Minutes of May 16 Committee meeting

Journalism Education Committee Meeting
May 16, 2012

Attending: Eileen Solomon, George Daniels, Nerissa Young, Butler Cain, Neil Ralston, Jimmy McCollum. Teresa White and Becky Tallent

Also attending: SPJ President John Ensslin and SPJ staff member Tara Puckney.

The meeting started at 8:02 a.m. Pacific Time (11:02 a.m. Eastern) with Becky asking if anyone is interested in writing Quill Toolbox columns for the final three deadlines of 2012. Butler Cain will write the column for the July/August issue on students deciding between maintaining traditional newspapers or switching to social media outlets for their reporting. Jimmy will write for the August 17 deadline and Eileen will take the Oct. 19 deadline, and their topics will be determined later.

In reviewing the Death by Cheeseburger project, George said he has talked with the Center for Scholastic Journalism (CSJ) Advisory Board and explained why the CSJ recommends we do not repeat the Cheeseburger study. While the data in the report is visual, George said the CSJ said the data is sketchy. George said it is recommended he committee look at replicating the 1984 work Captive Voices rather than Death by Cheeseburger because the original study was stronger. It is suggested the SPJ J-Ed Committee meet with the CSJ to determine the most critical questions to be asked and identify which questions should be addressed now and which should be addressed later. George acknowledged that some members of the committee want to use this as a research project for tenure and promotion, but we need to look at the whole picture as well as smaller pieces.
Becky asked if we replicate the Captive Voices project, as suggested by CSJ, would we keep it to New England (as the original study)? George said we should broaden it as much as possible; combining our respective locations around the country with CSJ’s identified areas.
George recommended a small sub-committee from SPJ meet with CSJ representatives to begin the discussion. Butler and Becky volunteered to meet via a conference call. Addendum: Lee Anne Peck has also volunteered for the subcommittee.
New committee member Teresa White from Indiana University asked for some more background, which was supplied by George and Becky. SPJ President John Ensslin asked George to supply the name of a CSJ contact and he will reach out as well. Neil said there is also a group of high school teachers who have implemented a website to discuss issues, and he will find the information that will be shared with the committee.

The SPJ Advisor Breakfast for the AEJMC Conference in Chicago has been set and Tara Puckney described the event, and then asked for any additional discussion topics from committee members. Eileen said the meeting should emphasize programs and how to deal with students diluting the SPJ meeting by attending other groups that are specific to their area of interest (PRSSA, BEA, UNITY, etc.). George added the breakfast time will be limited so the questions should be submitted in advance and the meeting should talk about strategizing so SPJ chapters can integrate with existing classes. George noted the later does put additional pressure on student leaders to know what is happening in the classes and to plan enough in advance to coordinate the meetings with lectures. George also echoed earlier comments about co-advisor models so campus advisors do not burn out because they must do everything.

Looking at the new minimum chapter requirements, George and Neil explained this is a way for all the chapters to know what they should do, exactly how chapters will be reviewed and what the officers should expect. Neil said the last board meeting changed the number of required campus chapter advisors from two to one, which should make it easier for smaller chapters to form. They also explained the inactive status for some chapters is actually a form of housecleaning by SPJ, identifying those chapters who have not turned in annual reports for the past several years. By inactivating, they said, it makes it easier to re-boot the chapter later than if the charter was revoked and the chapter process would need to be started from the beginning.

Becky reminded everyone of the committee’s Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/223322924414419/) and the blog. On questioning if anyone wanted to handle managing the blog, George reminded everyone we have had the discussion before; we should blog when we have something of importance that should go out.

Finally, George reminded everyone the new voting rules for SPJ means every member will be able to vote for national officers now, so here will be educational information being sent out for, by and about candidates. Every member should take note and vote.

The meeting ended at 8:56 a.m. Pacific/11:56 a.m. Eastern.

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