 12th, the Sacramento Press Club and The Capitol Correspondents Association of California teamed up to host the 2015 Legislative Reception on the 2nd floor of the Capitol Rotunda. The Legislative Reception is held every two years and provides current, particularly new, members of the legislature with an opportunity to meet and mingle with members of the media. The event this year was extremely well attended with a turnout significantly higher than previous years. Thank you to everyone who attended.
    Thank you also to our co-sponsors:
    Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins
    Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen
    Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon
    Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff

  • SPC Annual Holiday Mixer @ KBar

    Thank you to everyone who joined us for the SPC Annual Holiday Mixer at KBar. The Mixer was a great opportunity for both SPC members and non-members to visit, mingle and raise money for the Journalism Scholarship Fund. We had a wonderful turnout for the event and hope to have you join the Sacramento Press Club or renew your membership as we gear up for an exciting series of events in 2015. https://sacpressclub.org/membership/
    Happy Holidays from the Sacramento Press Club!

    Photos courtesy of Matías Antonio Bombal.

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