Bethany Bella is the March volunteer of the month

Bethany Bella

Bethany Bella

SPJ’s Volunteer of the Month for March is Bethany N. Bella, an Ohio University student who is a huge help SPJ’s Digital Committee as well as to her campus chapter. Thanks very much, Bethany!

Bethany is an undergraduate student in her first year at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. In addition to Strategic Communications, Bethany is also pursuing Political Science and Environmental Studies, from which she intends to become involved in international environmental policymaking or environmental media relations. She fell in love with the written word in elementary school, after narrating her first creative fiction story, but it wasn’t until high school when she combined her love of writing with her video-editing skills and her incurable passion for the environment.

In her freshman year at Ohio University’s noteworthy journalism school, Bethany has written for two student publications, created an Online News Association student group, and joined the Society of Professional Journalists. She’s an active member in the OU student chapter, while also contributing blog posts and social media assistance for national SPJ Digital initiatives. In her spare time, she stays active with biking, practices yoga, and reads National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler magazines.

Bethany was nominated by Alex Veeneman, acting chairman of SPJ’s Digital Community and SPJ’s community coordinator.

Here is what Alex says about Bethany:

Bethany is a student representative for SPJ Digital, as well as a blogger for Net Worked, our blog.

Bethany expressed interest in one of the student representative positions in December 2014, as part of SPJ Digital’s 2015 strategy to enhance outreach to student chapters across SPJ, and was appointed to take on that role. Since her appointment, she has been a creative force in leading our student strategy, as well as making suggestions for moving SPJ Digital forward.

In addition, as part of our communication strategy, I was trying to incorporate more voices into Net Worked’s writings. When no one else would, Bethany stepped up and took the role on, contributing some insightful work on top of what she is doing at not just the student rep role, but also her classwork and work in The Post, the newspaper of Ohio University.

Even though she has been with SPJ Digital for a very short time, Bethany has gone above and beyond what is expected of her. Her work with SPJ as well as Ohio University shows her dedication to the future of the profession. In light of her hard work and leadership on such crucial matters to us, I nominate her for this well deserved honor.

Do you know of an outstanding SPJ volunteer? Nominate that person for Volunteer of the Month by contacting Susan Stevens, Membership Committee member, at Please tell us briefly why you are nominating the person and why your nominee is worthy of recognition. Nominations are due the 5th of each month and announced by the 15th.

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Congratulations to Monica Guzman, SPJ’s Volunteer of the Month

Monica Guzman

Monica Guzman

Monica Guzman, president of the Western Washington Pro Chapter, is SPJ’s Member of the Month for February. Congratulations, Monica, and thanks for all of your hard work!

Monica is a technology columnist for The Seattle Times and GeekWire and an ethics columnist for the Columbia Journalism Review. In addition to being board president of the Western Washington chapter, she is vice-chair of the SPJ Ethics Committee and a contributor to the 2013 Poynter book “The New Ethics of Journalism.”

Monica was the online reporter for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer when the paper closed in 2009, and continued with the all-digital before working two years with tech startups. She has won regional SPJ awards for her Times and GeekWire columns and was a Commentary juror for the 2014 Pulitzer Prizes.

Athima Chansanchai, vice president and treasurer of the Western WA Pro Chapter, nominated Monica. They met several years ago when they both worked at The Seattle Post-Intelligencer as reporters.

Quoting Athima now: “She helped recruit me to serve on the local SPJ board a few years ago, after we’d both left the P-I (or, it left us) and after I’d served on various local and national AAJA boards for more than a decade. But rather than getting burned out, working with her on the SPJ board has been invigorating. She is a bottomless source of encouragement, energy and empathy. She is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever known and won’t hesitate to take on the tough tasks. I’ve seen her organize events and social campaigns, outline long-term strategy and corral a very challenging regional contest.

“She does all this and more consistently while also being a mom to two young children and balancing a packed professional schedule. Monica is thoughtful, enthusiastic and a good leader who has really motivated us to work together as a board that’s come up with innovative, fresh programming and helped introduce SPJ to more people. I’m proud to work with her and can’t be happier with her leadership by example.”

Athima is a news reporter writing for the Microsoft News Center. Her first book just came out: “100 Things to do in Seattle Before You Die.”

Do you know of an outstanding SPJ volunteer? Nominate that person for Volunteer of the Month by contacting Susan Stevens, Membership Committee member, at Please tell us briefly why you are nominating the person and why your nominee is worthy of recognition. Nominations are due the 5th of each month and announced by the 15th.

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Alex Veeneman is SPJ’s volunteer of the month

Alex Veeneman

Alex Veeneman

SPJ’s Volunteer of the Month for January is Alex Veeneman, who serves as acting chair of the SPJ Digital Community as well as the SPJ’s Community Coordinator.

Chicago-based Veeneman is media editor and contributing writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication based in the United Kingdom. He oversees coverage of the British media scene, as well as writes on UK media trends and UK current affairs. Veeneman is also a member of the UK Student Publication Association, which aims to support and promote the work of student journalists and publications across the UK.

Veeneman graduated from Lewis University, double majoring in print journalism and multimedia journalism. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter.

SPJ President Dana Neuts nominated Alex, saying, “He has been an outstanding volunteer in every sense of the word.”

More from Dana: “Alex first came to me this summer, curious about SPJ communities and wanting to start one for digital journalists. He agreed to take charge and within a week or so had 20 new community members lined up to gain official status as an SPJ community. Since then, he has led the digital community in being an active one, creating a Google + account, blogging on the NetWorked blog, tweeting from @SPJDigital and a Facebook page. He has held virtual meetings and found volunteers to oversee each of the social media channels, so it is a true team effort.

“He has graciously accepted my direction as communities have taken shape, offered his assistance and followed through on every promise he’s made. He’s helpful and responsive, but even more than that, he sees the potential communities have to reach SPJ members and beyond. He has helped develop the SPJ Digital landing page, written blog posts and been available every time I needed to run an idea or problem past him.

“He has also gone above and beyond as I sought a community coordinator to help me manage the communities. I’d been looking for three months with no luck. Alex tried to find a volunteer and sent two people my way, hoping they could help. One turned me down, and the other didn’t follow through — so Alex stepped up and said he’d be happy to serve as community coordinator through my presidential term. He is also running for the chair of SPJ Digital now that nominations for the first election cycle are open.

“Relatively new to SPJ, Alex has passion, enthusiasm and a desire to help other journalists. He’s joined the International Community and is eager to work with others. He is a true team player, and the type of volunteer SPJ needs to help us build a sustainable future.”

Do you know of an outstanding SPJ volunteer? Nominate that person for Volunteer of the Month by contacting Susan Stevens, Membership Committee member, at Please tell us briefly why you are nominating the person and why your nominee is worthy of recognition. Nominations are due the 5th of each month and announced by the 15th.

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Congratulations to Julie Asher, December Volunteer of the Month

Julie Asher

Julie Asher, now three-time president of the Washington, D.C., Pro Chapter, is SPJ’s Volunteer of the Month for December. Congratulations, Julie!

Here is how Julie found herself D.C. Pro president once again, in her words:

In late November, our D.C. Pro chapter board found itself without a president. Joe Cirone, elected last spring, resigned, citing increasing duties at work, another major volunteer commitment and other issues. So Region 2 Director Andy Schotz asked me if I could consider finishing Cirone’s term. I’m a former chapter president (2011-2013). I agreed. At our December 1 meeting, the board approved me stepping in, along with three others to fill vacancies on the board. We now have a full board for the first time in a long time.

Among my goals:

  • To keep the momentum going on the good programs we have had so far this year.
  • Support the major membership renewal drive/new member drive we’ve just launched. I want to see the SPJ chapter in our nation’s capital get some new life with more members. Out of that will come more volunteers. Getting more people involved in the work of SPJ at the chapter level -– on the board or on committees — is a main priority for me.
  • Encourage our chapter board be more proactive in issuing a statement when needed to remind lawmakers in this town — at all levels of government –- of their obligation to the public and the press to be transparent.

As for my “day” job, I am national editor at the Catholic News Service, an international daily religion news service for Catholic and other publications around the world. I am also the intern coordinator at CNS. I am a former Region 2 director for SPJ and besides being chapter president have been chapter vice president and once upon a time was chapter treasurer. Last year, I was chair of our Dateline/Hall of Fame dinner.

Julie was nominated by Bill McCloskey. Here’s what he says:

D.C. Pro Chapter former President Julie Asher stepped up when the 2014-15 chapter president abruptly resigned in late November and agreed to fill out his term. She was elected at a chapter board meeting. Julie had served two previous terms as president. She has been on the board for well over a decade. A number of senior board members rotated off the DC Pro board in recent years and the chapter will benefit from her institutional knowledge and willingness to serve.

Julie has always been a hands-on board member. By tradition, the D.C. Pro immediate past president has two punishing jobs — chairing the nominating committee and putting together the annual Hall of Fame/Dateline awards dinner. This, of course means plundering the roster for willing and not-so-willing candidates, then herding the contest coordinator, leashing the Hall Fame committee, and labeling, stamping, mailing the invitations and coordinating the RSVPs. That’s all cool until dinner afternoon when people want to add people to their table, try to bail out and get a refund or just try to show up and worm their way in. Julie’s done it all and with admirable civility.

McCloskey himself could be a nominee for Volunteer of the Decades. He is currently at large director of SPJ and is also a member of the Executive Committee, Bylaws Committee and the Finance Committee. He is past president of the D.C. Chapter and was the Society’s Region 2 director. He has been recognized three times with SPJ’s “President’s Award” for distinguished service to the Society. In 2008 he was awarded the Wells Key, SPJ’s highest honor for a volunteer. He is the retired Washington, D.C.-based Director of Media Relations for AT&T, formerly BellSouth Corp. Before joining BellSouth in 1987, Bill worked for The Associated Press, WASH-FM and Metromedia, all in Washington.

Do you know of an outstanding SPJ volunteer? Nominate that person for Volunteer of the Month by contacting Susan S. Stevens, Membership Committee member, at Please tell us briefly why you are nominating the person and why you think they are worthy of recognition. Nominations are due the 5th of each month and announced by the 15th.

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Program ideas that ‘tingle journalists’ toes’

WAVE3-TV's team at the SPJ Louisville Pro chapter's annual trivia night.

WAVE3-TV’s team at the SPJ Louisville Pro chapter’s annual trivia night.

Last month, I wrote a blog post asking who is responsible for engaging members. I asked a few of the regional directors on SPJ’s board to chime in and tell me what they thought in the comments, and I got some terrific responses.

One that has stuck with me is Region 3 Director Michael Koretzky‘s comment that we need programming that keeps members coming back and draws in new members – both at the national, regional and chapter levels. I agree with him completely.

It is a struggle sometimes for chapters, and our national organization, to figure out how exactly to program. Do we serve the faithful members who have been with us for years and perhaps want to see in-depth presentations on media ethics but want nothing to do with social media? Or do we provide programming that appeals to non-members and might draw folks in who haven’t joined us previously, such as social media primer or a how-to on Twitter? (Or far more amazing ideas… keep reading!)

I say both. 

We need to serve our membership base, absolutely. But we also need to appeal to a whole new generation of journalists, and lead those who are still in the field to learn new skills and improve their work.

Thanks to a terrific board of directors, my chapter, Louisville (Kentucky) Pro, often has what I think are great programs. We held a panel discussion in October on how Louisville media covers issues of race, and it was well-attended and provided a great platform for discussion. We also hold some programming that’s a little less weighty, including a December 4 program planned called Meet the Meteorologists and an annual media trivia event each April.

I was feeling pretty good about all of this until I saw a handout that Koretzky provided recently on program ideas. His ideas for programs, executed well through his leadership and with strong support from local chapters, blow pretty much everything I’ve ever done out of the water.

To his credit, he knows his ideas are big and at times difficult to execute, but damn if I don’t want to do every last one of them.

You can download it here: spj programs. It’s a PDF.

Death Race, 2013. Photo courtesy SPJ Florida.

Death Race, 2013. Photo courtesy SPJ Florida.

A few of the ideas:

First Amendment Free Food Festival: offer people a free meal in exchange for signing away their First Amendment Rights. Then, mess with them. When they sit together in groups and chat, break up the groups and make them move. Tell them they can’t discuss certain topics. I LOVE THIS IDEA. Perhaps I just like the idea of having a license to mess with people, but whatever. It’s a great idea.

SPJ Death Race: Attendees get a 30-minute crash course on how to write an obituary from a local obituary writer. Then, they have one hour to cover a memorial service (staged just for this purpose) and another hour to write the obituary. A trophy is awarded to the person who writes the best obit. This year’s Death Race is set for Dec. 6 and is for students only. The Death Race “trophy” is a funeral urn engraved with the words, “SPJ DeathRace First Place.” It contains the ashes of three local newspapers. Info here.

There are many, many more in the document. Download it, read it and get ready to be inspired.

What have you seen lately that you loved? What do you want to do with your student or local chapter? What programming do you feel will help SPJ increase its membership and support existing members?

The comments are all yours – let’s hear it.


Note: I’m planning another blog post soon on ideas that specifically discuss diversity. I’m collecting examples of great SPJ programs. If you have any to share, e-mail me at

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Congratulations to Pashtana Usufzy, SPJ’s November Volunteer of the Month


Pashtana Usufzy of Las Vegas is SPJ’s Volunteer of the Month for November. Congratulations, Pashtana! You more than earned this honor.

She is a breaking news reporter for the Las Vegas Sun. She studied journalism at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and is now pursuing a biology degree. She has been an SPJ member since 2009. Prior to joining the board of the Las Vegas professional chapter as a student representative, she led the campus chapter for three years.

Pashtana was nominated for Volunteer of the Month by Gregan Wingert, President of Las Vegas Pro Chapter, who has more to say about Pashtana than the nominee herself. Here is what Wingert tells us:

Pashtana leads by example and is therefore a tremendous volunteer. She always attends meetings for SPJ and she’s always offering to help in any way possible. Any time I need help setting up for a professional chapter meeting, she offers to bring anything we may need, including orange juice one early Saturday morning. Pashtana also encourages students and colleagues to attend all chapter events. She’s been an active member of SPJ for as long as I can remember. She’s served as the UNLV student representative of the Las Vegas Pro Chapter of SPJ and has also been a president of the UNLV student chapter. She remains active in both chapters. As president of the university’s chapter, Pashtana was never afraid to set up hard-hitting and informative panels. She has been amazingly effective at approaching local media professionals to sit on those panels as well as organizing her classmates to accomplish community volunteer work. As a truly dedicated member of our organization I was never surprised to see Pashtana travel to several regional and national conferences. At those events she volunteers information to other chapters on the successful panels and activties she’s involved in. A volunteer is someone who dedicates their time to a cause they believe in, and I believe Pashtana is a true volunteer. As the current president of the Las Vegas professional chapter I would be honored if you would please accept my nomination of Pashtana Usufzy for SPJ volunteer of the month.

Do you know of an outstanding SPJ volunteer? Nominate them for Volunteer of the Month by contacting Susan Stevens, Membership Committee member, at Please tell us briefly why you are nominating the person and why you think they are worthy of recognition. Nominations are due the 5th of each month and announced by the 15th.

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Lee Anne Peck of Colorado is our October Volunteer of the Month

Congratulations to Lee Anne Peck of the Journalism and Mass Communications Program at the University of Northern Colorado. For her contributions to high school journalism research, she is being honored with our Volunteer of the Month award!

She was nominated by Becky Tallent, who told us that Lee has been the backbone of the Journalism Education Committee‘s research on high school journalism. Becky teaches at the School of Journalism and Mass Media at the University of Idaho. Both are members of the Journalism Education Committee.

Here’s what Becky had to say in her nomination:lee_anne_peck

For the past three years the J-Ed Committee has been investigating the state of high school journalism in America. It all started when (former SPJ president) John Ensslin asked if we had heard some high schools were closing their journalism programs.  Last winter, Lee Anne wrote a survey that we sent to 600 high school teachers across the country. Very few of us on the committee had ever conducted this type of research, and it was Lee who kept us on-track and fought really hard to keep the survey and its results pristine. She worked with the statistician to tease out the results.
In addition, she wrote or co-wrote six chapters, a hard look at the survey (how we did it) and results (it took two chapters to give the results), a chapter on legal issues plus the intro, conclusion and the annotated bibliography. She tried to get us a grant and did find for us a spectacular graphic artist who crafted our graphs. She also made the entry with the Journalism Education Association for us, which was no small feat, and got them to sell us their mailing list for the survey.  The book will be published by New Forums Press in January.
She did all this while teaching full time, carrying on her own research load and advising students at the University of Northern Colorado.
It is not an understatement to say we could not have finished the book in a timely manner without her work on the survey. While I handled all the other details of the project, Lee was my right hand tackling the most complex issue, which was the survey.

Here’s Lee Anne’s biography from the University of Northern Colorado web site.

Lee Anne Peck has taught English, journalism and communication courses since 1988.  Before coming to the University of Northern Colorado in 2003, she was an assistant professor of international communications at Franklin College Switzerland, an American college in Lugano. Over the years, she has advised three student newspapers.

Peck’s professional experience began in 1976 as a correspondent for the Moline (Ill.) Daily Dispatch. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, she edited then managed the regional Choice Magazine of the Front Range. In the mid-1980s, she edited and wrote for publications in Indiana and Delaware. She has worked for the Fort Collins Coloradoan as an editor, a columnist and a writing coach, and worked for the former Rocky Mountain News as a copy editor.

While pursuing her master’s in journalism studies in Florida, she worked at the Tampa Tribune’s online product, Tampa Bay Online, one of the first online newspaper sites in the United States. In 1998, before moving to Ohio to do her Ph.D. coursework, she worked for Microsoft’s online publication, Denver Sidewalk.  Peck began freelancing in the late 1970s and continues to do free-lance editing, writing and public relations work.

In 2007, she was awarded a Fulbright grant to teach at the University of Dubrovnik, Croatia.  While there, she researched the status of the news media in the former Yugoslavia, a topic that continues to be a research interest.  Her main research focuses on all aspects of media ethics. She recently co-edited a book with Guy Reel of Winthrop University titled Media Ethics at Work: True stories of young professionals, published by CQ Press, an imprint of Sage. She has contributed chapters to media ethics textbooks and has presented and published paper on the subject.

At UNC, Peck teaches public relations, magazine and news writing courses, and the media ethics course.

Congratulations to Lee! Lee was a member of SPJ’s ethics committee, international committee and currently serves on the Journalism Education committee. She is one of five ethics consultants who answers calls with the Chicago Headliner Chapter’s national Ethics Adviceline for Journalists (

Lee is a member of the Colorado Pro chapter. She has been a member of SPJ since 1992.

Do you know of an outstanding SPJ volunteer? Nominate them for Volunteer of the Month by contacting Susan Stevens, Membership Committee member, at Please tell us briefly why you are nominating the person and why you think they are worthy of recognition. Nominations are due the 5th of each month and announced by the 15th.

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Whose job is it to engage members?

Some recent discussions among SPJ leadership has revolved around this central question: Whose job is it to engage members?
Under our chapter system, it’s long been thought that it is the job of local chapter leaders. It is, partially, but not everyone is part of a chapter. In fact, about 43 percent of our members are unaffiliated – which means they are not a member of any chapter. Some don’t have a chapter nearby, some have changed from college to pro and haven’t gotten involved in a pro chapter yet, and others elect to skip being involved in a local chapter. (But if you’d like to be part of a chapter, you can find chapters by state here.)
And you know what? That’s OK. Belong to a chapter or choose not to – either way, you’re a part of SPJ, and there is a role for you. The question for those of us involved in SPJ is whose job it is among SPJ leaders and volunteers to engage and involve new members. Involved members stay with us, and ultimately, make the profession of journalism better. getinvolved-banner
Joe Skeel, Executive Director of SPJ, e-mailed these thoughts recently and I thought what he had to say was worth sharing. Here are Joe’s thoughts, with a little light copyediting here and there.

This is an age old question: Whose job is it to engage members? The answer: it’s all of our jobs.

But, we have never been good about it. One thing I do know, many members wait to be contacted. They aren’t proactive.

From a national perspective, we hope that chapter leaders will download their rosters on a regular basis and reach out to new members. At HQ, we just started calling all new members each month to welcome them, but it’s a brief call. Most of the time we leave a message. We simply can’t call all 300-ish that join in a month, in addition to the people whose membership lapses. We also check in after six months. But, all of this is relatively new.

From a chapter perspective, reaching out to new members is easier said than done. Most chapters struggle to conduct regular meetings and programs. This is just one more thing a volunteer has to do (in addition to their job, family, etc.).

Here are two things we are doing at headquarters, but it won’t solve all the problems.

1. We are trying to invite any interested member to the Ted Scripps Leadership program — regardless if they are a chapter leader. Although we still want to train chapter leaders, we are finding that individuals are wanting this training as well. If we have room, we are inviting them to attend. When there, we spell out all the ways to get involved and work with the local chapter and regional director (RD), who they hopefully meet while there. At this point, they have had leadership training AND made connections. Under the old format (one program in Indianapolis per year), we only had room to invite 50 chapter leaders. Now we train about 100 SPJ’ers a year by rotating locations.

2. We support regional directors moving away from the traditional “chapter management” role and taking more of a “regional member management” role. In short, we believe that SPJ focuses too much energy on chapters and not enough on individuals. And with Tara Puckey on board now, we don’t think we need RDs to focus so much on chapter management. Maybe the RD could send a note to each new member in his/her region each month. Maybe it’s a phone call (aided by a volunteer or two). Not sure. Maybe the RD sends out emails and asks for help in planning the spring conference, or some other thing. Maybe we have regional training outside of chapter events — funded by either HQ or a regional fund. At these trainings, like we do with our JournCamps, journalists can be encouraged to get involved with local chapters. In many cases, these people don’t know it’s an option — or, they simply haven’t been introduced.

In short, I don’t think SPJ does a very good job of identifying individuals that fall outside the chapter structure (or are in “inactive” chapters).

—-(end of Joe’s remarks, beginning of my own)—-

I’d like to hear from you. If you’re an unaffiliated member, do you get what you need from SPJ? What do you need? How do find ways to get involved in SPJ without being a member of a chapter?

If you’re in SPJ leadership, do you have ideas as to how we can involve unaffiliated members or new members?

Let’s hear it. Post in the comments, or e-mail me at As we work on our membership plan, we may incorporate your ideas into our plan.

(And, of course, if you want to join SPJ, please do so! Join here.)

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Victor Hernandez: September Volunteer of the Month

Victor Hernandez

Victor Hernandez

A big thanks to Victor Hernandez for his great work shepherding the Excellence in Journalism news team for the past two years – as a volunteer, no less. Victor, the News Futurist for CNN, brings serious news skills and a nurturing spirit to his work. He guided a team of 14 student interns through the convention, covering the news made in and out of sessions and business meetings. He was a top-notch editor, we’re told by multiple sources, and a great teacher for these budding journalists.

Ernest Owens, one of the EIJ News interns, says of Victor: “Victor’s incomparable commitment to mentoring student journalists is beyond resourceful, it’s inspiring. To see someone devote as much time and wisdom to myself and the rest of the EIJ News team as he did really made me love SPJ more and feel a strong sense of community.”

You can read all of the EIJ News coverage here.

Victor created a graphic that showcases all of the hard work by this team – and you can find that at the bottom of this post. Meanwhile, read up on Victor’s background below.

Victor Hernandez is a News Futurist for CNN Worldwide. In this role, he is charged with shaping critical vision and strategies around emerging technologies that align with CNN’s journalistic objectives and opportunities.

The connective tissue between the company’s editorial staff and technology operations, Hernandez influences change and disruption across the multi-platform news and information organization. His work with new media, convergence journalism and emerging technologies is considered among the most innovative and cutting edge at CNN.

In addition to this unique leadership role on the technology side of Turner Broadcasting, Hernandez provides a seasoned background of editorial breadth with a decade of CNN newsroom experience as well as roles focused on newsgathering and producing at local broadcast stations earlier in his journalism career in California.

He has served as visiting faculty and Ethics fellow with the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, and contributing member of nationally recognized journalism organizations including Society of Professional Journalists, Online News Association and National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Hernandez studied Broadcast Journalism at California State University, Fresno. He resides in Southern California while professionally based at CNN’s world headquarters in Atlanta.

You can see Victor’s Piktochart showcasting the student work at EIJ here:

Thanks for all of your hard work, Victor!

Got an SPJ member to nominate for Volunteer of the Month? GREAT! We love to hear from SPJ members. Send those by the 5th of each month to Robyn Davis Sekula, Membership Committee Chair, at Nominees are reviewed by the entire membership committee and selected by a vote, and announced by the 15th of each month (on good months, anyway). If you nominate someone and they did not win that month, they could be selected for another month. Feel free to ask if you have any questions.

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Congratulations to Sharon Dunten, our August volunteer of the month!

Sharon Dunten

Sharon Dunten

Sharon Dunten is our August volunteer of the month. Don’t know Sharon? Look her up at Excellence in Journalism 2014 – she will be there. Hope you will be, too!

Here’s more about what Sharon has done for SPJ and about her background in journalism.

Sharon Dunten is a former Indiana daily newspaper journalist and copy editor who is a new transplant to Atlanta, Georgia. After arriving in Atlanta two years ago, Dunten immediately tried to connect to a local SPJ chapter to network in her new home state. Unfortunately, she found no chapter in existence in Georgia. Remembering her great experience with SPJ membership and programs over the years at national conferences and workshops in Indiana, Dunten, along with seven other journalism professionals in Georgia, implemented a plan to launch a state-wide chapter, SPJ Georgia. You can find her chapter on Facebook here and on Twitter here. To date, SPJ Georgia has more than 50 members and will be holding their first official board election in January 2015. Dunten will be announcing her candidacy for board president this fall. Dunten is editor/content manager of and is a freelance writer and photojournalist.

Congratulations, Sharon! Your hard work and dedication to creating your chapter is truly impressive, and we are glad to have you as part of SPJ.

If you have someone you’d like to nominate for Volunteer of the Month, contact Robyn Davis Sekula, Membership Committee Chair, at I’d love to hear from you!

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Newest Posts

Some forthcoming changes to SPJ Digital March 27, 2015, 12:08 pm
Facebook: The newest content platform? March 27, 2015, 12:01 pm
Last chance to register for Region 5 at regular conference rates March 24, 2015, 1:29 am
And the winners are… March 23, 2015, 8:24 pm
Bethany Bella is the March volunteer of the month March 23, 2015, 1:44 am
500 tweets from Athens March 22, 2015, 7:23 pm
Encourage more ‘sunshine’ every week March 22, 2015, 6:24 am

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