I am pleased to report SPJ’s freelance committee is expanding.
President-elect Kevin Smith has indicated he wants to expand the committee to help respond to the changing journalism industry.
“As I told you a month ago it’s my hope that we can really utilize this committee in more important ways as we transition so many journalists from newsrooms to living rooms,” he wrote me in e-mail this month.
“There are a number of initiatives within that are operating on behalf of journalists’ future. It is my hope to bring several of these committees under one umbrella. There is a committee that is tasked with looking at the future of our profession and making sure we have a say in its direction. Another group is compiling a toolbox for laid off journalists to help them regain employment. Part of that deals with freelancing. Additionally, the membership committee is looking at ways to entice people back or new people in, even those without jobs. Part of their task will be to convince these journalists that now is the best time to be with SPJ and the dues are an investment in stabilizing a career.”
And so I have appointed several new members. I’d like to introduce them.
Amy Green, chairwoman. As you know I am a journalist in Orlando, Fla., whose work has appeared in PEOPLE, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor and many other publications. I specialize in faith, the environment and social issues. My Web site is at www.amybgreen.com.
Michael Fitzgerald, vice chairman. Michael writes on business, technology and culture for publications such as the Boston Globe, The Economist, Fast Company and The New York Times. He’s freelanced for more than seven years and published hundreds of articles on a variety of topics.
Bruce Shutan is a Los Angeles freelance writer who has written for about 75 publications or corporate entities. His extensive reporting on the American workplace dates back to 1985, with a showbiz sideline developed in 2000 when he began contributing to Variety, a must-read for entertainment industry insiders for more than a century.
Kathy Ehrich Dowd is a longtime contributor to PEOPLE, where she has worked on everything from gritty crime stories to touching human interest pieces to fluffy celebrity news. She also blogs regularly about good news for www.Tonic.com and has contributed to publications including TV Guide, Woman’s World, USA Today and Brides.com. Learn more about her at www.kathyehrichdowd.com.
Dana Neuts is a freelance magazine writer based in the Seattle area. She focuses on business, community, local government, women’s issues and lifestyle pieces. She has served as president for the Western Washington Pro Chapter of SPJ and is a regional director candidate for Region 10. She is the owner and publisher of the community-based site www.iLoveKent.net.
Jillian Kramer is an award-winning newspaper reporter and freelance writer who’s written for Popular Photography magazine. She graduated from Kent State University in 2006 and began working as a professional journalist before she could legally drink. Jillian took the dive into part-time freelance writing last year and can provide perspective on the challenges facing a novice in the industry. She works for the Press-Register in Mobile, Ala.
Ruth E. Thaler-Carter has been published in the Washington Post, Baltimore Business Journal, Baltimore Sun and Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. She is chapter coordinator, national newsletter editor and workshop presenter for the Editorial Freelancers Association. She also is the author and publisher of “Get Paid to Write! Getting Started as a Freelance Writer.”
Michael J. Jordan is a Slovakia-based journalist who has been a freelance foreign correspondent most of the past 15 years, reporting from 25 countries for The Christian Science Monitor (www.csmonitor.com) and other clients. He also teaches journalism at universities in Slovakia, Czech Republic and, starting in September, in Hong Kong.
What do you think? How do you think the freelance committee is doing? What should we be doing different, better? We want to hear from you.
Committees can have up to 15 members. If you’d like to serve please let us know. Or perhaps you’d like to write a blog post here or column for Quill, SPJ’s magazine for members.
As you know SPJ’s conference is this week in Indianapolis. Unfortunately I will not be there. But several programs are planned for freelancers. If you plan to attend please visit with our new committee members who will be there and talk with them about how you feel the committee should move forward.
Let’s get this committee more active! I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks, everyone, for all you do for SPJ and journalism.
Amy Green, freelance committee chairwoman