November 12th, 2007
A Tough Nut
By John Ensslin
There are moments in pitching SPJ membership where I’ve felt bit like the AFLAC duck.
Take for example, a recent conversation I had with a friend and colleague. For her privacy sake, let’s call her Gwyn.
Gwyn is a bright, veteran reporter whose interest in the professional of journalism extend far beyond the four corners of her weekly paycheck. She is also very generous with her time when it comes to helping colleagues. In short, she is an ideal candidate for SPJ.
The other day, Gwyn came over to my desk and said something to the effect of:
I wish there was a group out there that would stand up for journalists.
There is, I said. SPJ.
You know, she said, someone who would explain what it is that we do and why its so important that we do it.
To which I replied: SPJ!
Because, she said, between all the staff buyouts and the decline in newspaper circulation and government secrecy, I just wish there was someone looking out for our interest.
To which I practically sputtered: ACK! SPJ!!!
Since that conversation, I’ve tried several times to talk Gywn into joining. I’m close to succeeding, but it’s been tough.
Recently I pointed out how SPJ succeeding in getting a national shield law passed overwhelmingly in the House.
Yes, but it hasn’t passed in the Senate, she noted.
I offered a free ticket to a Colorado SPJ-sponsored lunch with Carl Bernstein if she joins. Still, she hesitated.
I pointed out that several of her newsroom colleagues have joined. No result.
I haven’t given up on Gwyn. She’s worth the extra effort because she’s just the kind of person we need in SPJ: Intelligent, caring and dedicated to her profession.
So for now, I’m just going to be like a steady spring rain. I’ll keep dropping hints, brochures, flyers and updates until she says yes.
We all have folks in our newsrooms like Gywn. Despite the frustration, they are worth the extra effort. Once we win them over, they’ll be members for a long, long time.
SPJ by the numbers
Members this week: 9,113
Members one month ago: 9,023
Members one year ago: 9,125